A search for a pig hunter missing in bush overnight north of Whangārei ended when the man walked out of the forest safe and well. A Police Search and Rescue operation was launched after a hunter reported about 1pm on Thursday he had last seen his hunting mate about 12 hours earlier at 1.30am. A police spokesperson said the man was located around 6.15pm on Thursday after he had managed to walk himself out of the bush area near Whananaki, about 42km north-east of Whangārei. Police said the man was safe and well. Search and Rescue staff had been searching the area with assistance from the Police Eagle helicopter in the afternoon.

Hole closes highway

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said that State Highway 10 north of Kaeo was reduced to one lane yesterday after a large hole was found under the road surface. The hole is about two metres wide and five metres deep, Northland system manager Jacqui Hori-Hoult said. "The hole is in the southbound lane just over a kilometre south of Totara North Rd and traffic is reduced to one lane. There are stop/go traffic managers on site and we'll install electronic traffic lights later today for longer term traffic management. Our team is on site working out what they can do to repair the hole. At this stage it appears to be a tomo, which is a cavity caused by a build-up of water underground. A culvert close by has collapsed and this may have caused the tomo to develop after recent heavy rain."

Library fines for children go

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Far North District Council is scrapping all library fines for children and teens. From July 1, libraries won't charge overdue fines for child and young adult library card holders. Far North mayor John Carter says the policy change aims to remove barriers preventing children and teenagers from joining libraries and taking advantage of the many resources on offer. All existing overdue fines for young library users are also being wiped.

Hunt for wanted man

Northland Police are looking for 59-year-old Christopher Carl Cook who is wanted for arrest for breaching his court release conditions. Cook has links to the Auckland, Hamilton and Far North areas. He has multiple identifiable tattoos, including skulls on his right and left forearm. If you see Cook or have information on his whereabouts, please contact Constable Eseta Autagavaia on 105. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or send police a private message on Facebook.

Mitchell wins award

Whangārei artist Mark Mitchell took away the A Merit Award, in this year's Small Sculpture Prize, held at the Waiheke Community Art Gallery last weekend. Mitchell's work titled Bubble, is a wall sculpture where ceramic and glass are fused together, presenting a translucent as well as opaque viewing experience.

Flood scheme work completed

The Northland Regional Council has completed hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of what it says were critical improvements to the Awanui flood scheme, after several weeks of unscheduled delays caused by the Covid-19 lockdown. An estimated 90,000 tonnes of soil was removed to transform a Kaitaia paddock into a new 400-metre spillway behind Juken New Zealand's triboard mill, part of the second stage of the council's ongoing multimillion-dollar upgrade of the flood scheme. It had been hoped to finish the work by May, but the pandemic lockdown had thrown a spanner in the works, forcing a halt to construction for several weeks.

Appointments announced

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Northland's largest law firm, WRMK (Webb Ross McNab Kilpatrick) Lawyers, has announced the appointment of Simon Davies-Colley as a director and Alice Chapman as an associate, both effective as of yesterday. Davies-Colley is a commercial lawyer specialising in all aspects of employment and construction law, with a background in farming and forestry. He spent a decade practising law in an international and a local firm in Auckland. He returned to his Whangārei roots in 2017, and currently divides his time between the WRMK offices there and in Kerikeri, which he manages.

No new Covid cases

There were no new cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand yesterday. The number of active cases in New Zealand remains at 18, all of which are in managed isolation or quarantine facilities. There are no cases of Covid-19 in the community. The total number of confirmed cases remains at 1180 and one person remains in Auckland City Hospital in a stable condition on a ward. On Thursday laboratories completed 3703 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date in NZ to 409,032.