Young weed warriors from Hurupaki School discovered of a large infestation of the highly invasive pest plant batwing passionflower and set off a killer attack on it. Members of the school's DIP (Dive into Passions) group, which is supported by the Enviroschools programme, found one seedling while foraging for weeds in the school's wetland area. A Northland Regional Council search then found mature vines and many seedlings near the edge of the school grounds. A weed warrior attaches a pink ribbon to a plant and, helped by Enviroschools facilitator Eden Hakaraia, takes photos and sends them to Vivienne Lepper at the NRC. A drone was among tools used to find and remove the batwing passionflower vines. It's still possible to stop the weed's spread because it has limited distribution in Northland, but it's easily spread by birds and seedlings can grow to a mature vine in six months.

Meet the candidates

A meet the candidates event is being held in Opononi next week for anyone standing for the mayoralty, council or community board in the Kaikohe-Hokianga ward. It will be held from 6-8pm on September 17 in the South Hokianga Memorial Hall and is organised by Hokianga Women's Group. Light refreshments will be provided.

Kiwi's 9-11 song


A Northland man's concept album inspired by the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, has caught the ears of a former New York mayor and the crew of a US aircraft carrier. Laurence Sive, who lives in Paihia, was watching TV on the day of the attack when he saw a pregnant woman throw herself out of Tower One and vowed that she wouldn't be forgotten. He wrote a song called Unborn Baby of Tower One which grew into a concept album released in 2002 and called 911. Sive, who works in marketing, posted copies of the CD to Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. He has since been sent a book by Giuliani and a letter of thanks from the Nimitz' chief petty officer, who said the crew had enjoyed listening to the CD on the ship's radio station. Go to to listen. Sive's current project is a rock song about Paihia.

Gun buyback events

Police are encouraging firearms holders in Northland not to leave it to the last moment and to hand in their prohibited firearms and parts at collection events in the region this month. The next one is in Kerikeri on September 17 at Kerikeri St John, from 3pm-7pm then at Dargaville Rugby Club on September 18 from 3pm-7pm. The collection events are also a chance for anyone to hand in any firearm – no questions asked – under amnesty. If you hand in firearm/s under amnesty no personal details will be recorded as the amnesty is entirely anonymous. If you do want to hand in firearm/s or part/s for buyback, complete the online form at before coming to an event – including listing each firearm and/or each part you are bringing along.

Country and city meet at BBQ

Farmers will be cooking up a barbecue lunch for townies in Whangārei's Laurie Hall Park on Friday as part of a nationwide awareness-raising campaign by Ag Proud NZ. Titoki farmer Andrew Booth, one of the organisers of the local event, said the neighbourly occasion aims to bring town and country closer together. Booth said while one aim is to highlight farmers' mental health issues and other pressures, the Ag Proud NZ barbecue will be a chance to share information about all the good things happening in the rural sector. The event will be between 11am and 2pm, with all welcome.