Possum sausages on the menu at Paihia conservation get-together
A new conservation festival in Paihia this Saturday will feature more than 30 stalls, guest speakers, demonstrations and wild food tastings.
Stella Schmid, a Bay Bush Action trustee and founder of Papatūānuku Earth Mother Tours, said she organised the event to celebrate everyone striving to look after Northland's environment and wildlife.
"It will be a relaxed, casual day for people who know each other but have never met, to get together and do some networking," she said.
People travelling from around New Zealand to take part included the director of Kiwis for Kiwi, Michelle Impey; DoC's threatened species ambassador Nicola Toki, known for her Critter of the Week segment on Radio NZ; and Ian Tarei of the award-winning Omataroa Kiwi Project in Te Teko.
The festival will run from 9.30am-5.30pm on the Village Green and start with a kapa haka performance by Treaty Grounds cultural group Te Pito Whenua.
Visitors will be able to sample wild pig on a spit and mutton and possum sausages, or ''possages'' as Schmid calls them; other attractions will include conservation dog displays, trapping workshops, weaving demonstrations, guest speakers, and a chance to learn about electric cars.
Anyone who can guess correctly how many barrels of oil Paihia EV enthusiast Craig Salmon has saved in the past five years could win the use of his car for a weekend.
The festival is sponsored by Paihia businesses; free entry.
Christmas comes to Moerewa
A Moerewa grandmother fed up with having to take her mokopuna to Paihia, Kawakawa and Kerikeri to give them a taste of Christmas while their own town missed out year after year has decided to do something about it.
Pamela-Anne Simon-Baragwanath said she recalled parades and Christmas events in the main street when she was growing up in Moerewa.
"Even my own children grew up in Moerewa with amazing Christmas celebrations, but now it seems like years ago when we had an event here. It's like we've been forgotten so it's up to us to put something on for our kids, to create good memories for them too," she said.
"Times are really tough now, so tough it reminds me of the 80s when Rogernomics took a lot of businesses and state-owned enterprises away from bustling towns like Moerewa."
Simon-Baragwanath, who is co-ordinating this weekend's Christmas at the Marae event in Moerewa, said she couldn't solve the town's methamphetamine or poverty problems, "but at least we can give the kids a great day of fun, laughter and joy".
The main event would run from 10am to 2pm this Saturday at Otiria Marae and would feature giveaways, a talent show, face painting, rides, bouncy castles, a biggest tuna (eel) competition (register by 11am on the day), egg and spoon races and a giant Jenga game, while the adults would compete in a bake-off (text 027 911 5580 to register).
A Christmas tree decorating competition for local schools on Friday evening aimed to get children involved in the marae, she said.
She hoped it would become an annual event hosted by a different community venue each year. Everyone was welcome and all attractions would be free of charge, with the exception of the hangi ($10) which was a fundraiser for Otiria Rugby Club.
Kaumatua and kuia would be catered for with a covered area on the wharekai deck with a view of the main stage. A creche area will be available for parents of small children.
Otiria Marae is on Kingi Rd, off Otiria Rd just outside Moerewa.
■ We're not going to spoil any surprises by revealing Santa's identity but we can tell you he will arrive in a Cadillac instead of a sleigh, and any kids who want a photo with the big guy in red won't sit on Santa's lap but next to him on a Harley-Davidson.
Bald Angels toy drive
Far North charity Bald Angels is aiming to collect a whopping 3000 toys — more than double last year's tally of 1200 — in a Christmas present drive which ends this Sunday.
The presents will be distributed among 16 partner organisations at the coalface of child poverty in Northland, including police, Plunket, Women's Refuge, church and iwi organisations, health and social services, who will then deliver the gifts to families most in need of some Christmas cheer.
Presents should be unwrapped and suitable for ages 0 to 18. Ideal gifts are board games, art and craft supplies, balls, frisbees, beach games, swing ball sets, hygiene and personal items for teens (such as deodorant, moisturiser, perfume and soap), beach towels and sun hats, as well as second-hand bikes, trikes and scooters, as long as they are in good condition.
The only gifts the Angels don't want are things that need power or toys that use batteries (unless extra batteries are supplied).
Drop-off points include Cafe Cinema, Community Fitness, Aligned Movement, Curves Gym in Kerikeri, and Elsewhere Hair Salon and Bay of Islands Computers in Waipapa. Go to the BaldAngelsKerikeri Facebook page for details of other collection points.
Community Christmas carols
The Bay of Islands Singers will lead community Christmas carols from 6-7pm this evening at the Cornerstone Church/Te Whare Karakia o Manako at the corner of Kerikeri Rd and the Heritage Bypass. Free entry; koha for Women's Refuge.
Being Chinese in NZ
The latest temporary exhibition at Te Kongahu/The Museum of Waitangi celebrates 175 years of Chinese life in New Zealand. Being Chinese in Aotearoa: A Photographic Journey will open at 5.30pm on Friday. Free entry to Friends of Waitangi.
A Christmas tree decorating competition will form a special feature of this year's Okaihau Christmas parade starting at 10am this Saturday. Entries in the competition will be on display in the community hall with gold coin donation to view and vote. Winners by age group as well as best team/business tree will be announced at noon.
And if you're still not over Christmas parades, from 3pm on Sunday it's Russell's turn. The parade finishes with prizegiving at the Duke Tavern; other attractions will include live music, face painting, photos with Santa, pony rides, games and the obligatory lolly scramble.
Google guru talks
A top Google executive with family times to Kerikeri is giving a public talk in the town during a rare visit home.
London-based Craig Fenton, Google UK and Ireland's director of strategy and operations, is an entrepreneur, start-up investor and committed gadget geek who has worked in the tech industry for 20 years. He has worked in many countries around Europe and the Middle East helping businesses transform digitally.
He will give an hour-long talk called OK Google, what's the latest? starting at 2pm on December 19, followed by time for questions, at the Cornerstone Church on the corner of Kerikeri Rd and the Heritage Bypass. Entry by gold coin donation to the church.
Craig Fenton is the son of Bill and Mary Fenton of Kerikeri.
Christmas concert and grotto
Excite Church is hosting a community Christmas concert and Santa grotto in the Turner Centre Plaza from 10am this Sunday. After a short concert families will be able to get a photo with Santa in his grotto before taking a trip to Candy Lane where everyone will get sweet treats and gifts. Other attractions will include face painting, Christmas crafts and food. Free entry.
String ensemble performs
Brioso Corde, the advanced string group of Whangarei Youth Music, will perform a matinee concert of classical music this Sunday. The performance starts at 3pm in the Theatre Bar; tickets $20 for adults, $5 students/children (18 and under).
ABBA comes to Kerikeri
Fans of the Swedish pop sensation ABBA need to start digging out their best 1970s outfits and practising their cheesiest dance moves.
No, the band isn't coming to Kerikeri, but possibly the next best thing – a two-hour, full-scale theatrical production with a live band, replica costumes, lighting effects, and all dancing you can handle.
The ABBA Show kicks off at 8pm on December 20 in the Turner Centre; go to www.turnercentre.co.nz for tickets information. The show is also coming to Forum North in Whangarei on December 19.
Kohukohu art show
Village Arts Gallery in Kohukohu is opening its summer exhibition, Waenganui: spaces in-between, at 2pm this Saturday. The show features painting, ceramics, glass, sculpture, photography, fibre, carving and print by Northland arts graduates. Also opening at the same time in the side gallery will be Eclecto Collecto, a pop-up store of "quirky collectables and other objects of desire". Both will run until February 24.
Bad news for ballet fans who haven't got their tickets yet to see Royal New Zealand Ballet's Tutus on Tour at the Turner Centre tonight: The show sold out ages ago. Book way ahead for next year.
Russell Museum fundraiser
An auction of artworks donated by Whanganui-based artist Peter Ireland has raised more than $10,000 towards a new Russell Museum.
The 13 original works, all inspired by the Bay of Islands, sold smartly under the gavel of Far North Mayor John Carter during the December 2 fundraiser at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel.
Museum Trust chairman Terry Greening said the internationally collectable artist had been "amazingly generous" to the museum rebuilding project.
"This excellent auction result builds upon previous efforts that have all made it possible to lodge our resource consent application in the New Year. We've been through more than two years of community, stakeholder and iwi consultation and, with this auction, we're now firmly under way."
Ireland said the artworks explored the shared history of the area, reflecting the spirit that guided the present museum and which had inspired the concepts for its redevelopment.
"I'm a big fan of community museums and galleries because they express the heart-beat of a region through their collections. This new museum project is exciting because, like these paintings, it will tell stories that are from the past but which reach into the future," he said.
Museum curator Kate Martin hoped the uptake of artworks by mostly Russell residents and regular visitors meant some of the works would be available for a future Peter Ireland exhibition.
The multimillion-dollar new museum, designed by the Isthmus group, will be built on the existing site but will be turned 180 degrees to face the sea instead of the street.
Paihia parade winners
For possibly the 127th year in a row – give or take a few – Paihia School took out the supreme award in last Friday's Paihia Christmas parade with a float based on a Kiwi version of the 12 days of Christmas.
The other winners were ...
Business division: 1 Paihia Early Childhood Education Centre; 2 Rogue Ponies; 3 Radius Baycare resthome. Highly commended: Thunder Trike.
Community division: 1 Bay of Islands Rotary Club; 2 Paihia-Waitangi Kindergarten; 3 Bay of Islands Yacht Club. Highly commended: Paihia Kids Music Group and Opua Playgroup; Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints.
■ Do you have news or an upcoming event you'd like to see in this column? Send it to us, including your full contact details, to email@example.com