Sunday, 07 June 2020


Options for clubrooms at Multisport Park being considered

Thames Coromandel District Council is at the moment considering options for clubrooms at the Mercury Bay Multi-Sport Park. TCDC says the facility has sufficient changing rooms and toilets within its amenity block. However, due to the historic overspend during the construction of the entire facility, a clubroom space was put on hold.

The Mercury Bay Recreation Trust, who is responsible for the external funding for the facility, has been considering the best options for clubrooms which will benefit all the sporting codes (netball, rugby league, football, tennis and rugby) expected to use the Multisport Park.

"We conducted a needs analysis report and the trust is recommending the clubrooms to be a new build on-site, but a facility that will fit with the long term needs of the Multisport Park," says trust chairman Bill McLean. "A list of specifications has been developed and we've presented it to all the codes.

"Our objective is to source funds through external funders, grants and with the support of all the codes that use the facility."

The trust has also presented its proposals to the Mercury Bay Community Board.

"We approve the concept of developing a clubroom facility and have now asked the trust to prepare some external funding applications, along with getting quotes from architects to look at plans and costings," says Mercury Bay Community Board chairman Paul Kelly.

The trust will then report back to the Community Board.

The story behind the turf at the Mercury Bay Multisport Park

The grass covering Field One of the Mercury Bay Multisport Park (the field that has recently been treated with sand-slitting to improve its drainage) seems very brown for this time of the year. The photo above was taken last Saturday.

We have asked Thames Coromandel District Council what’s going on. This is what they had to say - 

“People may have seen that the turf at the Sports Park has a shade of brown to it. It's not dead, it's just in its natural dormant state, which occurs over winter.

“This is no different to other sports fields around the country that are covered with couch grass.

"In some other parts of the country, for example Auckland's Eden Park, the couch grass is over sown lightly with rye grass, so for aesthetic reasons it looks green. We don't see this as necessary at this stage at the Sports Park.

"During the initial development of the Mercury Bay Multisport Park facility, it was decided that couch grass would be used because it's a premium and reputable type of turf for sports playing fields.

"Meanwhile the Number One field is being used for competition games on Saturdays and Sundays and the secondary school teams, including the Girls First XV rugby team, are training on Tuesday and Thursdays after school on the field.

“Mercury Bay Rugby & Sports Club has purchased a van to transport the teams to training. The Sunday before last also saw the Mercury Bay Area School Girls First XV rugby team host their first tournament at the Multisport Park.”

More WW1 Memorial Forest trees to be planted

With the planting season coming into full swing, Thames Coromandel District Council is gearing up to get more trees in the ground for the Coromandel's World War One Memorial Forest.

A number of sites are being prepared now at different parts of the Peninsula for planting over the coming weeks.

The eventual goal is to have 18,166 native trees in up to 10 different sites across the Coromandel - one tree for each New Zealander killed in the Great War.

Each site represents a particular battle or campaign or an aspect of the war.

It is envisaged that the groves of native trees will mature into quiet places of contemplation, where people can walk and ponder New Zealand history. TCDC says the forest will also enhance the Coromandel's environmental values.

The project was officially launched by Conservation Minister Maggie Barry on 5 June - Arbour Day, when 100 trees were planted at the Cathedral Cove site, which represents the Gallipoli campaign.

That site will eventually have 2,779 trees - one for each soldier killed in New Zealand's first major battle of the war.

Wintec horticulture students will help TCDC to plant 1,400 trees at the site this year.

Four other sites, in Whangamata, Coromandel Town, Thames and Pauanui, will see hundreds more trees planted this winter.

The public can help the project by sponsoring $100 of the cost of a specific tree or by joining in on the plantings, or both. There is also the option of donating $150 and personally planting the specific tree that was sponsored.

For more information see

The Informer is proud to be the first sponsor of the cost of a tree.

The wheels are in motion to commemorate Cook's landing in Mercury Bay

In November 2019 it will be the 250th anniversary since the explorer James Cook came to New Zealand.

Mercury Bay was one of the four landing sites - and significant as it was the first positive interaction between Captain Cook, his crew and Maori (local iwi Ngati Hei).

The three other landfall sites were in the Bay of Islands, Queen Charlotte Sound (Marlborough) and Gisborne.

"This is an occasion of national significance as well as of major importance to the historic heritage of the Mercury Bay area and the Thames Coromandel District," says Paul Kelly, chairman of the Mercury Bay Community Board.

Mr Kelly is also the Chairperson of the Mercury 250th Anniversary Trust, which has recently been established to look at developing ways to commemorate Cook's landing in Mercury Bay.

Also on the Trust are local iwi representatives, Mercury Bay Area School Principal John Wright and local historian Richard Gates. Sir Michael Fay is the patron.

The Trust's purpose is to develop events and design monuments that will be delivered in 2019 and which will recognise the significance of Cook's landing at Mercury Bay, while highlighting the importance of the area’s own Maori history and heritage.

"The Trust has identified three core themes - navigation and exploration, discoveries of science and meeting places and sharing of cultures, which will be integrated into projects and events and are relevant and enduring to Mercury Bay, but also has the ability to link into the whole of the Coromandel and nationally," says Mr Kelly.

Whitianga Police Report for Monday 29 June to Monday 6 July 2015


A possum shooting accident overnight on the 1st and 2nd of July off Lees Road, Hahei resulted in the tragic death of a local man, Scott Driver.

The property he was shooting on backs on to steep cliffs above the coast near Cathedral Cove and unfortunately he has fallen and received fatal injuries.

A large number of family and friends were involved in the search for Mr Driver and it was very distressing for everyone involved when he was located.

Kuaotunu Search and Rescue volunteers again did an excellent job locating and returning Mr Driver to his family with the assistance of Waikato Police Search and Rescue.

Whitianga Police would like to thank everyone involved in this search and again we forward our condolences to Mr Driver’s family and friends.    


No arrests this week.


One domestic incident attended this week.

On the 30th a young couple who have been continually arguing at a Catherine Crescent address called the Police to keep the peace as they separated.

On the 30th vegetables were stolen from a stall on Hodge Road and enquiries are continuing in relation to security footage obtained.

Also that night a tandem car trailer registration K9057 was stolen from a Kudu Drive address and enquiries are continuing with identified suspects.

On the 2nd an incident of intimidation at a Park Lane address was reported in relation to a young couple being threatened by an associate.

Also that day a premise toilet door was damaged at a Monk Street business and security footage is being provided.

An offender attempted to burgle a Cholmondeley Crescent address the evening of the 2nd and after the breaking open the kitchen window the offender was disturbed and decamped prior to gaining entry.


There were no serious crashes to report in our area this week and no drunk drivers apprehended.

Hunter found dead outside Hahei

Police and Land Search and Rescue teams located yesterday at around 4:00pm the body of Scott Driver off Lees Road, outside Hahei.

Scott was a well-known Mercury Bay South resident. He went possum hunting on Wednesday evening after a trip to Tauranga and failed to return home.

Police says his death has been referred to the coroner.

A coastguard vessel was also part of the operation.

Scott was 50 years old.

TCDC looking for feedback on funding of Dundas Street boat ramp

The inclusion of reclamation work at Dundas Street in Whitianga as part of the Mercury Bay Destination Boat Ramp Project in Thames Coromandel District Council’s Long Term Plan (LTP) may bring changes to the way TCDC calculate Development Contribution levies for Mercury Bay.

“The changes that we're looking at will only affect anyone doing residential development in Mercury Bay,” says Council's Chief Financial Officer Steve Baker.

During the 2015-2025 LTP consultation hearings it was decided that TCDC’s Dundas Street Reclamation Project, which will provide approximately 120 trailer-boat parks would be reprioritised back into Council’s 10-year infrastructure program.

The project is growth related and TCDC says initial planning work has been scheduled to start in year 9 (2023-2024) of the LTP.

TCDC also changed their policy regarding Reserve Contributions in the LTP, moving away from a levy-based calculation methodology (based on the value of a property), to an equal contribution toward planned expenditure.

TCDC says gives developers a high level of certainty as to what their contribution liability will be.

TCDC is now considering how to fund the Dundas Street Reclamation Project as it’s highly unlikely that Development and Reserve Contributions will generate enough cash to pay for the project before work is scheduled to start in 2023-2024.

Three options are on the table -

Option One - Fund the project through Community Area Reserve Contributions in the Mercury Bay area.

TCDC says the advantages are Ensuring that the project is funded by those that derive the most benefit from it and is  limited to a particular catchment to ensure only those who are geographically likely to use the facilities will be levied for them.

The disadvantages are increases the total development contribution levy in the Mercury  Bay area which may be seen as a deterrent to developers.             .

Option two - Fund the project through loans.

TCDC hasn’t identified any benefits from this option.                .                           

The disadvantage is that there is no real benefit to ratepayers as existing boat ramps have not reached full capacity. Those that obtain most benefit from the ramp may not be those that pay for its creation.

Option three - Fund the project through lump sum contributions.   

The advantage is that funds are collected quickly without ongoing administration costs. in contribution.

Disadvantages - There is no real benefit to the existing ratepayer in developing the new boat ramp as existing facilities have not reached full capacity.

This option does not recognise the fact that the key driver for the project is increased development in the Mercury bay Area. Those that obtain most benefit from the ramp may not be those who pay for its development.        

Anyone who would like to comment should contact Mr Baker no later than 5:00pm on Friday 17 July 2015 at email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (via post) at The Chief Financial Officer, C\- Thames-Coromandel District Council, Private Bag, Thames 3540.

TCDC boat ramp fees to stay the same

Thames Coromandel District Council did not increase their boat ramp parking and amenity fees for the new Council financial year.

TCDC said they have some upgrades planned over the next two years to boat ramp facilities in Matarangi, Kuaotunu, Purangi and Whitianga (Dundas Street/Robinson Road). For example, they plan to put a floating pontoon in at Purangi.

While the TCDC Long Term Plan lists all of Mercury Bay as a permit area, TCDC councillor Tony Fox explains, "Charges will only be considered as and when Council and the community upgrade the facilities, such as the Mercury Bay boat ramp.

"When these facility upgrades are complete, they will then be added to the list of locations where permits will be considered. Of course, all facilities in the Mercury Bay area that incur charges will simply be covered by the same permit."

TCDC says they will have more information about the boat ramp upgrade projects in the future.


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Do you plan to “Support local/Buy Local” wherever possible during the Covid-19 recovery period, even if it means paying somewhat more for items you could have purchased online from outside the wider Mercury Bay area?

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.