Saturday, 29 February 2020


Whitianga Police Report for Monday 14 September to Monday 21 September 2015


The scallop festival has come and gone for another year. How good it is to report that again we have had no issues within the festival site. It is less pleasing to report that nine people made the wrong choice and were apprehended for drink driving and will face the consequences in Court very soon.

The range of offending was between 329 and 700 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. The limit being 250.

On another note it is with great pleasure that we welcome a new member to the local Police and we wish Bernie and his family the best in his involvement in the area.


1 X 22yr old male for Theft of a trailer


On the 14th a trespass was reported in White Street. It involved a disagreement between a brother and sister over the consumption of food. Advice was given to offending party when located at later time.

On the 15th threatening behaviour was reported in Monk Street. Enquiries are continuing to locate an offender.

On the 17th a burglary was reported in Oyster Drive, Cooks Beach. It is unknown at this stage what has been stolen.


Nine drunk drivers apprehended this week.

Tsunami warning remains in place

Waikato Regional Council is urging Coromandel residents and boaties to remain vigilant and avoid the coast this morning in the wake of yesterday’s Chilean earthquake.

Waikato Civil Defence and WRC’s hazards team haven’t received any reports of damage overnight due to tsunami effects along the coast within the region.

However, the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management’s tsunami warning remains in effect. It says minor fluctuations in wave heights were observed along the east coast overnight.

The Ministry says people in coastal areas should -

  • Stay out of the water (sea, rivers and estuaries, including boating activities).
  • Stay off beaches and shore areas.
  • Do not go sightseeing.
  • Share this information with family, neighbours and friends.
  • Listen to the radio and/or TV for updates.
  • Follow instructions of local civil defence authorities. 
  • The tsunami warning will remain in effect until a cancellation message is issued by the Ministry.

The warning says people can expect unusually strong currents and unpredictable water flows near the shore. This means a threat to beach, harbour, estuary and small boat activities. The severity of currents and changing water flows will vary within a particular coastal area and over the period this warning is in effect. Current assessments indicate that coastal inundation (flooding of land areas near the shore) is not expected, but this assessment may change.  

Waikato Civil Defence and the regional hazards team note high tide on the east coast of the Coromandel is around 10:00am this morning. Tsunami-related effects could linger over several days.

Local tourism businesses asked to join fight to protect kauri

The Coromandel Kauri Dieback Forum is seeking the help of Peninsula tourism operators and accommodation providers in protecting local kauri from the deadly kauri dieback disease.

The Forum is holding workshops specifically designed for the tourism and accommodation sector in Coromandel town at 2:00pm on Tuesday 22 September at Anchor Lodge and at 11:00am on Thursday 24 September at Ocean’s Resort in Whitianga. Everyone involved in a visitor-oriented business, from tourist attractions and activities through to accommodation providers of all types, is invited to attend the informal one and a half hour workshops, which will be run by Coromandel Adventures director Sarni Hart and Forum chairperson Vivienne Mclean.

Vivienne says the tourism and accommodation sector has an extremely important role to play in protecting Coromandel kauri.

“We are asking for help from tourism operators and accommodation providers, because they host visitors who may have visited infected forests in Auckland, Northland and Great Barrier Island but who may be unaware of the risks they pose to local kauri. As hosts and operators our local businesses are in a unique position to inform and to help visitors apply simple but vital hygiene measures before and after visiting Coromandel forests.”

As well as updating participants about kauri dieback disease, each informal workshop will provide practical information about simple hygiene methods and ideas that operators can adapt for their own businesses in preparation for the holiday season ahead. The workshops will be a two-way affair, seeking feedback and ideas from participants about what the sector wants in terms of practical support and information.

“The Coromandel environment underpins the bulk of economic activity on the Peninsula and the active involvement of the tourism and accommodation sector in protecting kauri ecosystems will help ensure these businesses remain sustainable in the long term,” says Sarni Hart.

“To that end we will be asking workshop participants for feedback on an operator accreditation scheme that would identify “kauri friendly” businesses. If the sector sees value in this as a marketing opportunity we will look to develop a pilot scheme, possibly working with the National Dieback Programme.  This will encourage visitors to seek out accredited providers using best practice risk management systems, information and cleaning/hygiene facilities for their customers.

“Make no mistake, kauri dieback disease - Phytophthora agathadicida - is a real and deadly threat to kauri of all ages and sizes, naturally occurring or planted, and there is no cure as yet. It has been identified at Hukarahi conservation area in Mercury Bay, in several locations on private land in the Whangapoua catchment and test results are currently awaited for another Peninsula site. If we cannot prevent the spread of this disease and buy time for scientists to come up with solutions, this iconic tree could conceivably become extinct. Everyone in our communities needs to be part of the solution and we’d like our tourism operators and accommodation providers to take this opportunity to learn more, share their ideas with us and with their networks so that together as a community we can keep our kauri standing.”

360 Discovery is an ongoing supporter of the Coromandel Kauri Dieback Forum and actively promotes awareness of the disease.  As part of their commitment to preventing the spread of kauri dieback they have donated two return tickets from Coromandel to Auckland to be given away at each workshop.

For more information about the workshops or to register your attendance, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone/text 0226 940 449, or email Vivienne McLean, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Great support for Cancer Society

More than $9,500 has been raised in the Whitianga area for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Cancer Society’s 2015 Daffodil Day campaign.

Daffodil Day is the Cancer Society’s largest annual fundraiser and this year celebrated its 25th year.

“While the regional total is yet to be finalised, this amount is a fantastic contribution to Daffodil Day. The money raised reflects the generosity of the Whitianga community,” says Cancer Society fundraising manager Catriona Findlay.

“The success of Daffodil Day is the result of the combined effort of hundreds of people, from the volunteers who collected donations and coordinated activities in their areas, the schools, clubs and local businesses that held fundraising events, to the general public who generously donated.”

The Cancer Society is a charitable organisation which receives no direct government funding and relies on the generosity of the local community to operate.

“All money raised from this year’s Daffodil Day appeal stays locally and goes to providing supportive care for people with cancer and their whānau and friends, funding vital cancer research and providing information and health promotion programmes which aim to reduce people’s risk of cancer through promoting smokefree, SunSmart, healthy lifestyles,” says Catriona.

“It will also go towards funding the Cancer Society’s Lions Lodge in Hamilton, which provides free accommodation, meals and support for the hundreds of people who have to travel to receive cancer treatment at the Waikato Regional Cancer Centre each year.”

The final, overall fundraising total for Daffodil Day 2015 is expected within the coming weeks.

Whitianga Police Report for Monday 7 September to Monday 14 September 2015


Detectives from the wider Waikato East Area are continuing their enquiries in relation to the serious assault that occurred on the 4th September.

The victim is now back in town and recovering from his injuries.

Suspects have been identified and interviewed, with the enquiry now waiting on the results of DNA evidence.

As per the arrest of two local men this week for stealing a trailer from Kudu Drive a few weeks back, enquiries don’t just go away and when evidence is sufficient the offenders have their day in Court.


1 x 25yr old local man for Theft of a trailer.

1 x 53yr old local man for Male Assaults Female x2.

1 x 42yr old local man for Theft of a trailer.


No domestic incidents attended this week.

On the 6th a woman trespassed from a Hahei Beach Road address was suspected of returning and our enquiries are continuing, while on the 7th a farm gate was damaged at a rural address with the offenders suspected of preparing an area for cannabis cultivation.

Anyone suspecting people of planting cannabis is requested to let us know so that we can keep the pressure on them.

On the 8th a leaf blower was stolen from a Miro Place address, while on the 9th wallets were stolen from a Lee Street shop and our enquiries are continuing in relation to security footage.

On the 12th two iPhone 5S cell phones were stolen from Hot Water Beach.


No drunk drivers apprehended this week.

More funding for Great Walks Project

A grant of $333,000 has been awarded to Thames Coromandel District Council’s Great Walks Project from Trust Waikato.

"This is brilliant news and is another affirmation in support of the Walks project and the benefit it will bring to the Coromandel both socially, economically and culturally," says TCDC Mayor Glenn Leach.

Bev Gatenby, Chief Executive of Trust Waikato, says, "Trust Waikato is delighted to be able to contribute to this wonderful community asset."

In 2014 TCDC committed $1.25 million towards the Great Walks project. In 2015 DOC committed $450k and TCDC also successfully obtained $1 million from the Lotteries Significant Project Fund. This latest grant takes the total to $3.03 million.

The Coromandel Great Walks Project aims to link the entire Thames Coromandel District through a variety of walks around the coastline and across the spine of the Coromandel. The first offshoot being developed is a walk from Hot Water Beach through to Whitianga.

The first stage of this first walk is planned between the Stella Evered Reserve, opposite Cooks Beach, to Hahei.

All stages of the route so far are located on public conservation land and/or land with public access. Longer term this first walk could spread further north of Whitianga and further south down to Tairua, Pauanui and beyond.

"We won't be doing anything of significance until we have received and analysed a traffic impact report, which is due in September, and discussed those findings with stakeholders," says Garry Towler, TCDC Project Executive for the Great Walks.

What we have done is lodged building consents for the major viewing platform structures, which is on the coast both north and south of Hahei village. The reason why we've done this now is for quality control to ensure the designs of the platforms are compliant and will allow us time for any changes to those designs. There was no intention of any construction starting on these platforms and tenders for suppliers have not even begun.

TCDC will be starting work on four long-standing community projects, which ties in around the Great Walks project.

"These four stand-alone projects are either ancillary or maintenance work on existing tracks or sites that relate to the Great Walks," says Mr Towler. "They have community, cultural, environmental and economic benefits for the local area and are situated along the future Coromandel Great Walks route.

The four work projects are -

  • Coastal planting, at the Te Pupuha Recreation Reserve, Hahei.
  • Modifying an old planned walk through the Cathedral Cove Recreation Reserve to McHanns Bay. The property this walk is on is part of the old Andlinger Estate and was put into DOC management as part of an Overseas Investment Office arrangement with the planned track approved for development in 2007.
  • Improvements to the Stella Evered Memorial Park have already begun. This is a private reserve administered as a publicly accessible natural, cultural and historic reserve. TCDC is currently working with the park trustees and administrators on fencing, tree removal and landscaping.
  • Improvements to the existing track leading up to the Te Pare Pa (the old Pa site) at Hahei.

Funding for these projects will come out of the Great Walks budget.

Learning at Tairua School goes global

From a Harvard Professor to New Zealand’s own Gareth Morgan… these are some of the experts sharing their knowledge and expertise at Tairua School where learning is moving beyond the classroom and onto a global platform.

Inspired by the ideas and concepts showcased at an educational leadership summit in Singapore earlier this year, principal Brendan Finn believes education needs a serious overhaul to meet the needs of today’s students.

“Most of the learning programmes and methods in New Zealand schools haven’t changed much in the past 20 years. We have to ask ourselves are we preparing our students for the world we grew up in or for the one they will be part of,” he says.

The Future Schools Summit featured leading experts and innovators in the education field including internationally acclaimed Sugata Mitra and Tony Wagner, both of whom argue that future schools need to have a much stronger focus on innovation, creative thinking and self-directed learning.

“Thanks to the internet, our students now have access to as much information as they could ever need on any given subject. We live in a world where the answer to a question is at the touch of a button. The new challenge is how to evaluate, assess, how to be discerning about what we read and, most importantly, what we can do with that information,” says Mr Finn.

To test some of these new learning concepts, Tairua School launched a pilot programme at the beginning of Term 3. The challenge was to develop a “classroom of the future” where, alongside traditional literacy and numeracy programmes, Year 5-6 students would engage in “big question” studies. To support this, there has been significant investment in new technology and furniture in order to create learning and research hubs where students can work in pairs and groups.

“The classroom looks very different. We don’t have a teacher standing at the top and all the students looking in the one direction. Our students are moving around the classroom, conversing with each other, exchanging ideas and theories and the classroom teacher takes on more of a facilitation role than an instructional one,” explains Mr Finn.

“Big questions do not require a right or wrong answer because there isn’t one. It asks the student to delve into a pretty broad topic and research and study it from their own chosen perspective. The aim is to inspire a child’s imagination and set them on a genuine process of discovery. Students must then present their work in some capacity which requires them to reflect deeply on their own learning.”

According to Mr Finn, the results have been astounding, thanks in no small part to teacher Chris Hogarth who is passionate about the new learning model and the potential it offers students. Elements of the pilot programme are also being introduced in other classrooms with the goal of extending the full programme to the whole of the senior school next year.

“The level of engagement is pretty incredible. We are seeing students at all levels in that class really excelling. The attendance rate has improved and is the highest in the school. We are also seeing increased levels of confidence among the children. We will be conducting formal testing in Term 4 ahead of end of year reports and we are confident that the increased engagement will be reflected in the achievement data,” says Mr Finn.

Continuing with the global learning theme, Tairua recently welcomed international student teacher, Ina Dersen, who will be working in the new classroom of the future until the end of the year.

“Ina joins us from Munster University in Germany and, while we are delighted to be able to show her how New Zealand schools work, we are also excited about the perspectives she can give us based on her experiences in schools in other parts of the world.”

Mr Finn has also recently been selected as one of ten principals from across New Zealand to represent the Ministry of Education on an international delegation to China later this month.

“Having the opportunity to compare and contrast what we are doing here with what is happening in some of the top performing schools in Shanghai and Beijing is very exciting. Being able to establish connections and even partnerships with schools in that part of the world will be fantastic for our students and will be another step towards our goal of developing globally minded citizens,” he said.

Message to the thugs

Last Friday morning the people of Whitianga woke up to the news that a man had been assaulted overnight in town and had to be airlifted to hospital. A Police cordon in Cook Drive was evidence that something bad had indeed happened.

Later in the morning the Police confirmed that an investigation had been launched following the discovery of an injured man in a ditch on Cook Drive, shortly after 2:00am. Detective Sergeant Graham Pitkethley said, “A 111 call was made to North Comms about this time advising that three to four people were chasing a male south on Cook Drive towards Mercury Bay Area School.

“The man was conscious at the time he was found, however his condition deteriorated and he was flown to Auckland Hospital in a critical condition.”

At the time of me writing this editorial, the victim has not as yet been formally named by the Police and there is no news on whether any arrests have been made.

This editorial is not about speculating who the victim and the perpetrators may be.

This editorial is about an incident where a group of thugs apparently set upon a single individual and caused him grievous bodily harm for no apparent reason.

I want to say to the perpetrators that an incident of this nature has no place in Whitianga, or any other place for that matter. I want to say to the perpetrators that people who did what they did do not belong in Whitianga. They are not welcome in this town and they are not welcome in the wider Mercury Bay area.

I hope the perpetrators, once arrested, will be man enough to let the world know who they are. I want to say to the perpetrators that I hope they will refrain from applying for name suppression. I want to say to the perpetrators that The Informer will oppose any application they make for name suppression. I want to say to the perpetrators that The Informer will be in Court to take, with the Court’s permission, photos of them in the dock. 

The perpetrators are thugs. And thugs have no place in our town and in our area. I want to say to the perpetrators that The Informer will follow their Court proceedings with acute interest and keep the Mercury Bay and wider Coromandel Peninsula community updated in the finest detail.

And I want to say this to the perpetrators - if you are found guilty of an attack on a man who did nothing to you, because you derive some kind of sick pleasure from seeing someone else suffer, then The Informer will do everything in our ability to make sure you will never be able to make any kind of living in Whitianga or in the wider Mercury Bay Area.

Yes, if you are found guilty, we will print your photos, those we have taken of you in the dock, in The Informer. We will make sure everyone knows what you look like. We will print and distribute more copies around the Coromandel Peninsula if needs be. And moreover, we will call on all businesses in Whitianga and the wider Mercury Bay area to trespass you from their premises and their property whenever you dare show your faces in our part of the world again. Yes, we will actively campaign for a community to unite to prevent you from buying anything or go anywhere in our town and in our area.

I want to say this to the perpetrators and anyone who considers doing the same as you did - you are thugs. You do not have the privilege of sharing your lives with us. Get out of our town. Get out of our area. And stay out.


Latest business rest of site

Tricky Trees

Tricky Trees is owned and operated by Chris Boniface, a qualified arborist with more than 12 years’ experience running his own tree care/removal business.


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.