Tuesday, 20 August 2019


Whitianga Police Report for Monday 13 July to Monday 20 July 2015


We have had a couple of thefts reported this week where the owners have left their property unattended and then returned to discover the property stolen.

Unfortunately there are people out there waiting for the opportunity to steal your property, so please make it as difficult as possible for them.

Leaving bags outside stores while you are shopping is not a good idea.

Either leave large bags at home or request the store owner hold the bag at the counter while you are in their store.  


13th - 1 x 15 year old boy for Burglary.


Two domestic incidents attended this week.

Both on the 16th involving the same family at a White Street address, when their 18 year old son lost his temper, kicking the letterbox and car after a direct discussion concerning what he needed to contribute to remain staying there. Police calmed the situation and the family discussed future rules they could all agree to.

On the 12th as per the arrest above, a 15 year old was apprehended after stealing 3 pair of shoes from the front porch area of a Nicholas Avenue address. The shoes were returned and the matter referred to Youth Aid Section.

On the 15th a bag was left outside a store at a Lee Street premises and stolen. The owner subsequently located the bag and contents behind the premises.

A cell phone was stolen during a party at a Centennial Drive address on the 18th.


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

19th - 1 x 15year old boy was apprehended riding a scooter motor bike without a licence and he was forbidden to drive until he obtained a New Zealand drivers licence.

If a forbidden driver is stopped driving without having obtained a current drivers licence, then the vehicle can be impounded for 28 days and the driver charged with Driving Whilst Forbidden.

So to avoid a day in court and the impound costs, Police remind everyone to get a licence before they drive on a road.

Whitianga's very own sea shanty

Yes, Whitianga has it’s very own sea shanty now.

Local performer Stewart Pedley wrote and composed this song for the Buffalo commemorations taking place from 28 July to 2 August in Whitianga.

This seven verse song is really a summary of the history of HMS Buffalo, the ship that ran aground at Whitianga’s Buffalo Beach on 28 July 1840.

Here are the words of the song. For a video clip of the first three verses, go to www.facebook.com/TheInformerMB.


My friends, I gift this tale, to history it pertains,

About the ship, the Buffalo, and all her different claims.

She started in Calcutta, and ended in remains.

I could tell you all the faces, and tell you all the names.

So, let’s set her out to sea

In eighteen-thirty-three:

Hey, ho, away she goes,

The ship, the Buffalo.


I was boarded on the ship, one catholic Mary Murphy,

With all the other convict girls, from Portsmouth, bound for Sydney.

If giving birth below the deck damn near didn’t kill me,

It was being fed only bread for being a disorderly.

We was all down in the bottom

With the stinking and the rotten.

Hey, ho, away she goes,

The ship, the Buffalo.


Ko Titori ahau: I’m the noble chief, Titore.

I wrote to William, King of England, telling him my story

Of how we filled the Buffalo with the strongest spars of kauri

For English ships to fight the French, should they ever get to warring;

And how I’d like to purchase

As fine a ship as she is.

Hey, ho, away she goes,

The ship, the Buffalo.


Well, my name is William Bell; a five month trip I made

Under Captain Hindmarsh, to the place of Adelaide.

In the colony I stayed, where stories were oft relayed

Of Hindmarsh, made Governor, and the way his men behaved:

Their fists were always swinging;

They’d be drunk, and they’d be singing,

Hey, ho, away she goes,

The ship, the Buffalo.


I am Thomas Laslett, the botanist to the ship.

In Tairua we felled the finest trees that we saw fit.

The workers were all lazy sods who cared for not a shit,

And the natives wouldn’t take to saw ‘til blessings had been met.

But we filled her in the end

With spars for England.

Hey, ho, away she goes,

The ship, the Buffalo.


My story is of loss, my friends, for Captain Wood is I;

We lost one good ship that night, and we lost two good lives.

She broke the chains at Cook’s Beach in that fierce and cold July.

We tried to fight the howling winds, but couldn’t fight the tides;

With no pintle, or no anchor,

Mercury Bay’s seas finally sank her.

Hey, ho, away she goes,

The ship, the Buffalo.


The Buffalo wrecked in this place many years long gone;

Her story then entwined here as the town established on.

And though there’s little left of her, her ruins spread along,

She’s still alive in history, and still alive in song:

You can hear the crack of sails,

The ropes groan in the gales,

The seamen’s cheers and wails:

Hey, ho, away she goes,

The ship, the Buffalo.


Hey, ho, away she goes,

The ship, the Buffalo.



For a list of events during the week of Buffalo commemorations, go to the Coming Events section of this website.


Seal population on Coromandel increasing

Increasing numbers of seals are coming ashore in built-up parts of the Coromandel in what scientists say is a healthy sign of recovery from the historical slaughter of decades ago.

Authorities are ramping up education to try to prevent the problems of dogs harassing or attacking seals, people feeding seals, or - as they have in some cases - taking them home.  

“They look very cute but they’re mammals that can carry diseases that can transfer to us. If people feed them, there’s a chance the seal will stop feeding for itself and grow accustomed to people. They grow up to be more aggressive and their bite is three times the strength of a dog,” said DOC biodiversity ranger Stephanie Watts.

“We prefer minimum intervention, but if they’re in the way, like with commuters coming off the Whitianga ferry, we have to move them.”

She said the seals are also turning up in greater numbers in Auckland, where there is less natural habitat and they’re having to share waterfront land with houses and park areas.

“Because the seal population is increasing, they’re expanding back into their former range and people are going to see more and more of them. It’s going to be part of what you will see at the beach, especially on the west coast of Auckland.”

DOC Marine species and threats Science Advisor Laura Boren said Auckland and Coromandel Peninsula residents will need to consider how to share their space with seals. “Fur seals were originally estimated to number between 1.5 million and 2 million prior to hunting for meat and fur and they were hunted to near extinction.

“The South Island has already experienced the rate of increase and recolonisation and as an area starts to reach carrying capacity, then breeding sites will expand or seals will move into adjacent sites and those colonies will increase.

“What we’re seeing now is that it’s happening on the North Island. They’re filling up the spaces where they used to be found.”

She said seals were protected in the 1940s, but opened up again for two limited seasons before being officially protected from 1978 when legislation was brought in to protect all marine mammals in New Zealand.

DOC would like to hear about any animal that is injured - especially if entangled or with fishing hooks and gear on its body - or if it is tagged. If you find a seal that is severely injured, entangled in marine debris or being harassed by people or dogs, call the DOC Hotline 0800 362 468, otherwise visit the DOC website to learn about seals.

“Normal” seal behaviour includes flapping its flippers in the air as if stranded, "crying" - these are natural moisture secretions - and regurgitating, sneezing or coughing. 

They may also spend long periods of time on land.

A competition and street party part of Goldrush Rally of Coromandel

Children and young people can enter a "Design Your Own Rally Car Competition" to win a ride in a Rally NZ car as part of the Mahindra Goldrush Rally of Coromandel.

This is second year in a row that Rally NZ returns to the Coromandel for the fifth round of the Brian Green Property Groups NZ Rally Championship. Official racing is on Saturday 22 August with up to 60 cars vying for pole position

On the Friday night in Whitanga there will be an array of events for everyone to enjoy ahead of official race day, including the opportunity for winners of the Design a Rally Car Competition to get a ride in a car around Whitianga.

"All you have to do to enter is grab our competition form which asks you to draw a design of your ultimate rally car," says competition organiser Kirstin Richmond. "If you add in a description explaining the design that will certainly be helpful to the judges".

Entries can be picked up from TCDC offices and district libraries or downloaded from the TCDC website. There are five age-group categories and entries need to be sent in by 5:00pm on Friday 14 August to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or dropped into a TCDC area office or district library.

Kirstin says that due to height requirements, children aged under five won’t be able to go in the rally car for a drive, but the winner will receive a goodie bag and a meet and greet with the drivers.

On Friday 21 August, the Whitianga Community Events Support Trust and the Mercury Bay Business Association have organised for Blacksmith Lane in Whitianga to be closed between 3:00pm - 6:00pm for a street party to coincide with the ceremonial start of the rally.

Ten leading teams in the Rally will set up their service areas and provide a real "pit-lane" style feel of what it's really like when the cars stop in the pits to refuel and tune up. The remaining 50 race cars will also be on-site and on-display. All the rally drivers will also be on-site to meet the public.

Quad bike racing and drag racing (or rather men in drag racing) will also be part of the fun.

"We're so pleased to host Rally NZ for another year," says TCDC mayor Glenn Leach. "The feedback we have received from organisers was that the drivers loved the route and the hospitality shown by the Mercury Bay community last year.

"We also want to thank the Whitianga Community Events Support Trust and the Mercury Bay Business Association who are organising some fun events for the public on the Friday night before the race.”

For the rally programme and the best places to view the action, the Coming Events page of this website.

Whitianga fishers support seabird-smart fishing

Whitianga commercial fishers remain committed to keeping seabirds away from their boats through upskilling. This week 18 local fishers attended a one-day workshop where they swapped tips and techniques on how to keep seabirds safe.

Andrew Oliver of Aotearoa Fisheries says, “Local fishermen are already aware of the need to keep seabirds safe from harm while they’re out on the water, so it was a good chance to share their knowledge of what works and also get the most up-to-date information about seabirds.”

The workshop was organised by Southern Seabird Solutions (www.southernseabirds.org) to educate inshore commercial fishers about the issue of fishing-related seabird injuries or death. This is the second time these courses have been run and will now see the majority of Whitianga commercial fishers trained as seabird-smart.

Southern Seabird Solutions convenor Janice Molloy says seabirds have learned to forage for food at the back of trawl and longline fishing vessels, which places them at risk of being caught on hooks or tangled in nets or trawl gear.

The content of each workshop is tailored to the needs of the particular fishing fleet attending, with information provided about local seabirds, the latest developments in seabird-smart fishing practices, how to care for seabirds if they are caught and benefits for the fishing industry of being seabird-smart.

Aotearoa Fisheries Limited fisher, Rongomai Brightwell, says, “I found the workshop really informative and it was well presented. It was attended by both commercial and recreational sectors and as a collective group of skippers and deckhands, there was a really positive attitude, a better understanding of how to keep birds away from our fishing boats.”

The workshop was funded by Aotearoa Fisheries Limited, the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Department of Conservation.

Janice says Southern Seabird Solutions will keep in touch with workshop participants and can offer support and advice to fishers wanting to learn more or test particular seabird-smart practices to measure their effectiveness.

“Seabird-smart fishing makes good sense because it’s practical, helps keep seabirds safe, and it doesn’t get in the way of achieving a good catch,” she says. “We’re delighted to be working with local fishers to make a difference to seabird conservation.”

Aotearoa Fisheries has taken seabird conservation a step further and this past summer has sent three groups of fishers out to the Black Petrel colony on Great Barrier Island with Wildlife Management International Limited senior ecologist, Biz Bell. Seeing the birds in their own environment helps fishers to appreciate the importance of working in harmony with seabirds on the water.

“It’s an amazing experience for our guys to see and be able to appreciate these birds first hand and we’re so grateful to Biz for helping educate our fishers, not to mention the valuable work she does each year looking after the birds,” says Allyn Glaysher, Aotearoa Fisheries general manager HR and Corporate Affairs.

Rongomai says seeing the black petrels at their nesting site and finding about more about them from Biz was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“It was amazing to see how well the birds are doing on the island raising their chicks. I personally believe in this project and now have a much greater appreciation of the seabirds we share our workplace with,” he says.

Writing a Coromandel Arts Strategy

Writing an arts strategy for the arts community on the Coromandel is like fitting together the pieces of a Friedensreich Hundertwasser mosaic. But the enormity of the task isn't daunting to Hilary Falconer.

Hilary has been contracted by Thames Coromandel District Council to put together an arts strategy which is predominately community lead. Council committed $12,000 in their most recent Long Term Plan towards developing a strategy.

"The strategy has received much interest from the arts community and common themes are starting to present themselves," says Hilary.

"Most are looking for help to co-ordinate and promote the arts in the Thames Coromandel District and these are actions which can be presented in the strategy."

The strategy has two levels, the first being an overarching summary of the goals and aims for the arts in the Coromandel. The second level will go into more detail about how the goals and aims can be achieved.

The draft strategy will be presented to TCDC’s Economic Development Committee in August before going out for consultation to the wider public.

Whitianga Police Report for Monday 6 July to Monday 13 July 2015


Recently a number of crimes in our area have been solved with the use of video security. The costs involved in setting up security systems seems to have reduced considerably and one local example is a local fruit stall that has a security system a bank would have been proud of as little as 5 years ago.

We have offenders thinking they are clever until we show them clear footage of their actions and then they become very remorseful.

These cameras are in a lot of places and the footage captured on cell phones is equally as good. So, if you need an incentive to stop committing a crime, how about, "Smile you might be on camera."


11th - 1 x 41yr old Auckland man for Wilful Damage.


No domestic incidents attended this week.

On the 6th we attended a trespass incident at Ohuka Park and as well as sound advice, a trespass notice was issued.

Substantial damage was caused to a building under repair on Buffalo Beach Road on the 7th, while on the 8th an electrical connection from a trailer was stolen from outside an Albert Street address.   

On the 11th damage caused to a vehicle security gate was captured on video and as per the arrest listed, an Auckland man will have his day in Court.


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

Police would like to remind everyone to reduce speeds when driving in cold conditions due to the risk of icy roads and also please take the time to wash the ice off your windows so that you can see where you are driving.

Amazing result in Premier Division rugby clash today

Unbelievable, after a whole season of senior rugby, that the semi-final in the Thames Valley Premier Division Competition played between Mercury Bay and Hauraki North at Lyon Park in Whitianga today came to this.

We will get the finer details from Mercury Bay coach Dwayne Mansell tomorrow for printing in next week’s Informer. But basically this is what happened.

With two minutes before the final whistle, Mercury Bay trailed by three. A drop goal equalled the score 13 all.

Time for extra time, 10 minutes each way. Two minutes in, a converted try to Hauraki North. Mercury Bay went into the last 10 minutes down 13-20.

With four minutes left, Mercury Bay scored a converted try. The score 20 all. Now here’s the thing, if the game is a draw, Mercury Bay will progress in the play-offs as they beat Hauraki North twice in the round robin rounds of the competition.

Two minutes left and Hauraki North went for a drop goal, it missed.

Vigorous defence by Mercury Bay meant Hauraki North had no further chance to score. In front of a home crowd of 1,200 people (a quarter of the Whitianga population) the final whistle went, a 20 all draw.

The Bay is through to the next round of the play-offs. Well done boys! What a game! You showed heart and courage. We all are proud of you!



Should Waikato DHB fund the provision of some public healthcare services in a new multi-service medical facility in Whitianga?

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.