Turn back time
Northlanders will get an extra hour's sleep tonight when the clocks go back an hour to end NZ Daylight Saving. The clocks will go back an hour from 3am on Sunday to 2am. Daylight Saving will start again on Sunday, September 26, when the clocks will go forward an hour from 2am to 3pm. Fire and Emergency New Zealand wants people to this weekend also check their smoke alarms. "This is also the weekend to check your smoke alarms are working, no matter how new they are or how recently you changed the battery," national adviser fire risk management Pete Gallagher said. "Of the residential fires Fire and Emergency attended last year, 33 per cent didn't have working smoke alarms."
Police blocked off roads in Raumanga on Thursday morning after a man was found seriously hurt on a property in the suburb. The alarm was raised shortly before 2am and the man was rushed to Whangārei Hospital. Police were carrying out inquiries to establish what occurred, which resulted in Fairburn St being closed to the public.
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Motorbike rider dies
A motorcyclist has died after a crash involving a truck on the Tutukaka Coast. Police, Fire and Emergency NZ and St John Ambulance staff were called to the crash site on Matapouri Rd, at Tutukaka, shortly before 1.20pm on Thursday. The motorbike rider died at the scene, which was about 20m from the 50km sign as you enter Tutukaka from Whangārei. The death took Northland's road toll this year so far to seven, compared to 10 at the same stage of 2020.
Indecent assault charge
A prominent Northlander has appeared in court on a charge of indecently assaulting a female. The man, in his 60s, appeared last month in the Whangārei District Court where he pleaded not guilty and elected a trial by jury. He's on bail. The alleged incident happened about four years ago. A case review is scheduled for June 18. No trial date has been set as yet.
Fire permits curbed
Suspension of active fire permits in Kaipara has been extended to cover the Easter long weekend. Deputy principal rural fire officer Northland, Michael Champtaloup, suspended 104 permits a week ago due to an increase in large uncontrolled fires over the past few weeks. After a review of weather conditions, he extended the suspension on Thursday and will re-look at it mid to late next week. Despite the recent rainfall, he said soil moisture has been drier than the historical average and vegetation has a superficial appearance of green but underneath was dry and very flammable. Kaipara, Whangārei, and the Far North are all in a restricted fire season, except Limestone Island where fires are prohibited due to the presence of biodiversity and wildlife. People are being urged to go to www.checkitsalright.nz to check the fire season status.
Dead man named
Police have released the name of a man killed when his car collided with a truck in Dargaville on March 17. Matthew Liam Ballard, 24, of Parore, died at the scene of the crash on Jervois St, near the outskirts of the town around 5.45am. His beloved dog Koda was also seriously injured in the crash and has since undergone surgery to repair a broken bone in her pelvis. A police spokeswoman said their thoughts and sympathies were with his friends and family.
Blaze destroys school
A derelict school in the mid-north that was closed after flooding many years ago was completely destroyed in an overnight fire. Matangirau School Rd near Whangaroa was razed to the ground by the time firefighters from Kaeo arrived at the scene, just before midnight on Thursday. Kaeo Fire Brigade operational support officer Lindsay Murray said nothing was standing by the time fire crews arrived but since the building had asbestos, they've had to wait for firefighters from Kerikeri who had breathing apparatus. An appliance from Mangonui also arrived to help. A fire investigator was due at the scene yesterday morning.
Service for ex editor
Former Northern Advocate editor and general manager Tony Verdon will be farewelled with a service celebrating his life at the chapel of Morris and Morris Funerals in Whangārei at 1.30pm on April 8. Verdon died while swimming at Ocean Beach, not far from his home, on March 25. Aged 67, he had only recently retired after a lifetime in journalism. He held a wide variety of roles at the NZ Herald before joining the Advocate and also worked as a Europe correspondent based in London. He is survived by a twin brother in London and an older brother in Auckland, as well as his sisters-in-law and a nephew. The chapel is located at 17 Western Hills Drive at Whau Valley.