Tuesday, 02 June 2020


Red seaweed on beaches not harmful to public

A potentially smelly red seaweed that's washing ashore at several Mercury Bay beaches in recent weeks is not harmful to the public.

The seaweed is suspected to be a red algae known as spyridia filamentosa, or hairy basket weed. It is native to New Zealand, but also occurs across much of the world and is being monitored by Waikato Regional Council.

“While this is a completely natural event, masses of this non-toxic seaweed being washed up can cause an unpleasant odour, so we’re keeping a close eye on what’s happening ,” said WRC's Coromandel zone manager Tonia Clarkson.

“Any smell is likely to get worse as the seaweed starts to break down. We’re hoping nature will deal with it but, because of the odour risks, it is important to monitor it and we’re keen to hear from people spotting large accumulations of it on their local beach.”

Significant amounts of red seaweed have washed ashore on Northland and other east coast beaches and now it's been reported at New Chums Beach, Rings Beach, Matarangi and Cooks Beach.

“Over summer it’s actually common for this type of seaweed to accumulate in large clumps. Those clumps are normally found offshore and further north of the Waikato region, but the recent strong winds we’re experiencing courtesy of El Nino have brought them our way,” said Ms Clarkson.

“Something similar happened last year on the Coromandel when we had close to El Nino weather, but the red seaweed washing up was confined to Whangapoua. We’ve got staff out checking where else it might be and we’re keen to hear from anybody who’s spotted it at their local beach.”

Official NZ Defence Forces Artist to launch 2016 Mercury Bay Art Escape

The Mercury Bay Art Escape Trust are pleased to announce that the guest speaker at the opening of the 2016 Mercury Bay Art Escape and Taste of the Tour Showcase Exhibition at Hot Waves Cafe, Hot Water Beach on Friday 4 March 2016 will be well known New Zealand artist and sculptor Matt Gauldie from Otaki. Matt was appointed to the prestigious position of Official NZ Defence Forces Artist in 2005 by then Prime Minister Helen Clark, following Graham Baddock and esteemed World War II artist Major Peter McIntyre amongst others.

Matt has recently completed an impressive bronze sculpture of World War I Sapper Moore-Jones for the Hamilton City Council, whose Victoria Street statue represents the soldier/artist who served with the New Zealand expeditionary forces in Gallipoli.  Moore-Jones's painting of “Simpson and his Donkey” is perhaps the most endearing of the Anzac paintings completed at Gallipoli.

Like Moore-Jones, Matt has also completed paintings of war action in his role as the official New Zealand Defence Forces artist, a role that has taken him to Afghanistan, Antarctica, East Timor and the Solomon Islands.

“Matt is a vibrant, enthusiastic member of the art community and has that ‘number eight wire’ quality and combined with a dry sense of humour will make for an entertaining speaker,” said Art escape Trust Chairman Stuart Christie.

The opening of the Art Escape is a significant public event on the Coromandel Peninsula calendar and usually sells out well before. Tickets are available on the Art Escape website.

The Art Escape Open Studio Tour weekends are 5 and 6 March and 12 and 13 March 2016 and are an opportunity for Coromandel residents and visitors to interact with the artists in their studios and purchase artwork direct from the artistic source. This “self drive” tour showcases the outstanding artistic talent of approximately 37 local artists from Kuaotunu to Tairua east coast of the Peninsula and features a variety of media - from jewellery, pottery, painting and photography to hand-forged knives, sculpture, woodcarving, and mosaics.

The tour is free but it is recommended that you have a copy of the 2016 Art escape Guide available. The Guide is a 154 page full colour, all year round reference to the creative talent in Mercury Bay and can be obtained at www.mercurybayartescape.com.

On Monday 7 March Matt will share his knowledge and experience in a workshop for artists titled “The figure in art... portraiture and the ace up your sleeve.” The workshop will focus on the role of portraiture in 2D and 3D Art, include some practical painting demonstrations and look at technical and practical implications of working in this field and no doubt reiterate Matt’s mantra "paint what you know."

Whitianga Police report for the period 4 January to 11 January 2016


Two burglars in their 30s from Auckland burgled a shop on Albert Street overnight on the 7th, soon after they had unlawfully taken a motor scooter from a Centennial Drive address.

They were arrested between Whitianga and Tairua and were held in custody to appear in court that day.

We would like to thank witnesses who contacted Police immediately and allowed us to target their escape routes.

Also on the 7th a male Caucasian man in his 60s with facial hair described as orange was driving a white van and approached a seven year old girl on Dawn Avenue, Hahei at about 11:00am. He asked her to go with him to the ice-cream shop and anyone with information that may help identify this man is requested to contact Police.  


7th - a 30yr old Auckland man for Burglary and Unlawful Taking.

7th -  a 33yr old Auckland man for Burglary and Unlawful Taking.

5th - a 47 year old local woman warned for Trespass


Seven domestic incidents attended this week.

On the 4th we attended an incident where a drunk couple were arguing over car keys at a Pohutukawa Grove address when the man involved threatened to drive from the address and direct advice was given.

Also that day a young couple at a South Highway address argued about their relationship and then separated to calm down, while a drunk couple from a Catherine Crescent address became involved in a physical confrontation and direct advice was given.

On the 5th incidents of Protection Order breaches were reported at a Centennial Drive address and enquiries are continuing to locate an identified suspect.

On the 7th a separated couple from an Endeavour Close address were reminded of Protection Order conditions, while also that day a woman contacted Police when her new partner’s ex-partner called her repeatedly at her work and sound advice was given.

On the 8th a mother and son arguing at a Cook Drive address separated themselves to calm the situation.

A car was broken into and searched at a Gray Avenue, Kuaotunu address with nothing having been stolen on the 4th, while on the 5th graffiti was written on a car parked on Victoria Street.

Threatening text messages were received at a Sarah Avenue address on the 6th, while on the 7th rubbish was dumped at a Rangiora Crescent, Matarangi address, while also that day an offender attempted to steal a boat battery from a Buffalo Beach address.


No drunk drivers apprehended this week.

Complaints received from two cyclists concerning the behaviour of a driver on the 5th was subsequently followed by a complaint from the driver about the cyclists. In short, we share the road and everyone needs to have consideration for other road users.

Water incidents in the wider Mercury Bay area yesterday and today

Two water-related incidents happened in the wider Mercury Bay area the past 48 hours.

The Auckland and Coromandel Rescue Helicopter based in Whitianga until Easter was yesterday tasked to respond to an ambulance call-out to Cathedral Cove to assist with the near-drowning for a man in his 20’s.

The man had been swimming in a moderate swell when he got caught in a rip and became exhausted. The man’s father and an overseas lifeguard swam out and dragged him back to shore, where he collapsed.

The man was first treated by St John Ambulance crew. The helicopter then transported him and his father) to Middlemore Hospital in a serious condition.

The man’s condition improved on the way to hospital.

In Tairua earlier today St John sent two ambulances and a first response unit to the beach where paramedics treated a teenaged boy pulled from the water. He was stabilised on the beach and then transported to Thames hospital in a moderate condition.

Whitianga Police Report for Monday 28 December 2015 to Monday 4 January 2016


The weather contributed to a quiet New Year’s period for us compared to previous years, however there were still a lot of people in town and it is pleasing that most people seemed to be here to enjoy themselves. 

We assisted the Fire Service to put out a bonfire at a 309 Road address on the 1st and remind everyone there is a total fire ban, including fireworks.

A folder containing numerous lotto tickets was handed in on the 28th and we would like the owner to contact us.


31st - 1 x 27yr old local man for Breach of Bail and Attempting to Escape Custody.

1st - 4 x arrests for Breaching the Liquor ban or Disorderly Behaviour.


Six domestic incidents attended this week.

On the 29th a mother and son were arguing at a White Street address and they were given direct advice, while on the 30th a separated couple argued at a Hannan Road address when the new partner arrived at a party and they were encouraged to go home.

On the 31st a couple arguing on Blacksmith Lane after a night out at a local bar were warned for disorderly behaviour, while another couple the following night on Blacksmith Lane arguing after a night out were given sound advice after the young woman had been arrested for disorderly behaviour.

A young couple argued at a Jackman Ave address on the 1st over child care plans and they were given parenting advice, while on the 3rd a couple arguing over custody issues at a Pumpkin Flat address were given direct advice.

On the 29th an offender was disturbed trying to enter a Whitby Ave address and ran off when yelled at by the owner. Forensic evidence has been forwarded for analysis, while also that night a Moreda mountain bike was unlawfully taken from a Kauri Crescent Matarangi address.

Graffiti was sprayed on a commercial building on Coghill Street on the 29th and also at a campervan parked near the skate park overnight. 

Enquires are continuing in relation to a petrol theft from Gull on the 30th, while also that day a kite board left outside at a Dawn Ave address was stolen overnight.

On the 1st a trailer Registration 2F232 was unlawfully taken from a Fernhill Rise address and a flagpole and flag were stolen from an Albert Street Holiday Park.


Three drunk drivers apprehended this week.

31st - 1 x 24 year old local man - 537/250.

1st   - 1 x 24 year old Auckland man - 400/250.

       - 1 x 29 year old local man - 614/250.

A 43yr old local woman was forbidden to drive on the 29th when apprehended driving while unlicensed and on the 30th a 30yr old local woman was forbidden from driving when found driving with an expired United Kingdom licence.

On the 30th a driver swerved to miss an on-coming car on the Blackjack Road and crashed into a farm fence.

A driver reversed into the car following them at the Coroglen bridge on the 31st, while also that day a speeding driver lost control of his vehicle on SH25 near Golf Road and crashed off the road.

Tairua water restrictions upgraded

Thames Coromandel District Council says Tairua reservoir levels are critically low due to high turbidity (sediment levels) in the source water.

This means they are unable to treat water quantities to meet the peak daytime demand.

TCDC asks everyone in Tairua to actively conserve water, above and beyond usual measures, for the next 36 hours, when it is expected that turbidity levels will drop and production will be maximised.

TCDC apologises for the inconvenience.

Newest stage of Pauanui Tairua Trail opened

The newest section of the Pauanui Tairua Trail was officially opened this week by Thames Coromandel District Council Deputy Mayor Peter French.

Once completed, the track will be 25km in length and will enable people to eventually walk or cycle between Pauanui and Tairua in safety, following the banks of the scenic Tairua Estuary.

This latest stage is approximately 4.2km in length and runs from Tangitarori/Tangiteroria Lane to Duck Creek in Pauanui. It connects to a 1.6km boardwalk that already goes through the Paunaui Waterways.

It's thanks to the Hikuai District Trust, including its members Gary and Anne Fowler, that the track is starting to be fully realised.

Gary and Anne, along with other members of the Hikuai Trust, were at the official opening, which was also attended by Tairua-Pauanui Community Board members and chairman Bob Renton, local iwi, MP Scott Simpson, local residents and comedian Mark Hadlow, who was in Pauanui performing his latest show MAMIL.

The Hikuai Trust has been instrumental in obtaining external funding for the newest section of the track, while $56,000 has come from the Tairua-Pauanui Community Board. This was added to a pool of over $50,000 donated by local people, including two private donations of $10,000 each. Mr Hadlow also donated $5,000 towards the trail during his visit to Pauanui.

The original idea for the track was conceived by Ian Hopper and a group of locals over a decade ago and the first original stage, a 1.6km boardwalk from the Waterways through the mangroves to Tangitarori/Tangiteroria Stream, was completed about ten years ago.

"It's a real privilege to be at the opening of this next stage and to see this kind of grassroots project that is the essence of community empowerment," said Mr French. "It’s about local people coming together to create something of beauty and value for their community and our district.

"And this project has not been about money, or paying people to do something. It's about harnessing the passion and personal commitment from everyone involved. It's about rolling up your sleeves and getting out doing good for your community and your environment."

Bluff Road closed again

Bluff Rd between Matarangi and Kuaotunu is again closed until further notice as a safety precaution.

More rock has fallen over the Christmas weekend, causing the road to be reclosed to all traffic - including cyclists and pedestrians.

Thames Coromandel District Council says they had tried to have a part of the road open in time for Christmas with further work scheduled for the first week of January, but are now reasessing the options following this further rockfall.

TCDC has asked people to use State Highway 25 instead.


Latest business rest of site

A1 Towing & Transport

A1 Whitianga Towing & Transport Ltd is an experienced, locally owned business, providing vehicle recovery, roadside assistance and transport services across the Coromandel Region.

Coromandel Peninsula
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