Saturday, 11 July 2020


Targa Bambina this month in Mercury Bay

The Targa Bambina Rally is coming to the Coromandel later this month. Thames Coromandel District Counncil says people need to be aware there will be some road closures.

The Targa Rally prides itself on being the "Ultimate Road Race" and the Coromandel gives drivers a real challenge while providing some exceptional scenic views along the way.

The Targa series allows competitors to compile points over each race leg to arrive at a series champion. These legs are a few times a year and called Targa Bambina, Targa Rotorua and Targa New Zealand.

The Targa Bambina leg will take place through the Coromandel during the weekend of 15 and 16 May. Mercury Bay will see the following road closures -

Friday 15 May from 3pm to 5.45pm - SH25 (WHANGAPOUA Road), starting from its intersection with SH25 (Tiki Road at Coromandel), to finish by the Castle Rock Café, 300 metres from its intersection with Whangapoua Road and SH25 (Te Rerenga Kuaotunu Road).

Friday 15 May from 5pm until 9am Saturday 16 May - Whitianga. The Marina car park entrance through to the intersection with Blacksmith Lane will be closed allow rally cars to park overnight.

Saturday 16 May from 7.15am to 10.30am -. Pumpkin Hill SH25 (TAIRUA WHITIANGA Road and Main Road), starting at House No. 1032 A/B (750m South of its intersection with Hot Water Beach Road) to finish at its intersection with Ocean Beach Road (just North of Tairua). Includes intersections with Boat Harbour Road (No Exit), Kydd Corner Road (No Exit) and Paul Road (No Exit),

TCDC says traffic marshalls will be in place to manage traffic.

New Chums subdivision application on hold

The applicants for the subdivision at New Chums Beach have put in a last minute notice asking Thames Coromandel District Council to suspend their application.
Public hearings were set down to start this Monday 4 May at 9:00am at the Council Chambers in Thames. A total of 187 submissions were received, with over 80 submitters requesting to be heard by a panel of three independent Resource Management Act commissioners.

“Late Friday afternoon we were notified by the applicants’ lawyers that there’s been a last-minute disagreement from one of the co-owners of the site relating to access arrangements to the beach,” says David Hammond, TCDC Chief Executive. “They say the disagreement makes the present proposal one which would now not be given effect to and they see no point in proceeding with Monday’s hearing until the dispute can be resolved.”

Through their lawyer, the applicants have apologised to everyone who is inconvenienced, especially the submitters and the commissioners and are requesting Council suspend the processing of the application.

“We are now trying to get in touch with all the submitters to alert them to the situation,” says Mr Hammond.  “We are also now getting advice on the best steps to proceed.”
Given the lateness of the notice, the applicants have indicated they will still attend the hearing venue on Monday where decisions can be made.

The application for subdivision has been made by Ross and Deidre Mear and is for a four lot subdivision, all 15ha in size, together with a fifth "beach conservation lot," 1.2ha in size. The beach lot is proposed as a conservation area, allowing for public access along the beach.

Full house at FAN launch

The Thames Toyota factory housed over 150 people, mostly employers who wanted to find out more about getting young people into the workforce at the launch of the Futureforce Action Network Thames-Coromandel last night.

The Futureforce Action Network (FAN) is made up of employers, educators, government and community organisations committed to creating better education-to-work opportunities for young people.

The guest speakers were a range of employers from the district who employ youth in their businesses - Grahame Christian, Managing Director of Smart Environmental, Peter Manning, Toyota Thames and Heather Moore, Unichem Heather Moore Pharmacy.

Youth speakers - including Darian Staples, a pharmacy trainee and Jake Leopald, an apprentice electrician - talked about the opportunities they were given and how it makes a difference to be given a chance and have someone believe in you enough to invest in your future.

Linda Caie, Project Manager at Smart Waikato, gave pointers and tips on future planning, selecting an employee and the importance of induction and mentoring.

With networking opportunities between the speakers, the room had a party atmosphere and many made great new connections, including the Whitianga Youth Group who found themselves chatting with TCDC Chief Executive David Hammond.

"We are proud to be one of the partners addressing an issue that is critical to the economy of the Coromandel, keeping our youth in the district," says Mr Hammond.

"If we grow our own workforce on the Coromandel, we grow our communities and businesses and the opportunity for families to flourish - fulfilling the Coromandel vision to be the most desirable area to live, work and play.”

Last night's attendees registered to be partners of the FAN network and now have a range of tools at their disposal to help plan work opportunities for youth, transitioning youth into the workplace and training and mentoring resources.

Whitianga Police Report for Monday 20 April to Monday 27 April


An excellent turn out to Whitianga’s ANZAC Service with the majority of our town attending.

I was very impressed with those in attendance standing fast, especially when the rain came as most weren't wearing raincoats as the morning had started out with fine weather.

There were no issues with any of the parades in our immediate area.


23rd - 1 x 21yr old local man for Theft and Breaching Prison Release Conditions.

24th - 1 x 20yr old Matamata man for Wilful Damage (x6)


One domestic incident attended this week.

On the 23rd we dealt with a Breach of Protection Order where a couple were arguing over custody issues and text messages were getting abusive.

On the 21st a residential property on Annette Place was burgled with the offender smashing a window to gain access.

The home owner is still to establish if property was stolen.

On the 22nd a car Unlawfully Taken from an Isabella Street address was later located on White Street.

On the 23rd a floral-coloured skate board was stolen from the wharf area and two gas bottles were stolen from outside a Clipper Place address on the 24th.

Also on the 24th number plates were stolen from a Joan Gaskell Drive car park and have been linked to a stolen vehicle located on Mill Road.

On the 26th a car was Unlawfully Taken from a party on South Highway and the offender crashed it a short distance from the address and decamped.

Enquiries are continuing with a named suspect.

As per the arrest above an intoxicated man caused damage along Cook Drive on the 26th and he will be able to explain his actions to a Judge.


Two drunk drivers apprehended this week.

20th - 1 x 30yr old local man 657/250 and also Driving Whilst Disqualified.

25th - 1 x 24yr old local woman 761/250

No serious crashes to report.

TCDC appoints Business Broker

Thames Coromandel District Council now has a single-point of contact to help big business and development projects navigate through the different Council departments they need to deal with.

Len Whittaker, a civil engineer who has been working in local government for 30 years and with TCDC for nine years, is now Council’s Business Broker.

TCDC says Len is available to business people to offer a strategic, high-level, all-of-Council experience to make sure qualifying projects follow a clear pathway through the bureaucracy. The paperwork is necessary, but not always easy or fun.

Large subdivision projects and business development initiatives often require input from staff in Planning, Legal, Health, Licences, Concessions, Building Consents and Infrastructure services.

TCDC says they want to make sure people who are investing in Coromandel communities receive everything they need from Council in order to drive their projects forward.

This will help retain and grow economic activity - creating jobs and opportunities for the people of the Coromandel.

Mr Whittaker is available for "pre-concept" meetings to discuss projects before they are lodged with Council to make sure everyone's on the same page.

Mr Whittaker obtained his New Zealand Certificate in Engineering (NZCE) qualification in 1984, specialising in civil engineering.
Since then, he's worked in roading, water supply, wastewater supply, stormwater supply and solid waste - all aspects that are crucial to subdivision development, which has been Mr Whittaker's focus for the last 18 years.

This work has involved him in engineering surveys, design, consents, construction supervision and project management.

He's worked on Whitianga Waterways, Pauanui Waterways, Matarangi Beach Estates subdivisions, Totara Palms, the new Kopu Bridge and the Kopu Structure Plan - which takes in the current redevelopment of the Kopu Business Park - just to name a few of  the many projects he's been involved in.

Most recently, Mr Whittaker has been TCDC’s Acting Area Manager for Mercury Bay, taking Sam Marshall's place for eight months while he was on extended leave.

In that role he developed good links with Council’s elected members and senior management.

"I know the go-to people and have good rapport with them," says Mr Whittaker.

"I can help build relationships and partnerships between developers and Council offices and departments.”

Ferry Landing restoration works begin

Divers will be working around the Ferry Landing old stone wharf for several days this week recovering old stone blocks from the sea floor.

The work is the first stage in Thames Coromandel District Council’s restoration project of the wharf, which is one of the oldest working stone wharves in the Southern Hemisphere and is also classified as a Grade One structure by the Historic Places Trust.

Guy Banhidi and his team of divers from Dive Revive based out of Whenaukite will be carrying out the recovery work. This will see stones lost from the original wall recovered from the seafloor. They wlll then be used to rebuild the wharf's original stone steps, along with sections of missing wall.

"These are the original stones from the wharf that have eroded off and fallen into the sea," says Mercury Bay Area Manager Sam Marshall.

The stones, estimated to weigh between 100kg and 1,000kg can be seen in good visibility, several metres under the water, beside the wharf and out further into the channel.

A crane will be on-site and a section of the wharf will be cordoned off around where the divers are working. Divers will be wearing helmets with communications on them which allows them to be in constant contact with the dive tender.

"The divers aren't going deep and it's not dangerous conditions," says Mr Banhidi. "The comms allows us to let the divers know when the ferry is coming and going. We have already worked out a plan with the erry operator, as the service will be going during our work.

"People are welcome to come and watch, but won't be able to get anywhere near our operation," he says.

The diving work should take up to three days and when that's complete, a stonemason and archaeologist will be analysing the stones to see how many can be used to rebuild the wharf and whether other stone needs to be sourced.

The actual restoration of stonework on the wharf will take place later in the year.

Last December the Lotteries Environment and Heritage Fund approved $187,645 towards the Stage One of the restoration work, while TCDC had contributed $279,000.

Memorial Forest plantings on ANZAC Day

ANZAC Day will see the first trees planted in Thames Coromandel District Council's World War I Memorial Forest.

Two signature native trees are to be planted at three sites around the Coromandel as part of ANZAC Day commemorations on 25 April.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, when New Zealand troops fought their first major campaign of World War One.

In all, 18,166 New Zealanders died in the war. By the 100th anniversary of the war's end in 2018, that number of trees will have been planted at 10 sites across the Coromandel.

The trees will be planted in forests that represent major battles and campaigns that New Zealand forces took part in.

"The New Zealand World War I Memorial Forest is a fitting and long-lasting tribute to the New Zealand men and women who fought and died in the service of their country a century ago," says TCDC Economic Development Programme Manager Ben Dunbar-Smith.

Mr Dunbar-Smith has been overseeing this complex project that also involves significant contributions from RSAs, community groups, schools, Waikato Regional Council and the Department of Conservation.

The 10 forest sites will also form a growing tourism attraction, with trees available for purchase and each tree GPS-located.

"The tourism benefits of the memorial forest are considerable and in the early stages of planting there will be spin-off effects from the local goods and services related to the project," says Mr Dunbar-Smith.

After discussions with RSAs and local communities, it was decided to keep the plantings on ANZAC Day low key so as not to detract from the day's traditional remembrance ceremonies.

The three sites where planting will take place on ANZAC Day are the new cemetery at Mercury Bay, Tairua's RSA cemetery and in Whangamata on the Council reserve near Durrant Drive.

At the new Mercury Bay cemetery 35 trees will be blessed on ANZAC Day. Two of these will be planted and the others taken away to be planted after 5 June when the weather conditions for planting are better.

After the trees are blessed and planted, a New Zealand World War One Memorial Forest sign will be unveiled that honours those from Mercury Bay who gave their lives in the war.

The cemetery forest site also remembers the Battle of Passchendaele, where eventually more than 2,000 trees will be planted.

At Tairua's RSA cemetery two signature trees are to be planted on ANZAC Day after the dawn service.

A New Zealand World War One Memorial Forest sign honouring those from Tairua-Hikuai who served and died in the war will be unveiled at the same time.

A further 46 trees will be planted over the winter months, when conditions are best for tree planting.

Also on ANZAC Day, two signature trees are due to be planted at a Council reserve at the northern entrance to Whangamata near Durrant Drive.

More than 550 submissions received on TCDC Long term Plan

Thames Coromandel District Council’s Long Term Plan submission period resulted in 567 submissions.

TCDC received five submissions on their Development Contributions Policy, 41 submissions on their Rates Remissions Policy, 174 on their Revenue and Financing Policy and 347 on the overall Long Term Plan consultation document.

Hearings on the Long term Plan will be held in Whitianga and Thames the week after ANZAC day. The locations have been chosen based on the numbers of submitters and the places they live. Community Boards will then have special meetings to allow their input into the deliberations process and Council will make final decisions in the middle of May.

The meeting in Whitianga will be held on Tuesday 28 April at 9:00am in the Mercury Bay Community Boardroom at 10 Monk Street.


Latest business rest of site

Merv George Plumbing and Drainage

Master Plumber and Drainlayer, Eco Plumber, gasfitter.


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.