A pod of pilot whales have successfully steered themselves away from the dangerous shallow waters of Northland's coastline after four of them perished on Ruakākā on Wednesday. Conservation staff made four sweeps of the beach yesterday and were relieved to find no more of the majestic animals. Dr Cat Peters said the pod had been seen heading for Little Barrier Island at sunset on Wednesday. The four whales that died had been taken to an area close to where they beached and over the next few days a digger would be used to bury them in the sand dunes by local iwi Patuharekeke. The iwi decided the whales would not be flensed and instead be buried whole.

Wall repairs start

Repairs to a retaining wall on the southern side of the Brynderwyn Hills will start this Sunday night. Temporary steel barriers will be installed over four consecutive nights from Sunday, September 22, to ensure the road workers' safety. During the night works, SH1 traffic will be down to a single lane with stop-and-go traffic control between 7pm-6am. A temporary speed limit of 30km/h will be in place on the southern side of the hills for the next 10 weeks. The northbound passing lane will remain closed for that time.

Man on the run

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A man who sparked armed police callouts in Kaikohe and rural Kerikeri is still on the run. The incident started on Wednesday afternoon on Bisset Rd in Kaikohe, where the occupant of a house said a man had turned up and made threats involving a firearm. Acting Sergeant Matt Cotching said the suspect had left when police arrived but a similar incident took place in the Lodore Rd area west of Kerikeri shortly afterwards. Police set up armed cordons but the suspect had already left the area. The investigation is continuing. No firearm was seen during the incidents.

Ratepayers' meeting

A special general meeting is being held in Opononi next month to decide the future of the Opononi Omapere Ratepayers and Residents Association after all four committee members resigned on September 11, just a month after being re-elected in an AGM. The meeting will be held at the South Hokianga Memorial Hall in Opononi from 6pm on October 2 with the aim of discussing ''where to from here''. The group was founded 16 years ago and had more than 90 members but had descended into disarray and conflict in recent months.

Agriculture scholarship

Whangārei A&P Society are offering a scholarship for studies in agriculture or related industries. The scholarship is worth a total of $9000 over a three-year period. The grants are awarded for veterinary studies, economics and finance, farm management and studies in the agricultural research and development field. To apply, visit whangareiap.org.nz/education.

Tsunami sirens tests

Northland's network of more than 200 outdoor tsunami sirens throughout the region will be tested on the morning of Sunday, September 29. The siren network is checked twice a year, coinciding with the start and finish of daylight saving. Sirens from Te Hapua in the north to Mangawhai in the south and Ruawai in the west will sound twice, firstly at 10am for 10 minutes and then again at 10.30am for 30 seconds, and will be monitored for any faults.