A memorial to some of the earliest Pākehā settlers in the Whangaroa area was unveiled recently. The memorial is located in Kaeo's Public Cemetery where the remains of the settlers were re-interred more than a year ago.
The settlers were exhumed from the historic Spickman/Nisbet private cemetery at the western end of Kaeo directly above State Highway 10 in December 2019.
Concerned about the state of the graves, family descendant Shelley Smyth, of Auckland, began the journey of saving them after she was told she wasn't able to visit and maintain the cemetery as the land had been sold.
"I couldn't leave them like this to come down onto the road and not be allowed to visit the grave site," she said.
Shelley and her husband were advised to contact Waka Kotahi almost six years ago, which then began to have the remains of the settlers reinterred in the public cemetery.
Earthworks for the re-interment were undertaken by Fulton Hogan using a local subcontractor, and supervised by archaeologist Jono Carpenter of Geometria.
The site was excavated under an archaeological authority issued by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.
Mary Ann (nee) Noonan Spickman – the wife of William Spikeman, one of the original Pākehā settlers in Kaeo – died at just 28 years of age and was the first person to be buried in the cemetery.
Born in Ireland, she went to Australia at the age of 18 and met William. They moved to New Zealand shortly after, where she had three children.
"Mary Ann was gone by the time she was 28. I felt strongly that she deserved better than to be left up there – so did all of the people buried in the cemetery," said Shelley.
Fourteen graves were excavated, all members of the Spickman and Nisbet families, either of natural descent or by marriage.
All burial remains and coffin pieces were collected and re-interred in the Settlers Heritage Section of the Kaeo Public Cemetery in December 2019.
The unveiling of the memorial brought closure to the process for both descendants and the agencies who undertook this work.
Rocking around the world
For a Kerikeri dairy farmer, Merv Pinny is making a good job of being a social rocker.
Pinny burst onto the international rock stage when his song OB can you hear the children cry went viral on Facebook in 2016. His Facebook page has now reached more than 80 million people and his music has been streamed over 30 million times on different platforms.
"The theme behind the video was that money, power and control was driving war and that was leaving thousands of children in crisis and a huge humanitarian crisis as well."
His music has made the music charts in Brazil, Canada, USA, Europe, South Africa, Australia, Norway, Ukraine and New Zealand and even he was shocked by how many people from different parts of the world reacted to his music video.
In late 2020 he had his first global hit when he made the Amazon world music charts with his song Amazing. Even if his global growth in popularity in the past five years has been impressive, he could be the most popular muso you've never heard of.
His style blends rock, blues, soul and modern country. The tour is about bringing original music back to New Zealand's smaller venues and getting to know the stories behind the artist, up close and personal.
"Covid has changed the world and the way we all approach life so this type of tour just makes more sense and I think it will be great fun," he said.
Calling this his "reconnaissance tour", Pinny is hoping to build enough support to return in the summer with his band and his Rock your Local Show.
The tour kicks off on Friday, June 11 from 7.30pm at The Old Stone Butter Factory in Whangārei.
Merv Pinny is giving away two tickets to his concert in Whangārei. To go into the draw, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Give your name, an email and/or phone number. Winners will be notified.
Ngawha Springs open to the public
The hot spot for tourism, Waiariki Ngāwhā Springs, has opened after a $4.3 million refurbishment.
The facility closed last year as work got under way and it opened its doors again early in May.
The work was undertaken by the Parahirahi Ngāwhā Waiariki Trust, the kaitiaki for the Springs, and supported in the planning stages of the project by Far North Holdings, the commercial arm of Far North District Council.
The upgrade retains the natural character of the pools which have served the area for more than 100 years. But now there are new changing rooms, a café and a shop. There is a new flood wall, shelters and the areas around the pools have been restored and repaired.
The complex has 16 mineral baths each with unique characteristics and temperatures and there are eight private springs.
Principal architect was Ciloarc Architects, Derek and Michelle Kawiti. Henwood Constructions did the building work, Bay of Island Electrical did the electrical work. The landscaping was a team effort between Ciloarc, the Trust, Henwoods and Far North Roading.
Maritime history on display at Kawakawa Library
A slice of Northland maritime history will be available for public viewing at Kawakawa Library later this month.
Over a period of more than 30 years, sisters Myra Larcombe and Nancy Greenfield recorded the details and collected photos and other memorabilia from every ship that docked at what was then a bustling Ōpua wharf.
Their Book of Ships fills six albums and starts with the visit of the Suffolk in November 1957 and ends around 1989 when the Northland Regional Council replaced the Bay of Islands Harbour Board, berthage fees increased, and cruise ships took to anchoring off Kororāreka Pt.
The sisters' albums will be on display from 10am on Saturday, June 19. They will be on hand to answer any questions.
Larcombe will also bring her records from the Port Valley Committee formed to lobby the then Bay of Islands County Council to make improvements to the "Port Valley", as the area comprising Opua, Kawakawa, Moerewa and Ōtiria was known at the time.
Far North Council extends submission deadline
Landowners who have had their property confirmed as having "high ecological value" under the auspices of Significant Natural Area, have been given more time in which to make submissions to Far North District Council.
Initially council gave landowners until May 24 to provide feedback. That's been extended to June 11.
Council sent letters to around 8000 landowners advising them of the Significant Natural Area (SNA) identified on their land. The letters included answers to questions the council thought people might have and the District Plans team has been fielding questions from landowners ever since the letters were distributed.
At a hui a Mitimiti last week, some iwi leaders said the proposed SNAs "removed their rangatiratanga".
Councillor Moko Tepania, together with District Plan team members Greg Wilson and Theresa Burkhardt, fielded questions from whānau across the Hokianga, addressed their concerns and helped those present navigate the submission process.
Council said it's the Government that has tasked all local authorities in New Zealand with protecting areas of high ecological value under the Resource Management Act. In Northland, the Northland Regional Council 2016 Regional Policy Statement directs Council to identify the SNAs.
The mapping exercise council carried out identified as much as 42 per cent of the district as having high ecological value.
Council reiterated that it's not the end of the feedback process and they will continue discussions with landowners after the June 11 deadline.
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