A mother and daughter are being cared for by their neighbour after their home was destroyed in a fire. Fire and Emergency NZ received the first call about the blaze in a three-bedroom house in Mangapai about 8.20pm on Thursday and firefighters from Whangārei, Portland, and Maungakaramea rushed to the scene. However, the house on a lifestyle block was fully involved when they arrived. The mother and daughter were alerted to the fire that started in a bedroom by a smoke alarm and managed to get outside before the fire took hold. Fire investigator Gary Beer was at the scene yesterday morning. The cause is yet to be determined.
Parking will be free in the Far North for six weeks from Good Friday as part of council efforts to encourage more people to visit and spend time in central business areas. The council will temporarily remove all time-based parking restrictions until May 27. Councillor Kelly Stratford, who suggested the move after being approached by Paihia business people, said the aim is to help local businesses attract customers as they recover from the financial impacts of the pandemic. She asked people intending to park long term to leave central parking spaces free for shoppers and diners. Parking wardens will still be on duty but will focus on illegal parking in mobility car parks, bus stops, loading zones and no stopping zones.
Police are searching for the driver of a vehicle at the centre of an early morning crash on Friday. Officers were called to the intersection of Port Rd and David Cullen Dr about 12.45am after a Holden sedan hit the kerb of the roundabout, damaging its tyres. The driver reportedly moved the car off the road before leaving the scene in another vehicle.
Trip by train
Easter holiday trains are operating from Kawakawa every day until May 1. Departures are at 10.45am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm. On Monday the musical duo Either/Or will perform on the trains as a fundraiser for the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Trust.
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Loose cow dies
An incident involving an escaped cow, a highway and a vehicle ended badly for the cow. The accident occurred just after 2am on Thursday on State Highway 1 at Waiomio. Kawakawa fire chief Wayne Martin said the driver attempted to avoid the cow but as he swerved the vehicle and trailer tipped over. He clipped the cow, which died at the scene. The driver was uninjured.
Police reminded of risks
The police watchdog has reminded Northland officers of the safety risks when driving under lights and sirens. The Independent Police Conduct Authority issued the reminder in March after a member of the public raised concerns with the IPCA about police driving at excessive speed through the forecourt of a Whangārei petrol station when responding to an incident. The authority asked police to identify the officers and to engage with the complainant. There was no CCTV footage available and police were unable to identify the driver, the IPCA says. However, police used the complaint to educate local officers about their responsibilities and risks when driving under lights and sirens. Police also contacted the complainant to explain how they used the incident as a learning opportunity. The authority said it agreed this was the appropriate response.