Organisers of the PIC Coastal Classic yacht race, which is due to start at Labour weekend at the end of October, are assuming the race will go ahead.
The 199 nautical mile race is schedule to start in Auckland on Friday, October 22 and finishes in Russell in the Bay of Islands. With 36 days to go anything could happen, says Greer Houston, of the New Zealand Multihull Yacht Club.
"Until we say otherwise, let's assume the race is on," she said.
More than 60 boats have entered the race so far. Entries are still coming in while Auckland is in alert level 4 lockdown and from Northland when it was in level 3 and now in level 2.
"We can race in level 2 but there are strict rules around social gatherings and bubble sizes that we will need to take into account," said Houston.
The Coastal Classic is New Zealand's biggest coastal yacht race and has marked the start of the summer boating season for 38 years.
Last year's event was run in light airs and an incoming tide. Just 16 boats reached the finish line off Russell Wharf, 10 finished on the water by reporting their GPS positions. A further 135 boats endured what was termed "painful conditions" and made the decision to retire from the race.
New Zealand Ocean Racing team skippered by Bianca Cook and Daryl Wislang in VO5 65 won the event over Cation. It was the first monohull to win the event since 2009.
Heritage precinct discussions
The Far North District Council released a Draft District Plan for public feedback in March. With Northland going to level 2, there are now plans to deliver a letter and brochure detailing suggested changes to heritage precincts which will be sent to affected tangata whenua partners and property owners this week.
Discussion will take place in person (with Covid-19 protocols in operation) and there will be an online information session with affected parties at the end of September to discuss how the suggested changes may impact their properties.
One reason for the changes cited by council is to acknowledge "the stories of both early Māori and European settlement in such places as Mangōnui, Pouērua and Paihia". Changes at Russell include replacing the three existing heritage precincts and gateway area with one heritage area.
The Russell Protection Society, though, has questioned having one heritage area. Chairman Bob Drey says a one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate and making it all one heritage area runs the risk of bringing each area down to the lowest common denominator.
"The advantage in retaining the separate precincts is that it serves to recognise the distinct differences of each area and provides a strong rationale or policy framework for devising specific controls tailored to the needs of each."
The only advantage in rolling together the existing heritage precincts, he says, is one of simplicity.
"The concern is that it will result in a lower level of protection for the more sensitive areas because a general heritage area would be cast at a level appropriate to the least demanding areas across the district," he said.
Mayor John Carter is urging affected residents and communities to learn more about the changes in the Draft District Plan.
"We want to know if we are protecting the right things and do we need to revise the areas? What does the community value? Have we got the rules right? Is there are more effective way to protect our district's heritage areas?"
For more information: fndc.govt.nz/heritage.
Police house up for sale
There's a house on the Russell waterfront that is part of an intrinsic historic stretch of beachfront road. It sits next to the Duke of Marlborough Hotel and behind a huge Moreton Bay fig tree that was planted in the 1870s.
It was originally the Old Customs House built in 1870 from a Gothic design by W.G. Clayton, the first colonial architect to New Zealand. It was one of his first designs providing both accommodation and an office.
The house was built mainly of kauri and had a freestanding chimney at the back which gradually deteriorated. A cyclone in 1959 felled it in record time.
By the late 1890s visiting whalers were fewer and a small office on the wharf was sufficient. Russell needed a new police station so the NZ Police was happy to take over the building.
In 2010 and in order to separate the professional from the personal, a new dedicated police station was built a block back from the waterfront.
Now the historic old homestead is believed to be up for sale and Russell residents aren't happy. Several have written to the Minister of Police, Hon Poto Williams, requesting she at least comes to Russell to talk about it.
They believe it's a serious mistake to sell the building due to its location and historical link with the village and they want the government to retain ownership and possession.
Bay News sent an email last Friday to the minister's office requesting confirmation of the sale and asking what the NZ Police intended to do with the proceeds. At the time of writing a reply had not been forthcoming.
Level 2 adjustments at Turner Centre
Marketing and sales co-ordinator for Kerikeri's Turner Centre Iris Klapwijk says the restrictions under Covid, even with new level 2, are crippling the event industry.
"We are unsure what the future of alert levels will bring and are keeping our fingers and toes crossed for a move to a more sustainable level of attendees per event soon," she said.
The centre is operating under the guidelines for Events and Entertainment at alert level 2 where events for up to 50 people can go ahead but with restrictions. The box office is only open by appointment until further notice.
The DHB vaccination clinic which was formerly housed at the Turner Centre has moved to 1 Sammaree Place, Kerikeri.
Vieux Amis, from the Aroha Music Society
John Minto National Tour
All in for Arts He waka toi e eke noa nei tatou
Kerikeri Garden Club Annual Spring Flower Show
Events still going ahead (at this stage) in October:
Friends - The Musical Parody
Sounds Good, Vintage Vinyl
Organ Recital, Bay of Islands Singers
Wonderland Glow Show
Divas and Diamonds
The Bee Gees Night Fever
For further information: turnercentre.co.nz/
Waitangi Treaty Grounds open under level 2
Waitangi Treaty Grounds opened to the public on Friday, September 10. However a range of Covid-19 safety measures are in place under level 2 restrictions.
Waitangi National Trust chairman Pita Tipene says he is pleased the Treaty Grounds will be open again.
"We realise there will be limited visitors with Auckland still in level 4, but Waitangi is the most important visitor destination in Northland and we feel a responsibility to be open and leading the recovery of tourism in the region.
Cultural performances are suspended until level 1.
• Email Sandy Myhre at email@example.com if you have any news you'd like to see in Bay News.