The third Te Tai Tokerau Blue Light "Ko Wai Au" camp has been touted "better than great" by participating Far North youth.
Sixteen boys aged 11 to 12 from Kaikohe, Kawakawa, Moerewa, Waitangi, Kerikeri and Kaeo took part in the police leadership camp held at Lonsdale Park, Matauri Bay from May 9 to 11.
Police received feedback from one parent whose boy described the camp as "hard, fun and the best time of his life". "He won't shut up about it."
Blue Light is a registered charity and community policing youth programme that has run activities for young people throughout New Zealand for more than 30 years.
Constable Rob Cameron said the Far North camp included activities like waka ama, bush walks with river crossings and survival skills, along with military disciplines like standing to attention, forming up in rows, and attention to their meals and rooms.
The camp encourages boys to take a leadership role with their peers and in their community, he said.
"Kids enjoy it and thrive on the discipline. All the participants threw themselves into all the activities. It was a huge success. They love it, we got some really good feedback."
The boys were divided into two teams; Ngahere and Moana. Ngahere won the Tough Team challenge, an obstacle course and run which really challenged the boys.
Other police constables who took part were Ihaka Lenden, Cole Lemalu, Roger Dephoff, Graham Howarth and youth at risk worker Wally Te Huia.
Calling stall holders
Have an interesting, authentic product to sell?
Applications are now open for the 2019-20 Paihia Art & Craft market season. The popular market is held at the Paihia Village Green when cruise ships are in the Bay of Islands.
With up to 30 stalls, shoppers get the opportunity to meet artists and crafters in person and take away something unique and special.
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If you'd like to be part of this thriving market as either a permanent or casual stall holder visit www.focuspaihia.org.nz/paihia-village-green-art-craft-market . Applications close May 31.
Police and Focus Paihia are looking at options to monitor the town's security cameras.
One idea is to transmit data to the Paihia police station if the community can provide volunteers to monitor the cameras and provide live feedback to the police comms centre.
Monitoring times would initially be through the peak time of the year: November to March on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 9pm to 2am.
To get involved email firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Russell Community Gardens are undergoing a revival which has been boosted by the installation of a new hot composting system.
Donated by Richard Wallis of New Zealand Box, the system includes three bins each holding 1.5 cubic metres.
Regular composting, or "cold composting", involves placing organic materials in a compost bin and leaving it there until it breaks down, a slow process taking six to 12 months.
With the right recipe and management, a hot compost bin can reach temperatures as high as 80°C and can break down compostable cups and plates, along with other food scraps and garden clippings.
Malin Vilkki has been working hard to restore the gardens to their previous productiveness.
The arrival of the new compost bins marked a turning point in the life of the gardens, she said.
"They have fed the community for 11 years and are here for everyone.
"The compost system means the garden will build up to produce more veges with all its green waste going back into the beds."
The new compost system is an initiative of Russell Recyclers.
On the first weekend of May Wallis and local volunteers helped put the system together and start it cranking.
Russell Recyclers chairman John Maxwell said it was part of the plan for Russell to become self-sufficient in reusing its own waste.
"Our aim is for a kerbside collection of food waste processed here alongside our recycling.
"The hot composting system is a great green waste and scraps solution for schools, community gardens and enviro businesses."
Crumbly dark compost is expected to be ready from around 10 weeks.
Paihia School students were enthralled by tales of slithery eels, riotous pig escapes, and blowing up cowsheds when Canterbury-based children's author Jennifer Somervell visited on May 7.
The visit, sponsored by the New Zealand Book Council with funding from Creative New Zealand, gave children the opportunity to meet and connect with a real-life author.
Somervell read two of her stories The Day Dad Blew up the Cowshed and A Very Greedy Tale, while her husband and book researcher Ken Fletcher shared his research into the native longfin eel.
The author's Tales From The Farm titles have captured imaginations across the country, featuring real-life adventures experienced with her siblings on their family farm in the 1970s.
"My father was a wonderful storyteller and I wanted to keep his stories alive," Somervell said.
"That's how Tales From The Farm came about. My sister, Margery, is the perfect illustrator - she can picture the stories because she was there."
Juniors threw themselves into the role, acting out the pig escape featured in A Very Greedy Tale, charging fences, squealing, and leaping at buckets on a food-finding escapade.
Senior students were captivated by stories of the author's dad blowing up their old walk-through cowshed to make way for a new rotary turnstile.
Somervelle's Tales From The Farm titles, The Day Dad Blew Up The Cowshed, The New Old Truck, The Eel Hunt and A Very Greedy Tale, have won first place awards in the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards for excellence in children's literature.
The latest book in the series, Uncle Allan's Stinky Leg, was released last October.
Ten staff at Kerikeri Retirement Village learned the basics of the country's least used official language, New Zealand Sign Language, during the official sign language week in early May.
The courses were conducted as part of the staff wellness and education programmes and aim to help carers communicate more effectively with a deaf resident in the Village Care wing.
Resident Judith Cunniffe was born deaf and had to sign secretly with her childhood sweetheart during an era where the use of sign language was frowned upon.
That childhood sweetheart later became her husband, Farrell, who now visits the village daily to spend time with Judith.
"Watching Farrell and Judith share their love through signing is a wonderful thing," said village operational support manager Cheryl Silich.
"Now, at last, we can join in, at least on a basic level, and communicate with Judith much more personally."
Kids can grab their devices and join the She Can Code for a celebration of coding and tech at the Turner Centre on May 25.
Starting at 2pm, the free workshop involves sharing stories and exploring coding, robotics and computer science to inspire, challenge and discover pathways into tech.
A two-part event, She Can Code, will host the live stage show Ada.Ada.Ada by British creative Zoe Philpott following the workshop at the Turner Centre Auditorium.
Visit www.turnercentre.co.nz or phone 09 407 0260.
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