The Bay's hardiest swimmers braved the shortest day of 2020 and a water temperature of 14C to compete in the 10th annual mid-winter swim at Paihia on Sunday.
Organiser Karen Markin, a Paihia swimming coach, said 57 people took part this year, a mix of regulars and locals giving the event a go for the first time.
It rained in Paihia all day Saturday and until 9am on Sunday, when competitors were treated to a near-miraculous two-hour window of fine weather for the Bay of Islands Ocean Swimmers Shortest Sunday of the Year Swim.
The rain set in again straight after prizegiving.
''It was the first time lots of us had seen each other since March, before lockdown, so it was such a happy occasion. It felt like being engulfed in a tsunami of sunshine and happiness,'' Markin said.
This year's winner was Archie White of Kerikeri who completed the swim in 3 minutes 20 seconds. Andy Young of Ōpua was second with Marty Hampton of Moerewa third, followed by first woman across the line Molly Board of Kawakawa.
Eunice Kennedy from Ōpua won a bottle of rum for being the last to leave the water — ''she was loving it so much she didn't want to get out'' — while Andy Murdoch, who wore a shark's head, won a bottle of champagne for best headwear.
Wetsuits are banned during the annual dip.
There was no repeat of last year's excitement when a group of police officers based in the Bay for the weekend joined the swim as community engagement exercise.
As they emerged from the water they spotted a wanted man breaching his bail on the beach so the gave chase in wet togs and jandals. They got their man.
Cops in togs nab wanted man during mid-winter swim
Ex-NDHB head Brown calling for digital focus
Info sought on heritage gems
The recent history of some of the country's most significant buildings is the focus of a new research project by Heritage New Zealand.
Alex Bell, who looks after the agency's Hokianga sites, said many historic Northland properties were in private hands until relatively recently.
"Te Waimate Mission, Clendon House and even Kemp House were all private residences at some point within the past 65 years so there are people still alive who lived in these houses, knew people who lived in them, or visited them when they were still in private hands,'' he said.
''Their memories about these places are potentially very useful as they recall an aspect of the more recent history of these buildings that we don't always know that much about."
"We'd love to hear from people who may have stories, anecdotes, information, photos — anything that might help us fill in gaps in our knowledge. We already have access to a lot of information held in public collections like the Alexander Turnbull Library for example. It's the personal material that we're really interested in, the sort of stuff we can't find on Google."
''The other thing to add is that we don't need the originals. We can easily digitise materials and return photos and documents promptly. It's the information that we need, not the object itself."
Anyone keen to share their connections to these historic places can write them down and send them to Te Waimate Mission, 344 Te Ahu Ahu Road, Waimate North 0472.
Kerikeri kids help the environment
Kerikeri High School students were busy during World Environment Day on June 5.
A group of dedicated student environmentalists called SAVE (Save All Valuable Environments) challenged their fellow students to identify objects that could be recycled in Northland.
Students were surprised to learn that only plastics labelled with a one or a two could be recycled presently in Northland.
On the same day 24 students weeded an extensive area along Wairoa Stream and planted 70 native trees. This is the third year in a row students have cleared weeds and planted native trees at the site.
''It's awesome getting out and doing something that matters,'' Year 7 student Craig Wilson said.
''It makes you feel that you are really helping to expand a valuable native area that will eventually allow more native animals to make it their home and for the community to enjoy too.''
A big thanks to Rod Brown and his team at the Shadehouse who provided the trees to make this planting effort possible.
— by Year 11 Kerikeri High student Imogen Crooks, 15
More sail tales
Russell author Lindsay Alexander has published a second collection of stories about ships calling in to the Bay of Islands in the 19th century.
Alexander said his book, Bound for the Bay of Islands, told 18 forgotten stories which came to light during his research on ship arrivals.
''They've tumbled out of old letters, logs and proclamations in the New Zealand national archives, but as the 19th century world was very cosmopolitan, also from American, Australian and British sources,'' he said.
''Though the stories reach from the Arctic to the Antarctic, from Australia to Chile, Europe and North America, all are bound together by the waters of the Bay of Islands.''
Topics covered include shipwrecks, exploration, whalers, a floating grog shop, smugglers and scams.
Alexander's previous books include Chasing the White Whale, another collection of maritime tales.
Go to www.facebook.com/kororarekapress for more information.
Classical music returns
Live classical music is about to return to Kerikeri's Turner Centre after a Covid-enforced absence.
Aroha Music Society is hosting Vesa and Friends, six principal players from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra led by Vesa-Matti Lepannen, playing Beethoven and Mozart from 7pm on July 16.
Finnish-born Lepannen (violin) moved to New Zealand in 2000 and has been the orchestra's concertmaster for the past 12 years.
They will perform Beethoven's String Trio in E-flat, op 3, and Sextet for two Horns and String Quartet in E-flat, op 81b, and Mozart's Horn Quintet in E-flat, K 407.
It will be Aroha's first concert of 2020. Contact tracing will be in place. Tickets are available via iticket or at the Turner Centre box office on Cobham Rd.
Big Bike Film Night winners
The winners of last week's draw for double tickets to the Big Bike Film Night — a one-night festival of bike-themed movies — are Sue Martin for the Whangārei screening on June 30 and Inge Bremer for Kerikeri on July 1.
There are clearly a lot of cycling-mad Northlanders out there because we had entries from as far away as Kaiwaka, Dargaville and Ōpononi. If you missed out on the giveaway you can get tickets at bigbikefilmnight.nz or at the door unless sold out prior.
Bequest funds new beds
A generous bequest has allowed Kerikeri Retirement Village to buy 12 adjustable beds worth $40,000 for its care facility.
They will replace older beds, the mechanisms of which are starting to fail, giving residents better-quality comfort and care.
The bequest was made by the late Ron Grant, a former village resident admitted to the care facility shortly before his death last year. The money used for the beds forms only part of the bequest.
Chief executive Hilary Sumpter said the village was grateful to Grant, who was a much-loved member of the village and the wider Kerikeri community, and his estate.
Unlike many other retirement villages around New Zealand, which were owned by foreign multinationals, Kerikeri Retirement Village depended on people in the community for funding through bequests.
Artist's 75-day Covid diary
A new exhibition at Art in Wharepuke consists of 75 works by printmaker Mark Graver, with one made every day from the start of Covid alert level 4 to the last day of level 2.
''They're a kind of diary, a way to mark the passing of those 75 days,'' Graver said.
The gallery, on Kerikeri Rd uphill from the Stone Store, is open daily from 10am to 5pm.
It is located within Wharepuke Subtropical Garden and Sculpture Park which is now operating with a koha/donation system.
Pre-lockdown the entry fee was $10 for adults and $5 for 5-15 year-olds but visitors can now pay whatever they choose. An honesty box is located at the start of the trail by the art gallery.
The garden is open daily from 10am until dusk.