Monday, 17 February 2020


Argyle and Eyre fastest in Goldrush Rally of Coromandel

Stage 9, the final stage, of the Goldrush Rally of Coromandel has just finished with Geoff Argyle and Joelle Eyre in a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO8 achieving the fastest overall time.

Argyle and Eyre finished in a total time of 1:40:49.5, more than a minute ahead of the second fastest team of Phil Campbell and Venita Fabbro in a Mitsubishi EVO Lancer 9, who achieved a time of 1:41:53.4.

The third fastest time was a tight battle with Carl Davies and Tracey Millar finishing in a time of 1:42:03.8, only 1.2 seconds ahead of fourth placed Nigel Adams and Tanya Gwynne’s time of 1:42:05.0.

Richard and Sara Mason, who have already won the New Zealand Rally series (of which the Goldrush Rally is a part) had to withdraw during stage 6 after their Subaru Imprezza WRX STi suffered a snapped rear toe link.

The Mercury Bay community showed tremendous support for the rally with scores of people attending last night’s street party in Blacksmith Lane, Whitianga and today lining Joan Gaskell Drive in town watching the rally's two 1.17km super stages (stages 7 and 9).

Rally organisers said it’s most likely that the rally will return to Mercury Bay next year.

TCDC parking rules out for review

Thames Coromandel District Council staff and Council’s Community Boards have together worked on a revised draft parking control bylaw which is now available for Coromandel communities to provide feedback on.

The parking control bylaw manages things like how long people can park in certain areas, bus stops and loading zones, pay and display parking and mobility parking. TCDC said they’ve tried to make the bylaw easier to understand and to ensure parking is available around the Coromandel and that there is fair access for everyone.

A significant change from the current bylaw is that the rules about freedom camping parking have been moved into a freedom camping bylaw (the submission period on which has recently closed).

More information about the draft parking bylaw is available on the TCDC website, click here.

Whitianga Shar Pei dog classified as dangerous

An incident in Whitianga's Cook Drive has led to a Shar Pei dog (pictured) being classified as dangerous and two people receiving infringements.

Thames Coromandel District Council's Animal Control Officers were called to investigate a complaint where an altercation between two groups of people resulted in a Whitianga man being bitten by the Shar Pei dog and receiving a 60mm rip to his leg.

Interviews have established that the person in charge of the dog at the time, who was not the registered owner, failed to control the dog. When police and Animal Control Officers visited the owner's property to discuss the incident, the man ran off, but was quickly apprehended and arrested on unrelated charges.

The person in charge of the dog at the time of the incident will receive an infringement for failing to control the dog and the owner will receive an infringement for failing to microchip the dog.

The photo of the dog has been released to inform the public that this dog living nearby to New World in Whitianga must not be in a public place unless muzzled and on a lead.

The dog was registered and there are no previous formal complaints on Council records about the dog. Animal Control Officers have checked the behaviour of the Shar Pei dog and are convinced that due to its aggressive nature the dog poses a risk to public safety and must be classified as dangerous.

The dog also needs to be kept within a secure area on the property it is living so that it is not necessary to enter the fenced area to access at least one door of the dwelling on the property.

Thames-Coromandel District Council Compliance and Bylaws Team Leader Steve Hart said, "Anyone who observes the dog out in a public place without it being on a lead or muzzled should immediately contact Animal Control 24/7 on (07) 868 0200."

Shar Pei dogs, also known as the Chinese Fighting Dog, is a powerful dog that was commonly used in China as a pit fighter. Since being introduced into the western world, the dog has become more domesticated but it remains a powerful breed with a strong jaw that can be less than hospitable if not properly trained.

Goldrush Rally road closures

With the Goldrush Rally of Coromandel this weekend in Whitianga, some roads around the Mercury Bay area will be closed for some periods of time. This is what you need to know about the closures -

Blacksmith Lane, Whitianga will be closed starting at the intersection with Albert Street and finishing 250m from Albert Street. Period of proposed closure - 3:00pm Friday 22 August to 8:00pm 22 August.

Tapu-Coroglen Road will be closed starting at the 3.9kms from State Highway 25 (Tapu end) and finishing at State Highway 25 (Coroglen end). Period of proposed closure - 7:50am Saturday 23 August to 3:50pm 23 August.

The 309 Road will be closed starting at 1.3kms from State Highway 25 (Coromandel end) and finishing at 4.5kms from State Highway 25 (Coromandel end). Period of proposed closure - 6:30am Saturday 23 August to 9:30am 23 August.

The 309 Road will also be closed starting at 4kms from State Highway 25 (Coromandel end), and finishing at 21kms from State Highway 25 (Coromandel end). Period of proposed closure - 6:30am Saturday 23 August to 4:00pm 23rd August.

Joan Gaskell Drive, Whitianga will be closed starting at State Highway 25, and finishing 1.2km from State Highway 25. Period of proposed closure - 1:00pm Saturday 23 August to 6:00pm 23 August.

During the proposed periods of closure the following provision will be made for ordinary traffic traffic which would otherwise use the roads -

Tapu-Coroglen Road and the 309 Road -
Detour via State Highway 25 or State Highway 25A (Kopu-Hikuai).

Joan Gaskell Drive -
Detour via State Highway 25, Buffalo Beach Road and Albert Street to enter/exit Whitianga.

Additional funding for two Coromandel conservation trusts announced today

Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner today announced two Coromandel Peninsula conservation trusts have received funding to continue the work they are busy with.

The Kauri 2000 Trust has received $57,000 to help prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease on the Coromandel Peninsula and the Whenuakiwi Trust has received $25,000 for predator control,

Both grants are from the Department of Conservation’s Community Conservation Partnership Fund.

Kauri 2000 has planted 40,000 kauri trees since 2000. This milestone was marked today in Coromandel Town alongside the funding announcement.

The funds received by the Whenuakiwi Trust will enable the trust to continue its successful kiwi care project at Whenuakite by hiring a contractor to target predators such as possums and rats. The trust, also known as Whenuakite Kiwi Care Group, was established by the local community in 2000.

Rape survivor Louise Nicholas to speak in Whitianga next month

Did you know in New Zealand one in four females and one in eight males are likely to experience sexual violence, most before the age of 16?

This shocking fact is part of what Louise Nicholas, renowned and prominent rape survivor, will be speaking on in Whitianga on 10 September. Louise will share her journey through life and the work she now does as a survivor advocate with Rape Prevention Education (RPE), a non-profit agency focused on the prevention of sexual violence through education and community work.

Louise is brought to Mercury Bay by a local drug rape survivor who has received an enormous amount of help and support from her. "Louise’s strength and courage is such an inspiration to me, she has given me hope that healing is possible," the survivor said.

Louise is first and foremost a wife and mother. She has been married to her husband, Ross for 26 years and they have four children. "My family is my life. Without their love, support and encouragement, I would never have walked the rocky path to seek the justice I felt I deserved or been able to take on the role of survivor advocate," Louise said.

Louise is a survivor of childhood and adult rape. She was a victim of a crime committed against her by serving members of the New Zealand Police and is a survivor of a justice system that saw her battle her way through two deposition hearings and and a number of very prominent court cases. "I was slammed around the courtroom like a tennis ball, was told that I was nothing but an uneducated, vindictive, sex crazed liar by defence lawyers, but still I held my head high, I knew the truth, I knew what happened and nothing they could say or do in that courtroom could hurt me anymore, it was my time to take back the power and control that was stripped from me, this was my justice…"

Louise was voted the New Zealand Herald’s New Zealander of the Year in 2007 and was also placed in the top ten as one of "New Zealand’s Living Treasures." She co-wrote the bestselling book "Louise Nicholas - My Story" with Phil Kitchin, the Dominion Post reporter who broke her story in 2004. That led to a full Police investigation known as Operation Austin and a Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct. An updated edition of the book was released in July this year.

A movie about Louise’s fight for justice, "Consent - The Louise Nicholas Story" screened on television last Sunday night.

Talking about her own experience, the local drug rape survivor said a drink she had one evening years ago was "spiked" with a drug that left her with no memory for eight hours. "As a result of this hideous crime, I am now challenged with post-traumatic stress disorder," she said. "I was failed by the very first emergency department doctor who judged me as just a drunken girl. For years I grappled with how anyone would ever believe me? I kept my feelings and my thoughts repressed for a long, long time. It has been a long, difficult and painful journey.

"Having Louise to talk to has made me feel validated and made me realise that I’m not alone. She could instantly relate to what I was going through. It has helped me so much to have Louise supporting me through the healing process.

"I have learnt that the best medicine of all is to let it out, to talk about how you feel and slowly to work through your unresolved grief, denial doesn’t help. It was important to find the right person. Someone I felt safe with and trusted to help me in my healing journey. I encourage other survivors to find the strength and come forward to start their journey to healing. Healing is possible. Louise is living testament of this."

Everyone will benefit from listening to Louise, parents, grandparents, young men and women. You may not be directly affected by sexual violence, but the social cost is high. Too many mental health issues and suicides are the result of sexual abuse.

You will hear how parents and carers can support the young people in our community, how to keep yourself safe and about the consequences sexual abuse have on survivors and their families. You will understand that "no" really means "no." Louise will emphasise that help is available for rape survivors, that they aren’t alone and that there are people who will believe them and who they can trust. She will also talk about the high profile "Roast Busters" case that is currently working its way through the legal system.

Louise’s talk is free and will be held at 7:00pm in the drama room of the performing arts block at Mercury Bay Area School. The updated edition of "Louise Nicholas - My Story" will be available for purchase and Louise will be happy to sign copies afterwards.

The New Zealand Herald said in 2007, Louise Nicholas "… has shown a rare resilience, turning a life that could have been a shattered ruin into a beacon of hope." Her story is a must hear.

Any sexual abuse survivors in need of help can phone the National Support Line on 0800 88 33 00. If you need support to make the call, Jenny Wolf and her team at Whitianga Social Services will be happy to assist. Call in at 2 Cook Drive or phone them on 866 4476.

You can also be in touch with any of the agencies listed on RPE’s website,

New Chum petition handed to TCDC

According to Thames Coromandel District Council, a petition delivered to TCDC mayor Glenn Leach today reinforced Council's elected members' existing stand that all applications for development at New Chum beach be publicly notified.

"The public interest and natural values of Wainuiototo (New Chum) beach are so high that our elected Council has previously stated we wanted all applications for development there to be publicly notified," said Mr Leach.

He also explained to the petitioners, Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty and Preserve New Chum for Everyone, that at this stage the application is still on hold awaiting further information from the applicant.

"One thing we'll want to ensure whenever the information comes back to us, is that third party interests are looked after and that the native flora and fauna which make New Chum such a special part of the Coromandel continue to be protected and also remain accessible for everyone to still visit, through the existing walkway," said Mr Leach.

"We'll also be pushing for a natural buffer zone between the development and the beach. This would run the full length of the beach and be maintained by a covenant, potentially through the QEII Trust or TCDC."

Tairua Police investigate fatal dog attack on seal

Eastern Waikato Police is crediting the sharp eyes of a member of the public in helping locate the owner of two dogs that fatally injured a seal in Tairua yesterday.

Senior Constable Matt Goodman said calls were received by a number of agencies, including Police, in relation to the incident which happened shortly after midday.

"A small seal had been reported by joggers and walkers on the beach in Tairua's inner harbour in the morning and the local Harbour Master had gone down to check it was OK. Then about 12.20pm two pitt-bull type dogs were seen to attack the seal, causing fatal injuries. The animals were seen being put into a car that drove off, but a member of the public quickly relayed the vehicle's registration number to Police."

Mr Goodman said armed with that and other information, it wasn't long before the vehicle owner was located by Police.

"This man has been spoken to by Police and was confirmed as being the dogs' owner. We are currently conducting an investigation in conjunction with the Department of Conservation and the Thames Coromandel District Council to determine what, if any, charges may result from the incident.

"This incident was obviously a traumatic one for a number of people who saw or who had interacted with the seal prior to the attack and Police would like to remind dog owners of their responsibilities for their animals."


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Did TCDC do the right thing to make Whitianga subject to a total watering ban during the busy summer holiday season?

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.