All the banks have now gone from Paihia with the exception of Kiwibank which is an agency, not a full bank. With the loss of banking facilities, alternative arrangements are having to be made by businesses and the general public.
Deposits can be made with one of the four ATM machines in town and money can be extracted but, little else, and under certain circumstances it can mean having to travel to Kerikeri where there are banks.
Charles Parker, who heads up Business Paihia, said he had no alternative but to go to a bank in Kerikeri a few weeks ago.
"I had to get a deposit card for the yacht club I am involved with and had to go to an actual bank for that because you can't get it from an ATM."
That's a 50km round trip. It's more for Russell residents who haven't had a bank in town for years. There is one Westpac ATM.
Going to Kerikeri means adding the car ferry to the trip and even with a resident discount card that's an additional $13.50.
Westpac pulled out of Paihia altogether. They don't even provide an ATM. For the ATMs that are there, security firms are contracted to collect and deliver money.
ANZ bank uses Security North who have offered Paihia businesses the option of having their deposits collected daily or weekly and delivered to the closest branch which is presumably Kerikeri or, if not, then Whangārei.
It costs. Security North say they usually charge $22 + GST but if 12 businesses engage them for this service the price will drop to $15 + GST. At the time of writing not one Paihia business had taken up the offer.
Whare Rā Pā site surveyed
Last week was New Zealand Archaeology Week and three Te Tai Tokerau women learned about the archaeology and history of Northland.
Jemma Burling of Waima, Waiana Collier of Rāwhiti and Sandra Heihei from Mangonui recently took part in a day-long course convened by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga to sharpen their practical skills and understanding of archaeology.
They were joined by Heritage NZ regional archaeologist Dr James Robinson and Northland manager Bill Edwards. Their assignment was to survey Whare Rā Pā, the pā site where Ngāpuhi Rangatira Hongi Hika spent the last period of his life.
The pā site is close to Kaeo and on private land. It is part of a wider project led by Whangaroa Papa Hapū to identify and protect sites of significance to Māori with a view to having them scheduled by council, and thus protected.
"This site is not widely known, but its historical connection to Hongi makes it one of the most important surviving pā in Northland," said Dr Robinson.
"In addition to passing on knowledge and practical skills, by the end of this process we will have measured and mapped a very important archaeological site."
Sandra Heihei is an already experienced excavation field worker. She is taking the next step and has signed to do papers towards a masters in Archaeology Practice with Otago University this year.
The survey of Whare Rā Pā will count towards her practical experience in the field as part of pre-course requirements.
Waiana Collier is also a veteran of archaeological excavations, most recently at Mangahāwea Bay in the Bay of Islands. She has studied the Māori history of New Zealand and has listened to oral kōrero and traditions within her whānau and hapū.
For Jemma Burling, an interest in archaeology is an extension of the appeal she has always had in the relics of history.
"I learned a lot, and it was good to converse with like-minded people. Bill and James paint a picture that helps explain the personalities of the people within the old stories."
The next step for the students is to help turn the data they collected into a detailed plan outlining the features of Hongi's pā.
Cleaning and clearing walking tracks
If you walk the track from Haruru Falls to Waitangi, or Paihia, you can thank Terry Halliday for the fact it's clean and clear.
He has made it his business to clear the drains, cut back overhanging branches, cut cutty grass, to pick up the rubbish that lies alongside and to repair the Waitangi bridge. He's been doing it since 2016 for love, not money.
DoC used to maintain the tracks but now they are the responsibility of the Waitangi Trust. Terry once got a couple of dinner vouchers for his efforts but it was winter and he decided "the girls weren't coming off the beach in their bikinis" so he didn't take up the offer.
The trust relies on him to tell them when things need replacing, like boards on the bridge for example, and they supply the board and the nails.
He's happy with that arrangement and as long as he can he'll continue to do it. He's getting up there a bit in age, he says, but would "love a dollar for every time I've swung an axe".
He was born in Kawakawa in 1942 and went to Oromahoe School and in fact, his grandfather donated the land on which the school stands.
He went to Kaikohe College and his first job after that was milking cows for £4.50s a week with half of it going for board. He worked on various farms for years and then decided to apply for the job as caretaker of Paihia School.
"My first task there was to boil the billy for tea," he quips.
He stayed for 33 years and three months and finally retired in 2016. But he can't sit still and goes out to the tracks every other day. He says most of the rubbish comes off trailers, big chunks of cardboard, wipes lying over the footpath, plastic bottles, bubble wrap, or from the rubbish trucks that leave their doors open.
He says it should be compulsory for trailers to cover their rubbish and for rubbish trucks to shut the doors to the inside of the truck. He reckons in a month he would pick up around three bags of rubbish, sometimes more.
And it's not just the tracks that bother him, he says the rubbish in Waipapa is quite simply "awful".
He has worked on his own on the tracks for most of the time since 2016 but now Mark Johnstone is there helping him out. At day's end he sits down and feels his aches and pains for a bit and then gets up and does it all over again.
The Friends of Williams House in Paihia are looking for more, well, friends. They are a voluntary group who support the development of the historic Williams House, including the upstairs gallery and the Paihia Library.
The Williams House site has direct links with the Reverend Henry Williams who arrived in Paihia in 1823 and established an Anglican Mission Station.
The Friends have already completed many projects. They restored the Old Stone Shed which was once used as a schoolhouse and so is steeped in history. The next stage of the project is to organise a display within the shed that details its many uses and its historic significance.
They restored the garage which is now used as a venue to sell second-hand books. The garage book stall is the main source of funds and is open on the first and third Saturday of each month.
The Friends commissioned their own book, Protecting Paradise in Paihia, the Story of Williams House and Gardens by Fiona Craig. It records the living memories of those associated with the house and gardens.
The upstairs gallery has been equipped with an art hanging display system, lighting and carpet and is available for local artists to display.
The Friends commissioned Visual Solutions to provide interpretive signs to enhance the experience of Williams House. The history trail will allow visitors to understand the various features of the gardens and their bygone importance.
They restored the pumphouse on the grounds of Williams House. The pump required a complete overhaul and was resuscitated to working condition to pump water for the gardens.
Next on the agenda is to have the top floor of Williams House open to the public with displays of photographs to illustrate Pahia's past, particularly in relation to the family of Canon Percy Temple Williams whose home this was.
The Friends of Williams House will be holding their Annual General Meeting on Monday, May 10 at 5.30pm in the rear meeting room of Paihia Memorial Hall. Everyone is welcome.
• Email Sandy Myhre at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any news you'd like to see in Bay News.