The Coastal Classic is not sailing up the coast from Auckland to Russell for the first time in its 39-year history. Instead, it will be a race around the Hauraki Gulf.
Simon Hull, a member
of the race committee, said the race was the "first cab off the rank" in terms of summer sailing and was the biggest race in the southern hemisphere. But they have never had to restrict the event to local waters before and it means boats from outside of Auckland can't enter.
"We've had everything that nature could throw at us over the years. We've had storms, we've been becalmed, tides have been against us and we've been blown into Russell but we've never before had a race reduced by a pandemic."
In addition, postponed is the NZ Millennium Cup regatta which was to have been held in Russell at the end of February 2022. It is now adjourned until February 10-12, 2023 as is the NZ Superyacht Fishing Competition which will be held on February 13-16, 2023.
Stacey Cook, events manager for the Millennium Cup Regatta, said the border closure doesn't allow superyacht owners, guests and crew to join their vessels in New Zealand.
It's a big blow for Russell businesses that would normally welcome crews and their support teams for the duration of both regattas. Riki Kinnaird, part-owner of the Duke of Marlborough Hotel, said Covid is causing "massive hurt" on the Russell business community and it will cause some to go under.
"It's not just a story of one or two events, this loss of income is hurting all businesses in a predominately tourist region. I fear for all our business people over the next 12 months, jobs and families are at risk of going," he said.
UPDATE (5pm Thursday October 14)
• The Coastal Classic, which was to have been held in Auckland on Labour Weekend, has been cancelled.
• The Aroha Music Society's promotion of the Ghost Trio, which was to have been held at the Turner Centre on Saturday October 16, has been cancelled.
• The Wander Women Adventure Race which was to have been held on the Russell Peninsula on November 13, has been postponed until March 12 2022 (story at end of text).
Sports grounds receive funding
The Northland Regional Council recently allocated $3.8 million to Regional Sporting Facilities Rates to Northland sports groups over the next three years.
Kaikohe Sportsville is set to receive up to $1.4m to develop Lindvart Park as a multi-purpose sports hub. The grant will go towards new facilities that include an indoor sports facility, sports fields, courts and other amenities.
This grant is on top of a $100,000 grant in 2018 given for night lights for the sports hub.
In Moerewa the sports ground Simson Park now has competition-standard floodlights courtesy of Far North District Council and ratepayers. The FNDC recently installed six floodlights on each of the park's two rugby fields which will allow training at night.
The council funded the lights from its Long Term Plan 2018-28 and from a previous Annual Plan.
Other recipients of Regional Sporting Facilities Rates include the Whangārei District's Northland Football Hub, which received $1.8m and Pohe Island Bike Park which received $600,000.
The wonky waka that wasn't
When Ventia workers conducted earthworks in Paihia's King St recently, they uncovered what appeared to be a hollowed-out log. They at first thought it was a waka, stopped work and contacted Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Regional Archaeologist Dr James Robinson.
As they continued to excavate they found the body of the log had a distinct kink to it which ruled out the idea of it being a waka. But the question remained, what was it?
"The physical location gave us a clue," said Dr Robinson. "The area was originally swampland behind a raised beach dune. The swamp was drained in the 1800s and infilling took place since 1840 to create the residential area of Paihia we recognise today."
Either by chance or deliberate action, the remnant rotted tree was laid in the swale to assist drainage as a kind of makeshift wooden culvert.
"We suspect the log was originally a tree whose interior had rotted away and it had collapsed into the swamp well before humans arrived in New Zealand," he said.
The lack of oxygen effectively preserved the part of the curved tree remnant while most of the tree left above the water table eventually rotted away leaving what looks like a hollowed-out log.
The wooden culvert has been left in place and Ventia has since run their services above it, leaving evidence of New Zealand's infrastructure intact beneath.
The waka that wasn't has become an example of something that turned out to be entirely different, in this case, historic transport archaeology that has now been recorded in the New Zealand Archaeological Association database.
"It tells a story about our past," said Dr Robinson. "Just not the one we originally thought it was."
Garden Safari continues for another year
The Kerikeri Garden Safari is the fundraising brainchild of the town's Rotary club and has been held every year since the inaugural event in 1987. It is one of Kerikeri's "must-do" events on the social calendar.
It gives visitors the opportunity to see beyond the gate and explore some of the mainly urban gardens, from the petite to the grand.
This year two staff members from Mid North Hospice will be displaying their gardens for the first time.
Vicky Beavis runs the Hospice Shop in Kerikeri and said the garden is all her husband's work.
"Derek started intensive replanting and redevelopment of the home we bought six years ago. To date he has planted over 2000 plants and now that he's retired he is planting, potting, pruning and just enjoying the space he has created."
Jenny Coleman, the clinical manager for Hospice Mid-Northland, said she was "a little shocked" to be approached to include her garden.
"I admire the gardeners for sharing their spaces and bringing such joy to so many. I'm happy to support Rotary with this fundraiser, they are so supportive of our community and it's my little way of contributing back," she said.
The Kerikeri Garden Safari takes place the weekend after Labour Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, October 30 and 31. Buy a ticket and receive a brochure with a detailed write-up about each garden and a map showing its location.
Visit gardensafari.co.nz for more information.
Women's race is all go for Bay of Islands
It's billed as a race created by women, for women, a beginner-friendly event designed to empower women and not break them.
It's the Wander Women Adventure Race due to take place on November 13 around the Russell peninsula.
There are two disciplines – running or trekking and mountain biking over a three or six-hour course. Organiser Fiona Cleghorn said there will be some fun activities.
"They will be completion based rather than skill-based. We believe that if you can't train for it then you shouldn't be penalised or rewarded based on skills. Complete the activity and claim the points," she said.
It's adventure racing - a navigational race in teams of four, based on points. The team that gets the most points in the fastest time wins and the idea is to complete the whole course to gain maximum points.
Teams are not penalised for coming in late.
Entries for the Russell event are currently sold out but there is a waitlist.
Walking weekend cancelled
The Bay of Islands Walking Weekend, which was to have been held from Friday, October 15 to Sunday, October 17, has been cancelled because of Covid-19.
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