Saturday, 25 May 2019

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Whitianga fisherman took out Holdaway Award for contribution to conservation of Hauraki Gulf

The Southern Seabird Solutions Trust publicly congratulated Whitianga commercial longline skipper, Adam Clow last night on winning the Hauraki Gulf Forum’s prestigious Holdaway Award.

The Holdaway Award recognises a leader who has made a significant contribution to conservation in or around the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

“Adam is a great role model when it comes to seabird smart fishing practices and the Trust is thrilled to see his efforts publicly acknowledged,” said Janice Molloy, convener of the Southern Seabird Solutions Trust.

“Adam is one of the leaders in the fishing industry who is active in doing all he can to avoid harming seabirds while out fishing. His passion for seabirds has also positively affected the attitudes and behavior of others involved in fishing,” said Janice.

Adam’s interest in seabirds was kindled after attending the Trust’s Seabird Smart Fishing workshop in Whitianga a few years ago and since then he has made two trips to Great Barrier Island to help scientists band black petrel fledglings at the colony.

“Black petrel are a threatened seabird species that come home to the Hauraki Gulf to breed every summer. Fishing is the main threat to black petrels and the actions of fishers like Adam will make a difference,” said Janice.

Adam is a third generation fisherman and has been on boats since he was old enough to fish.  He is a skipper on the Southern Cross, fishing out of Whitianga for OPC Aotearoa Fisheries. In 2012, Adam won the 2012 Seabird Smart award presented to him by Prince Charles, patron of the Southern Seabird Solutions Trust.

Check out The Informer's latest fishing report.

Hot Rods coming to Cooks Beach

Harbour City Rod Club is a small club of 25 members based in Glen Eden, West Auckland which has been established for 47 years. The Hot Rods in the club are classified as pre-1949 vehicles of American origin.

The club has an annual “Rod Run” to Cooks Beach and participants come from other clubs from all over the North Island. This year the club wishes to give back to the community by hosting a free Hot Rod display at Cooks Beach Reserve on Saturday 1 November from 1:00pm until 3:30pm. They will be running a kids colouring in competition and there will be a sausage sizzle.

Colouring in competition forms are available from Raewyn at the Cooks Beach Liquor Store. The winners will be announced at the display at 2:00 pm. Winners must be present to collect their prize.

The club is expecting 50 Hot Rods in the display.

Witnesses asked to come forward regarding Mill Creek Road crash

The Westpac Helicopter was called to a motor vehicle accident at the intersection of Mill Creek Road and SH25 outside Whitianga yesterday evening. The Fire Service and St John were in attendance. The Helicopter transported two patients (a young girl and an adult female) to Starship Hospital and Auckland City Hospital. The girl was Status 1 (critical) with a head injury and the female was Status 2 (serious).

Mark Cannell, one of the helicopter crewman, said, “It was a very busy job. Volunteer fire staff, the Police and St John personnel had done very well. They had secured the scene, extricated the patients and set up a landing site for us. Members of the public assisted with moving equipment for the helicopter crew.”

Senior Constable Graham Fitzpatrick of the Police’s Waikato Serious Crash Unit said he and his fellow investigators are working to build up an understanding on the cause of the crash.

"Initial indications are that at about 5.45pm the female driver of a Nissan Bluebird car travelling from Whitianga on SH25 has gone to turn off the highway on to Mill Creek Rd when an Isuzu Bighorn SUV travelling in the same direction has collided with the rear of the car,” he said.

"The impact of this collision appears to have shunted the car into the opposite lane resulting in a collision with an oncoming Holden Colorado utility.

"Attending emergency service personnel acknowledged the work done by several members of the public who assisted the casualties before they arrived, in particular off-duty medical staff.

“We would like to hear from any of these Good Samaritans who haven't already been interviewed by the Police."

Mr Fitzpatrick said due to heavy traffic flows, the Police believe there may be many more people who witnessed the crash than they have so far spoken to and for that reason investigators are asking those people to contact the Whitianga Police.
"The challenge for us is many motorists in this area are visitors or maybe even overseas tourists and we need to speak to them before they leave for home or head out of the country.

"For that reason we're asking that if you saw something then do something, ring Sergeant Andrew Morrison of the Whitianga Police on 07 866 4000."

Burden of wastewater treatment plants to hit home in TCDCs ten year plan

After three years of successfully reducing the average property rate, Coromandel's community boards have been briefed by Thames Coromandel District Council’s mayor, Glenn Leach this week about the need to continue exercising financial restraint as they plan capital projects for the next ten years, or face a significant rates increase.

Mr Leach said ratepayers will have to pay cost overruns from the building of the eastern seaboard wastewater treatment plants, even though they were completed in 2009.

TCDC has received a draft report calculating lower capacity in some aspects of the plants than was modelled in previous 2009 and 2012 Long Term Plans. This issue, along with subsequent incorrect growth assumptions used before the plants were built, along with the overruns from additional capital works on these plants, is now coming home to the ratepayer. A full report will be delivered to TCDC before the end of the year.

"On the basis of emerging capacity figures, Council has no legal choice but to transfer more of the remaining debt onto ratepayers," said Mr Leach. "The growth projections given to the previous Council by independent professional experts, to make decisions to build the treatment plants were flawed, so we are now having to deal with this.

"We are working hard to soften this impact. More public information and the history of the plants and the costs will follow."

In his briefing to the community boards, Mr Leach used this example to remind elected members to concentrate on the must-haves when it comes to projects rather than the nice-to-haves. "I'm preaching restraint," he said.

"We need to keep doing what we suggested when we were first elected. We need to prioritise where our money is spent."

TCDC is busy preparing its next Long Term Plan (2015-2025). With a number of Coromandel areas now rebounding after the global economic downturn, the shopping list of requests for capital projects from some community groups is growing rapidly.

"If a project isn't in our upcoming Long Term Plan, then we can't get development contributions for it," said Mayor Leach. "Our three anchor projects - the Coromandel Great Walks Project, the Hauraki Rail Trail and the Coromandel Harbour Facilities project - is not going ahead without government funding," he said, reminding elected members of the work TCDC has put in to avoid unnecessary burdens on ratepayers.

The first draft of TCDC's upcoming Long Term Plan will be available in March for public consultation.

Community boards support WWI national memorial forest for the Coromandel

A national war memorial forest is being supported by community boards throughout the Coromandel.

This week Thames Coromandel District Council mayor, Glenn Leach has been at community board meetings to gauge support for the concept, which would be a series of forests, totalling approximately 18,500 trees to be a living, growing memorial for the sacrifice of the fallen soldiers in World War One.

It's proposed that the National WWI memorial forests would consist of five individual plantings in each Community Board area of the Thames-Coromandel District - commemorating soldiers in each year of the war and/or in each of the battles and campaigns.

It is also proposed each Community Board would lead and coordinate their part of the forest - engaging with local groups, iwi, RSA's and schools to plant and care for the plantings and the soldiers that each tree memorialises.

“It’s a fantastic idea," said Mr Leach. "Each community board needs to think about where there is at least 1.5 hectares of land on Department of Conservation, Council Reserve or QE2 land or land gifted to the public. The community boards are the glue that can link in with the schools, the local RSA’s, retirees who can actually help to make this happen."

Chris Adams, the first CEO of Tourism Coromandel (now known as Destination Coroamandel), who now runs a successful marketing tourism consultancy, approached Mr Leach several months ago with the concept.

“New Zealand is blessed with some of the largest, longest lived and most magnificent living things on earth - our iconic native trees, totara, rimu, puriri and of course kauri can grow not only to huge size, but all are capable of living for 2,000 plus years," said Mr Adams. "The oldest war memorial in the UK, All Sould College in Oxford, built in 1438, is barely one quarter of that age.  

"These iconic native trees are also in the Maori tradition ‘guardians’ of the forest and in this case also of the memory of a specific fallen soldier. A living memorial forest would therefore be a ‘guard of guardians’ to remembering these sacrifices and their stories and to the restoration and protection of the natural environment.

"This resonates in the Coromandel where many wonderful groups such as Kauri 2000 have worked and toiled over many years to help restore our magnificent forests from the ravages of mining and forestry.

"A national WW1 forest is therefore a far more permanent, enduring and generous memorial than anything man can build. It is also as far as we have been able to determine a world first. And the Coromandel is the perfect home for it.”

Last month a meeting was held with interested stakeholders, including DOC, Waikato Regional Council, Forest and Bird, Kauri 2000 and Destination Coromandel to be involved as a district working group.

The first planting is looking to be launched on ANZAC Day, 25 April 2015, with the “Gallipoli Grove,” to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings. The initial planting of 100 trees will grow to a memorial forest of 2,779 native trees for each one of the fallen New Zealand soldiers of the Gallipoli campaign in 1915. There will be a three-year time period for different memorial forests to be established throughout the Coromandel to mark a different WWI campaign or battle.

The objective would be to finish all the plantings and complete the memorial forests at a ceremony on 11 November 2018 - the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.

At it's meeting yesterday, Mercury Bay Community Board member, Deli Connell put her hand up to spearhead the Mercury Bay involvement in the memorial forests.

One of the Coromandel’s greatest kauris

Peter Tiki Johnston was born in Devonport on 21 June 1941, the second youngest of six children. He passed away on 28 September this year at Whitianga Continuing Care, surrounded by his wife, Ros and other close family members.

A service celebrating Peter Tiki’s life held at Crossroads Church in Whitianga on Friday 3 October was attended by more than 400 people.

Peter Tiki was one of Mercury Bay’s most prominent residents. But, as was evident from the celebration service, there was much more to him than the gentle and highly respected Ngati Hei elder most people knew him as.

Peter Tiki was a husband. He married Ros in 1967. She first spotted him playing guitar in an Orewa hangout and, in her words, "He looked a bit all right."

He also was a matua (dad) to Tanya, Toya and Peter Matai. It was said that it was Peter Matai’s birth that motivated Peter Tiki and Ros to move with their children to Whitianga to be closer to Peter Tiki’s Ngati Hei roots.

Peter Tiki was a musician, a passionate guitar and mandolin player. Peter Matai recalled how his dad once injured the middle finger of his left hand with a band saw and the pain he experienced by not having been able to play the guitar for several months. And the pain after his finger was healed, but not quite, and he couldn’t stay away from his guitar. "Looking carefully while he played, you could see him flinch," Peter Matai said.

Peter Tiki was a historian, not only most knowledgeable in all things Ngati Hei, but also many things Maori and many things New Zealand. And, indeed, Peter Tiki was a member of Ngati Hei - staunchly proud of his heritage and certain of the place of his iwi in the future of Mercury Bay and the greater Coromandel-Hauraki area. He was the Ngati Hei claims manager in the Hauraki iwi collective Treaty settlement negotiations. As Thames Coromandel District Council Mayor, Glenn Leach said at the celebration service, "It’s a shame that Peter Tiki’s signature won’t be on the final agreement, but his presence will be in the detail."

And then there was Peter Tiki, the man of faith. With Ros he was actively involved in his church. And with her, he travelled to the ends of the earth to show compassion and kindness to many less fortunate. And in the process they made many friends, from many races and creeds, many who spent over the years time with them at their place just north of Wharekaho.

It was also at the celebration service said that Peter Tiki was a measured man, he would take his time to work out a solution to a problem, or a compromise where one was needed. But when he did, it was detailed and it was good. And he never gossiped and he never judged those who differed from him.

And, it was said, Peter Tiki, a surveyor and engineer in his working life, didn’t just build physical roads, but he also built roads between people, showing the many he came in contact with how tolerance, reasonableness and understanding were the way to ensure peace and peace of mind.

And at the celebration service, inevitably, many stories were told. There was Peter Tiki’s love for porridge with raisins in it - and his losing battle to persuade his grandchildren to like the raisins too. There was his love for red cars because, as he told grandson Emanuel, they go faster than other cars. There was the story of Peter Tiki taking his guitar to Israel, entertaining a group of people touring together for almost two weeks on end. And there also was his ability to cook the perfect hangi. And maybe the best of all - there was Ros telling about the family coming to Whitianga and moving into a one bedroom bach with a long drop in the back yard. The foundations of the long drop walls became suspect and one day, with Ros’s mum visiting and Peter Tiki on the long drop, Ros pushed the walls over. And, of course, hilarity ensued.

Many of those who spoke on Friday shared verses and quotes, all of them summing up the essence of one of the Coromandel’s greatest kauris - a man who had many friends, a man deeply loved and respected, a man leaving a legacy all should aspire to.

But maybe two verses stood out.

The one by Mr Leach, quoting Kipling -

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much,

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And - which is more - you’ll be a Man, my son!

And the other by Peter Matai, in his words, "For the last time having the last word when talking to Matua" -

Dad, you’re a class act to follow

But, I know, the show must go on…

It’s just, death is a hard fact to swallow,

That - and to accept now my counsellor’s gone.

I remember your words,

But more importantly their weight.

Your size ten shoes now unfilled,

Acutely aware my feet measure just eight.

Help steady my steps, still unskilled.

Haere, haere, haere atu ra.

Rest in peace my best man.

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.

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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.