More than 2000 people turned out for a feast of light, colour and community creativity in Kaikohe last weekend.
Bling Bling Toi Marama was organised by Ākau Design Studio and Te Pū o Te Wheke Arts with light sculptures made by community members and children from nine schools, kura kaupapa and pre-schools in Kaikohe, Ōkaihau and Moerewa.
The show, which ran from 6-9pm from Thursday until Saturday, was held at Te Pū o Te Wheke gallery on Broadway and the old Kaikohe Hotel site.
It was the first time the hotel site, which is now grassed over and owned by Ngāpuhi, had been opened up for a public event.
The official number of people that attended the event was 2172. That's half the population of Kaikohe according to Census 2018 figures.
The highlight was Te Ana Mārama (The Light Cave), a fantastical, glow-in-the-dark underwater world constructed on the hotel site with plenty of opportunities for the kids to indulge in hands-on fluorescent creativity.
On Thursday, the quietest of the three nights, the queue to get into the cave stretched a full block down Broadway.
The event was the brainchild of Ākau junior designer Manawanui Ururoa, 23, of Rawene, and doubled as a celebration of Matariki, the Māori New Year.
Sasha Wilson, of Te Pū o Te Wheke Arts, said the light sculptures had been made by local artists, schoolchildren and people with experience of mental illness.
''It's been a great experience for them. It was a chance for the kids to see what they can create. They'll be so proud of themselves.''
Kerikeri dog groomer Jenny Morgan braved chilly conditions and a small crowd to shave off her hair for a good cause on Saturday.
Morgan raised around $2000 for Bay of Islands Animal Rescue, a charity which has been rescuing and rehoming neglected and unwanted animals in the Far North for several years.
The event took place at Highway Vets in Kerikeri where Morgan works as a dog groomer.
So far more than $1300 has been raised via a Givealittle page along with about $600 on the day. People have also donated directly to Bay of Islands Animal Rescue, she said.
Morgan said she loved her new "do" and thanked Highway Vets for letting her shave her locks outside their premises.
''I feel liberated,'' she said.
''If can save just one animal then I've achieved what I set out to achieve.''
Visit www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/shaving-for-the-animals to donate.
Now that's a pothole
Far North drivers like to grumble about the state of their district's roads but they don't often see a pothole as big as the one that appeared on State Highway 10 north of Kaeo last week.
The hole, which opened up on Friday, was about 2m wide and 5m deep in the southbound lane 1km south of Totara North Rd.
NZ Transport Agency Northland manager Jacqui Hori-Hoult said it appeared to be a tomo, a cavity caused by a build-up of water underground.
The collapse of a nearby culvert after heavy rain may have caused the tomo to develop.
The highway has been reduced to one lane with electronic traffic lights until repairs are completed.
Volunteers are needed to help plant 660 native trees and shrubs on a newly cleared section of the Wairoa Stream walkway in Kerikeri.
Planting will start at 9am on Sunday, July 12. Volunteers should gather at the carpark next to the Cobham Rd bridge, bring a sharp spade, gumboots or sturdy footwear, and dress for the weather.
The event is organised by Vision Kerikeri and Friends of Wairoa Stream with the seedlings funded by Matariki Tu Rākau, part of the One Billion Trees programme.
Sailing Week goes green
Bay of Islands Sailing Week, New Zealand's biggest multi-day keelboat sailing event, has been recognised for running a tight ship when it comes to the environment.
The event was last week awarded Gold Level Clean Regattas certification by conservation group Sailors for the Sea, who praised the organisers' "extraordinary waste management efforts" during the January 2020 regatta.
Initiatives included waste minimisation, carbon reduction, buying local, educating participants and engaging with sustainability partners.
Sailing Week chairwoman Manuela Gmuer-Hornell said organisers looked at every aspect of the event to see if it could be more sustainable.
"One of the most simple changes was switching to reusable bottles with free water refilling stations. If you consider there's probably 1000 sailors and volunteers drinking at least a couple of bottles of water a day, over three days, that saved 6000 single-use plastic bottles alone."
They also created an app to share documents digitally instead of printing, enforced a no-discharge rule, and worked with community group Russell Recyclers on waste minimisation, composting and recycling, resulting in a 75 per cent reduction in waste going to landfill.
"We're all sailors and we all love the ocean, so it's important we do our bit to protect it,'' she said.
The next Sailing Week will take place on January 26-29, 2021.
Play time in Kerikeri
Kerikeri Theatre Company is presenting four new comedy productions as part of its 2020 winter season.
All plays will be performed at the newly christened Black Box Theatre at the group's Sammaree Place base, off Mill Lane, so tickets will be limited to 50 per show.
The plays are:
■ Black Comedy, by Peter Shaffer, August 13-15
Lovesick sculptor Brindsley Miller has embellished his apartment with art ''borrowed'' from the absent antique collector next door to impress his fiancée's pompous father. When a fuse blows Miller frantically attempts to return the stolen items before light is restored.
■ The Lover, by Harold Pinter, August 27-29
Richard and Sarah have created fictional lovers, Max and Sarah. They indulge in erotic wish fulfillment and thus keep the marriage refreshed. Then Richard upsets the status quo by refusing to allow the distinct halves of their relationship to remain separate. The afternoons had been for Max, the evenings for Richard. This evening Max encroaches on Richard's preserves.
■ Time of Our Lives, by John Cundill, September 10-12
Eddie and Trish are a long-time married couple approaching retirement age. They've blown all their savings on travel and the good life, and rather than face old age on a pension they have followed through on their exit strategy. They've arrived at the pearly gates... or have they?
■ Clara's on the Curtains, by Arthur Lovegrove, October 22-24
The curtain is about to go up on the Women's Guild variety show when one of the leads loses her voice. It's the start of a series of calamities, not lessened by well-meant offers of help.
Season tickets offering a 20 per cent discount for all four shows are available from www.kerikeritheatrecompany.com/buy-tickets but only until the end of today. General admission tickets go on sale tomorrow.
Kainui craft beer and wine will be served for an hour before and after each show.
Lockdown photo project
A Waipapa photographer was one of 30 worldwide invited to take part in a photo project exploring lockdown during the Covid-19 crisis.
Claire Gordon's photo essay, called We're all in it together, was based on her own family's experience of isolation.
Gordon said the lockdown situation was unique, but feeling isolated and alone was not.
''We don't even need to be 'alone' to feel isolated. My family certainly had our moments in our bubble as we dealt with the contagion of fear (or fear of contagion?). Between us we had compromised immunity, an essential worker, and then there was me, the mediator in the middle. Each of us had our moments of uncertainty and loneliness, but eventually we settled down, found our way, adapted, and settled into a new harmony,'' she said.
You can check out her photos at flashgordon.co.nz/isolation.
Off-casts on show
The current show at Village Arts in Kohukohu explores the imaginative use of off-casts. Repurpose is open Thursday to Sunday from 10am-3pm until August 23.
Kids' overdue fines scrapped
Far North kids and teens no longer need to worry about fines for holding onto library books beyond the due date.
Overdue fines for child and young adult library card holders were scrapped from July 1 with mayor John Carter saying the change aimed to remove barriers preventing children and teenagers from taking advantage of library resources.
"We want to see more children and young adults reading books and visiting our libraries. We also know many family budgets are stretched, particularly with economic uncertainty following the Covid-19 pandemic and Northland drought. We hope this change will encourage families and schools to get library cards for children and young adults, so they can access the many free books and online resources on offer."
Existing overdue fines for young library users have also been wiped. However, adult library card holders will still be fined for overdue items, including on children's books, and charges for lost or non-returned items will remain for all users.
Anyone living in the district can join Far North Libraries for free.