Water restrictions banning the use of unattended garden hoses, sprinklers and irrigation devices have been imposed in South Hokianga after an unusually dry winter. The level 2 water restrictions apply to all households and businesses connected to its Opononi-Omapere and Rawene-Omanaia water schemes. Infrastructure manager Andy Finch said South Hokianga's water supplies relied on drought-sensitive streams, which were already at much lower levels than usual for this time of the year. Water savings now could mean tighter restrictions weren't needed later in summer, he said. The council's efforts to make the area's water supply more dependable included a nearly complete $2.8m million water treatment plant for Rawene-Omanaia with extra storage to reduce demand on Petaka Stream. Progress was also being made on a new bore at Opononi-Omapere to reduce dependence on the Waiotemarama Stream and Waiarohia Dam.

Alleged tool thief arrested

A 36-year-old man has been arrested by Waitematā police in relation to a number of tool thefts throughout the wider Auckland and Whāngarei districts. The man was charged in relation to four burglaries in Takanini, Silverdale and Whāngarei where a total of more than $30,000 worth of tools were allegedly stolen. He is expected to appear in court yesterday. (tues)

Gun buyback event

The last Northland police event for prohibited firearms and parts will take place today at the Hikurangi Bowling Club, between 3pm and 8pm. It brings to a close a series of events during the six-month amnesty and buyback scheme which was put in place after gun law reforms - supported by all parties but Act - banned most military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) firearms after the March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch. At the first Northland event in July 68 firearms and 122 parts and accessories were handed over.

Cove death not suspicious

Police investigating the sudden death of a man at Marsden Cove say there are no suspicious circumstances and they are not releasing his name. Police were alerted to the death about 7.30am on December 4. The police dive squad from Wellington were involved in the investigation that involved a scene examination lasting two days. The marina manager said the matter was being dealt with by police and they were unable to comment.

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Northern chopper deployed

Northlanders have played a role in rescuing the injured from the White Island eruption with a Whangārei-based helicopter helping to transport those injured. Northland Emergency Services Trust manager Vanessa Furze said the organisation was tasked by St John's central communications centre to transport a critically ill patient from Whakatāne airfield to Waikato Hospital in Hamilton for specialist treatment. The trust's newest helicopter, a Sikorsky S76 C++ known as Helimed 4, was deployed.