Once Covid restrictions are back to alert level 1, it will be full steam ahead for a $5.6 million project to realign the Twin Coast Cycle Trail and resurrect the historic rail line from Kawakawa to Opua.
Following the completion of strengthening work on Long Bridge at Taumarere, work will begin reinstating the rail line and relocating the cycleway so the two tourist attractions can operate safely side by side.
The project will also link with the steamship TSS The Minerva once its restoration is complete.
With the recovery of rail tracks from Taumarere to Akeake, 22 locals will be employed to work on the project. It means the line will close from September 13 to November 30.
From December 1, a gold-coin shuttle train connection between the recovered section of the track will operate for the summer season.
The engineering workshop at Kawakawa rail station opened in April. Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Trust chairwoman Sue Hamnett said both facilities are instrumental to the trust being able to bring on new employees and trainees.
The Minerva restoration in Opua sees volunteers working alongside shipwright John Clode, a naval architect with Maritime New Zealand.
The project is being managed by Northland Adventure Experience (NAX), which was formed to represent project partners Bay of Islands Vintage Railway, Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle Trail, Ngā Tangariki O Ngāti Hine and Far North District Council.
Another Paihia stalwart retires
Geoff Williams, one of the founding members of Focus Paihia, is retiring from the Focus Paihia board to concentrate on his health. He came on to the board as the Paihia Residents and Ratepayers Association representative, became the chairman and took on the secretarial role for several years.
Along with playing a major role in assisting his wife Kath Williams at the Focus Paihia op shop, Geoff has lent a hand to assist with the pickup of donated goods. He will continue with this role.
Chairman of Focus Paihia Grant Harnish said many residents will recall the "dancing, laughing model at the fantastic op shop fashion parades when Geoff was always a highlight".
Geoff was also the manager of the BOI Storage Units and in that role he secured free storage for many years to assist the op shop in storing goods which allowed it to become a profitable entity. In addition, he was also chairman of the Citizens Advice Bureau for many years.
"Geoff volunteered for any project or job that needed to be done, he is a true community man and we can't thank him enough for his more-than-decade-long service to Paihia," said Harnish.
Paihia to lose two stalwarts
Vern Witihera has been involved with Focus Paihia from the very beginning and has been the town custodian over the summer months, often going above and beyond the call of duty.
He helped start the town custodian role to ensure Paihia looked spick and span for the thousands of visitors who arrived over the busy summer period. Vern and his helpers could be seen working seven days a week during those peak months from Christmas to Waitangi Day.
It meant gone were the days of dirty toilets, overflowing rubbish bins, dirty roadside kerbs and unweeded gardens. He also helped initiate the seating outside the i-Site.
His wife, Nola, volunteered in the op shop, even continuing to volunteer after she had a stroke. Now the couple have made the decision to move to Whangārei, so will leave Paihia in the next few weeks.
As a result, a part-time position is available for a new town custodian supervisor. The position starts in October and runs until April. It involves managing staff, rosters, paperwork and ensuring the day-to-day tasks of the contract are fulfilled.
If you have a passion for Paihia, send your CV and include a header letter. Address to Grant Harnish firstname.lastname@example.org
Bay of Islands Covid-19 vaccinations
The Kerikeri vaccination centre, which is run by the Northland District Health Board, has transferred from the Turner Centre to 1 Sammaree Place, Kerikeri.
In Russell the vaccinations were run by Ngāti Hine Health in conjunction with St John utilising the St John rooms next door to the Russell Medical Centre. There's been a strong response.
Over nine days they administered 2537 vaccines. There were 25 volunteers making it happen in 860-plus volunteer hours. As a result, more than 80 per cent of those over 65 were vaccinated.
More than 56 per cent of everyone over 12 were fully vaccinated with many more awaiting their second jab. These numbers are climbing daily as vaccinations continue to be administered.
The St John Russell Health Shuttle provided transport for patients to and from the clinic and the Russell Medical Centre provided lunch for the crews and helped with vaccination cold-chain storage.
The NDHB has now asked Ngāti Hine Health to run the vaccination centre in Moerewa. To book phone 0800 272 4842 or visit bookmyvaccine.nz.
Theatre auditioning for outdoor Shakespeare
From the romantic comedy Twelfth Night in 2019 to the tragic Macbeth in 2022, the Kerikeri Theatre Company is continuing the outdoor theatrical series with a fourth annual production. It will be held at Kainui Vineyard in February.
Before then, they are conducting workshop-style auditions on Sunday, September 26. The play will be directed by Adam Parmenter and produced by The Sounds of Music producer, Teresa Wakelin. The well-known and established Stuart Devenie, whose impressive theatre resume spans several decades, will be present for the workshops.
Macbeth is Shakespeare's darkest tragedy, telling the tale of a man tempted by promises of power that he will one day be King of Scotland. As he claws his way to glory he is consumed by guilt and madness.
There are numerous behind-the-scenes roles to fill as well as the major ones, with the exception of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, which have already been filled. The auditions require a booking. Contact Stage Manager to secure your place:
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