Northland brewers will be keen to find out if their beverages are worthy of being among the best in the country in the annual New World Beer & Cider Awards. Entries for the awards close on February 10, after which the panel of judges will whittle down the entries to the top 30. The awards offer breweries and cidermakers an unparalleled opportunity to get their best brews in front of shoppers in New World stores nationwide.
Now in its seventh year, Northland has had some success in the past, with McLeod's Brewery's Great Migration IPA and Longboarder Lager among the top 30 last year. McLeod's has had brews in the top 30 in previous years also.
Temporary water main repair
A major water leak on Sunday in a main linking Haruru Falls water treatment plant to Paihia reservoir has been temporarily repaired. The break occurred on a bend of Puketona Rd, undermining the entrance to an accommodation business and reducing water pressure for Paihia residents. A Far North District Council spokesman said temporary repairs had restored services and allowed the reservoir to refill as normal. Final repairs to the pipe will be carried out after Waitangi Day so the affected business can operate without interruption over the next two long weekends.
Low flying Hercules spotted
Plane-spotters across Northland were treated to the rare sight of two Royal New Zealand Air Force Hercules aircraft flying low over the region yesterday morning. The ''formation low-level tactical navigation exercise'' started in Auckland with the hefty turboprop aircraft skimming over Waiheke Island, Whangaparaoa, Waimauku, Mangawhai Heads, Whangārei, Kerikeri, Hokianga Harbour and back to Whenuapai base. The RNZAF has been operating C-130 Hercules aircraft since 1965, using them for passenger and cargo transport, combat supplies, humanitarian aid, disaster relief, medical evacuation and Antarctica New Zealand support.
Shooting court appearance
A second man accused of shooting at a police officer on Puketona Rd last October has appeared in the Kaikohe District Court. Rapana Heretini, who had previously appeared in another North Island court, appeared in Kaikohe on January 26 by audio-visual link charged with kidnapping, using a firearm against police, aggravated robbery using a firearm, participating in an organised criminal group, unlawful possession of a firearm and two counts of arson. He was remanded in custody and is due back on February 16. One co-accused, Alexander Robert Coe, has already appeared in Kaikohe court; the last of the trio will have his turn on February 2. All three face the same charges relating to a series of incidents in Waipapa, on Puketona Rd, near Paihia, and Puketotara Rd, west of Kerikeri, on October 26-27. The windscreen of the officer's patrol car was peppered with shot but she was not injured.
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Voting papers delivered
Voting in the by-election for the Northland Regional Council's Whangārei Urban seat is under way with voting papers delivered this week. The by-election - expected to cost around $80,000 - was called after the seat was left vacant by the resignation of former Northland Regional councillor John Bain in October, just before councillors voted for Māori constituencies. Eight people have put themselves forward for the vacant seat: Terry Archer, Stuart Bell, Chrichton Christie, Paul Dimery, Fiona Douglas, Kieran Powdrell, Darleen Tana Hoff-Nielsen and Charlotte Toner. The successful candidate will be officially declared on February 19.
River victim named
The man who died in the Awanui River south of Kaitaia last Sunday was Leslie Allan Walker, 56, of Auckland. Emergency services were called to a swimming hole near Pamapuria after Walker's companions were unable to find him. Police and firefighters recovered his body. It is believed he had been visiting relatives in the Far North. A rāhui has been put in place on a section of the river accessed from Clough Rd, known locally as the Vee Tree swimming hole, until January 31.