Cook's Bay of Islands journey retraced
This Saturday the tall ship R Tucker Thompson is retracing the exact path of Captain James Cook's Endeavour when the British explorer visited the Bay of Islands almost 250 years ago.
While Cook's main anchorage points are well known, until recently no one had tried to create a precise map of his journey.
That was until Heritage Northland chairman Grainger Brown, using information from journals and other sources collated by Heritage New Zealand's Northland manager Bill Edwards, set about reconstructing Cook's exact movements.
His map will dictate the route of a day sail on the Northland-based tall ship which will include commentary and log book readings along with stops at Motuarohia (Roberton Island), Motorua, Manawaora, Paroa, Urupukapuka and a possible landing at Waipao Bay.
The trip is organised by Heritage Northland and Heritage New Zealand. It forms part of the lead-up to next year's 250th anniversary commemorations of Cook's visit, which will be co-ordinated in Northland by the Te Au Marie 1769 Trust.
Te Au Marie co-chair and R Tucker Thompson trustee Jane Hindle said Saturday's voyage was a great opportunity to explore and understand what Cook, his crew and scientists experienced while in the Bay.
"The Bay of Islands is steeped in history with more and more stories being revealed. It's a site of very early waka arrivals, then of course the pivotal encounters with local Maori when Cook arrived."
Perhaps the most interesting story yet to be fully explored was the meeting of Maori with Tupaia, a Tahitian navigator who accompanied Cook and acted as his translator.
"He disappeared off the ship for four days while the British were carrying out their own exploration. The big question is: Where did he go?''
The cruise departs Russell at 10am on March 17 and returns at 3.30pm. Contact Merle Newlove on email@example.com to see if any tickets are left.
Come in Houstoun, we have a concert
One of New Zealand's top concert pianists is performing in Kerikeri this Friday.
Michael Houstoun is donating all proceeds from the concert to the upcoming Kerikeri International Piano Competition, which draws talented young musicians from all over the world to Kerikeri every second year. Mr Houstoun is the competition's patron.
The concert starts at 7.30pm in the Turner Centre's John Dalton Theatre. Tickets are available online at www.turnercentre.co.nz or by calling (09) 407 0260 and cost $40 for adults or $20 for students aged 18 and under. Friends of the Kerikeri International Piano Competition pay $36.
This year's piano competition will take place on September 26-30.
Putting a smile on Kaikohe's dial
Rawiri Love is a man on a mission — to promote his hometown through the smiles of its residents.
Mr Love said Kaikohe could not hope to compete with the scenery of Paihia or the economy of Kerikeri, but what it did have in abundance was friendliness.
He has a launched a ''smiley campaign'' of unscripted videos which he publishes to YouTube and his Facebook page promoting Kaikohe as "the friendliest town in the North".
Each of Mr Love's Smiley Reports focuses on an individual or a positive event in the town.
He has filed video reports from places such as the abandoned bank Di Maxwell and Jack Poutsma are turning into a hotel geared at riders using the Twin Coast Cycle Trail; Kaikohe's new youth centre, called Te Uma o Te Kona; and the recent Kaikohe Funfest, a children's fun day.
He also interviews random people on the street and puffs and pants as he tries to keep up with a group getting fit by pounding the pavements around town.
His smiley logos have started popping up around town as word of his feel-good campaign spreads.
To watch his reports go to www.facebook.com/smileycampaign or search for Smiley Campaign on YouTube.
Young farmers compete in Kerikeri
The Northland final of one of New Zealand's biggest and longest-running agricultural competitions is being held on Kerikeri Domain this Saturday.
The FMG Young Farmer of the Year regional final will kick off at 8am and is open to the public.
Practical agri-skills challenges and agri-growth interviews will be held at 8am, 11am and 12.30pm, with agri-sports head-to-head challenges at 10.30am and 1pm.
The contestants will have already completed a written exam the evening before.
The afternoon, from 1.45pm-3pm, will be dedicated to AgriKidsNZ and AgTeen competitions.
On Saturday evening the contestants will regroup at the Kerikeri Sports Complex by the Heritage Bypass for an evening event featuring a quiz, prizegiving and live music with TV personality Te Radar as MC.
This year's Northland finalists are Guy Bakewell, 30, Wellsford; Colin Beazley, 30, Wellsford; Rachael Blackley, 25, Whangarei; Daniel Bradbury, 28, Kawakawa; Tim Dangen, 25, Muriwai; John Kenworthy-Thompson, 26, Maungaturoto; Clement Lafon, 26, Whangarei; and Sam Moscrip, 21, Hukerenui.
Colin Beazley is hoping for some hometown support, seeing as he lived in the Bay of Islands for 15 years, while if Tim Dangen wins he may come up against his sister Emma in the national finals – she's competing in the Taranaki/Manawatu event.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the competition which is open to farmers aged up to 30.
Wekaweka forest saved
A new nature reserve on land bought in a public fundraising campaign will be formally opened this Saturday.
Last year the Native Forest Restoration Trust, in collaboration with Wekaweka Landcare Group, managed to crowd-fund the purchase of 112ha of native forest in the Wekaweka Valley, near Waimamaku in South Hokianga, and save it from future development.
The Wekaweka Valley Reserve, which is now permanently protected, will be opened at noon with a series of speeches by key players followed by a guided walk.
Bring walking boots and warm, waterproof clothing, and car pool if possible because parking is limited.
Advice on retirement village 'fish-hooks'
The financial fish-hooks of moving into a retirement village will be explored at a free public seminar in Kerikeri on March 23.
Troy Churton, from the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC), said many people didn't fully understand the financial implications of retirement village contracts when they paid for a licence to occupy a unit.
For example, the occupation right agreements offered by some village companies have little financial sympathy when an occupancy ends due to the resident dying or having to move to more intensive resthome care. The company may not pay out the unit's capital to the family until the unit is relicensed, which can take months in some areas, and they may demand that weekly fees continue to be paid during that time.
"Another fish-hook may be if a married couple buy into an independent-living unit, then the husband or wife needs to move into a care facility, and additional costs may apply," Mr Churton said.
Northland had about 22 retirement villages, each containing 60-100 units, with more being developed.
Mr Churton is running the free seminar on behalf of the CFFC, an independent government agency that monitors the retirement village industry.
"The CFFC aims to ensure New Zealanders are fully and objectively informed of the implications of moving into a retirement village before they do so, and have time to obtain legal advice and discuss their decision with family," he said.
To register for the seminar go to www.eventfinda.co.nz/2018/thinking-of-living-in-retirement-village/kerikeri or call 0800 268 269.
Don't forget the Waitangi Golf Club is holding a gala dinner next Wednesday, March 21, to raise money for the Starship Foundation and the upcoming Waitangi Pro-Am Golf Tournament.
The three-course dinner with wine matching will be held at the Duke of Marlborough in Russell with guest speakers Steve Williams, former caddy to Tiger Woods, and an as-yet unnamed sports star.
For tickets ($2000 for a table of 10) email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (09) 402 7713.
Kaikohe gets 'motorhome friendly' status
Nearly 80,000 New Zealand Motor Caravan Association members are being encouraged to stop in Kaikohe after the town was named a "motorhome-friendly" destination.
Motorhome-friendly status recognises towns that go the extra mile to make motorhome owners welcome by providing overnight parking within easy reach of shops, water supplies, dump stations and other facilities.
Kaikohe shares the designation with 48 other places in New Zealand. Whangarei is the only other Northland destination on the list.
The association's chief executive, Bruce Lochore, said being named a motorhome-friendly town could boost tourism spending in Kaikohe.
Every year, New Zealand Motor Caravan Association members spent $211 million touring the country, he said.
"Our members enjoy travelling in Northland and staying whenever possible in their own certified self-contained vehicles. This type of travel brings tourism dollars into the area without adding undue extra pressure to local facilities."
To win the status Kaikohe Business Association members worked to clean up the town and make it more visually attractive, while Far North District Council staff reduced legal hurdles by amending two bylaws that had prevented motorhome users from legally stopping and camping overnight.
Kaikohe-Hokianga councillor John Vujcich said attracting motorhomes to the town was a low-cost, low-impact way to spread Northland's tourism boom more evenly across the district.
Signs will be put up on the approaches to Kaikohe informing visitors of its new status.
Okaihau turns 150
If you have any links to Okaihau make sure you keep Easter weekend free — that's when the Mid North town celebrates its 150th birthday. Events will include a theatre production called Alice D in Puketi, historical displays, a grand parade, a country dance, a church service and a bike ride through the Utakura Valley. More details in coming editions of Bay News Bites.
Other events worth marking in your diary include Mangonui's Waterfront Festival (March 24) and Kerikeri Primary School's quiz night and not-so-silent auction fundraiser (April 6).
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