Tuesday, 25 June 2019


Funds approved for Ferry Landing Wharf restoration

Refurbishment of the historic Ferry Landing Wharf can begin this year thanks to a grant from the Lotteries Environment and Heritage Fund and Thames Coromandel District Council funding.

The wharf, which was built in the 1840s, is believed to be the oldest working stone wharf in the Southern Hemisphere and is classified as a Grade One structure by the Historic Places Trust. However, for many years it has been in a state of disrepair, with some of the original stone blocks lying on the sea floor beside the wharf and sections of the stone steps and wall missing.

TCDC - in partnership with the Historic Places Trust, iwi, the Institute of Engineers and the Mercury Bay community - have been working towards the restoration of the wharf.

"Council staff submitted an application to Lotteries Environment and Heritage Fund and we found out very late last year that we'd been granted $187,645 towards the project," says Mercury Bay Community Board Chairperson Paul Kelly.

On the success of this external funding, TCDC will now contribute $279,438 towards the project.

"The cost to do the entire work - from the restoration of the stonework through to installing interpretative, historical signage and landscaping - is estimated at $715,000," says Mr Kelly. "As there is still a shortfall of $250,000, we are dividing the project into three phases and we will continue to apply to external agencies to complete the work."

Phase one, which starts this year, will be the restoration and protection of the eroded stonework, including the recovery of some of the old stones from the sea. Phase two will be the upgrade of the ferry landing footpaths and entrance area while phase three will be the installation of historic and cultural panels and signage.

"The wharf is so unique to our area as well as having local, national and international significance," says Len Whittaker, Council's Mercury Bay acting manager. "It's been documented that local Maori were engaged to construct the original structure and it's also been identified as an archaeological site in the NZ Archaeological Association site file. Throughout those times until present day it's been used by ferries and boating vessels and is a key passenger transport and recreation hub for both locals and visitors.”

Toxic shellfish warning lifted for Opito Bay and Whitianga

Following ongoing shellfish toxin monitoring, the Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxin warning for the Coromandel east coast has been removed from Opito Bay and Whitianga Harbour.

From 11 February 2015, the affected area is now the entire coastline from Tairua Harbour, east along the Bay of Plenty coastline, to Whakatane. This includes Pauanui, Opoutere, Onemana, Whangamata, Whiritoa, Waihi Beach and estuaries, Tauranga Harbour, Mount Maunganui, Papamoa, Maketu and Whakatane Heads. Also included in the warning are Slipper, Matakana, and Motiti Islands and all other inshore islands along this part of the coastline.

The health warning applies to all bi-valve shellfish including mussels, pipi, tuatua, cockles, oysters, scallops, as well as catseyes and kina (sea urchin). Shellfish in the affected area should not be taken or consumed.  Paua, crayfish, and crabs can still be taken, but as always, the gut should be removed before cooking.

Consumption of shellfish affected by the paralytic shellfish toxin can cause numbness and tingling around the mouth, face or extremities, difficulty swallowing or breathing, dizziness, double vision, and in severe cases paralysis and respiratory failure. These symptoms usually occur within 12 hours of a person consuming affected shellfish. Anyone suffering illness after eating shellfish should seek medical attention.

Monitoring of toxin levels will continue along the coast and any changes to the warning area will be communicated accordingly.

Up-to-date information on the toxic shellfish health warning can be found through these channels -

Phone - 0800 221 555 Bay of Plenty or 0800 800 977 Waikato
Website - www.ttophs.govt.nz/health_warnings
Twitter - www.twitter.com/ttophs
Email alerts for subscribers - www.ttophs.govt.nz/alert
Signage at locations (ie shellfish health warning signs at affected beaches)

Whitianga cafe in the running for best milkshake award

With summer still in full swing hundreds of Kiwis around the country are putting their hand up to vote for their favourite local milkshake. None more so than the fans of The Espy Café in Whitianga, who are making sure The Espy’s “Aw fudge I crushed my nuts” milkshake is currently in the lead in the final stretch of Anchor's nationwide Best Milkshake Competition.

Boasting a creative combo of caramel, cashew nuts, hazelnuts and some fudge mixed with Anchor milk, ice-cream and topped with chocolate syrup - Whitianga locals and visitors are being served up a real treat this summer. However, there’s still time for a change in pole position as the competition runs until the end of February. Following closely behind The Epsy Café are Snacks & Scoops of Avondale and Four Square Scott Drive in Hastings.

Go to www.bestmilkshake.co.nz/vote or text 5545 to 4646 to vote. Everyone can vote once a day.

Whitianga already has the Silver Fern Farms top lamb and beef chef (Scott Corbett from No 8 - crowned just last week), Bayview at 91 has, once again, made it into the Tripadvisor top 25 B&B’s in Australasia and now the town has a real chance to win the Anchor best milkshake.

Come on people get out there and vote - once a day every day!

TCDC to hold public meetings as part of process seeking feedback on legal highs policy

Psychoactive products (used to make legal highs) are going to be allowed for sale nationwide. The public now has an opportunity to work with Thames Coromandel District Council on the issue of where they can and cannot be sold.

Psychoactive substances are some of the ingredients used in different drugs that affect the mind. These drugs are known as party pills, herbal highs, legal highs, synthetic cannabis and legal recreational drugs.

TCDC have drafted a policy they hope may address the issue sufficiently.

The policy ensures that the Ministry of Health's Licensing Authority has the best possible information on the appropriate location of retail premises when issuing licences to retailers who can sell approved psychoactive products later this year.

TCDC said it is important to note that they will not be issuing those licenses. The Ministry of Health's Licensing Authority will be doing that.

TCDC’s proposed policy restricts the retailers selling legal highs to certain areas within the main towns on the Coromandel and makes sure they don't get too close to places like schools, places of worship and community facilities, as well as to other premises that have a licence to sell psychoactive products.

TCDC said their job is to make sure that the Licensing Authority has the best possible information on the location of retail premises when issuing licences. They want the public to tell them if their draft policy will be achieving this.

TCDC will be hosting the following public meetings where their staff will be available to talk to interested members of the public about the issue -

Whitianga on Tuesday 17 February at 5:30pm at the Town Hall.

Whangamata on Thursday 19 February at 5:30pm at the Town Hall.

Thames on Monday 23 Fberuary at 5:30pm at the High School.

Whitianga Police Report for the period 2 February to 9 February


A fine Waitangi Weekend and the Leadfoot Festival brought a lot of people into town over the weekend, with most here to enjoy themselves and very well behaved.

There were no reports of crashes on the main roads in and out of town and thankfully everyone left the racing to the professionals on the track.

There were, however, a number of disorder offences committed that are of concern and we would like your help to put a stop to them.

A couple of windows smashed on Buffalo Beach Road and Albert Street and graffiti on Buffalo Beach Road and South Highway were committed by people who need to have a good look at themselves and irrespective of their age they need to do a bit of growing up.

I am looking forward to the Auckland Rugby League Nines which are going to be held at the Mercury Bay Rugby Club grounds on 27 and 28 February with the opportunity to watch some quality rugby league players in action.

There will also be the opportunity to have a close-up look at a couple of the trophies won by our national men's and women's Rugby League Teams last year, including the Four Nations Trophy.


No arrests this week.


One domestic incident attended this week on the 9th where a man assaulted his  partner at a South Highway address and our enquiries are continuing.

The Rugby Club changing room door was kicked open on the night of the 5th.

Then on the 7th a local Bakery was burgled with the cash register targeted.

A Nissan Pulsar car was Unlawfully Taken from Campbell Street between the 7th and 9th and anyone with information concerning any of this offending is asked to contact the Police.


No drunk drivers were apprehended this week.

There was a crash on Albert Street on the 3rd which involved a woman pulling out of a car park and crashing into another parked vehicle.

A lot of embarrassment, but no one was injured as a result of this crash.

International Coverage for Leadfoot Festival

The Coromandel Peninsula gained exceptional TV attention the past weekend as national and international film crews descended on the Leadfoot Festival.
Three crews - from TV3 and two international production companies - went to Leadfoot Ranch, the Hahei home of champion rally driver Rod Millen.
On his 150-acre seaside property, Mr Millen hosted about 6,500 people for the unique three-day motorsport event.
More than 80 driving legends from New Zealand and around the world were on hand with an amazing mix of classic and vintage cars and motorbikes to tackle the hill climb that Mr Millen has incorporated into his property's driveway.
Online production company Smoking Tyres - which specialises in motorsport - streamed the festival live to its 500,000 subscribers.
TV3's Motorsport was filming a 15-minute slot on Leadfoot which will air on its Sunday afternoon programme in the next few weeks. Motorsport is one of TV3's highest-rating programmes, attracting as many as 250,000 viewers per episode.
MacGillivray Freeman Films- which makes IMAX films - was also at Leadfoot Ranch shooting footage. This company was also involved with the Sky Discovery Channel show on the 2013 Leadfoot Festival which was broadcast to millions of viewers in more than 90 countries.
All three film crews also toured the Thames Coromandel District, filming the area's outstanding scenery.
Last year, TCDC's Economic Development Committee awarded the Leadfoot Festival a $40,000 grant to go towards national and international marketing and promotion of the event and the Coromandel.
"Our $40,000 made sure there was national and international coverage of an event that brings a lot of visitors to the district and provided great exposure around the world for the Coromandel," says Thames Coromandel District mayor Glenn Leach.
"This investment provided really good value for money. You just can't buy that kind of exposure for that kind of money."

Whitianga in top five value for money destinations in New Zealand

Hotel search www.trivago.co.nz has compiled a list of the best value destinations in New Zealand for 2015. Based on the annual average overnight price of a standard double room, combined with the destination’s overall hotel/motel reputation from over 120 million traveller reviews, these spots are the country’s top in terms of delivering the best value for money.

Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty region is this year’s number one in the top 20 New Zealand Best Value Index for 2015. An overnight stay in a standard double room costs an average of $133 per night and hotels in the town have an average rating of 86.39, giving the town an index value of 96.2 per cent.

Whitianga is number five on the list with an index value of 94.87 per cent.

The www.trivago.co.nz Best Value Index provides a unique overview of the best valued destinations by using a specifically tailored algorithm that combines the trivago Hotel Price Index with trivago’s Reputation Ranking for hotels. The trivago Hotel Price Index shows the average overnight accommodation prices for a standard double room on trivago. The trivago Reputation Ranking represents the average hotel evaluation and is based on over 120 million hotel reviews aggregated from trivago and over 180 booking partners.

The top 20 destinations are (in the order of position, destination and index value) -

1 Whakatane 96.20%

2 Coromandel Town 95.81%

3 New Plymouth 95.54%

4 Oamaru 94.87%

5 Whitianga 95.04%

6 Nelson 94.80%

7 Hokitika 94.76%

8 Turangi 94.44%

9 Napier 94.41%

10 Paihia 94.29%

11 Tauranga 94.08%  

12 Blenheim 93.74%

13 Hanmer Springs 93.34%

14 Kaikoura 93.31%

15 Picton 92.96%

16 Wanaka 92.95%

17 Te Anau 92.82%

18 Christchurch 91.92%

19 Taupo 91.86%

20 Rotorua 91.34%

Nominations for Coromandel Peninsula Youth Awards now open

Youth achievements in the Coromandel are being celebrated at the 2015 Coromandel Peninsula Youth Awards in May.

To be able to celebrate youth achievements Thames Coromandel District Council need nominations of youth achievement. This year there are five specific categories for and/or from young people that have excelled in the arts, achieved through adversity and/or put themselves forward as environmentalists, leaders and volunteers. The People’s Choice Award for Excellence will be chosen by the Coromandel Peninsula community from the finalists.

The following categories are available -

Young Creative Award for Artist Expression - Young people who have made an outstanding contribution in the arts, culture, music, dance and performance.

Helping Hand Award for Community Service - Young people who have volunteered in order to improve the community.

Green Thumb Award for Environmental Care - Young people who have completed environmental projects improving protection, conservation and/or sustainability.

Kia Kaha Award for Perseverance - Young people who have overcome challenges in order to improve the community.

Legend Award for Leadership - Young people who have demonstrated great leadership in projects that have improved the community.

The People's Choice Award for Excellence - This award is chosen from all nominations

Nominees can -

  • Be individuals or groups.
  • Must have been living, working or attending school in the Coromandel Peninsula at the time the activity took place.
  • Must have been aged between 12 - 24 years.
  • Enter more than one category.

You can nominate someone you know or you can nominate yourself. You will need two referees over the age of 18. These details must accompany all entries as the referees may be contacted to verify details.

All entries must be received no later than 5:00pm on 17 April 2015

Visit www.tcdc.govt.nz/youth-awards for more information and an entry form.



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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.