The driver of a vehicle that ended up jammed under the limb of a tree in a Whangārei park was not injured, surprising police who were called to the crash. Where the limb struck the car the roof had been staved in nearly to the height of the bonnet on the driver's side. However, the female driver was able to free herself. Police said initial indications were the driver, who had been on Norfolk St, turned on to Dent St and collided with another vehicle. Both vehicles went off the right hand side of the road with the red car ending up under the tree. A tow truck had been called and was investigating how the car should be moved.

Influential northern woman nominated

Whangārei community worker Dr Carol Peters is one of 82 finalists in the 2019 Women of Influence Awards. The New Zealand awards programme recognises women who make a difference in the lives of everyday New Zealanders. This year there are 10 categories to honour women's success in arts, management, business, the community, science and public policy. Peters is one of six nominees in the Community Hero category. She was a founder and for many years co-ordinator of Whangārei's 155 Community House and was also instigator of the Open Arms day centre for homeless people. Peters is running for Whangārei District's Okara ward and also a seat on Northland District Health Board in next month's local elections. Dame Silvia Cartwright will head the Women of Influence judging panel, with the winner announced on October 24.

Council reverses coach stop decision

Far North District councillors have voted to revoke an earlier motion to shift Kerikeri's coach stop out of town to Bay of Islands airport. The vote, at the council's August 29 meeting in Kaikohe, was carried unanimously and reverses a decision made in June which was supposed to resolve congestion and safety problems on Kerikeri's Cobham Rd. The single bus stop outside Northland Spa and Pool has now been replaced with two bus parking spaces on the other side of the road outside the Procter Library, as a temporary measure until the council completes an integrated transport plan for Kerikeri. Cr John Vujcich said it was ''not a good look'' to make decisions in haste then rescind them later, while Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board chairman Terry Greening said it was ''disappointing'' that the board's earlier decision, to leave the bus stop where it was, had been ignored.

Charge upgraded to murder

A Whangārei man has been remanded in custody to appear in the High Court on an upgraded charge of murder in relation to the death of a 5-month-old boy. The 28-year-old, from Raumanga, re-appeared in the Whangarei District Court yesterday and the interim name suppression put in place during his first appearance last week will continue. The man's initial charge of assault on a child was withdrawn at yesterday's appearance before Judge David Sharp and a new charge of murder was filed. Police launched a homicide investigation after they were called to a Raumanga house by ambulance staff two weeks ago. The man will appear in the High Court at Whangārei on September 19.


Fetal Alcohol Spectrum workshop

The Northland District Health Board is holding a workshop as part of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Month in September. FASD is the leading cause of preventable intellectual disability in New Zealand. Up to 3000 children are born each year suffering effects from parental drug and alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Symptoms can include physical, behavioural and learning problems. The DHB invites carers and people working with women of child-bearing age. The workshop will be held in Kaitaia on September 11. Contact for registration.

Refining NZ commits to hydrogen

Refining New Zealand welcomes the Government's Green Paper endorsement of the importance of hydrogen for New Zealand's economy and future energy needs. The oil refining company is the country's largest producer of hydrogen. It announced in July it wanted to build New Zealand's largest solar farm to manufacture zero carbon green hydrogen for refining, transport fuel and export. Chief executive Mike Fuge said Refining NZ would do what it could to accelerate hydrogen, solar and wind power in line with the Green Paper's vision for its impact on New Zealand's future fuel needs, economy and to address climate change. Fuge said Refining NZ is on track to meet its long term target of being the world's lowest-emission refinery.