Wednesday, 20 November 2019


On Sunday 14 April, two Mad KOWS (Kuaotunu Open Water Swimmers) and two HOWS (Hahei Open Water Swimmers) completed their fifth swim to raise money for cancer support in Mercury Bay. They have between nine and 10 swims (from Whangapoua around the top of the Coromandel Peninsula to Coromandel Town) planned in total.

A 3m long plank of wood believed to have come from the wreck of HMS Buffalo was found on the beach opposite the Buffalo monument in Whitianga early last week.

Food, nutrition and hospitality teacher at Mercury Bay Area School, Joanna Mannington, is organising a themed dinner at the conference room of the Flaxmill Bay Campground during September this year. The dinner is to form part of the Tuia - Encounters 250 commemorations in Mercury Bay.

Miss Mary Hollins, or Matron Hollins, was a local legend at the Mercury Bay Hospital. She worked and lived there from 1956 until 1973. The hospital, as well as the mums and the babies she helped bring into the world, were her life. 

At just 10 years of age, Ivan Adams’s promising rugby career came to an abrupt halt. A former Mercury Bay Rugby Club Player of the Year in the junior grades, Ivan suffered what doctors suspected was a brain aneurysm in February 2018. Ongoing neurological tests over the following six months eventually cleared Ivan of any permanent health issues, but at that stage the decision to hang up his rugby boots permanently had already been made. 

On Tuesday last week, the Whitianga Lodge of the Freemasons donated the first of two portable defibrillators to the Whitianga Police. John Hoyte, Master of Lodge Whitianga, handed the defibrillator to Nick Preston, the Whitianga Police’s newest member.

The defibrillators will be carried in two of the patrol vehicles of the Whitianga Police. Nick has more than eight years’ experience in the Police. He transferred to Whitianga from the Counties Manukau Police District approximately two months ago. He understands the importance of defibrillators in Police vehicles as he was previously involved in an incident in South Auckland where a portable Police defibrillator saved the life of someone who suffered sudden cardiac arrest.

“Benevolence and charity are an important part of Freemasonry,” says John. “It shows that we value people and their rights and that we tolerate diversity and encourage learning and advancement.

“Locally, in Mercury Bay, we attempt to support as many causes as we possibly can. We’re happy for some of our support to be publicly known, like our donation of the defibrillators to the Whitianga Police, but other times we, and the people and causes we support, think it’s better to keep our support private.

“We obviously also support our fellow Freemasons, their wives, families and our widows when they are in need.

“Nationally, Freemasons New Zealand run the largest privately-funded university scholarship programme in the country and provide financial assistance for medical research into paediatrics, brain diseases, geriatric medicine and ophthalmology.

“In addition, charitable Masonic trusts have been formed all around New Zealand for specific purposes, including the provision of housing for the elderly.

“Our most prominent fundraising activity in Whitianga is our sausage sizzles every Saturday over summer at the Whitianga Art, Craft and Farmers Market.”

The Lodge rooms of the Whitianga Freemasons will be opened to the public, families included, on Monday evening 29 April at 7:15pm for a 7:30 pm start  Complimentary refreshments will be served. “We’re opening our Lodge rooms to dispel some of the mystique surrounding Freemasonry,” says John. “It’s part of a nationwide effort that has been ongoing for some time to be more transparent. As a result, Freemasons New Zealand is seeing an increase in numbers. Men, and their families, are seeing the value of belonging to a brotherhood of good men working in harmony and where good moral and ethical values are taught in a disciplined way.

“The reality is that the only part of Freemasonry that’s confidential to members is the means of recognition between themselves. There are historical origins for this confidentiality. It’s retained to this day as a symbolic statement of reliability, integrity and trust.

“I want to encourage everyone to come along on 29 April. Our members will be present and will be happy to talk about the value they get from belonging to the Freemasons.”

For more information, phone John on (021) 029 56521

Caption - John Hoyte, Master of the Whitianga Lodge of the Freemasons, handing a portable defibrillator to Constable Nick Preston of the Whitianga Police on Tuesday last week.

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Should The Whitianga Hotel's application for a new tavern licence have been refused?

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.