One of Northland's more unusual summer events will take place at Taupō Bay, just north of Whangaroa Harbour, at 5pm today. The 7th annual Taupō Bay Tractor Spectacular will feature dozens of lovingly decorated tractors competing for prizes, and probably indulging in a few water fights, as they parade around the beachside settlement. Last year 33 machines entered with titles awarded for best pre and post-1970 tractors, best-decorated tractor, best team effort and most-loved tractor. Tractors hold a special place in the hearts of Taupō Bay because with no boat ramp in the area there's no other way to get vessels onto the water.
Car on fire
Ōkaihau Fire Brigade was called out to a car fire at the corner of Horeke Rd and Cook Rd about 8.10am yesterday which had spread into about 20sq m of roadside vegetation. The Nissan had broken down on Monday and was to have been picked up by its owners yesterday. The blaze was almost out when firefighters arrived so they dampened down hotspots to make sure it wouldn't flare up later in the day. Police are investigating the cause of the fire.
Man winched out of bush
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An Auckland man had to be winched out of Bay of Islands bush on Monday night after suffering from a medical complaint while walking the Cape Brett Track. Around 10.30pm the man's companion called emergency services saying he couldn't walk any further. At that point the men were at Pukehuia, a hill overlooking Rāwhiti. St John Ambulance, the Auckland-based Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Rāwhiti Fire Brigade responded. A paramedic was winched down to the pair and one man, aged in his 30s, was flown to Whangārei Hospital as a precaution while the other walked out accompanied by a firefighter. It is thought the men under-estimated the demands of the track, which is one of the toughest in Northland and takes about five hours each way.
Take care on New Year's Eve
St John Ambulance is urging Kiwis to celebrate responsibly this New Year's Eve, especially in the hours between 10pm and 2am when calls to the 111 ambulance communications centre triple. One third of those incidents are alcohol-related with most calls for unconscious people, falls, traumatic injuries and car crashes. Deputy chief executive Dan Ohs said extra ambulances would be ready in hot spots, including in Northland, on New Year's Eve. "We're prepared for the usual influx of calls, but if your condition is not urgent, there may be a delay in responding. Please be patient as we prioritise the most life-threatening incidents," he said.