Russell wharf vote

Russell residents have voted with an almost three-quarters majority to support the formation of a new trust to oversee the town wharf when it is transferred to Far North Holdings' ownership. The proposal had divided the Russell community. It was put to a yes/no vote with the poll conducted by independent company Election Services. Of the 955 votes cast, 700 (or 73.3 per cent) supported the formation of the Kororareka Russell Community Wharf Kaitiaki Trust and an MOU with Far North Holdings, and 203 were opposed. A further 52 voting forms were blank. The total return rate was just over 36 per cent. Participants were also asked to vote for trustee selection panellists. The five successful panellists will be announced this week. A Far North Holdings spokesman said the council-owned company was delighted Russell now had clear direction on how to proceed. ''We look forward to working with the first trustees of the soon-to-be-formed Kororareka Russell Community Wharf Kaitiaki Trust on all matters to do with the maintenance and operation of Russell's front door to the world,'' he said.

Driver admits charges
A driver who led Whangārei police on a short pursuit in a stolen vehicle has admitted a raft of offences. Caleb Pitkethley, 21, of Tauranga, pleaded guilty in the Whangārei District Court to four charges of theft of petrol, three of driving while disqualified, two of failing to stop, two of reckless driving, and single charges of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, and possession of utensils for the purposes of smoking methamphetamine.
A Mazda 3 he was driving failed to stop for police at the intersection of State Highway 1 and Maungakaramea Rd on July 24 and officers laid spikes on Otaika Rd. Pitkethley was remanded in custody to reappear for sentencing on November 12.

Hikurangi 'meet the candidates'
The Hikurangi Business Association will be hosting a meet the candidates evening on September 18 from 6pm at Hikurangi Memorial Hall. The association will be inviting all Whangārei mayoral candidates, Hikurangi Coastal Ward candidates and Northland Regional Council Coastal North candidates. If you are standing in the elections or putting on a meet-the-candidates event in Northland, email details to


Mangonui sea victim named
A 23-year-old man who died in Mangonui Harbour last week was Taylor Paul Douglas Gordon. He had been out fishing with two others when their dinghy sank off Hihi about 7.45pm on Wednesday. None wore a lifejacket but two men were able to swim to shore where they alerted emergency services and were treated for minor injuries. Searchers, including Gordon's family, found his body about 400m offshore the next day. As a mark of respect Waiaua-Hihi kaumātua have placed a rāhui over part of the harbour extending from Butler Pt to Paewhenua. It will remain in force until Friday.