The man charged with felling a kauri tree at Whangārei Hospital last month can now named as Antony Shawn Ellis.
The 51-year-old, from Whangārei, faced a charge of intentional damage when he appeared in the Manukau District Court on Tuesday in relation to the attack on the tree last month. Ellis was remanded to reappear in the Whangārei District Court on September 9.
The 80-year-old tree, outside the Jim Carney Cancer Treatment Centre on the Whangārei Hospital campus, was cut down during a storm on July 15 at about 10.45 pm and the act was captured on CCTV. Police arrested Ellis in Auckland over the weekend after earlier putting out a public appeal for information, and a CCTV image of the alleged offender.

Paihia waterfront information meeting

Far North Holdings is hosting a public information meeting about its plans for the Paihia waterfront from 3.30pm on Sunday, August 16, at the Paihia Pacific Resort Hotel on Kings Rd. It is the council-owned company's third such meeting since Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones announced an $8 million grant to build breakwaters and reinstate the eroded beach between Paihia wharf and Nihonui Pt (The Bluff), once the town's main swimming spot. The plan was consented a decade ago but put on ice when the global financial crisis hit. The meeting will be cancelled if the Covid alert is raised above level 2.

Elderly pair injured after car hits tree


Two people suffered injuries when their vehicle crashed into a tree near Kaikohe yesterday. The accident occurred about 3.40pm on Te Pua Rd with volunteers from the Kaikohe Fire Brigade freeing the elderly couple from the damaged car. Police and St John Ambulance also responded. The couple suffered moderate injuries.

Iwi reinstates Covid-19 taskforce

Mid North iwi Ngāti Hine has reactivated its emergency response taskforce following the re-emergence of the Covid-19 virus in Auckland and Waikato. Te Manawaroa o Ngāti Hine held an emergency meeting on Thursday to assess the implications of the outbreak, with chairman Pita Tipene saying the team were ready to support whānau, marae and hapū, and had reopened their Covid-19 testing station at Ngāti Hine Health Trust in Kawakawa. The group had also prepared a Marae Guidelines Tool Kit to assist decision-making processes around hosting hui mate during the pandemic.

Death after respiratory symptoms

Police responded to a sudden death in Whangārei yesterday morning. Senior Sergeant Brian Swann, of Northland police, said the deceased was not a known Covid-19 case but staff were taking precautions because the person had been suffering respiratory symptoms and may have recently travelled from Auckland. The death occurred some time before 9am.

Surf Life Saving awards on hold

Northland's lifeguards and others from Surf Life Saving Northern Region (SLSNR) will have to wait to celebrate the best of the 2019-20 patrol season.
The SLSNR Toyota Financial Services Awards of Excellence were to be held tonight at the Cordis Hotel in Auckland. But with Auckland's move into level 3 Covid-19 restrictions, the event has been cancelled. The awards will instead be announced at an online ceremony later this month, with the date to be confirmed.
Northern region lifeguards had a successful season, performing 212 rescues and 375 patient assists, allowing numerous Kiwis to return home to their families safely. The local Emergency Call Out Squads also experienced a busy season with 119 after-hours callouts responded to.

Dogs put down after attacks


Two dogs responsible for a series of attacks on sheep and poultry in the Waipapa West Rd area north of Kerikeri have been destroyed. The dogs were seized by Far North District Council animal management staff from a Kapiro address after attacks on August 1 which killed at least one pregnant ewe and a chicken and left other animals injured. It was at least the fifth such attack since Christmas 2018. A council spokesman said the dogs were surrendered by their owner and put down on August 6.

Scam alert: Fake Spark billing

A new scam is doing the rounds in Northland. A Whangārei woman received an emailed bill from Spark support for $852 and upon checking, she was told by the company there was no such account number. She's urging Northlanders to disregard any email from Spark that requires them to pay a bill.