Monday, 20 May 2019


First Mercury Bay Art Escape patron artist appointed

Michael Smither - one of New Zealand’s most famous contemporary artists, Otama resident and foundation member of the Mercury Bay Art Escape - has been appointed the Art Escape’s first Patron Artist in recognition both of his standing as a New Zealand artist and the contribution he makes to all of the arts in the wider Mercury Bay area.

Art Escape Trust Chairman Stuart Christie said about the appointment, “We changed the Trust’s rules last year to create an honorary role to recognise the contribution an individual artist makes to the objectives and activities of the Trust. We are very proud to have Michael with us as a wonderful ambassador and wise mentor to the Trust and our members.”

World War I memorial forests project launched

A  World War I Memorial Forest will be created on the Coromandel to commemorate all New Zealand soldiers who died in the Great War.

The project, which will commence on ANZAC Day 2015, will see a total of 18,166 trees planted at a series of different sites around the Peninsula. According to Thames Coromandel District Council the trees are designed to become memorial forests which will enhance environmental values and also act as a place for people to walk and remember New Zealand history.

Each forest will commemorate a different battle or campaign during the war and it is proposed that initially five forests will be planted - one in each Community Board area. As more sites become available, additional forests will be added to reach the 18,166 number of trees.

TCDC mayor Glenn Leach says that he is excited about the project, which will provide a living, growing memorial for the sacrifice of the fallen soldiers in World War I. "We believe this is a special project which will create a series of memorial forests of national significance that is relevant to all New Zealanders, not just locals," he says.  "We are looking to commemorate the major battles such as Gallipoli, the Somme and Passchendaele, as well as smaller conflicts like Le Quesnoy or the Palestine campaign as we build towards the 18,000 tree total over the next three years.

"Our intention is to commence the planting project on 25 April 2015 and then to involve community groups and schools in the planting and care for the forests. One of the goals of planting these sites is to provide a series of forests which provide environmental education for schoolchildren, a focal point for community involvement and places of environmental sustainability for future generations.

"In addition to planting and tending the trees, I would like to see schoolchildren involved in things like graphic design for the Great War interpretative history signboards, or linking to the curriculum studies that teach about each of the battles. We need the next generation to understand the past, so that we learn about our heritage." 

Whitianga restaurant Beef and Lamb Award recipient

The top restaurants and chefs in the nation were revealed at a long lunch held at the prestigious Kelliher Estate on Puketutu Island today, after months of assessment by culinary trained experts.

163 restaurants from across New Zealand received the 2015 Beef and Lamb Excellence Award, recognising the highest quality, most skilfully composed and superbly presented beef and lamb cuisine.

Whitianga’s No 8 Bar and Brasserie was one of the recipients.

2015 marks the 19th year of the awards, making them the country’s longest running culinary award programme and one which is highly regarded within the industry.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand, CEO, Rod Slater says the Awards have helped to take the guesswork out of choosing where to dine.

“Wherever you see the [Beef and Lamb Excellence Award] gold plate displayed you can be certain a stellar beef or lamb meal will be presented. We’re absolutely confident in providing this guarantee, given the level of groundwork supporting the Excellence Awards,” says Rod.

Workshop by artist Carole Shepheard

The Mercury Bay Art Escape Trust is pleased to present a “Professional Practice” workshop to the artists of the Coromandel Peninsula. Carole Shepheard will facilitate the “Finding your Way” workshop. The trustees of the Art Escape Trust see the workshop as an opportunity to support both established and emerging artists’ professional development and a platform for them to meet and network with like-minded people. The workshop will cover marketing, promotion, collaboration, professional support, finding creative networks, cv writing, websites, a feedback session and much more. See for full the course outline.

Carole will be the guest speaker at the opening launch of the 2015 Art Escape Open Studio Tour and Taste of the Tour Exhibition at Hot Waves Café, Hot Water Beach on 6 March 2015. She is a renowned artist, educator and writer and has a wealth of experience and knowledge to offer. She enjoys being part of the small Kawhia community and puts particular value on the work being done by artists in places outside large cities, where she believes new energy is found and ideas are expressed in individual and challenging ways.

The workshop will be held at the Cooks Beach Resort Lounge, 874 Purangi Road, Cooks Beach from 9:30am to approx 3:00pm on Monday 9 March 2015. The cost is $30 for the day, bring your own lunch. Artists must email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve their place.

Public notification of New Chum Beach opens today

The application to subdivide land at New Chum Beach (Wainuiototo Bay Whangapoua) is open for submissions from today.

The notification period will run for 20 working days (not counting statutory holidays and will close on Monday 16 February at 4:00pm.

The application has been made by Ross and Deidre Mear for a four lot subdivision, all approximately 15 hectares in size, together with a fifth "beach conservation lot," of 1.2 hectares. The beach lot is proposed as a conservation area allowing for public access along the beach.

Public inspection files are available at all TCDC offices, including the Mercury Bay Library in Whitianga and also at the Whangapoua Store.

Whitianga Police Report for the period 5 January to 12 January 2015


That time of year again when we need to remind a few people who are lucky enough to still be on holiday that most people are now back at work, so keeping noise levels reasonable and turning stereos off at a reasonable hour will go a long way to keeping the neighbours happy.

We have had another theft from a bag while the owner has been swimming, this time from Cathedral Cove on the 9th. While most of the people sun bathing around your stuff can be trusted, unfortunately it only takes one thief to spoil your day.

Leave valuables at home or lock them in your car out of sight and let us know if you see anyone acting suspiciously around other people's property.       


12th - 1 x 23yr old local woman for Theft Ex-Shop.


Three domestic incidents attended last week.

On the 10th a drunk ex-partner was removed from an Annette Place address as he was not welcome there, while on the 11th two sisters were arguing at a Cook Drive address with alcohol a major factor.

Both were given sound advice.

Then on the 11th a couple arguing over custody issues at a Grange Road address were advised to read their agreement and stick to it. 

On the 8th a car was damaged outside a Kenwood Drive address when the offender climbed on the vehicle denting the roof and bonnet.

A group of youths banging on the windows of a Cordyline Crescent address and running off on the 10th need to grow up and start thinking about others, while also that night a yellow mountain bike was stolen from a Hannan Road address and a letterbox was damaged at a Springbok Ave address.

We have had another theft from a produce stall at a Hodge Road address on the 11th and again excellent security footage has been obtained to help identify the offender.

A car was unlawfully converted when an ex-partner failed to return a borrowed car as agreed and our enquiries are continuing to locate her. 


No drunk drivers were apprehended this week.

A couple of crashes last week with a truck full of molasses rolling on SH25 near Whenuakite being the standout.

Minor injuries resulted.

What roadside fire danger signs really mean

Summertime and the living is easy, fish are jumping and the fire danger is high. But what do the familiar roadside fire danger signs really mean?

Clear, colourful and simple, the signs’ message is not as obvious as it seems. The Scion Rural Fire Research Group is working with the National Rural Fire Authority after a study found that many people are not sure what the danger ratings mean, or if they apply to them.
Lisa Langer, the fire scientist who led the work, explains, “We wanted to see if the fire danger warnings influenced people’s behaviour and encouraged safer fire practices.
“We interviewed locals and New Zealand and international visitors in Canterbury and Northland and asked them what the fire danger signs meant to them.
“On the plus side, most people are aware of the signs. But some of our results were surprising.
“Perhaps most worrying is that one person in five felt the signs didn’t apply to them, that they were for others, like smokers or campers or ‘reckless people.’
“And two thirds of people we talked to said that that the signs did not alert them to the possibility that that they might need to change their behaviour. People were also very uncertain as to what they should or shouldn’t do at each fire danger level, other than for low or extreme.
“We also found that the signs were not particularly effective for visitors. This is a specific concern in summer when people are moving around the country and the fire danger is often very high or extreme.
“The challenge is to get people to take notice of the fire danger signs, to make them aware of local conditions, and what they can do to prevent wildfires from starting.
"Rural Fire Authorities, led by the National Rural Fire Authority, have responded to these research findings by developing new TV advertising, YouTube clips, roadside signs and some FireSmart activities. The emphasis is now ‘Check it’s alright before you light.’”
Further work by the Rural Fire Research Group has focused on how to communicate wildfire messages more effectively. “We considered who was using fire, what they needed to know about fire risk, restrictions and other actions to prevent fires, as well as being prepared for a fire if one should occur,” says Lisa.
“Most people are not fire users, but that can change on holiday. It is holidaymakers who do things like light campfires and set off fireworks that could start a wildfire. And holidaymakers tend to be visitors to an area. One of the real communication challenges is to increase the awareness of visitors to the local fire danger in the area they are in."

Rolled truck and trailer causes delays between Tairua and Whitianga

Police advised that a truck and trailer unit has rolled on SH25 between Tairua and Whitianga.

No diversion is possible.

The road is down to one lane and lengthy queues are forming.

The crash is on the Tairua side of Whenuakite so this will affect traffic travelling to Hahei, Hot Water Beach, Whitianga, etc. Drivers are advised that the quickest route to Auckland from Whitianga is via Coromandel town and Thames. The road is expected to be closed for several hours. The truck was carrying molasses and fuel is leaking.



Should Thames-Coromandel District Council sign the Local Government Leaders' Declaration on Climate Change?

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.