Wednesday, 24 April 2019


Tairua-Pauanui walkway gets Community Board funding

A walkway/cycleway connecting Tairua and Pauanui has been granted $6,300 out of the Tairua-Pauanui Community Board's discretionary fund.

The Board approved funding at its meeting yesterday..

The Pauanui Tairua Trail will run along the coastal margin of the Tairua estuary between Pauanui and Tairua and has been developed by the Hikuai District Trust. The money from the Community Board's discretionary fund will help build 450m of the walkway on the marginal strip of land administered by Thames Coromandel District Council, adjacent to the campground.

The $6,300 will help pay towards the construction of the trail and doesn’t include labour and equipment costs.

“The amount of volunteer work that’s gone on through the community is phenomenal," said Tairua-Pauanui Community Board hairman, Bob Renton. "Through tradespeople providing equipment to just general volunteer participation, it's just fantastic. Some people in our community have been putting in eight hours a day to help get the track built.”

Whitianga chef in top five of Best NZ Ora King Dish Awards

Piko piko, edible sand, wasabi and seafood foam, lime and fennel custard and roast maple seed quinoa are just some of the more unusual ingredients in the 2014 Ōra King Awards finalist dishes. 

The finalists for the awards have been announced with the participation of regional restaurants a key feature in the second year of the Ōra’s. Finalists in the Best New Zealand Ōra King Dish category include two from the Bay of Plenty, one from  the Coromandel and one from Queenstown.  

The annual Ōra King Awards (the Ōra’s) recognise outstanding contributions from chefs working with Ōra King - New Zealand King Salmon’s premium foodservice brand produced exclusively for fine dining restaurants in New Zealand and overseas.

The five finalists for Best Ōra King Dish in New Zealand are -

  • Ben Batterbury - True South Dining Room, The Rees Hotel Queenstown for sous vide Ōra King salmon, swede and kumara pickled ginger purée, roast maple seed quinoa, apple lime fluid gel, pickled radish, smoked fishcake, enoki mushrooms.
  • Chetan Pangam - One80, Copthorne Hotel Wellington for Ōra King salmon gravalax, blow torched miso belly, compressed cucumber, edible sand, beetroot fluid gel, dill mustard crème fraiche and crispy salmon skin.
  • Simon Green - Halo restaurant at Trinity Wharf Tauranga for cured Ōra King salmon with white bean purée, pistachio and almond granola and wasabi and seafood foam.
  • Stephen Barry - Mount Bistro, Mount Maunganui for steamed cutlet of Ōra King salmon encased in smoked salmon mousse with honey, balsamic and blackcurrant jus, radical kumara, baby fennel, lime and fennel custard and potato crisp.
  • Sam Goslin - The Lost Spring, Whitianga for “Kaimoana Ora Kaimoana Aroha” (live seafood, love seafood) comprising horopito, seasoned seared Ōra King salmon served with crunchy piko piko, kina velouté and watakirihi pesto.

There were 70 entries in the Best New Zealand Ōra King Dish category.

The criteria for the best dish awards include appealing and polished presentation, thoughtful flavour combinations, well executed technique and the entrant’s participation in the social media campaign devised around the awards. This year diner reviews of stand-out dishes were also incorporated in the awards.

New faces at Mercury Bay Recreation Trust

There are some new faces at the Mercury Bay Recreation Trust.

Deli Connell and Bill McLean, who are also Mercury Bay Community Board members, have come on board with Mr McLean taking over chairmanship from Doug Bourne, who has decided to step down.

Other new members are Gary Fitzsimons, a tourism and transport operator with two sports-mad boys, Kiri Moore, a local businesswoman who enjoys multi-sport events, Wayne Malcolm, a Mercury Bay resident for nine years with a strong involvement in the building industry and Mike Brown a retired consulting engineer based in Whitianga.

"We're looking forward to being actively involved in the promotion and development of the Mercury Bay Multi-Sport Park," said Mr McLean.  "We're already embracing the work and wanting to encourage relationships with all sport and recreation groups."

The Mercury Bay Recreation Trust is an incorporated society which was established in 2011 to promote and develop the Mercury Bay Sports Park and recreation opportunities in the Mercury Bay. Its main objective is to foster relationships with sports and recreation groups and apply for external funding for various aspects of the park that will not be funded by Thames Coromandel District Council.

The Trust is also closely linked to working with the Mercury Bay Multi-Sport Park coordinator, Sue Costello. Sue's role is to liaise directly with the codes and coordinate bookings and events at the Park.

"Right now we're working on developing a sponsorship policy for the Sports Park as well as prioritising projects that need funding and then seeking funding opportunities for these," said Mr McLean.

The Trust's most recent funding success has been for trestle tables and chairs, three drinking fountains, rugby and football goal posts and a fully equipped kitchen with fridge and mobile barbeque. An application to a funding agency for further rugby goal posts has been submitted recently and the Trust is also working on obtaining quotes for lights in the car park, turf area and netball courts.

"Next on the agenda is investigating options for a temporary function room which can accommodate the needs of the codes in the short-term," said Mr McLean.

Pauanui amenity building underway

Construction of the Pauanui amenity building which will house the Community Library, i-SITE and a community meeting room is underway.

With only ten weeks before Christmas the plan is to get the building closed in. Final completion and landscaping will be done by March 2015.

"We are looking to Easter at this stage for an official opening, but that will depend on the plan coming together," said Garry Towler, Whangamata Area Manager.

The location for the purpose built GJ Gardner building is in the middle of the Pauanui CBD.

Consumer NZ reveals most trusted cars

According to the latest car reliability survey by Consumer NZ of their 11,209 members, Skoda owners are a satisfied bunch, with 95 percent of the respondents saying they would buy the same make again.

Once regarded as a laughing stock of European brands, the Czech car has had a major uplift in quality and popularity since being taken over by Volkswagen.  People should not have been surprised to see it come so high on the list, but they definitely would not have been surprised to see so many Japanese makers there.

The most reliable models from the survey were the Honda Civic, CRV and Jazz, Hyundai i30, Kia Rio, Mazda 2 and 3, Mitsubishi ASX and Lancer, Nissan Tiida, Suzuki Swift and the Toyota Corolla, Prius and Yaris.

Honda, Mazda, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Suzuki makes again scored highly. The makes were all given an “above average” reliability rating by their owners.

As well as rating cars for their reliability, respondents also provided satisfaction ratings and stated whether they would buy the car again. Skoda scored the highest in both these categories.

 Questions about vehicle models saw the Toyota Hi Ace came out on top. Ninety-three percent of those who reviewed the van said they were satisfied or very satisfied and all said they would buy the same model again.

Other car models that did well for satisfaction were Toyota Prius, Kia Cerato, Mazda CX-7, Suzuki Sx4  and Hyundai Getz - all were given a “satisfied or very satisfied” rating by their owners.

Those models with the least satisfied owners were Holden Captiva, Nissan Murano, BMW 1 Series, Nissan Primera and Volkswagen Passat.

Respondents were asked about the problems they’d had with their vehicles and heading the list was electrical faults.

Thirty-six percent of 4-wheel-drives had at least one problem compared with 31 percent of 2-wheel-drives.

Diesel-powered vehicles were slightly less reliable than petrol vehicles - 38 percent of diesels and 32 percent of petrol vehicles had at least one problem. Used imports were slightly less reliable than NZ-new used cars.

10 most likely cars to be bought again -

Skoda, Honda, Lexus, Mazda, Toyota, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Subaru and Volvo.

10 models least likely to be bought again -

Renault, Daihatsu, Holden, Peugeot, Land Rover, Citroen, Mini, Jeep, Ford and Volkswagen.

One week left to apply for major event funding

Thames Coromandel District Council is now accepting applications for sponsorship in round two of their Major Event Fund. A total of $45,000 has been made available.

The Major Events Fund is for events that have potential to become iconic Coromandel events.

Last year's recipients included illume, the Coromandel Winter Festival of Light, which received $50,000. The event team purchased $27,018 worth of lights, fittings and projectors to guarantee longevity of future festivals. A survey of the Coromandel Business Association showed an average of 58.33% increase in turnover compared to the previous July - even though the festival was held during one of the worst winter storms ever experienced on the Coromandel. Accommodation providers including Bookabach and Bachcare had increased bach rentals in Coromandel, Matarangi, Kuaotunu and Whangapoua. Publicity was high with two promotional stories in the NZ Herald Saturday features magazine, reaching over 100,000 readers nationwide. With local media support as well, attendees came from Whitianga, Thames, Whangamata, Auckland, and Hamilton.

Another success from the first round was the Thames Mind Sports Festival, which received $12,500 in the first round. That event also received a high national profile and forward bookings from national groups ahead of the Queen's Birthday weekend event next year.

This year's funding round resulted in allocations to the Leadfoot Festival, Thunderbeach, Thames Festival of Mind Sports and Tairua Wet n Wild, all unique local events.

TCDC is looking for events that will attract international, national and regional media profile and will attract people to the Coromandel to visit. Their new economic development head, Garry Towler said the Leadfoot Festival is a good example of this. "We are investing in an event that will promote the Coromandel on the world stage, not because of the fame of the organisers," he said.

"Major event funding is just that, funding for events that are big enough to get that level of exposure and whose organisers are also attracting external partnership funding," Mr Towler explained. "If there is an opportunity we can provide initial seed funding to assist we will certainly look at it, but definitely not to bank roll.

"Event Fund recipients are required to provide a full report proving their return on our investment."

There are also other opportunities for event funding from TCDC. "We are no longer the one stop soft touch," said Mr Towler, "But at a local level and through Area Office staff and their Community Boards we will help any organisation as partners to make their event as successful as possible. For example, from local community and event grants last month, the Steam Punk Circus event received $5,000 with another thousand going to the Arts Society for workshops during the Steam Punk Festival, Thames Fast 25s received $2,500, Surf 2 Firth received $3,000, Tairua Wet n' Wild received $2,500, $8,000 was given toward the Tairua and Pauanui fireworks display - and there were many more."

The Major Event fund is the fund for projects that can take the Coromandel to new heights in unique ways. Events do not need to be run on council property - for example, the Thames Mind Sports Festival includes private venues such as local businesses. Funding is also not given to cover wages or honorariums (payments for professional services that are offered for nominal charge). This means that the Major Event fund is not the one to apply to if you simply want to offset the cost of volunteer services.

Applications for round two close on 15 October.

Hahei working group to contribute to walk

A Hahei working group is being formed to contribiute to the Cathedral Coast Walk project. The group, made up of permanent Hahei residents, non-permanent residents, the Hahei Business Association and Coastal Walkways will be the major forum through which the Hahei community and stakeholders can table views and issues. The group will report back to the Project Governance Group, which is made up of Thames Coromandel District Council, the Department of Conservation and Ngati Hei.

"It's really important that we have local knowledge on this project and we want to thank the Hahei community for working with us," said Garry Towler, the TCDC representative on the project.

Proposed to be constructed in several stages, the Cathedral Coast Walk is part of TCDC’s Coromandel Great Walks Project, aimed at creating world-class walking routes throughout the Coromandel to broaden the Peninsula’s economic base.

Stage 1A and 1B of the Cathedral Coast Walk is approximately 10km in length from the iconic "Blowhole" at Te Pupuha Recreation Reserve south of Hahei through to the Purangi Estuary at Cooks Beach. It takes in DOC estate, Council reserve and QE2 Trust land.  A private section of land at Lees Rd is also being negotiated, which will help to provide additional car parking for anyone wanting to walk the route.

Calling Coromandels home-grown food providers and musicians

Do you make a mean mussel fritter? Are you brewing beer locally? Are you growing your own produce to sell? If you're a Coromandel food and beverage producer or grower who wants to promote your product either nationally or internationally - Thames Coromandel District Council wants to hear from you.

Last month Brett O'Reilly the Chief Executive of Auckland Toursim Events and Economic Development  (ATEED) and a group of his staff tour the Coromandel looking at developing opportunities and links between the Coromandel District and Auckland.

"As well as being blown away by the Coromandel scenery, Brett and his team were really impressed with the local food and hospitality," said Whangamata Area Office Manager Garry Towler, who arranged the trip.

"Bringing ATEED to the Coromandel enabled them to experience first-hand our aquaculture and our niche food and horticulture industries. The group all agreed there are some really good opportunities to promote the Coromandel product to the Auckland market and beyond. We're now arranging to work more closely with ATEED on how we can capitalise on these opportunities."

Wendy Voeglin, one of the people from the ATEED group, specialises in rural development and the home-grown food and beverage market. She has also been involved in Auckland's successful bid to stage the 2017 World Travel Summit. Held every two years, the World Travel Summit and Expo is the largest gathering of food and drink tourism professionals.

"Wendy was really impressed with the niche food and beverage market on the Coromandel and sees lots of ways she can bring international food writers and chefs to the Coromandel and promote food tourism within our District," said Mr Towler.

So TCDC now wants to put together a database of local food producers and providers who would like to promote and showcase their products.

The database will list the contacts and details of local home-grown and niche food and beverage providers. The information will be shared with ATEED, but also promoted through Destination Coromandel for food tourism opportunities as well as on the TCDC website.

If you want your business to be included on the database please send your contact details, a description of what you offer and any website information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., TCDC’s communications manager.

TCDC is also working with Regional Tourism Operator Destination Coromandel to create a database for professional musicians and bands from the Coromandel.

"We want to promote and support our home-grown talent so that when someone is setting up an event, a festival or even a wedding, they can click onto the database and connect with our local artists," said Destination Coromandel Manager Hadley Dryden.

"Many festival and event organisers may not realise we have a vibrant and talented music industry, so if we can provide a one-stop shop to let them know what we have to offer it's of benefit to everyone," says Mr Dryden.

The database will also provide an opportunity for local artists to connect and network.

If you're interested in being listed on the database - which will be a link on TCDC’s website please email your details and any online links to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Should small businesses and farms be made subject to capital gains tax?

The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.