Students bury undies in the name of science
Russell school children are burying their undies. Not because they don't want them anymore but as part of a science experiment to learn about the human microbiome.
The children buried their undies at various sites around the school on June 8 and will dig them up about 60 days later to see what microbial activity there is going on in the soil in the key areas of the school's gardens.
When they are dug up, the undies should be chewed and threadbare with worms, dung beetles and other biological indicators attached. The worse the deterioration of the undies, the better the soil health.
It's all part of the Garden to Table programme the school offers. Office administrator Lara Tauri said the school has a lot planned over the coming weeks.
"Burying the undies is the perfect segue into the Garden to Table programme at the school and since it's the year of the soil the children will learn about biodegradation and how the undies feed the soil."
New EV charging station for Paihia
Paihia has just one 7kW AC Tesla charger on the waterfront. There is no multipurpose DC charging station. But that will soon change.
The seaside resort is about to get a new 25kW DC electric vehicle (EV) charging station and two dedicated car parks close to the central business district. It will (literally) plug a gap in charging options for locals and tourists.
Three council parallel car parks on Williams Rd will be converted into dedicated 90-degree EV car parks next to the charging station.
The charging station site was chosen because it is adjacent to necessary Top Energy power infrastructure and provides room for more and faster recharge stations to be installed in future.
There are multipurpose DC charging stations throughout the Crimson Coast EV Highway which provide a network of EV chargers around the Far North. They enable EVs to travel to Cape Rēinga from, say, Kerikeri and back. The more modern EVs have a 150km range and can charge up using a 25kW charger for an hour.
EV advocate and Paihia resident Craig Salmon obtained funding for the charging station from the Government's Low emission vehicles contestable fund, administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. He says he is "stoked" the council is supporting the transition to EVs.
Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board chairwoman Belinda Ward says reconfiguring the three car parks made sense.
"Paihia is a very popular destination but EV users are not well catered for. Demand for charging stations is growing and will only increase following the Government's decision to make electric vehicles more affordable."
Kerikeri's mini tourist co-operative
Four years ago, Kerikeri resident Bob Bingham decided the tracks along the rivers in the town could encourage tourists to visit the area.
He produced a leaflet called Five Waterfalls which has a map showing where the tracks are and a condensed history of the development of the town.
After the first year's success with the leaflet, the second-year reprint had to be expanded to accommodate additional businesses who wanted to take part and they received a grant from John Carter's mayoral fund.
The third reprint had to take into account Covid-19 lockdown but it was decided to go ahead anyway, and target Auckland's 1.3 million people who were looking for a town to visit just 3.5 hours away.
The leaflet is funded entirely by local businesses in the tourist sector as a mini co-operative.
Historic church about to be restored
The historic St Michael's Church and Waahi Tapu (Marunui) at Ngāwhā is being restored.
Finance comes from a grant from the Provincial Growth Fund which was approved by the former Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones for several Ngāwhā projects.
These include Ngāwhā Māori School, which is now used as a community centre, and a walkway with panels in English and te reo Māori which will tell the story of the Battle of Ohaeawai, fought at Pene Taui's Pā site in 1845. The church is built on the site.
The battle was fought between British forces and local Māori during the Flagstaff War in July 1845. Te Ruki Kawiti was the prominent Rangatira of the Māori forces and the battle was notable in that it established that the fortified pā could withstand bombardment from cannon fire and that frontal assaults by solders would result in serious troop losses.
Jane Drader is at the forefront of the restoration plans. She is also secretary of St Michael's Church committee and her great-grandfather was Ngāpuhi chief Heta Te Haara who fought in the battle.
He was involved in building St Michael's Church and a second church at Mangākahia which was destroyed by fire in the 1920s.
Jane's tupuna also ordered the exhumation of 50 British soldiers from their graves to be reburied in the consecrated ground of the new church yard.
The work is being done by Kaikohe-based Henwood Construction.
Three scholarships to Outward Bound
The Kaikohe-Hokianga Community Board, together with the Community Development Team, have helped three young people in the district with an opportunity to attend Outward Bound courses.
Sean Kākā, 18, who lives in Ōtaua, Makoto Guest, 18, from Panguru and Tallulah Martin-Naylor, 21, from Mitimiti, received scholarships nearly matching the $3600 grant received by the Mayor's Taskforce For Jobs scheme.
The community board contribution helped to cover the shortfall in course costs as well as the travel required to the Outward Bound school in the Marlborough Sounds.
Knights at the rugby gala night
A gala night at Russell's Duke of Marlborough Hotel has raised $150,000 for grassroots rugby in Northland.
More than 270 people — including Sir Graham Henry, Sir Michael Jones and a who's who of Northland sport and politics — attended the Rugby for Life fundraiser late last month. The dinner and auction sold out within 24 hours of tickets going on sale.
As well as the two rugby knights, speakers included Jaqi Brown of Te Rarawa Rugby Club who talked about the effect Rugby For Life has had on players at her Ahipara-based club.
The money raised will fund the initiative, which supports struggling local clubs and provides health programmes and training opportunities, for the next three years.
Northland Rugby Union deputy chair Riki Kinnaird, who is also a Rugby for Life trustee, said the $150,000 raised was ahead of target and would pay for a co-ordinator in each participating club.
The co-ordinators would help clubs with tasks such as grant applications and player registration, freeing up committee members to focus on areas such as coaching. They would also develop a future plan for each club.
Items up for grabs in the auction included breaks at Eagle's Nest and The Landing, and a day in the chairman's box at a Melbourne Storm game in Melbourne.
Two rugby stalwarts were honoured on the night: Ajit Balasingham for his service to Northland Rugby and Sharon Gibson for her time at the Rugby for Life Charity.
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