Shellfish ban extended

The taking of shellfish has been banned from Marsden Bank and Mair Bank, in Whangārei Harbour, for another two years. The Ministry for Primary Industries closed Mair Bank and Marsden Bank to all recreational and commercial shellfish take in 2014 to give stocks a chance to replenish. The closure came after data showed a substantial decline in pipi abundance at Mair Bank, and no halt to the decline or sign of recovery in the pipi population at the adjacent Marsden Bank, despite a temporary closure in place since 2011. MPI, at the request of local hapu Patuharakeke, has extended the closure to June 28, 2022.

Water use limits eased
Water restrictions in Whangārei are easing from tomorrow after recent rain. Level 3 restrictions are currently in force but that will drop to Level 1 from tomorrow morning. Wilsons Dam was 66 per cent full at 4pm yesterday while the water level at Whau Valley Dam rose to 71 per cent.

New police grads
Northland has got two new officers from the latest graduation from the Police College, with one already serving the public as a Coastguard volunteer. Constable Gareth Williams, a father and grandfather, has been a Coastguard volunteer and it was during this time that he started to think about joining the police. "The seed of community service was planted, but it was when my eldest daughter – an Authorised Officer who wants to become a police officer – took me along to a recruitment evening that becoming a police officer seemed to be the perfect fit. I have a desire to serve and give back to the community, and wanted a change from my career of over 30 years working for IT and communications companies." The 38 new officers graduated on Wednesday.

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Forestry trainees welcomed
The Ngāti Hine Forestry Trust welcomed its second intake of trainees into the Ngā Māhuri o Ngāti Hine programme at Te Rito Marae, Moerewa yesterday. Following the success of the 2019 intake having 18 of the 20 trainees complete the programme and move into fulltime employment, trust chairman Pita Tipene said: "Ngā Māhuri are the saplings and Ngāti Hine Forestry Trust is the vehicle to support these trainees to reach their full potential." Funded by Te Uru Rākau, a key feature of the programme is earn while you learn, which supports trainees to undertake Level 2 training while maintaining a meaningful income for their whānau, trust CEO Huhana Lyndon said. The trainees will this year plant more than 200ha of Ngāti Hine land, and complete Level 2 forestry training through Recruitment Me.