Collision investigation continues
An investigation is continuing into the incident in January when a yacht and the car ferry collided head-on in the Veronica Channel between Ōpua and Ōkiato in the Bay of Islands.
A spokesman for Maritime NZ, the national regulatory body that oversees marine safety and security, said they have interviewed the yacht skipper and the Fullers GreatSights car ferry skipper.
They have also interviewed some crew members and passengers who were on the ferry at the time.
"Maritime NZ will also discuss the outcome of our inquiries with the local harbourmaster as part of the investigation process," he said.
Fullers GreatSights general manager Sam Peate said interviewed crew explained that despite the ferry having the right of way, the yacht failed to give way.
"Our crew also described the steps they took to give warning and to attempt to avoid a collision, including stopping the vessel in the water."
The ferry was not damaged apart from minor paint scratches but Peate said the yacht appeared to have significant damage to its bow. The owners of the yacht in question were not available to comment.
Maritime New Zealand said they hope to conclude their investigations within two weeks.
As a result of the incident, Maritime New Zealand is looking at further education for recreational boaties in the area to "ensure they know their obligations and to be aware of the ferry operating in the vicinity".
Top Energy 2021 scholarship winner
Elisha Alexander believes that engineering has the potential to make a big and positive impact on society.
So much so the former Kerikeri High School student has enrolled at Auckland University to study a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours).
She now has a scholarship to help her. She is the 2021 Top Energy scholarship winner which gives her $8000 per year of study, for a maximum of four years. It's stated aim is to assist Far North students wishing to study engineering and who have an excellent academic record.
Elisha had an epiphany she wanted to be an engineer after listening to presenters talk about engineering, the future and the environment at the Rotary Science and Technology Form last year.
She realised then that engineering encapsulated all that she loved about science, the creativity, the innovation and the design.
Elisha moved around a great deal when she was growing up and lived in several Northland communities.
She describes this has given her a strong desire to give back to the community and to those who supported her. She also acknowledges her mother who encouraged her to do experiments from textbooks.
In her spare time she likes caving and clay target shooting, both of which have taught her perseverance and the ability to move forward rather than dwell on misfortune.
"You need to clear mind and a sharp focus otherwise you won't learn the discipline of keeping things in perspective."
The two areas she wants to concentrate on are sustainable engineering and renewable energies.
She says minimising the use of limited materials and resources, being more efficient and creating less waste, needs to become the norm.
Judges said Elisha's application was impressive. She volunteered her time while at Kerikeri High School as a tutor in science and reading and as peer support for the youngest student in her school.
Top Energy chief executive Russell Shaw said he is impressed by the talented pool of students in the Far North and encourages them to get their applications in for the next selection round in August 2021.
Kerikeri Domain plans to be unveiled
After almost eight months, the Kerikeri community will finally get the chance this Saturday to see what's in store for a revitalised domain.
As part of a Covid-19 Response and Recovery programme, the Government awarded $3 million to the Kerikeri Domain Working Group to oversee the project that included consultation with about 30 domain user groups.
Working group chairman and Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board member, Lane Ayr, says the meeting is an opportunity for anyone interested in Kerikeri's central green area to find out about the planned improvements.
"We know there is a lot of interest in how this space evolves and we have been working hard with stakeholders to develop a concept plan. This event is an opportunity to see and discuss those plans."
Work is expected to commence on some of the projects in the first quarter of 2021. They include new landscaping and upgrades to lighting, the skatepark, playground and basketball court and an area has been set aside for an RSA memorial wall.
Kaikohe-based architectural design studio, ĀKAU, has developed a domain concept plan based on an existing reserve management plan with input from the community and local tamariki.
The group has also been working with Kiwi skateboarding celebrity Dave Crabb whose Bay of Islands company, Circle D Construction, will design the new skatepark.
Stellar Projects Ltd will provide project management support on behalf of the council.
The community meeting and barbecue will start at 10.30am with a karakia and mihi at Kerikeri Domain (near Procter Library). The meeting will run until 2.30pm.
New graduates emerge in tourism
Last year a new-style tourism course opened in Paihia. It was designed as a stimulus during Covid lockdown when many in the hospitality area could not work, and as a way of promoting the area through tourism.
The course was funded by the Pacific Growth Fund (part of the $553,203,995 invested in Northland from the PFG over the past year) in a combined initiative with the Ministry of Social Development and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise.
A few weeks ago the first intake of 83 students graduated from the 17-week course from QRC Tai Tokerau in Paihia.
Ages ranged from the youngest at 19 years to the oldest who was 63 and 22 businesses in the area were represented. Richard White, one of the graduates, is a bar manager at Charlotte's Kitchen restaurant and said the course was a learning for everyone.
"There were some on the course who had never owned a computer so they got to learn those skills and I think it also upskilled some of the teaching staff as well.
"It gave us a huge knowledge of the area, we learned about Māori culture and history which was really interesting, it covered advertising, marketing, multi-media so it touched on a lot of valuable areas and that has given us the confidence to discuss the area and hospitality with all sorts of people we meet during our work."
A video was made by the students on the course which will be used on digital media channels to promote tourism in the area as a career choice. The next course intake starts on May 2.
Youth sailing gets funding boost
Foundation North has awarded a significant funding boost to the R. Tucker Thompson Trust that will enable many more youth to experience the tall ship sailing programme.
Executive trustee Jane Hindle said the grant could not have come at a better time.
"Like many tourism operators in the Bay, our earnings have been decimated due to the borders being closed but with this grant we are in the fortunate position that we can continue to provide funding for many whānau we know aren't able to pay the normal fee."
The trust is seeking applications for the 75 Foundation North places for the youth seven-day sailing programme and other voyage places, many of which have sponsorship and funding available.
"We want to ensure those who need financial support the most are allocated the funded places and we encourage others to apply indicating what they can afford.
"Often we have smaller grants and subsidies we can provide to trainees that significantly reduce the cost," she said.
The Foundation North grant is for two years and will cover about one third of the 200 places available each year.
The trust has finalised the dates for the 2021 youth voyages and is releasing those to schools, kura and other community groups working with youth in the Northland community.
Anyone interested in making a donation to sponsor some of the remaining places can contact the trust. Jane Hindle 021 674 003 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to the website for further details: tucker.co.nz/youth-leadership-voyages
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