Thursday, 22 August 2019


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 ( 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!

Options for clubrooms at Multisport Park being considered

Thames Coromandel District Council is at the moment considering options for clubrooms at the Mercury Bay Multi-Sport Park. TCDC says the facility has sufficient changing rooms and toilets within its amenity block. However, due to the historic overspend during the construction of the entire facility, a clubroom space was put on hold.

The Mercury Bay Recreation Trust, who is responsible for the external funding for the facility, has been considering the best options for clubrooms which will benefit all the sporting codes (netball, rugby league, football, tennis and rugby) expected to use the Multisport Park.

"We conducted a needs analysis report and the trust is recommending the clubrooms to be a new build on-site, but a facility that will fit with the long term needs of the Multisport Park," says trust chairman Bill McLean. "A list of specifications has been developed and we've presented it to all the codes.

"Our objective is to source funds through external funders, grants and with the support of all the codes that use the facility."

The trust has also presented its proposals to the Mercury Bay Community Board.

"We approve the concept of developing a clubroom facility and have now asked the trust to prepare some external funding applications, along with getting quotes from architects to look at plans and costings," says Mercury Bay Community Board chairman Paul Kelly.

The trust will then report back to the Community Board.

The story behind the turf at the Mercury Bay Multisport Park

The grass covering Field One of the Mercury Bay Multisport Park (the field that has recently been treated with sand-slitting to improve its drainage) seems very brown for this time of the year. The photo above was taken last Saturday.

We have asked Thames Coromandel District Council what’s going on. This is what they had to say - 

“People may have seen that the turf at the Sports Park has a shade of brown to it. It's not dead, it's just in its natural dormant state, which occurs over winter.

“This is no different to other sports fields around the country that are covered with couch grass.

"In some other parts of the country, for example Auckland's Eden Park, the couch grass is over sown lightly with rye grass, so for aesthetic reasons it looks green. We don't see this as necessary at this stage at the Sports Park.

"During the initial development of the Mercury Bay Multisport Park facility, it was decided that couch grass would be used because it's a premium and reputable type of turf for sports playing fields.

"Meanwhile the Number One field is being used for competition games on Saturdays and Sundays and the secondary school teams, including the Girls First XV rugby team, are training on Tuesday and Thursdays after school on the field.

“Mercury Bay Rugby & Sports Club has purchased a van to transport the teams to training. The Sunday before last also saw the Mercury Bay Area School Girls First XV rugby team host their first tournament at the Multisport Park.”

More WW1 Memorial Forest trees to be planted

With the planting season coming into full swing, Thames Coromandel District Council is gearing up to get more trees in the ground for the Coromandel's World War One Memorial Forest.

A number of sites are being prepared now at different parts of the Peninsula for planting over the coming weeks.

The eventual goal is to have 18,166 native trees in up to 10 different sites across the Coromandel - one tree for each New Zealander killed in the Great War.

Each site represents a particular battle or campaign or an aspect of the war.

It is envisaged that the groves of native trees will mature into quiet places of contemplation, where people can walk and ponder New Zealand history. TCDC says the forest will also enhance the Coromandel's environmental values.

The project was officially launched by Conservation Minister Maggie Barry on 5 June - Arbour Day, when 100 trees were planted at the Cathedral Cove site, which represents the Gallipoli campaign.

That site will eventually have 2,779 trees - one for each soldier killed in New Zealand's first major battle of the war.

Wintec horticulture students will help TCDC to plant 1,400 trees at the site this year.

Four other sites, in Whangamata, Coromandel Town, Thames and Pauanui, will see hundreds more trees planted this winter.

The public can help the project by sponsoring $100 of the cost of a specific tree or by joining in on the plantings, or both. There is also the option of donating $150 and personally planting the specific tree that was sponsored.

For more information see

The Informer is proud to be the first sponsor of the cost of a tree.



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.