Kaipara's fiery and explosive geological history is about to be uncovered.
We tend to think of the Kaipara region in Northland's winterless north as idyllic with its pristine, crystal clear lakes, smoking hot sunsets out to the west and never ending coastlines.
But delve a little deeper and what you'll actually find is a region that is home to a multitude of extinct volcanoes with a fiery and violent history, according to Dr Bruce Hayward.
The semi-retired research geologist, palaeontologist, marine ecologist and author is set to give a free talk on the geological history of the Kaipara District in Dargaville followed by a talk in Mangawhai next week, referencing his book Out of the Ocean into the Fire - an exploration of northern New Zealand's 300-million-year history.
"My talk will cover the extension of the Pacific ring of fire volcanoes into the Kaipara District about 20 million years ago that erupted the giant Kaipara Volcano offshore (now eroded away), the Tokatoka volcano which is now recognised by all the small hills in that area and the volcanic domes around Kaiwaka and out to the coast at Mangawhai.
Hayward said his book highlights some particularly fascinating discoveries from the region.
"Several decades ago a local farmer found an 11cm long piece of bone washed out of the rocks into a stream somewhere just north of Dargaville.
"The bone was taken to Auckland University and after detailed study found to be part of the fossil jaw bone of a 4-5 metre long icthyosaur. Icthyosaurs are fish-lizards that lived in the sea during the age of dinosaurs and became extinct.
"They became extinct at the same time as the dinosaurs as a result of the comet impact with Earth 66 million years ago. Icthyosaurs look a bit like modern dolphins and this is the only known occurrence of an ichthyosauir fossil in the northern half of the North Island.
"There are cliff exposures near Tinopai that expose the history of hot pyroclastic flows of volcanic ash and gas periodically being erupted from the Kaipara Volcano and sweeping eastwards down its slopes to kill, bury and partly incinerate the forest growing on its coastal plain in the central Kaipara Harbour area about 17-18 million years ago.
"There are a succession of many of these flows coming down and burying the forest and then another forest becoming established on top of the debris that was deposited on the plain.
"My talk will also stretch back to the origin of the region's oldest rocks that have been uplifted to form the modern Brynderwyns as sediment accumulating off the coast of Gondwana about 20 million years ago, to the rocks that underlie most of the district that were formed as sediment and lava flows that were deposited and erupted on the floor of the Pacific Ocean 200km or so north of the Kaipara and were pushed up out of the ocean and slid into Northland between 20 and 25 million years ago.
"These include the muddy limestones that farmers quarry for their farm roads and the muddy swelling clays that underlie the unstable hillsides of Northland and flow downhill in winter and cause much of the road problems in the north," he said.
"I will also include what we know about the younger history of the district and particularly the creation of the Kaipara Harbour in the last two million years, as excess sediment washed down the rivers from giant eruptions in the centre of the North Island and was moved northward up the west coast building the sand dune barriers of north and south Kaipara peninsulas across the mouth of the Kaipara Bay.
"From each of these and other parts of the history of the district I will be singling out and highlighting the most important features that we see today that qualify to be called Outstanding Natural Features."
Guest speaker Bruce Howard's talk on Outstanding Natural Features: The Geological History of the Kaipara District will take place in Dargaville on April 10 at the Town Hall, followed by Mangawhai the next day at the Mangawhai Golf Club from 6.30pm until 7.30pm.
All are welcome. For further information please contact Paul via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Local success in global search for top Christian song writing talent
A worldwide search for top Christian songwriters has seen local talent come out on top.
Born and raised in Dargaville, Melissa Yalomatua (nee McEwing) co-write the song Our Praise Will Rise alongside Reuben Douglas of Auckland, which now features on the album called Worship The Rock Vol. 2 after winning its respective category and being second overall in a global search for praise and worship songs.
"I feel incredibly humbled and amazed. I don't really feel like the song is mine, as I believe it was God inspired and it was the team that made it into something more than I could have ever done on my own," said Yalomatua.
The competition was run by Worship Ready which claims to be one of the most popular worship leader networks on the planet, with more than 9000 Christian singers and songwriters in its membership.
Worship Ready president Nathan Gifford said the majority of entries came from the United States, however judges were in awe of the song written and composed in New Zealand.
He quoted one of the judges as saying, "I can't find anything to mark down on this song. It was very well written and constructed from start to finish. Such an effective and usable song that could fit in just about any worship setting".
Yalomatua said her upbringing in the small rural town definitely played a part in her love of Christian music.
"My four sisters and I were brought up in a wonderful, loving Christian home. We were always involved in church, where my mum played piano and all of us would sing and play other instruments.
"Our family often made up the majority of the worship team and this continues even today, now mum and dad are the pastors of The Lighthouse Church.
"I moved to Auckland in 1997 where I started attending Encounter Christian Centre, I then got involved straight away in their worship team. I am incredibly grateful to both my parents and my Senior Pastors Brent and Patricia Douglas for supporting and encouraging me and many others to be continually developing our gifts and talents and providing a platform where this can be outworked. I am incredibly blessed and proud of my Dargaville roots.
"Two of my sisters are also still there and alongside my mum and others still part of the worship team. So the passion for worship music in my life has definitely come directly through the influence of my parents and our involvement in the church."
Yalomatua said the key message she wanted to portray in the song was around the theme of when you are going through valleys in life, "that one of the greatest keys in life is to lift our eyes above our problems and ultimately looking to God, where our help comes from".
The competition compilation album, Worship The Rock Volume 2 is available on Spotify, as well as Apple Music, iTunes, YouTube, Amazon, Google Play and just about anywhere else you'd expect to see it.
A direct link is here: https://youtu.be/MA5yJ3I_aHM
Fitness trail vandalised
Less than a week after opening to the public, the town's only fitness trail has been vandalised.
Dargaville Lions President Brian Nesbit said he was very disappointed to see the damage.
"I can't believe that already, the outdoor equipment at the David Saies Fitness trail has been attacked by vandals.
"Tagging has been done by a biro and a cap covering has been broken, this has been put in place for the community to use and enjoy, so this is terribly disappointing."
Nesbit said that as a result of the damage they may look into the feasibility of establishing a CCTV camera up at the park.
In the meantime, Nesbit asks the public to look out for each other and look out for the park and its fitness trail by reporting anyone attempting to damage or tag the fitness trail to police.
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