April 3

It's crunch time for homeowners in

.

After decades of trying to hold back the tide of serious flooding, Horizons Regional Council has embraced the managed retreat option.

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And that means owners will have the option of selling their home, having it raised or having it moved to higher ground, if Horizons' plans are approved.

The proposal is part of the regional council's 2018-28 long-term plan and it includes starting a managed retreat fund of $50,000 in the first year. That has seen Horizons projected rates increase soar to 7.44 per cent.

Horizons says that whatever proposal is adopted, it has to be the same across the region, with other flood-prone houses in Whangaehu and Feilding to be considered.

Seventy-six houses in Whanganui's Anzac Pde were evacuated due to flooding in June 2015. Photo/Giles Conley
Seventy-six houses in Whanganui's Anzac Pde were evacuated due to flooding in June 2015. Photo/Giles Conley

April 6

At a time when commercial pilot numbers are plummeting and global demand rocketing,

is full and intake numbers are expected to keep soaring.

The New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy (NZICPA) moved to Whanganui late last year and chief executive Phillip Bedford said the potential for Whanganui was enormous. "What we want is to form an international cadet programme that would allow 200 pilots a year to be trained out of Whanganui and employed with international airlines."

At $80,000 a student for course fees, 200 international flight school students a year would be a huge boost for the district's economy. Bedford said the school had been working with two international airlines in India and China to get the cadet programme off the ground.

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MOVING UP: NZICPA's new recruits Andrew Daken and Jeremy Anderson with chief flying instructor Ray Nelson and chief executive Philip Bedford. Photo/Lewis Gardner
MOVING UP: NZICPA's new recruits Andrew Daken and Jeremy Anderson with chief flying instructor Ray Nelson and chief executive Philip Bedford. Photo/Lewis Gardner

April 7

A council bailout was required to pay off

after it emerged from the 2017 New Zealand Masters Games unable to pay creditors.

The situation forced Whanganui District Council chief executive Kym Fell to step in, asking the entire board to step down while council paid about $50,000 the trust owed to suppliers.

That money is being reimbursed with the sale of a trust-owned building while a new board has now been appointed as a revamped trust - now debt-free with money in the bank - prepares to run the 30th New Zealand Masters Games in Whanganui next year.

The NZ Masters Games is owned by the council (49 per cent) and the Events Trust which has been renamed the Whanganui (NZ) Masters Games Trust (51 per cent). The trust went into "hibernation" in May last year when it emerged it let go all its staff.

The NZ Masters Games is estimated to inject more than $3 million into the host city each event. Since the first games were held in 1989, the event has brought more than 40,000 visitors to Whanganui.

April 11
One home was destroyed and others were severely damaged when a tornado tore through National Park on April 10.

Houses lost roofs, doors and glass from the windows - and one was lifted from its foundations. National Park resident James Parry was working at Tongariro Water when the tornado caused a blackout.

Then his phone rang. "My wife said the house was gone and I thought she was joking," he said. "I was shocked when I saw it; it still hasn't really sunk in." Mike Smith has lived at his National Park home since 1965 said a neighbour to tell him his roof was down the road.

"It was scary, you had to hold onto the walls or the doors or something, everything was just moving around so much."

What remains of James Parry's National Park house after it was knocked down by a tornado in April. Photo/James Parry
What remains of James Parry's National Park house after it was knocked down by a tornado in April. Photo/James Parry

April 13

Whanganui's potential as a destination for motor homes and campervans is being broadcast to the world after a film crew came to town shooting attractions for an episode of the series RV Explorers.

The series is being made by Spot On Publications and will screen on the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association website as well as TV networks in New Zealand, America, Europe and Australia.

In Whanganui the crew filmed at the Sarjeant Gallery, New Zealand Glassworks, Waimarie, the Whanganui River Rd and the Bridge to Nowhere.

Spot On Publications have been in Whanganui filming an episode of their RV Explorers series. Photo/Stuart Munro
Spot On Publications have been in Whanganui filming an episode of their RV Explorers series. Photo/Stuart Munro

April 17

Whanganui woman

said she knew it was a long shot ... but she decided to ask for an invitation to the royal wedding anyway.

An invitation to the May 19 wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would have been a dream come true and Sheppard was pleasantly surprised to find an ornate envelope with the royal postmark in her letterbox.

But the letter, signed by Jennie Vine, deputy correspondence co-ordinator at Buckingham Palace, did not bring the news she hoped for - still, she feels "chuffed" anyway. Vine's response on behalf of Queen Elizabeth stated that an invitation to the wedding "is not a matter with which Her Majesty can assist you".

Originally from the English town of Droylsden in Greater Manchester, Sheppard has lived in New Zealand since 1982 but says she still likes to keep up with happenings in her homeland and news of the British Royal family.

Marie and Mike Sheppard with the letter received from Buckingham Palace. Photo/Bevan Conley
Marie and Mike Sheppard with the letter received from Buckingham Palace. Photo/Bevan Conley

April 20

Whanganui Police are encouraging people to report bad driving behaviour at the time it is happening.

The message comes after an Aramoho resident contacted the Wanganui Chronicle about locals' concerns for public safety, particularly of children and the elderly, because of cars speeding, driving on the wrong side of the road and doing doughnuts in Delhi Ave.

Senior Sergeant Andrew McDonald said there had been two complaints about poor driving behaviour in Delhi Ave in the past two months and said the matter had been assigned to a staff member for further investigation. "We encourage people to report poor driving behaviour to us at the time," McDonald said.

There are fears for children who use Delhi Ave as a route to Churton School. Photo/Stuart Munro
There are fears for children who use Delhi Ave as a route to Churton School. Photo/Stuart Munro

April 24

Police launched a homicide investigation after the body of a man was found at a

(April 22).

Another man is his 50s was also found at the property. The dead man was later identified as James Butler, aged 54. In October murder charges were laid against six men in relation to Butler's killing.

Wikitoria Rd was sealed off by police in the aftermath of the killing of James Butler at his home. Photo / Bevan Conley
Wikitoria Rd was sealed off by police in the aftermath of the killing of James Butler at his home. Photo / Bevan Conley

April 26

Thousands packed into the

. From 5.10am a parade marched from the top of Queen's Park, winding down to the centre while the crowd backed up to Watt St.

People found spots along the banks of the park and on the steps of the museum. It was 103 years since New Zealand and Australian troops landed at Gallipoli and just months out from the 100th anniversary of armistice.

Wreaths were laid by dignitaries including Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall, MP Harete Hipango and Te Tai Hauauru MP Adrian Rurawhe. A 6am flyover wrapped up the dawn service with the public invited into the War Memorial Centre for rum and coffee or tea.

This year's Anzac Day commemorations marked 103 years since New Zealand and Australian troops landed and fought at Gallipoli. Photo/Lewis Gardner
This year's Anzac Day commemorations marked 103 years since New Zealand and Australian troops landed and fought at Gallipoli. Photo/Lewis Gardner