A car battery is believed to have sparked a fire in a parked car in central Whangārei yesterday. Whangārei's Senior Station Officer Corey Matchitt said it was very unusual for a car battery to burst into flames and in his 20 or more years as a firefighter he had never seen it before. Firefighters quickly doused the burning station wagon about 12.30pm and ensured a vehicle parked close by was not damaged. Police blocked off Lower Bank St until firefighters had doused the flames and prised open the car bonnet. The owner of the other parked car said he had stopped at the nearby Grand Hotel "for a quiet beer on the way home". He had gone to check the parking meter only five minutes before the adjacent car burst into flames and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

Fairy tern first egg
New Zealand's rarest bird, the New Zealand fairy tern, has produced the first egg of the breeding season. The pair, "affectionately known as Mr and Mrs Red", have raised and fledged chicks in the past years. The nest is located at Waipu and is relatively safe from potential high tides. Fairy terns nest on shell and sand banks just above high tide, which leaves them vulnerable to predators, disturbance by people, 4WD vehicles and dogs. They are also at risk from stormy weather and very high tides. Fairy tern parents take turns sitting on the egg for about an hour at a time and will do this 24/7 until the chick hatches.

Ballet show
Bream Bay Ballet's end of year dance extravaganza is on tomorrow, with two performances of "Charlie and the Bream Bay Chocolate Factory" at 10.30am and 2pm at the Bream Bay College auditorium. Door sale tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children, under-5s are free.

Man charged over crash death
A 56-year-old Tikipunga man has been charged over the death of a woman and injuring another man after a three-car crash near Whangārei. An Auckland woman died and a man was injured in the crash on State Highway 1 near Mangapai Rd, Oakleigh, on July 14 this year. At the time firefighters had to use cutting gear to free occupants from the three vehicles. The man, who appeared in Whangārei District Court, faces a charge of causing death while under the influence of a drug to the extent he was incapable of having control of the vehicle. A second similar charge relates to injuring a man while under the influence of a drug. He was remanded to appear again in November.

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All Souls service
Come along to St Paul's Anglican Church on Karawai St, Ruakākā this Sunday for their All Souls Service of Remembrance. Light a candle and remember those you have loved and lost. All are welcome to join the service at 9.30am and invited for a cup of tea afterwards.