Paihia identity dies
Well-known Paihia identity John Augustus Williams has died aged 91. Williams died peacefully at home on September 30 with his funeral held at Paihia's Stone Church on Saturday. When the former motelier retired in 2013, instead of selling his waterfront property on Marsden Rd — then valued at $2 million — he donated it to the people of Paihia for use as a scenic reserve. The land is now vested in the Far North District Council and named the Lucy Elizabeth Williams Reserve after his late mother.
Scrub fire closes road
State Highway 12 near Rawene had to be closed to traffic on Monday after a scrub fire jumped the road. The roadside blaze, which was about 200m long and 40m wide, started about 4.30pm just west of Ohuri Rd in scrub and sprayed grass. The Rawene brigade was backed up by two appliances from Kaikohe and took more than three hours to fully extinguish the blaze. Fire chief Zak Bristow said the highway was closed several times for short periods after flames jumped the road. The cause had not yet been determined.
A high-profile underage sex case in Northland this week highlights the role of pornography in sex offending, anti-trafficking campaigner Mike Shaw says. Auckland pastor Michael Weitenberg, 55, and Kawakawa businessman Owen Sigley, 66, were sentenced to home detention in the Kaikohe District Court on Monday for contracting for sex with a person aged under 18. The victim was 15 years old. While no pornography was found at Sigley's property it was clear from the proceedings that Weitenberg had a problem with online porn, Kaikohe-based Shaw said. His detention conditions included monitoring of his internet use. "We as men need to avoid pornography, particularly teenage porn – every time we click on that we're feeding the problem. We need to respect and stop objectifying women."
Volunteers are needed to help with weeding on pest-free islands in the Bay of Islands this weekend. 'Weedbusting Saturday' is organised monthly by Project Island Song and is a social event as well as a chance to make a difference in an ecological restoration project. Space on the boat is limited so volunteers need to register at http://bttr.im/k4n9u for the October 11 trip. Volunteers must be 16 or older.
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Indecency trial in Kaikohe
Former Mangonui businessman Max Beckham is on trial in the Kaikohe District Court on five counts of indecently assaulting a female aged under 12. The jury trial began on Monday and is expected to last at least until Thursday. Beckham denies the charges.
Pot triggers blaze
A pot left on a stove triggered a fire callout in Kerikeri on Monday. The blaze, on King St about 3pm, damaged the extractor and kitchen and left soot throughout the dwelling. The Kerikeri Fire Brigade put out the fire and ventilated the property.