Tuesday, 25 June 2019


Whitianga restaurant wins premier award

Scott Corbett, head chef and co-owner of Whitianga’s No 8 Restaurant and Bar has been crowned “2014 Premier Master of Fine Cuisine” in the second annual Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards at an event held in Auckland on Tuesday.

Scott’s dish, Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Reserve beef eye fillet with Parma ham, truffle mushrooms, spinach, potato pom-poms, red onion and blue cheese was described as “faultless” by the judges.

“This was a virtuoso performance, showing how exceptional results can derive from unquestionable technical skill, an innate understanding of quality ingredients and their rightful place on a balanced plate,” says head judge Kerry Tyack

Tyack says Scott put together all elements of the dish perfectly. “Corbett delivered delicious simplicity. The cooking of the eye fillet was faultless, the use of the Parma ham as seasoning was inspired, the involvement of the classic and perfectly cooked potato pom-poms was playful and the delicate use of the truffle was impressively instinctive.”

Scott is no stranger to awards in his 28 years of restaurant experience. He has been a regular finalist in many competitions and was in the top 10 in last year’s inaugural 2013 Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards.

Commenting on his win Scott said, “This award is huge for the entire team. Our front of house staff are bubbling over with pride and the kitchen staff have a confidence and energy most businesses only dream of seeing. It is also testament to our choice of meat and our understanding of what works well with it.

“I am proud that all the dishes we create use the freshest, highest quality ingredients we can find, sourced locally wherever possible. This dish has to work superbly to showcase for our guests the best of what New Zealand has to offer.”

Tyack commented that the standard of this year’s finalists was again exceptional, making the judging panel’s decision difficult.

Silver Fern Farms General Manager Marketing Sharon Angus says Silver Fern Farms is committed to providing quality ingredients to chefs’ expectations.  “We are working with them to create the best eating experiences they can. Scott’s finesse with our finest cuts of Silver Fern Farms red meat is outstanding, to be a finalist two years running and now a winner shows he has outstanding talent in the creation and delivery of a great red meat dish.”

Early in 2014 a selection of New Zealand’s best chefs were invited to enter the second annual Premier Selection Awards. The field of 69 restaurants that entered created a dish using one of the finest Silver Fern Farms lamb, beef, venison or SILERE alpine origin merino cuts. The dishes featured on menus over six weeks in September and October 2014 for the judges and diners to put them to the test. Judges travelled from Matakana to Queenstown, tasting and scoring the dishes, looking for how well each chef crafted their dish. Key judging criteria included presentation, cooking, taste and innovation. The twelve finalists then featured the dishes on their menus for a second round of judging.

Angus says the awards have very quickly become one of the most prestigious restaurant competitions in New Zealand due to the quality of the restaurants involved, the robust judging criteria and the exceptional overall quality of the dishes presented.

How the Cooks Beach Transfield Triathlon went

A strong field of competitors ran, swam and biked at the Transfield Triathlon at Cooks Beach on Sunday.

Overcast skies provided ideal conditions for the 96 individuals and teams who took part in the variety of short and long courses on offer. The event was open to people from age 8 and up.

The event was organised by Sue Costello, Thames-Coromandel District Council Sports and Recreational Programme Co-Ordinator for Mercury Bay, and Sport Waikato.

Ngatea's Johan Vanhoovels won the open long-course event, completing a 500m swim, a 25km bike ride and a 5km run in 1.14:37.

Whitianga girls provided a strong local showing, with Ella Harsant winning the Short Course for 10-12-year-old girls and Ella Tomkins winning in the 13-14-year-old category.

"These girls showed great stamina and determination," said Sue.

She said it was a great effort from all who participated, with everyone getting a medal for their efforts.

Money raised from the event was still coming in, but Sue said they hoped it would pay for a website to help administer the event in the future.

The rest of the funds will go to the Hot Water Beach Surf Life Saving and Kuaotunu Search and Rescue, which helped with the marshalling.

Ms Costello says the event - the first-ever Transfield Triathlon - will become an annual fixture.

A triathlon held last year in Whitianga attracted 85 participants. Sue said this year they wanted to make it a little more challenging.

The event was held thanks to sponsorship from Transfield, the Mercury Bay Community Board, Peninsula Scaffolding, Go Kiwi and New World Whitianga.

Whitianga Police Report for the period 26 January to 2 February 2015


Last week we had a report of a local man having his dog stolen by a man pretending to be a dog-ranger, similar to incidents that were reported in other areas recently.

Our enquiries so far suggest that a dog wasn't stolen from Whitianga, that in fact a woman was telling a friend to take care of their dogs due to what she had read in the paper concerning other areas. This warming then having been repeated a number of times was mistakenly believed to be that a theft had occurred in Whitianga.

All council bylaws enforcement staff, including dog control officers have identity cards and Police advice is that if you are in doubt about any official please ask them to produce identification.      


29th - 1 x 17yr old local man for Dangerous Driving, Failing to Stop and Driving Whilst Forbidden.


Two domestic incidents attended last week.

On the 28th a woman and her young son were involved in a domestic incident at a SH25 Whitianga address and our enquiries are still continuing, while on the 1st a man assaulted his sister at a School Road address and he also damaged a vehicle parked outside and he will be summoned to court for his actions.

On the 30th a 14yr old girl was walking along Lee Street and she was approached by an adult man who made an inappropriate suggestion to her.

The girl has run from the area and alerted her parents who contacted Police.

Anyone with information relating to this man is asked to contact Police.  

A man who decided to go for a quick swim off Buffalo Beach at about 1.50am on the 2nd returned to shore to find his wallet and cell phone had been stolen.


Three drunk drivers were apprehended this week.

30th - a 21yr old Coromandel man who recorded a result of 506/250.

        - a 39yr old Australian man who requested a blood sample to be taken.

31st - a 18yr old local woman who recorded a result of 78/0

A crash occurred on SH25 near Boat Harbour road when the driver lost control of his vehicle on a moderate bend and crashed into a ditch.

We also had three minor crashes on The 309 Road on Saturday which were a result of poor driving during wet weather. 

Human remains found on a Coromandel beach

Waikato Police are investigating the discovery of human remains on a Coromandel beach.

The bones were exposed in an area that is subjected to ongoing erosion and were located by a visitor to the Peninsula.

The finder uplifted the bones and later handed them in at an Auckland Police Station. The bones are currently being examined to determine how old they are.

The area is well known for human remains being found that predate European settlement. It is timely to remind the public that discoveries of this type should be left in place and reported as soon as possible to the Police.

New Zealand laws prohibit interference with archaeological and burial sites.

Native orchids now sprouting in former pest plant paradise

The sight of native orchids starting to sprout on the site of an old wild ginger infestation has reinforced the value of consistently attacking pest plants, says biosecurity officer Benson Lockhart.

Benson, from Waikato Regional Council, made the discovery recently while inspecting pest plant control on a 4.5 hectare Tairua property with owner Patrick Maenulein.

“Patrick and I were both stoked to see the native orchids starting to emerge in a gully where he had dealt to the extensive wild ginger outbreak there,” says Benson.

“Wild ginger creates an impenetrable mat and there’s no way these native orchids could have come through if it was still there.

“It’s a great example of how such restoration work can create a more beautiful, natural environment.”

The wild ginger control was part of extensive work by Patrick in recent years to control plant and animal pests on his land, a large part of which is covered by a QE2 covenant for environmental conservation purposes. WRC has previously supported his work with funding for animal pest control.

“On the pest plant front, Patrick has put in a huge effort using machetes and sprays in an area that is steep and difficult terrain to access,” says Benson.

“A key to the ongoing success of this project and any pest plant control is regular monitoring to ensure that gains made are not lost.”

Animal control officer impersonator steals dog

A man posing as a Thames Coromandel District Council animal control officer, driving a white Nissan ute removed a dog from a Whitianga property early yesterday.

"All Council vehicles dealing with animal control have the TCDC logo on the side and all animal control officers carry identification," says Steve Hart, TCDC’s team leader, Bylaws and Compliance.

"You can ring Council to do a spot check, all genuine officers will be happy for you to call," says Mr Hart.

The man introduced himself as “Graham” and had information that matched the person's circumstances. Another victim in Waihi gave a man impersonating a Hauraki District Council bylaws officer their dog after he knew their dog killed a rabbit. It is possible information could be gathered from people's Facebook or YouTube posts. Both incidents were picked up only after the people rang the respective Council’s to enquire about their dogs.

"If a white ute with the word 'Ranger' on the side of the vehicle and no TCDC logo approaches you, please call us immediately on 07 868 0200. We would love to catch the offender," says Mr Hart.

Thames Coromandel District Council endorses memorial forests

The New Zealand World War 1 Memorial Forests project, which will see 18,166 trees planted at various scenic sites around the Coromandel to honour all NZ soldiers who died in World War I has been officially endorsed by Thames Coromandel District Council today.

TCDC will now act as underwriter for the estimated $452,000 cost of the forest project over the next 10 years with costs to be recouped from grants from external agencies and from sale of the trees to the public.

The project, which is also known as "Te Wao Whakamaumaharatanga" (the Forest of Memories), will commence with initial planting on Anzac Day this year, with a push for more intensive planting with schools and volunteers groups in the autumn months. On average 6,000 trees will need to be planted each year, with the forests completed by Armistice Day 2018.

As each tree will be numbered and plotted on GPS, members of the public will be able to purchase a tree to honour a fallen soldier for $100.

TCDC will be looking for at least 3000 people to purchase a tree in order to meet funding targets, but will welcome as many purchasers as are willing to come forward.

The project will see contractors undertaking initial site preparation such as digging the holes and staking, numbering and plotting GPS coordinates for each site, with volunteers involved in the initial planting and maintenance. Contractors will be working with volunteer groups to look after each tree in the longer-term.

"We have had fantastic feedback so far from all the organisations we have met to discuss the project," says TCDC mayor Glenn Leach. We are working with a variety of agencies including DOC, WRC, Forest and Bird, Kauri 2000 and local RSAs.

"We are also starting to make contact with schools around the district so students can be involved from possibly growing the trees in nurseries, to on-going, long-term maintenance. The meetings we've had so far from the schools we have approached have been extremely positive." 

Final decisions on the site of each battle are yet to be made, but at this stage it is proposed that Gallipoli (2,779 trees) will be honoured on Department of Conservation land above Cathedral Cove, that the Battle of Passchendaele will be remembered at the new Whitianga Cemetery, with the Thames War Memorial honouring the Battle of Messines Ridge (1,300 trees) as well as a separate site on the entrance to Thames to specifically remember the war dead from the town. Other sites will be the Pauanui-Hikuai Tangitarori Lane walkway which will honour the Palestine campaign and the Battle of Le Quesnoy at Whangamata. Other sites are still under investigation for the remaining battles to be commemorated.

Whitianga Police Report for the period 19 January to 26 January 2015


The Waterways Concert over the weekend seemed to be enjoyed by most and visitors to our area should have enjoyed some excellent conditions to experience the best of the outdoors our town has to offer.

Of note the drunk driver apprehended on the night of the concert did not go to the concert and numerous other vehicles stopped had sober drivers to get them home safely.

We have had an excellent period of fine weather with our area pretty dry at the moment. There is a fire ban in place and that includes fireworks.

Please remember that when we do get some rain our roads will be slippery and extra care will be needed.    


20th - 1 x 26yr old local man for Male Assaults Female.

21st - 1 x 17yr old local woman for Assault with a Weapon.

        - 1 x 24yr old local man for Dangerous Driving, Failing to Stop and Resisting Arrest.

23rd - 1 x 40yr old Tokoroa man for Assault and Wilful Damage.


One domestic incident attended last week on the 20th which related to a man assaulting his sister at a Moewai Park Road address and resulted in his arrest. 

On the 20th a drunk customer yelled abuse at a staff member at a licensed premise on The Esplanade and a trespass notice is to be issued.

A licensed premise on The Esplanade was burgled on the 21st and 3 bottles of spirits stolen, while on the 22nd beer was stolen from a residential garage on Endeavour Close.


Two drunk drivers were apprehended this week.

24th - a 52yr old Auckland man who recorded a result of 364/250.

25th - a 46yr old Auckland man who recorded a result of 697/250.

No crashes to report this week.



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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.