Tuesday, 16 July 2019


Mercury Bay Boating Club’s annual New Year’s Day Race took place on Tuesday last week with a slight twist as there were two fleets. Fleet 1 had nine local keelers pitted against four visiting yachts from Auckland and Tauranga. Fleet 2 was made up of five smaller yachts, four Hobie 16 catamarans and a Laser. They were racing a shorter course better suited to these exciting little boats.

The simple steps you take to clean your gear will help protect our kauri forests and could mean the difference between the ultimate survival and extinction of this iconic species. That’s a message the Kauri 2000 Trust hopes everyone visiting forests on the Coromandel Peninsula will take personally and by observing simple hygiene precautions do their bit to prevent kauri dieback disease spreading among Coromandel Peninsula kauri.

The kaupapa/purpose of Tuia - 250 Encounters is woven throughout the extensive programme of activities that will be taking place in Te Whanganui o Hei/Mercury Bay from March 2019. Tuia - 250 Encounters is all about telling the stories, histories and voyaging traditions of the Māori communities who had been established in Aotearoa/New Zealand for hundreds of years, as well as marking the first onshore encounters between Māori and Europeans during the first voyage of James Cook and the HM Bark Endeavour in 1769.  

Ruben Arriola arrived in Whitianga in September last year to study English for four weeks at Coromandel Outdoor Language Centre (COLC). He hails from Eibar, a city in the Basque Country of Spain, where he grew up and worked for two years as a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, specialising in tuina (a Chinese medical massage) and acupuncture.

Three distinctly different bodies of work by talented Coromandel artist Daniel Kirsch’s artworks are at the moment being exhibited at Bread & Butter Gallery in Whitianga.

As a lover of the outdoors, Daniel has developed a close relationship with nature. This passion, along with a strong interest in New Zealand’s cultural traditions, encouraged him to study Te Reo and Tikanga, allowing him to explore what is unique about Maori language and culture.

On Christmas Day, a free community lunch were enjoyed 130 guests in the Whitianga Town Hall.

The lunch was organised by Whitianga residents Maureen Kerr, John and Madeline Saunders, Dorothy Preece, Tania Iti and Yvette Simpson. Armed with a whiteboard and a marker pen, these six determined individuals got together in June last year to commence planning. “It’s amazing, on Boxing Day I went back to look at what we set out to do back in June and we’ve achieved every single thing,” says Maureen.

Fundraising for a new skatepark in Whitianga is formally underway. A sign close to where the new skatepark is earmarked to be built at Taylor’s Mistake has been put up. The sign contains a barometer indicating how much of the newly established Mercury Bay Skate Park Trust’s initial target of $150,000 has been raised.

The American Muscle, Street & Custom Club Whitianga will be celebrating their first birthday in style this coming Sunday (6 January) with a car show in Albert Street, Whitianga.The show, called the ‘Frankies Beach Street Meet,’ is organised by club founders Reg and Julie Smith and fellow Whitianga residents Peter and Penny Murray.

Reg says the American Muscle, Street & Custom Club Whitianga is not a club in the true sense of the word. “We don’t have a committee,a formal list of members and a set of rules ora constitution,” he says. “We’re really just agroup of like-minded individuals who love interesting vehicles.

“Our first meeting was on Sunday 7 January last year at Frankies Sports Bar & Grill in Albert Street in Whitianga. We expected about 20 cars to turn up and ended up with 57. Since then,we’ve met the first Sunday of every month at Frankies. We average about 20 cars per meeting.

“We park up in Albert Street and havebreakfast and coffee and we ask a member of the public, just someone admiring the cars, to choose a ‘People’s Choice’ winner. We then normally go on a cruise somewhere and sometimes end up at someone’s place for a BBQ afterwards.

“We’ve been on some really fun cruises the past year. Highlights were trivia trails to Colville Café and Mercury Bay Estate in Cooks Beach, and a picnic at racing legend Rod Millen’s Leadfoot Ranch outside Hahei.

“Other fun events we’ve been part of include the 4th of July celebrations at Grace O’Malley’s in Whitianga and a Frankies Grease evening. Several of us have also participated in the Movember fundraiser for men’s health issues, in which we raised $500, and we’ve had a great Christmas party in December.

“The Frankies owners are also car loversand they were on board with us from day one.They put on $10 breakfasts during our meeting sand always donate a $50 voucher to the People’s Choice winner. They’ll have live music during our car show on 6 January and $10 breakfasts will again be on the menu."

More than 60 vehicles have so far beenentered in the Frankies Beach Street Meet. “If your vehicle is outside the ordinary, you really should enter,” says Reg. “The entry fee is only $25 and includes a Frankies drinks voucher.”

Albert Street will be closed to traffic between Lee Street and Monk Street at approximately 9:00am on 6 January and will remain closed until the end of the car show. “The show will start at 10:00am and continue until 2:00pm,” says Reg. “It’s free for members of the public to appreciate the cars on display and we want to encourage as many people as possible to come along.

“The Mercury Rockers Rock ‘n’ Roll Club will do a bit of dancing and it will be great if people dress up in a 50 s and 60s theme too.We’ll have a prize for the best-dressed person.

“We’ll be selling raffles and have six category prizes to give away for the most impressive vehicles, including a People’s Choice award.Three lucky draw prizes, all donated by very generous business owners, will also be given away. The vehicle categories will be judged by Whitianga Waterways developer Leigh Hopper and Darren Hartley of Coastal Signs in Whitianga, who’s a keen speedway driver.

“We expect the show to be a lot of fun.”

There’s still an opportunity for vehicleo wners to enter the show, but space is limited. Anyone interested can phone or text Reg on (027) 493 5822 or email him This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it...

Pictured are the organisers of the Frankies Beach Street Meet on 6 January. From the left - Reg and Julie Smith, and Peter and Penny Murray.

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Are you concerned about the new cell towers going up around the Coromandel Peninsula?

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.