Saturday, 29 February 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

More Memorial Forest tree plantings

The next planting session for the Coromandel’s WWI Memorial Forest is to take place at Tangitarori Lane in Pauanui at 11:00am on 5 September.

This section of the forest commemorates the Sinai-Palestine campaign in which 640 New Zealand soldiers were killed.

Children from Hikuai School are helping with the planting of two signature pohutukawa and four kauri trees that will honour four local men who fell in the campaign. It is intended to plant a total of 200 native trees before summer at the site next to the Tairua River estuary - a Council reserve at the end of Tangitarori Lane’s long, straight section. The remainder of the trees, to bring the total up to 640, will be planted over the next few years.

The new Pauanui-Tairua trail passes the site, allowing walkers and joggers a place to pause and reflect.

“It’s an amazing community project that will recognise the men who died and regenerate the area in native trees,” says Tairua-Pauanui Community Board member Kim Coppersmith, who has been closely involved in the project.

The Memorial Forest is an initiative of Thames Coromandel District Council and has the support of the Hikuai District Trust, RSAs, schools, service clubs, iwi, community groups, the Department of Conservation, Wintec and Waikato Regional Council, with 10 different sites across the Coromandel that will commemorate different battles or aspects of the war.

The Tangitarore Lane section of the Memorial Forest is one of a number of forest sites around the Coromandel Peninsula. Others are at Whangamata, Thames, Coromandel Town, Cathedral Cove and Whitianga.

TCDC is asking people to help the project by donating $100 to the cost of a tree or by joining in on the plantings, or both. More information is available at  www.tcdc.govt.nz/donatetree.

The Mercury Bay Informer is proud to have been the first donor of a tree.

New nautical chart for Whitianga Harbour

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) says boaties will benefit from their new nautical chart for Whitianga Harbour.

LINZ's Manager Chart Production Jennifer Ryan says the new chart gives skippers much more detail about this popular boating and fishing spot. “The harbour was previously covered in an inset plan on another chart. This new dedicated chart provides much better coverage of the upper harbour and Mercury Bay Bay. It incorporates updated information on buoys and other navigational aids, as well as new survey information.

“Whether you’re a professional skipper or a weekend yachtie, we’d encourage you to get a copy if you plan to operate in the area.” 

The chart (numbered NZ 5316) is available from chart retailers or a digital version can be downloaded at www.linz.govt.nz/sea/charts/paper-charts/nz202-chart-catalogue.

New Whitianga ferry to be launched on Saturday

The launch of a new Whitianga ferry is set to make a big splash on Saturday.

"There will be a naming ceremony at 12 noon, we'll smash some champagne across the bow and put her in the water," says Fred Acke, the owner of Whitianga Ferries Limited.

There will also be a sausage sizzle, entertainment and guest speakers.

The new vessel has 63 seats, is 12m long and is configured to move people on and off more quickly so it can make more trips between the Whitianga wharf and Ferry Landing.

“It's flat-sided so can sit flush against the dock, making it easier for wheelchairs, prams and bikes to get on and off,” Fred says.

The aluminium boat cost $350,000 and was built in Mount Maunganui. Fred promises it will be warmer, quieter and drier than his other two ferries, the Stella B and the Mercury Star.

The new boat arrived in Whitianga last week after she was steamed up to Mercury Bay from Mount Maunganui.

"She performed in every way better than hoped," says Fred. "We think she'll be a great addition to the town."

Paul Kelly, Chair of the Mercury Bay Community Board agrees. "The ferry service is a lifeline across the harbour and is an iconic part of Whitianga. The new boat should relieve a lot of the pressure in the busy summer months."

The new ferry will enter regular service on Sunday in good time to work out any problems before the Scallop Festival on Saturday 19 September.

Free weather forecasts for recreational pilots

Of interest to Mercury Bay Aero Club members and the great number of pilots using the Whitianga and Pauanui airfields is that recreational pilots now have access to specialised weather forecasts free-of-charge.

Budget 2015 included funding for MetService to provide the weather forecasts through MetFlight GA - an aviation weather website for recreational pilots.

“Free access to MetFlight GA ensures recreational pilots have the high-quality, specialised aviation forecasts they need to plan their flight and stay safe in the air,” Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss says.

The use of MetFlight GA services are expected to increase over summer, when recreational pilots do most of their flying.

Whitianga Police Report for Monday 17 August to Monday 24 August 2015

GENERAL

Thankfully the occupants of a light plane that crashed in rural Taranaki after leaving Whitianga on the 23rd were located with non-life threatening injuries and transported to Taranaki Base Hospital.

There have been far too many Infringement Offence Tickets issued this week for traffic offending, including speeding, driver's licence breaches and vehicles not being up to standard.

Two drivers stopped realised the consequences of continued poor driving when their driver's licences were suspended for three months for having excess demerit points.

If you exceed 100 demerit points within a two year period, then your driver's licence will be suspended.

Anyone who needs to drive for work, family or other reasons needs to look after their driver's licence by abiding to the conditions. 

ARRESTS

No arrests this week.

OCCURRENCES

One domestic incident attended this week on the 18th when a drunk man turned up unwelcome at his daughter's Cook Drive address.

He subsequently left the address on Police arrival.

On the 17th a vehicle was seen unlawfully at an Arthur Street address and our enquiries are continuing, while on the 20th a house brick wall at an Albert Street address was damaged.

On the 21st a DVD was stolen from a local store and excellent CCTV footage is helping us to identify the offender.

A volunteer organisation on Coghill Street had the front window smashed overnight on the 22nd and anyone with information concerning any of this offending is asked to let us know.

A house fire at Hahei on the 23rd was determined by the Fire Investigation Officer to not be suspicious.   

TRAFFIC

No drunk drivers apprehended this week.

Search on for Youth MP

Coromandel Member of Parliament Scott Simpson has announced today the search is on for an energetic and passionate young person to become the voice of Coromandel’s youth in the 2016 Youth Parliament in Wellington.

Mr Simpson is asking 16 to 18 year olds across the electorate who believe they have what it takes to become the Coromandel Youth MP to get involved in the selection process, which will take the form of a speech competition.

“This is such an exciting opportunity,” Mr Simpson says. The Coromandel Youth MP will join 121 other young people from around the country in Wellington on 19 and 20 July 2016. Youth Parliament is as close as possible to the real thing. Youth MPs will debate legislation, sit on select committees and ask oral questions of Ministers. It is a unique chance to get first-hand experience of how Parliament works and to bring the views of your community straight to the decision makers in Government.” 

To be considered, candidates will need to deliver a three minute speech on a set subject to a panel, which will include Mr Simpson and two or three community representatives. The selection will take place in Thames on Saturday 10 October.

“I want to hear from young people who are willing to get out and seek the views, opinions and ideas of their peers and represent them in Parliament,” Mr Simpson says. “They need to be good communicators and passionate about youth issues.

The Coromandel Youth MP will hold their position from 25 January until 25 July 2016. During this time they will be expected to actively engage with their community to gain an understanding of the concerns and ideas of youth in the Coromandel area.

Application forms are now available in schools, youth organisations and from Mr Simpson’s Electorate Office, 614 Pollen Street, Thames. For more information phone 07 868 3529, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.youthparliament.govt.nz.

Two Mercury Bay events to benefit from Major Events Fund

Six events from around the Coromandel, two of them in Mercury Bay, will benefit from an extra $120,000 over the next two years thanks to the latest round of the Thames Coromandel District Council Major Events Sponsorship Programme.

For the first time since the 2013 Events Strategy was adopted by TCDC, their Economic Development Committee has had the opportunity to invest in major events longer than one year because funding was secured in the TCDC 2015 Long Term Plan.

"This gives event organisers more certainty to grow their events and to attract more corporate and community sponsorship because of Council's longer-term support," says TCDC's Deputy Chief Executive Benjamin Day.

"There were 14 applications for major events sponsorship and it's unfortunate that we can't fund everything. While we may not be able to provide financial support to all events, we do help out in other areas with concessions, licences and permits, as well as promotion and marketing, which our Regional Tourism Operator Destination Coromandel also supports."

Grants to the following events have this week been approved -

The Illume Festival of Lights will receive $25,000 over the next two years, $15,000 in 2015-2016 and $10,000 2016-2017, subject to a performance measure being achieved at the 2016 event. The Illume Festival has run for the past two years and is a free, family friendly event held in the first week of the July school holidays in Coromandel Town. Festival highlights include a night market, a street light parade, fireworks, live music, lanterns and entertainment for children. 

Brits on the Beach had $24,435 approved for the next two years, $12,000 in 2015-2016 and $10,000 in 2016-2017, subject to a 15 per cent increase in participation in 2016. Celebrating all things British, this event runs from Thursday 8 October - Sunday 11 October in Whangamata, showcasing British cars, motorbikes, music and food.  

Steam Punk the Thames will receive $15,000 in 2015-2016 and $10,000 in 2016-2017, subject to a performance measure being achieved in the 2015 event. Held on November 13 - 15 2015, Steam Punk the Thames is a new festival which will have an array of public Steam Punk art on display, a Steam Punk circus, street carnival and freak show. This is a free event. 

Thunder Beach successfully obtained $10,000 for 2015-2016 and $7,000 in 2016-2017, subject to hitting 1000 riders in 2015. This is a Motorcycle New Zealand bikers' rally where riders tour the Coromandel loop, overnighting in Whitianga. Last year up to 300 riders participated in the event, which is gaining in popularity.

The Mindsports Festival will receive $15,000 in 2015-2016 and $10,000 in 2016-2017, subject to a 15 per cent increase in participation in its 2016 event. Now running for two years, the Mindsports Festival based out of Thames is an enticing week full of games and activities for all ages, celebrating New Zealand's love and interest in a large range of board and card games alike. Next year's event is planned for June.

The Rising Can Beer festival will receive $4000 in 2015-2016, subject to further detail being provided by the event organisers to Council staff. Hot Water Brewing Company out of Whenuakite makes its own craft beer and this event will provide the opportunity to enjoy good food, good music and canned beer. The event will take place on Saturday 21 November.

A second round of the Major Events Sponsorship will open in September 2015.

Coromandel could become heritage region

The Coromandel Peninsula could become the first heritage region in the country.

"We have an opportunity now to seriously consider how we can preserve, enhance and recognise what is special and unique about the Coromandel," says Thames Coromandel District Council mayor Glenn Leach.

"This includes the Peninsula’s superb natural environment, its vibrant communities and the associated heritage and cultures of the region - so our grandchildren and great-grandchildren can experience social prosperity with a guarantee of future enjoyment of the Coromandel that we are lucky to have now."

A feasibility report released this week proposes the Peninsula could benefit from becoming an International Union of Conservation in Nature (IUCN) Category V protected landscape that covers both natural areas and communities of the Coromandel.

Other examples of protected landscapes are in Australia, Scotland, Japan, Spain and the Lakes District in the United Kingdom, but there are none specifically in New Zealand.

The feasibility report written by Miles Media, one of the largest destination focused marketing agencies in the world, was presented at a round table discussion to representatives from TCDC, central government, iwi, Waikato Regional Council and the Department of Conservation on Monday.

“This is an opportunity to preserve and keep sustainable what is so special about our district - while putting some real, tangible value on it," says Mr Leach. "A Coromandel Heritage Region can be a reality. It’s something we can see, touch and experience. And it's an experience that's good for the soul."

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