Hasting Mayor Lawrence Yule has found himself in hot water over comments made about Hawke's Bay's leaders, and Sonny Bill Williams makes a surprise visit to Whangarei Girls' High School bearing unlikely gifts. These are just two of the stories making headlines around the regions today.

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule has upset Hawke's Bay leaders by saying that the region wasn't competitive enough and that the five councils were holding back economic development. He also suggested that if the government offered Hawke's Bay $100 million, they wouldn't know what to do with it.

Several lucky Whangarei girls walked away with items belonging to Sonny Bill Williams, including his watch, hat and jacket, after the All Blacks and sevens star made a surprise visit to Whangarei Girls' High School yesterday.

Kmart Bethlehem finally opened its doors to the public for the first time today. The store has been 11 months in the making.


Some Rotorua parents have been caught unawares by news Easter Tuesday is a holiday for all school children, with one mother saying it should have been communicated earlier by schools to avoid confusion.

A Whanganui business has gathered about $18,000 worth of stationery to donate to schools in Fiji as support for victims of Cyclone Winston continues to grow.

One of Masterton's landmark buildings on Chapel St is demolished because it was earthquake prone. The building was privately owned and not historic.