On the last weekend in July, Jack's Bay resident Tui Allen was standing on the lookout atop a hill when she spotted dolphins in Lagoon Bay.
She ran down the hill and picked up her regular kayak partner Julia Howard. They launched the kayak and rowed towards Motuarohia (Roberton) Island, eager to see the pod at reasonably close quarters. They got more than they hoped for.
"Pretty soon the dolphins were all around us and we spent an hour in their close and beautiful company," said Allen.
"They took us into their slipstream and carried us east towards Rawhiti, which was miles off our intended course.
"At times their mood was such that they seemed to be performing like energised dancers in a wonderland play."
Other boats were in the vicinity and Allen said she became concerned when a runabout went too close for comfort.
"A dolphin can be injured or killed by a prop and the noise of a boat engine can be very disruptive.
"The dolphins occasionally visited the other boats but they kept returning to our safe and quiet little kayak and we were convinced we were their favourite.
She says the paddle home was much slower without the powerful assistance of the dolphins to help drag the kayak along.
Allen made two videos of the close dolphin encounter and posted them to You Tube. The second video features the voice of her daughter, Heather Simpson singing her original song Welcome to Wonderland.
A man cave called Clive
A rural shed on a property in Orongo Bay near Russell is about to become a man cave - a spot for chaps to chat over a cuppa and with an ulterior motive.
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Clive's Cave will be a place for blokes to fix things, to repair items either for themselves or for the community in a well-established concept.
The International Men's Shed Organisation (IMSO) started in Australia in the 1990s and gradually spread around the world. The New Zealand version of GOME (Grumpy Old Men Enterprises) is believed to have started in Whanganui in 2015.
John Maxwell, chairman of Resilient Russell Charitable Trust, is one of the early organisers of Clive's Cave and said that repair and fix are almost unknown words in a throwaway society. In the pipeline is an educational component so school kids can learn the craft of restoration.
The shed has been donated by Raewyn Harwood and her partner Martin on their property. Raewyn and her late husband, Clive, were oyster farmers and the shed was formerly Clive's large workshop. Donations of tools have been promised and scavenging trips to the refuse transfer station are on the to-do list.
Clive's Cave welcomes newcomers and handymen. Phone John Maxwell: 027 380 5640.
If poetry's your thing but you don't like to sing – try a literary slam.
The concept is officially called a poetry slam open mic night and literary recital and is a collaboration between Gary Henwood, a director of the Plough & Feather gastropub in Kerikeri, and June Hayes Music Productions.
The opening night's theme late last month was Kerikeri 200 years and participants were given a five-word challenge to write poetry or prose.
Writer, poet and performer from Kerikeri Vivian Thonger, delivered a recital written in the form of a letter that "spoke" to the theme. She is a co-founder of the Bay of Islands Writers' Group and a member of the Poetry Posse performance poets collective.
Fellow Posse poets Mike Botur and Brett Ruys from Whangārei also took to the stage and the featured guest musician was Haylee Hoani from the Bay of Islands who entertained with her original music. June Pitman Hayes was delighted with the initial response.
"The scope of literary talent that Kerikeri clearly has in abundance was outstanding and we are heartened by the enthusiasm shown towards enabling this event to happen in such a congenial and live literary atmosphere."
The next event is on the August 25. Entry is free but koha is appreciated.
Sport among the vines
The New Zealand Winegrowers Auckland/Northern Young Vit (Viticulturalist) competition is being held again at the Marsden Estate in Kerikeri on Friday.
Back to defend his title from last year, is Italian Pietro Aloisi who, as well as working in the vineyard, is assistant winemaker at Marsden Estate. He has called New Zealand home for the past six years.
The event will feature hortisport, where contestants go head-to-head in a race down the vine rows while completing some viticultural challenges along the way. It's the slightly less serious side to the competition.
Winners will be announced at the dinner at Marsden Estate in the evening.
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