Wednesday, 26 February 2020


Visitor spending up on the Coromandel

The forecast for tourism growth in Destination Coromandel's Annual Report, presented to Thames Coromandel District Council and Hauraki District Council yesterday, has been surpassed by the latest visitor spend data released by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Visitor spend in the Coromandel was up 10 per cent for the year-end March 2015, contributing $371 million in annual spend to the local economy. Growth in both domestic and international visitor spend, excluding China, was greater than the increase experienced nationwide.

Destination Coromandel’s manager, Hadley Dryden, predicted growth in the Annual Report prior to the release of MBIE’s latest regional tourism estimates. Increases across all critical metrics (web traffic, commercial bed nights and visitor spend) signalled continued growth in tourism value for the Coromandel. Year-on-year web analysis shows user sessions on Destination Coromandel's website grew 37 per cent sparked by innovative marketing campaigns.

Mobile traffic (people searching from their mobile phones) grew 112 per cent over the corresponding period last year.

Competition for the visitor dollar from other New Zealand regions is fierce, particularly for the international market, but the Coromandel is enjoying growth ahead of the national measure in international spend.

TCDC Mayor, Glenn Leach, congratulated the Destination Coromandel team yesterday, saying, "The Destination Coromandel staff is a small team that put in a huge effort to help promote our district, and we are seeing tremendous results.

"We rely heavily on visitors and tourism for our economic development. Growth in this sector brings significant financial, economic, social and cultural benefits to our district and the region as a whole.”

Whitianga Police Report for Monday 23 November to Monday 30 November 2015


The Community Pool Trust has been disappointed in people breaking into the pool area when it is closed and causing damage. They have asked Police to remind everyone that  anyone caught will be trespassed from the pool area for a period of up to two years because of basic safety concerns around people using the pools after opening hours.

A lot of people have worked hard to provide this pool facility for our community and their efforts should be respected by keeping to the rules set.


25th 1 x 18yr old man arrested for Driving Whilst Disqualified, Dangerous Driving and Failing to Stop.

26th 1 x 22yr old man arrested for Breach of Bail, Resisting Arrest and Escaping Custody.


Three domestic incidents attended this week.

On the 24th as per the arrest listed, a man breaching his bail conditions for domestic related offending was arrested at a White Street address, while on the 28th a visiting couple on Poplar Street who had been drinking contacted Police when their arguing got out of hand and they were separated for the night to calm down.

On the 29th a couple on Arthur Street were arguing about their relationship and a police Safety Order was issued to allow them time to consider their relationship. 

On the 25th threatening text messages were received by a man in Bryce Street and our enquiries are continuing, while also that day a car parked on Albert Street had someone scrape larges scratches down the side of the vehicle.

Two women arguing over Family Court issues got into a physical altercation on Lee Street and enquiries are continuing into assault complaints.        


No drunk drivers apprehended this week.

26th 1 x 17yr old local man apprehended Driving Whilst Forbidden.

His car was impounded and he will have to explain his actions to a judge.

Demerit points have caught up to a few more people in our area this week and they were suspended from driving for three months.

New music festival gets Council funding

The new Mercury Bay Music Festival, to be held during Queens Birthday Weekend next year, was successful in obtaining funding from the second round of Thames Coromandel District Council’s 2015 Major Events Fund.

"The focus of the fund is to select events that are unique, preferably in the off-season and over time will become self-sustaining,” says Thames-Coromandel Deputy Chief Executive Ben Day.

The funding decision was made by TCDC’s Economic Development Committee.

Music Festival organisers, Creative Mercury Bay, says the festival will embrace a broad range of genres including blues, jazz, folk, soul and guitar genres and promote local and international artists.

The Economic Development Committee approved $30,000 for the festival in 2016, $20,000 in 2017 and $10,000 in 2018.  

The other recipients of funds are the Coromandel Seafood Festival - a new event to be held during the April 2016 school holidays in Coromandel Town, the K2 Road Cycle Classic, and Live on the Lawn Thames - a free, family fun event with performances by X-factor singers Benny Tipene and Mae Valley.

Mercury Bay local among library card design winners

Designs from Helena Mayer, Mercury Bay’s Joseph Morcom and Bev Lindsay have been made into new library cards for the Thames Coromandel District Libraries.

The winners entered a competition to design a new library card and were thrilled to win tablets and have their art adorn the new cards. Library staff chose the finalists and members of the public voted for the winning designs.

Te Puru School student Helena Mayer says it was really amazing to be one of the three winners. "I love reading. I love the library because the books and librarians are very awesome."

Helena already had a tablet so donated her prize to the cancer ward at Thames hospital.

Winner of the teen library card category, Joseph Morcom of Cooks Beach (and Mercury Bay Area School student) joined the library to enter the competition and experimented with a number of designs before testing them on his family.

"My mum said she liked my brightly coloured design, because it would be the easiest to find in your wallet," he says.

Joseph also appreciated the decision to open the design of the new library cards to the community. "It was nice to have the library card brief given to the public rather than just one designer, so everyone could have a go and I was stoked to win a tablet," he says.

Adult category winner Bev Lindsay moved to Thames over a year ago to be closer to her Auckland family and loves her view of the sea and the gorgeous sunsets, so was inspired to translate that to her library card design entry.

"It was a lovely surprise to win the adult section of the Library Competition," she says. "And my Wellington grandchildren were very pleased when I gave them my prize."

Whitianga Police Report for Monday 16 November to Monday 23 November 2015


There have been a couple of rural property burglaries over the past week and we are concerned that offenders that have been targeting the wider Waikato area may be heading our way.

As a community the best thing we can do to prevent burglaries in our area is to lock property away and report any suspicious activity, people or vehicles seen.

Please note vehicle registrations as this can often establish a direct line of enquiries. 

A glass beer handle was thrown through the library window on the 22nd, causing approximately $1,000 damage and any information concerning this damage would be greatly appreciated.


No arrests this week.


One domestic incident attended this week.

On the 17th we attended an incident at a Cook Drive address where a woman had allowed an ex-partner to stay at the address while he sorted out issues, but then needed our assistance when he refused to leave the address.

On the 17th a calf and petrol were stolen from a SH25, Whenuakite address, while also that night a Grange Road, Hahei business premises had damage caused to the bar-garden area and enquiries are continuing with identified suspects.

On the 23rd an offender removed a garage window and stole petrol from a Pinewood Court, Matarangi address.

Two large copper plant holders were also stolen on the 23rd from a Meadow Drive address, while also that day a Quad Bike and Kayak were stolen from a SH25 Coroglen address.    


No drunk drivers apprehended this week.

Four people in our area have been suspended from driving over the past week for having exceeded demerit points.

They are suspended for a period of three months and if they drive while suspended the vehicle they are driving will be impounded and they will have to explain their actions to a judge.

New TCDC Mercury Bay Area Manager appointed

Allan Tiplady has been announced as the new Thames Coromandel Distict Council Mercury Bay Area Manager.

Allan takes over from Sam Marshall, who has left TCDC to pursue business opportunities in the South Island. Before this new appointment, Allan had already been with TCDC for nine months, employed as the Programme Manager for Mercury Bay. His responsibilities were to deliver all the Capital Works (CAPEX) projects like coastal erosion walls, footpaths, toilet upgrades, as well as overseeing Operating Services (OPEX), including the maintenance of parks and reserves.

Before moving to Whitianga, Allan spent seven years working for the Wokingham Borough Council in Berkshire, 60km out of London with a population of approximately 164,000 people.

"I was employed as an Area Manager there too - but overseeing partnerships between the Wokingham Borough Council and the 17 town and parish councils - which you could compare to our Community Boards here," says Allan. "My job was managing relationships with the Town and Parish Councils for all Council functions, including open spaces, libraries, sports and leisure facilities."

Allan says the challenge was ensuring that the Wokingham Borough was engaging and consulting with all the town and parish councils so a "top-down model" wasn't being imposed on all the different communities.

"One of the best things for me is building relationships with people and that involves not just working with staff, but our Community Board and the wider community to develop partnerships," says Allan. "We are all on the same team wanting to achieve the same goals.

"I was in Tauranga catching up with an old work colleague from Tauranga City Council (where Allan had worked for 13 years before) and we went to an event to hear about community development," recalls Allan. "One of the guest speakers was TCDC Chief Executive David Hammond, who was talking about his Council's community empowerment model, which really resonated with me and what I'd been doing in England. Lo and behold two weeks later the Programme Manager job in Mercury Bay was advertised."

In the past nine months, some of the projects Allan has been largely involved in include the construction of the Whitianga coastal erosion walls, plans for the Whitianga Town Centre upgrade and establishing relationships with groups across Mercury Bay.

"I'm here to help deliver improvements to the lifestyles of both our permanent residents and those who have second homes here," says Allan.

Allan lives in Whitianga with his wife Jenny who is involved in both early childhood and respite care.

"Our children are grown up and this is a new stage in our lives," says Allan. "And you can't argue that the Coromandel's one of the best environments in NZ to live and work."

New tourism figures highlight opportunities for the Coromandel

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released yesterday figures showing regional economic growth is positively impacted by tourism. “Tourism continues to go from strength to strength and these latest figures show that it isn’t just the major tourist destinations that are benefiting,” said Paula Bennett, the Associate Minister of Tourism, at the release of the information.

Tourism now represents 17.4 per cent of New Zealand’s total exports, up from 15 per cent, and is the country’s second largest export. Tourism is worth $10.6 billion, or nearly five per cent of New Zealand’s GDP, and one in every eight jobs is now directly or indirectly related to tourism.

According to the figures released, the Coromandel saw in the 12 months to March 2015 a similar percentage of spending by tourists from Australia, Japan, Korea, the USA, Canada, Africa, the Middle East and South and Central America as the other regions in New Zealand, but far less spending by tourists from China and the rest of Asia (not including Japan, Korea and the Middle East).

On the other hand, the percentage of spending by tourists from the UK, Germany and the rest of Europe was much higher than in the other regions in the country.

When it came to the percentage of total spending by overseas visitors on the Coromandel, Australia was leading the way, followed by the UK, Germany and the rest of Europe.

Aucklanders and Waikato and Bay of Plenty tourists spent far more on the Coromandel compared to any other region in New Zealand.

Overseas visitors didn’t spend, percentage wise, nearly as much in the retail industry on the Coromandel as in other regions, but spent significantly more on food and alcohol, fuel and accommodation.

Overseas visitors spent slightly more on attractions on the Coromandel compared to the other regions of New Zealand.   

Domestic visitors spent much more on fuel and food and alcohol compared to the other regions of New Zealand, but, interestingly, far less on attractions.

From the figures, it can be assumed that the Coromandel is a desirable destination for overseas visitors in search of good food and natural beauty and for domestic visitors who just want to relax, eat out, do a bit of fishing and enjoy the many beautiful beaches.

The figures also show where the possible opportunities for the Coromandel are - attracting more visitors from China and Asia (whether that should happen through the development of more retail shopping options is to be debated), convincing more New Zealanders south of Lake Taupo that the Peninsula is the ideal destination for a holiday and convincing more domestic tourists that a scenic boat tour to Cathedral Cove is something not to be missed.

IndyCar champion confirmed for 2016 Leadfoot Festival

The Leadfoot Festival organisers say they are delighted to announce four time IndyCar Champion Race driver, New Zealander Scott Dixon, will race at the 2016 festival at Leadfoot Ranch outside Hahei. Dixon who has competed for Chip Ganassi Racing since joining IndyCar in 2003, has won the Indy Car championship in 2003, 2008, 2013, and 2015 and won the 92nd Indianapolis 500 in 2008 from pole position. With 38 wins, Dixon is the leading non-USA driver in American Championship Cars

“Scott visited the Leadfoot Ranch early this year when he was home and was blown away with the property and expressed a desire to compete,” says Rod Millen, Leadfoot Ranch owner. “We have been working with Scott to make this happen and it gives us the opportunity to celebrate Scott’s incredible success in motorsports. I am very excited to have Scott Dixon attend the February event.”

Dixon will be driving a 1906 Darraq, one of the first Grand Prix cars.

The annual Leadfoot Festival offers a unique weekend of motorsport, bringing together a mix of classic cars, vintage motorcycles and motorsport legends. The 150 acre, ocean-front Leadfoot Ranch features a mile long driveway that winds through the property designed to be the perfect hill climb.

Millen personally hand selects championship racers from around the world to receive the coveted invitation to participate in the Leadfoot Festival. The weekend also offers a collection of static celebrated vintage cars and motorbikes to line areas of the paddocks making it like no other motorsport festival in New Zealand.

“The Leadfoot Festival is designed for men and women, boys and girls,” said Shelly Campbell, the festival’s event director. “Visitors are invited to dress in period style clothing, stepping back in time making the Leadfoot Festival an incredible family experience and a true celebration of motorsports and all things automotive. Guests will be given one of a kind experiences featuring unparalleled access to the drivers, pits and race cars.”

The 2016 Leadfoot Festival is scheduled for Waitangi Weekend, Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 February. The Saturday night will also feature a concert by The Warratahs, complete with a food, wine and beer garden.


Latest business rest of site

Garth's Gardens and Landscaping

Trusted local landscaping contractors and garden suppliers.


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.