A ferryman's tale

A ferryman's tale

A ferryman's tale

Circulation 7,200 Phone 07 866 2090 Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to Colville - www.theinformer.co.nz Proud to support the Coromandel Rescue Helicopter Trust Telephone (07) 867 1580 By Meg Tatton-Brown A ferryman’s tale Contact: Gates & Fences Ltd Ph 0800 2 B FNCDIN 0800 223 623 07 866 5271 Whitianga • Pool, Garden, Perimeter fencing • Commercial perimeters • Gates • 6 Powdercoated colours • Various designs available • 10 year guarantee • Free quotations • DIY or erected for you EUROLOC FENCING POWDER COATED ALUMINUM TUBULAR FENCING & GATE SYSTEMS After 16 years and nine months of transporting passengers, bicycles, prams, fresh produce, takeaways and a myriad of other things across the Whitianga River, well-known and much-loved Whitianga Ferry driver, Eric Mair, retired on Monday this week.

Having worked most of his life on the water, Eric approached Dave Pierrepont (the previous ferry owner for many years) after a day trip to Whitianga in 2002 and asked for a job. He and his family were living in Auckland at the time, where he was working as an air conditioning technician. “I longed to get back behind the controls of a boat, and fortunately Dave was all too happy to accommodate my request,” says Eric. The Stella B and the larger Mercury Star were the two ferries in use when Eric started working for Dave. “While I was used to driving boats, it was a new experience getting familiar with navigating the Whitianga River,” says Eric.

“One thing you learn is that you don’t teach the river, the river teaches you. You never stop learning in a job like this.” Sometime later, Eric also began skippering the Glass Bottom Boat on a part-time basis. “That was before scenic boat tours to Cathedral Cove became such a huge tourist hit,” says Eric.

In 2015, the Diana-Rose, the ferry most regularly used these days, was put into service. “A lot of thought went into the Diana-Rose,” says Eric. “She can transport twice as many people as the Mercury Star, which is very helpful over the busy season. She’s also level with the wharf, so it’s much easier to get bicycles and prams on and off the ferry.” Eric has accumulated some interesting memories throughout his years on the ferry. He recalls how it was a regular occurrence for coffins to be transported across the river on their way to the cemetery at Ferry Landing. “Very carefully, of course, and always feet first,” says Eric.

“I’ve also seen my fair share of hens’ parties and stag dos over the years.” When the Mercury Star was the primary ferry in use, Eric used to row out in an aluminium dinghy to where she was moored. One morning, he lifted up the dinghy to find some people asleep beneath it. “They had a few too many the night before and missed the last trip across the river,” says Eric.

It also wasn’t unusual for impatient passengers to try to step off the ferry before it had completely reached the wharf. Needless to say, some of those passengers were left very cold and wet. Eric says that he has seen a significant drop in intoxicated passengers trying to board the ferry in recent years, especially during the summer holidays and on weekends when big events were on in Whitianga. “People are behaving a lot better these days, which I think might be due to a stronger police presence,” he says. “It’s really pleasing to see.” Eric often gave younger children the opportunity to steer the ferry on their way to school.

“They would rush onto the boat to get to the wheelhouse first” says Eric. “Some of those children ended up working as ticket clippers for us over the school holidays and they became really good at helping to drive the ferry. “I remember many of the children from when they were just starting out at school and now they’re adults, some with boats of their own.” Eric plans to spend his retirement travelling around New Zealand with his wife, Dellas, in their motorhome and to visit family and friends more regularly. They have grandchildren in Wellington and Whitianga. Eric also hopes to fit in some salmon and trout fishing along the way.

“I’m very pleased Dave gave me a job all those years ago,” says Eric. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Whitianga River. I’m left with wonderful memories and the knowledge that Dellas and I will always be part of a very special community.” Assuming Eric Mair (pictured), who retired from driving the Whitianga Ferry on Monday this week after 16 years and nine months in the job, worked an average of 48 weeks a year and five days a week, he worked a total of 4,020 days as the ferry driver. Further assuming Eric worked a seven-hour shift every day he was on duty, and crossed the Whitianga River between the Whitianga Wharf and the Ferry Landing Wharf (a distance of approximately 270m) 10 times every hour (five times either direction), then he travelled a total distance of 75,978km on the river during his career with the Whitianga Ferry.

That equates to almost twice around the world. These assumptions do not include the many trips Eric made between 1:00am and 3:00am to transport Corogold concertgoers from Whitianga to Ferry Landing in years gone by.

A ferryman's tale

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Page 2 The top Mercury Bay Area School academic students for 2018 were announced at a whole school assembly on Thursday last week. Last year, 11 MBAS students endorsed NCEA Level 1 with excellence and 24 students endorsed with merit. In NCEA Level 2, 13 students endorsed with excellence and 18 students endorsed with merit. Five NCEA Level 3 students endorsed with excellence and six students endorsed with merit. “The trends in our NCEA achievement across Levels 1, 2 and 3 continued to be strong in 2018, particularly in the levels of certificate endorsements - either at merit or excellence levels,” says John Wright, MBAS principal.

“This is a superb outcome for our young people and is representative of their hard work, the support from their whānau and the input and encouragement from their teachers.

“Overall our ‘pass rate’ for NCEA is satisfactory, however for Level 1 last year, we’ve had significantly fewer boys [55 per cent] successful than in the recent past [compared with girls at 75 per cent] and we’re looking into the reasons for this.” The MBAS dux student for 2018 was Ella Tomkins. The proxime accessit (second highest achievement) award was shared between Jessica Alexander and Michaela Duerre. In the photo on the left are Jessica Alexander (left), Michaela Duerre (centre) and Ella Tomkins after the assembly on Thursday. Jessica is this year off to the University of Auckland to study a conjoint degree in commerce and science, Ella will embark on an Auckland University of Technology degree in sport and recreation at the Tai-Ohomai Institute of Technology campus in Tauranga and Michaela will be studying health science at the University of Otago in Dunedin.

In the photo on the right are the six new teachers who’ve joined MBAS this year. From the left - Ailsa McLean (middle years English), Andy Henley, (middle years and senior years physical education), Hanna Sharps (middle years and senior years physical education, health and English), Raewyn Eagar (Year 7 and Year 8), Kate Pretorius (Year 3 and Year 4) and Eric Pampalone (Year 7 and Year 8).

The MBAS roll stood in excess of 1,000 students when the 2019 school year started last week. MBAS top academic students for 2018 announced Tides data sponsored by nzwindows.co.nz 4 Dakota Drive Whitianga Tel 07 869 5990 Night sky information provided and sponsored by Astronomy Tours and B&B Phone (07) 866 5343 www.stargazersbb.com Week of 13 February - 19 February - Venus continues its movement towards the Sun in the early morning eastern sky and even has a close encounter with Saturn. The International Space Station (ISS) continues zipping around the Earth at 8km/second and can occasionally still be visible in the evening sky looking like a slowly moving star.

Wednesday 13 February - The ISS is very bright tonight and visible from 7:03pm to 7:09pm after which it will once again disappear as it goes into our shadow. It will start low in the NW and end in the SE evening sky. When highest overhead it will be almost 600km from us and over twice that when it disappears lower down. Thursday 14 February - The ISS makes a slow pass very low in the west from 7:50pm to 7:53pm. Friday 15 February - The ISS is very bright in the NW moving to the SE from 6:57pm - 7:02pm, but will probably be quite hard to see in the reasonably bright early evening sky. Tuesday 19 February - Brilliant Venus lies very close to faint Saturn and makes a pretty pair with it in the early dawn eastern sky, very low on the horizon.

What’s happening in the night sky? Whitianga and Hot Water Beach tides

A ferryman's tale

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Page 3 Issue 702 - 17 August 2016 Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 “Ten Days of Art” The Mercury Bay Art Escape Open Artists Studios offers art lovers the opportunity to explore the creative nature of the Coromandel, from Tairua to Opito Bay, to gain a unique perspective, meet the participating artists, admire their studios and understand something of the relationship each artist has with the Peninsula’s beautiful coast. This year the Open Artists Studios will form part of a full “Ten Days of Art” during the first 10 days of March.

In addition to enjoying a free self-drive art studios tour during the first two weekends of March (Saturday 2 March and Sunday 3 March, and Saturday 9 March and Sunday 10 March) from 10:00am to 4:00pm, you can help make a giant sculpture and take part in a full range of art workshops. You can also marvel at the Tuia 250 Street Art Festival. The “Ten Days of Art” will be launched at the official opening of the Open Artists Studios on Friday 1 March at 6:00pm at Hot Waves Café in Hot Water Beach. The evening will feature guest speaker and renowned artist, Fatu Feu’u ONZM, and an exclusive preview of the Mercury Bay Art Escape’s Showcase Exhibition (an exhibition containing an artwork by each of the Art Escape’s member artists).

A complimentary glass of Tohu wine is included, as well as catered nibbles by Hot Waves and live music by local band, Neighbouring Planets. Be quick to book tickets online for this much-anticipated event. Thirty-six Art Escape member artists (among them three new artists) and three art groups will participate in the Open Artists Studios. It’s an opportunity to encounter woodworking, pottery, sculpture, harakeke weaving, glasswork, mosaics, jewellery, painting, photography and printmaking. You’reencouragedtocheckouttheMercury Bay Art Escape’s free 2019 Art Guide and website (www.mercurybayartescape.com) for all the details.

You will also have the opportunity to work alongside established local sculptor, Chris Charteris, at the Kuaotunu Town Hall on Sunday 3 March. Chris, with help from the public, will be creating a massive mandala- like indoor sculpture out of 1,000s of ngā tipa (scallop shells). The mid-week programme from Monday 4 March to Friday 8 March includes the Tuia 250 Street Art Festival in Whitianga. The festival will feature internationally recognised street artists Flox and TrustMe, and Charles and Janine Williams, alongside Mercury Bay artists Michael Smither, Monique Rush, Anne Bowden, Peter Nicholson, Dave Fowell and popular street artists from the Coromandel and Hamilton.

The festival will highlight the national Tuia - Encounters 250 commemorations.

Te Whanganui-A-Hei (Mercury Bay) has great seafaring significance. It’s where the great navigator Kupe visited many centuries ago and in 1769 it was one of four landing sites for Captain Cook’s ship, HM Bark Endeavour. This exciting and free event will allow you to witness 12 new murals being painted on walls in the Whitianga CBD. A free guide detailing festival information will be available from the Mercury Bay Art Escape website and the Whitianga i-SITE. A range of art workshops will take place during the same time as the Tuia 250 Street Art Festival (from Monday 4 March to Friday 8 March).

These interactive workshops will cater for all levels of skill and experience, and include photography, flax weaving, painting, mixed media and printmaking. You will be tutored by Mercury Bay Art Escape member artists and invited tutors. Ensure you make the most of the “Ten Days of Art” from Friday 1 March to Sunday 10 March.

A ferryman's tale

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Page 4 Guinness & Stella Artois On Tap Cocktail of the Week - elderflower and strawberry spritz Ask about our function room Available for all your social occasions Grace O’Malley’s 9 The Esplanade, Whitianga Ph. 07 866 4546 ~~~Phone 869 5919 for reservations and takeaways ~~~ Check out our Lunch Specials and our lunch club for a FREE Lunch 33/3 Albert Street, Whitianga Upstairs above Fagans OPEN FOR LUNCH and DINNER Open 6 Days Closed COOLEST KIDS MENU! Burgers Freshest Fish Juicy Steaks Pop into the Tav for lunch with the Family * HAPPY HOUR 5 - 7pm EVERY Friday Freshest fish arriving daily.

Pan fried or enclosed in our Tav made beer batter. * BREAKFAST? LUNCH?

DINNER? Hair of the dog? Cheeky Banter? Early Morning Lala Fix? We’ve got it ALL! Today let’s kick ass and make dream happen! Go to Coroglen & chill SUNDAY CHECKLIST: Summer at the Coroglen Tav Open 10am $16 Steak Special 200g sirloin steak, salad, chips and an egg Tuesdays only! Chiefs v Highlanders 6:30pm Winning Wheel Meat Raffles Free Nibbles BISTRO CLOSED 4 - 6pm THIRSTY THURSDAY HAPPY HOUR TAB POKIES FREE POOL Saturday Morning Raffles 11am $1 EACH $ 10 LUNCH TUESDAY - SATURDAY 12pm - 2pm • • Members Draw DOC JEFFRIES RAFFLES 5:30pm DARTS 7:15pm Members Draw Raffles 5:30pm SNOOKER 1Pm BALL 7:15pm 7 days 12 - 8:30pm Burrrrrrritos! Taaaaacos! Pork/Chicken/Fish/Vege $13 - $15 HAPPY HUMP DAY Black Caps v Bangladesh 1:30pm Happy Hour 4 to 6pm Monday Madness! Kids Eat Free! *Conditions Apply Valentines Day - Complimentary house pour for every gentleman who purchases a meal for their Valentine Jugs Out Thursday Jugs from $12 Valentine’s Day Black Caps v Bangladesh 10:30am Blues v Crusaders 7pm Free Pool VALLEY LOCALS POKER RUN! Keep safe on the roads team!

See you at the Tav! coroglentavern.co.nz Menu online QUIZ NIGHT 7:30pm Performing from 7:30 SNOOKER 1PM INDOOR BOWLS Open 7 days - 11am to late

A ferryman's tale

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Page 5 Issue 702 - 17 August 2016 Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 1kg of Chicken Wings $15.50 From 5 - 9pm Anthill Mob From 9 Burger night Beef, lamb, chicken, fish & vegetarian with fries - $15.50 $18 scotch fillet, salad & fries 5 - 9 pm Happy Hour 4 - 7pm Vegas Live - 9pm Check out Indulge NZ ice cream outside the Whitianga Hotel Our famous pork belly only $12.50 Every Monday 5 - 9pm $18 scotch fillet with salad & fries and your choice of sauce Full menu at www.govino.co.nz Ph 07 867 1215 for bookings Open 6 nights Dinner from 5:30pm Coffee Sat/Sun 8:30am - 11am Closed today Open 7 Days Lunch from 11am - 2pm Dinner from 5:00pm - late Dine In • Takeaway • Delivery 13 / 1 Blacksmith Lane, Whitianga Dine in FREE on your birthday One main, rice & naan.

Minimum 2-person party. Authentic North Indian Cuisine Wide selection of seafood, vegetarian & gluten-free. Children’s menu available. - Like us on Facebook to see our weekly specials - Double loyalty stamps all night Open from 3pm - 9:30pm 866 0196 Delivery and Takeaway Thirsty Thursdays A free drink of your choice with any $15 burger! Late night Open from 3pm - 1am Happy hour 6pm - 8pm Buy any burger and get the second burger up to the same value ½ price! Including all kids meals!

Open 3pm - 9:30pm Tuesday closed for mental reconstruction Open 6 days a week from Tuesday to Sunday 9am till late. Free ride from the ferry if you book with us at night. Full menu at www.eggsentriccafe.co.nz, phone 866 0307, bookings essential. Valentine’s Day Set Menu Bookings Essential We are celebrating Valentine’s Day from 14 - 16 Feb here @ TLS Try our delicious sharing dessert platter. Enjoy our selection of local wines. Book now. Limited availability. 4pm - late Pasta Special $18 Closed on Mondays Wednesday 4pm - late Pizza Special $22 Friday 12 noon - late Fish & Chips Saturday 12 noon - late Chicken/Lamb Souvlaki Sunday 12 noon - late Persian Duck Lamb Rack

A ferryman's tale

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Page 6 Coroglen School principal on the year ahead Coroglen School principal, Jean Saunders, and her staff are looking forward to a busy 2019, including active involvement in the Tuia - Encounters 250 commemorations later in the year. “Our staff remain the same as last year and our roll numbers are steady at 30 with some new families replacing our 2018 leavers,” says Jean. “I am happy to say we are in the final stages of planning a complete refurbishment of our classroom learning spaces, which will enable us to make better and more flexible use of our indoor and outdoor environment.

We will be adding a deck and direct access to our outdoor learning area, which will incorporate our sandpit, water-play, mud kitchen and garden spaces. “With the support of the Coromandel Community of Learning and other participating schools, we will be moving into the ‘Learning Through Play’ philosophy in our junior room. “Another anticipated learning opportunity this term is the Experiencing Marine Reserves programme with Mercury Bay local, Amber Boyd. Amber will be training our students in snorkelling and the theory behind what she is teaching them. We will then visit Hahei to look inside and beyond the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve to witness the impact the reserve has on the marine environment.

This will be exciting and powerful learning for our students and incorporates our school vision and values regarding sustainability, utilising our local environment and working with our community to develop lifelong learners. “The local Tuia - Encounters 250 programme, which will put Mercury Bay in the national spotlight later this year, will be an opportunity for our students to be involved in authentic learning experiences they will no doubt retain as highlights from their school years. We are looking forward to being actively involved and appreciate the time and commitment Joe Davis of Ngati Hei, John Wright of Mercury Bay Area School and Ministry of Education staff have put into creating learning resources and experiences related to the commemorations.

This term we will be focusing on voyaging as a theme, from the past through to the future. “On top of all this,we will of course continue to do what we do well.Our usual calendar highlights remain - Pet Day in the third school term and the swimming, winter sports and athletics days that we share with Whenuakite and Te Rerenga Schools. This year too, we have been invited to share a Matariki celebration at Hikuai School.

“We are a small school and can offer a one to three teacher/student ratio. This enables us to build strong relationships with our students and their families. We have a dedicated board of trustees and supportive whānau who work hard to fundraise for the extras we need and who help where they can in our classrooms and on outings.” The Mercury Bay Big Band will kick off their rehearsals for 2019 on Monday 25 February at C3 Church in Coghill Street, Whitianga at 5:00pm. The band consists of a group of 16 musicians who enjoy playing a collection of big band jazz, blues, Latin and funk.

The band performed several concerts last year, the highlight being two “tea dances” in conjunction with the Mercury Bay Community Choir in November.

A much-anticipated event this year is a workshop and concert that will be led by the maestro of big band jazz in New Zealand, Rodger Fox. It will be Rodger’s third visit to Whitianga. His previous visits were inspiring. Rodger will visit Whitianga in August this year. The band is also delighted to be part of the Tuia - Encounters 250 commemorations that will be held later this year.

Helen Lee, the coordinator of the Mercury Bay Big Band, is pleased to welcome Mercury Bay Area School student, Floyd Ross, into the band.“Last year, we’ve had two international students playing the flute and trombone with us for a few months,” says Helen.“We very much welcome new members. We would love to have more brass players, especially those with experience on the trumpet and trombones.” Any musicians interested in joining the band must please phone Helen on (021) 173 6490. Mercury Bay Big Band rehearsals to kick off Squids Seafood Restaurant www.squids.co.nz Fb Squids Seafood Restaurant Blacksmith Lane 07 8671710 The place for the freshest fish and seafood from around the region as well as an awesome selection of local wine and beer Open for lunch Mon - Fri 11:30am - 2pm Open for dinner 7 days from 5:30pm

A ferryman's tale

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Page 7 Issue 702 - 17 August 2016 Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Creative Mercury Bay and Arts on Tour New Zealand are proud to bring the “On the Road” comedy show to the Coghill Theatre in Coghill Street, Whitianga on Thursday 28 February. The stars of the show, Michele A’Court and Jeremy Elwood (pictured), have been showcasing their comedy skills for more than 20 years. The insightful and outrageously funny duo have performed at comedy festivals around the world, from Adelaide to Edinburgh, and are regulars at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival.

Often appearing on Radio New Zealand’s “The Panel,” Michele and Jeremy also feature on TV programmes such as “7 Days” and “The Project.” Michele enjoyed huge success when she toured “Stuff I Forgot to Tell My Daughter” with Arts on Tour New Zealand in 2016. This time around, it will be stuff Michele and Jeremy tell each other. An evening of hilarious fun awaits, so make sure you don’t miss out. The show will start at 7:00pm. Tickets can be purchased at Paper Plus Whitianga and cost $25 for adults and $15 for students under 18.

“On the Road” comedy show coming to Whitianga

A ferryman's tale

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Page 8 Robert Lindsay Dip Phty(Otago) ADP(OMT), Dip.MT.

Co-author of ‘Treat Your Own Shoulder’ and Associates Crystal Vause BHScPhysiotherapy Manipulation / Back and Neck Pain / Work Injuries Sports Injuries / Post Surgery and Fracture Rehab Acupuncture / Hand Therapy / Women’s Health Clinic Physiotherapists with the qualifications to provide excellence in physical health care Dr Adam’s and Hemmes’s Surgery - Ph (07) 868 9579 WHITIANGA PHYSIOTHERAPY CLINIC Zach Wood is one of Mercury Bay’s most recent Wintec graduates, having last year completed an NZQA Level 3 Certificate in Arboriculture in Whitianga.

Zach was in between jobs with no qualifications when he saw an advertisement for the arboriculture course in The Informer and thought it looked like something he could try. Another Wintec arboriculture course is planned to start in Whitianga in the next few weeks. An information session will be held at 19 Buffalo Beach Road (the old Mercury Bay Hospital) on Wednesday 20 February from 11:00am to 12:00 noon. Wintec also offers a landscape construction course in Whitianga. The Wintec arboriculture programme in Whitianga runs over a period of 20 weeks with classes taking place four days a week during school hours.

“What I liked about the course is that every day was different,” says Zach. “One day we would be working with chainsaws and the next we would be climbing trees for the tree care aspect of the programme. We were taught many skills, some of which included learning correct planting and pruning techniques. On one occasion we practiced on the hedges around the Mercury Bay Library.” The course also covers health and safety, first aid, tree identification and chipper use. Zach’s favourite part of the programme by far was the tree climbing. “It was definitely a bit nerve-racking at first being so high up, but once I got used to it, it was great fun,” he says.

“We got to use the trees out at the Mercury Bay Golf Course for our training.” Zach is now working as a climbing arborist at Dynamic Tree Care in Coromandel Town, but is aiming to achieve an NZQA Level 4 Certificate in Horticultural Services at the Wintec campus in Hamilton.

Regional programme coordinator for Wintec’s horticulture courses, Fiona Taylor, talks highly of the landscape construction and arboriculture courses available in Whitianga, run in a much- appreciated partnership with Ngati Hei. “What is wonderful about these courses is that they are government funded, so they are completely fees free and anyone can enrol,” says Fiona. “Several years ago, Wintec acknowledged that there are often many factors, including family commitments or financial constraints, that prevent people from travelling to Hamilton to study. So after responding to community demand, we were successful in setting up these programmes in Whitianga during 2017.” The courses are introductory level and participants can be any age over 15.

They do not need to hold any prior school or tertiary-level qualifications, just a willingness to learn. Wintec believes that their outdoor-focused courses are perfect for a town like Whitianga, where the community has strong ties to a beautiful natural environment. “The Mercury Bay community is extremely environmentally conscious and with a strong demand for qualified employees in the landscape construction and arboriculture industries, these courses are a perfect fit for Whitianga,” says Fiona.

Zach is one of many course graduates with a success story to tell, with no doubt many more to come. “I am very happy that I chose to pursue a career in arboriculture,” says Zach. “I am lucky that I was able to establish a career in an industry that I am passionate about.” If you cannot make the information session on 20 February, you can phone local Wintec tutor, Howard Saunders, on (027) 866 3277 for more information. The Mercury Bay Informer is subject to the principles of the New Zealand Media Council. Please contact us first if you have concerns about any of the editorial content published inTheInformer.Ifwewereunabletoaddressyourconcerns to your satisfaction, you can complain to the New Zealand Media Council, PO Box 10 879, Wellington 6143 or www.presscouncil.org.nz.

The Mercury Bay Informer is published weekly on Wednesdays and distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula. Readers’ contributions of articles and letters are welcome. Publication of contributions are entirely at the discretion of the editor. Contributions will only be considered for publication when accompanied by the author’s name and surname, telephone number and residential address. Opinions expressed (especially in letters) are not necessarily those of the owner or publisher. Published by Mercury Bay Media Limited Editor - Stephan Bosman Contributors - Meghan Hawkes, Jack Biddle, Cara Bosman, Debbie Wilton, Suzanne Hansen, Pamela Ferla and Meg Tatton-Brown Advertiser Management - Petra Bosman and Alex Kennedy Administration - Diane Lodge Office 14 Monk Street, Whitianga 3510, Mail PO Box 426, Whitianga 3542 Telephone (07) 866 2090, Fax (07) 866 2092 Editorial email info@theinformer.co.nz, Advertising email sales@theinformer.co.nz ISSN 2422-9083 (Print), ISSN 2422-9091 (Online), © 2018 Mercury Bay Media Limited Like us on Facebook.

Follow us on Twitter. Check us out on Instagram. See page 2 for what’s happening in the night sky and the Whitianga and Hot Water Beach tides. Emergency (Ambulance, Fire, Police) 24 hours . . 111 Police (Whitianga . . 866 4000 Police (Tairua . . 864 8888 Police (Coromandel Town . . 866 1190 Fight crime anonymously - Call Crime Stoppers . . 0800 555 111 Dog and Noise Control . . 868 0200 Dental Emergency (Mercury Bay . . 869 5500 Civil Defence . . 868 0200 Mercury Bay Medical Centre (Whitianga . . 866 5911 Doctors Surgery (Whitianga . . 866 4621 Medical Centre (Tairua . . 864 8737 Harbour Master (Whitianga .

. 027 476 2651 Coastguard Radio Operators . . 866 2883 Whitianga Social Services . . 866 4476 What’s that Number?

ONLINE POLL FOR FEBRUARY 2019 Is freedom camping a problem on the Coromandel Peninsula? Have your say at www.theinformer.co.nz. Another opportunity to obtain an arboriculture qualification in Whitianga Whitianga resident, Zach Wood, a recent Wintec graduate, is very happy that he chose to pursue a career in arboriculture.

A ferryman's tale

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Page 9 Issue 702 - 17 August 2016 Issue 832 - 13 February 2019

A ferryman's tale

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Page 10

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Page 11 Issue 702 - 17 August 2016 Issue 832 - 13 February 2019

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Page 12 Thumbs Up To the staff of Four Square Matarangi for going out of their way to assist a lady who injured her wrist on Waitangi Day. No more Plastic bags No more Seagulls No more Hassles Letters to the Editor See page 8 for our requirements with regard to letters and contributions Dear Editor - The doling out of public money in the name of “conservation” In his Letter to the Editor in last week’s Informer, Ian Patrick urges a 1080 protestor to start a conservation group to prove they “care about nature and the survival of our birds.” Starting or joining a conservation group is all too often a search for a paid occupation or a means of attracting public funding.

In the 1970s and 1980s I was witness to a number of conservation projects on the Coromandel Peninsula, all funded privately and all very successful. It is largely due to these projects, this care for a re-growing environment, that the Coromandel hills became once again desirable. The preserving of one wetland area begun in the 1970s and was paid for by one landowner. I was privileged to be able to live on its edge for many years, surrounded by fern birds, rail and bittern. In 1991, DOC spread rat poison on a neighbouring property and the morepork disappeared, a poisoned pig lying in the stream.

I have been against this poisoning ever since. There has since been a mountain of poison spread around the Peninsula with no proven benefit that a bit of trapping and shooting could not have achieved the same result without any of the by-kill.

Poison came as an adjunct to a government urge to take over control of our previously beautiful environment. Once public money began to pour into “saving” our environment, conservation groups such as Ian Patrick's wetland project sprang up all over the place to swallow up these funds. More and more public money is being doled out in the name of “conservation” and more and more people think they can make a living from it. The sad thing about some of these enviro-groups is that much of their time and effort is spent on administration, meetings, self-promotion and raising funds and very little on saving birds.

No doubt Ian Patrick's group have a treasurer, a secretary, a chairman, a board of trustees and a specific member bent on grabbing more public funds. No board of trustees, no funds.

I did hear of an enthusiastic wetland group which planted out native bushes and then charged in and trapped all the predators only to be rewarded by a plague of rabbits which ate up all their bushes. Enthusiasm is to be encouraged, but understanding only comes by being on the spot for a long time. Genuine help for the environment cannot be bought by public funds alone. John Veysey Coromandel Town Dear Editor - Catherine Delahunty’s column in last week’s Informer Congratulations to Ian Patrick and Alastair Sims for two very sensible and positive Letters to the Editor in last week’s Informer.

Unfortunately Catherine Delahunty’s column in the same issue was just the reverse, as usual.

She laments the eminently sensible decision by West Coast Regional Council to reject the ridiculous sea level scaremongering being put forward by Local Government New Zealand and its activist head, David Cull. Hopefully Thames-Coromandel District Council will have the common sense to follow the West Coast Regional Council lead. Catherine needs to understand that “the consequences of our global oil dependency” are actually overwhelmingly positive, both for the environment and us. It was the discovery and use of affordable fossil fuels that have been an environmental revolution for the better.

No longer do we need to hunt down cuddly penguins and whales to provide oil for light and lubrication. We no longer need to fell vast forests to heat our homes. Food production for an ever-increasing population is made much more efficient with natural gas-sourced fertilisers (Jacinda take note). This has meant a huge reduction in the land area required to feed the globe, compared with what would be necessary under an “eco-friendly” organic system. We no longer have to raise, feed and house millions of horses to provide transport and the land required to feed them can now feed us instead. No longer do we need to dispose of the mountains of manure and tons of methane they used to produce.

With synthetic materials from oil, we no longer have to slaughter millions of seals and animals for clothing and now petrochemicals give us countless pharmaceuticals, plastics and other products to provide the standard of living and good health that even the Greens have come to accept. Catherine and her fellow Greenpeace supporters should be thanking the petroleum industry and human ingenuity for saving the environment, not the reverse. The extra leisure time that petroleum-fuelled machines have given us means that we all have more time to enjoy our lives than ever before and Catherine can continue to have her “glass of cider and watch the sunset while the tui sings.” Alastair Brickell Kuaotunu Dear Editor - The other side of the story Catherine Delahunty wrote a thoughtful and thought-provoking column in last week’s Informer.

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Page 13 Issue 702 - 17 August 2016 Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Letters to the Editor See page 8 for our requirements with regard to letters and contributions I would like to address some of her comments. Catherine said that our recent hot weather wasn’t an anomaly, an exception to the usual, implying that was how our summers were from now onwards going to be. No, the hot weather in late January and early February was an unusual event and not a consequence of a change in the climate. For it to be evidence of a change in the climate, it needed to consistently appear for the past 15 years or longer, not just for a few days.

Our recent hot weather didn’t even qualify to be called a heatwave. A heatwave is where the temperature is 5°C above the average for a minimum of five consecutive days. It didn’t happen. So, what we had was weather, not climate. It’s also disturbing that Catherine incorrectly labelled West Coast Regional Council as climate change deniers. I’m sure they recognise as much as everyone that the climate changes over time. What they are saying is that they would be extremely foolish to turn their economy upside down and put hundreds of workers in the coal mining and transport industries out of work by shutting down West Coast coal mines without better evidence that the burning of coal is affecting climate change in any meaningful way.

I’m not aware that it has scientifically been proven that CO2 has more than a miniscule effect on the climate. So, West Coast Regional Council should be praised for taking a cautious approach and not rushing in like most others and committing to spending billions of dollars for no advantage whatsoever. And was Catherine not a little hypocritical by wanting to send West Coast Regional Council to Kiribati or Tuvalu while at the same time urging Thames-Coromandel District Council to reduce fossil fuel emissions?

I do feel for those island residents who may be losing their homes to the ocean, but they could be partially blamed themselves.

Although the sea level has raised at a rate of 1.3mm in the past 100 years, Kiribati and Tuvalu, and other similar islands are volcanic in origin and are continuously settling under their own weight. Back 100 years, dwellings on those islands were built well back from the ocean’s edge. These days, construction is right up to the beach, so it’s no wonder that storms are causing damage and erosion, which are exacerbated by the removal of coral for infrastructure like roading.

With regard to the other things Catherine referred to in her column, she has my full support. Stuart Dean Whitianga

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Page 14 Queen’s Birthday weekend this year (Saturday 1 June to Monday 3 June) will see a return of the highly anticipated Whitianga Town Garage Sale. This year is the 11th anniversary of the event and bargain hunters often travel from out of town to enjoy a long weekend of treasure hunting. Local residents can become involved by registering a garage sale for the weekend or by visiting the garage sales and opening their wallets for an item or two they may or may not need.

If you need any encouragement to get involved, then consider this… In 2011, a bargain hunter paid 40 pence each for three unusual drinking glasses she found at a garage sale in Portsmouth. They turned out to be rare 18th century examples of work by revered glassmaker, William Beilby. The glasses later sold at auction for 19,000 pounds. And some years ago, a New York family bought a Chinese bowl, just five inches in diameter, at a garage sale for USD3 and found out that it was actually a 1,000-year-old treasure worth USD2.2 million.

The bowl was from the Northern Song Dynasty, which ruled China from 960 to 1127. The only other known bowl of similar size and design has been in the collection of the British Museum for more than 60 years. To register your Queen’s Birthday Weekend garage sale at a cost of $15, please contact The Informer by popping into our office at 14 Monk Street, Whitianga, by emailing us at info@theinformer.co.nz or by phoning us on (07) 866 2090. We will need to know the address of your garage sale, the day/s of Queen’s Birthday Weekend you want to hold your sale, the hours you want to hold your sale and a short description of what you will have on offer.

All registered garage sales will receive two posters to direct bargain hunters to their sale and a map with the location of of all garage sales will be printed in The Informer that will be published the Wednesday before Queen’s Birthday Weekend. All registration proceeds will go to a local charity nominated by the Mercury Bay Area School primary years student leaders. Registrations for Whitianga Town Garage Sale now open

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The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Page 16

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Page 17 Issue 702 - 17 August 2016 Issue 832 - 13 February 2019

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Page 18 After a break of several years, the Whitianga Baptist Church youth group was resurrected on Friday evening last week. The group is led by Whitianga residents Tony and Heather Enchmarch with the full support of the Whitianga Baptist congregation and pastor Mike Walker. “All young people between 13 and 18 years of age are welcome to attend our youth group,” says Heather.

“They don’t have to belong to any church. We meet every Friday evening at the Whitianga Baptist Church on Cook Drive for an hour and a half of activities and uplifting fellowship. The activities are messy and non-messy, may require a lot of energy or are somewhat more sedate. Food more often than not plays a role. Whatever we do, it’s always great fun.

“Once a month we’ll be doing something bigger. During that week we won’t meet on a Friday evening. Our first bigger event is on Saturday 23 February when we’ll be holding a back to school bash in the afternoon from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. A lot of water will be involved and a ton of laughter is guaranteed. “Towards the end of March, we’ll be handing out smoke alarm batteries to all the Whitianga Baptist Church neighbours. “We also hope a good group of local young people will attend the large Northern Baptist Region Easter camp from Thursday 18 April to Monday 22 April at Mystery Creek outside Hamilton.

It’s a massive interdenominational weekend of more than 5,000 teenagers having fun.” Mike Walker says he’s excited about Tony and Heather getting the Whitianga Baptist Church youth group up and running again. “It’s a wonderful initiative from within our congregation,” he says. “I’m at Tony and Heather’s beck and call. Whatever they want me to help them with, I’ll be there and support them. The activities involving food are the ones I’m especially interested in...” Pictured are Mike Walker (on the left) with Tony and Heather Enchmarch. Whitianga Baptist Church youth group up and running again “Kīwaha o te wiki” (saying of the week) “Kino kē koe” - You are awesome Saying of the week supplied by Te Puna Reo o Whitianga - a playgroup with a focus on Māori tikanga and te reo Māori.

The group members meet every Tuesday at 9:30am at Crossroads Whitianga Church. All those with pēpi or young tamariki are welcome to join.

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Page 19 Issue 702 - 17 August 2016 Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 New Mike Pero owners in Whitianga for the long haul When Robyn Beard won the Miss Whitianga beauty contest in 1981, she never thought that she would end up calling Whitianga home one day. Robyn and her partner (in life and in business), Gary Davey, acquired the Mike Pero real estate territory for the central and northern Coromandel towards the end of last year. They opened an office in Monk Street, Whitianga just over a month ago. Robyn and her family used to holiday in Whitianga at the old campground in Eyre Street.

“Our summer holidays were always a highlight,” says Robyn.

Gary is also no stranger to Whitianga. “My grandmother bought a property up Centennial Heights when I was a teenager and I’ve spent many summers sleeping in a caravan on her property,” he says. Gary and Robyn have both been working at a large real estate agency in Orewa for the past 12 years. In 2012, they joined up as a team, a move that has seen them achieving spectacular success. “In our second year of working together, Robyn and I were among the top 20 real estate agents nationwide of the franchise group we were with,” says Gary. “In the wider Auckland region, we were number six. More than 2,000 agents were working within the franchise group at that time.” Gary and Robyn decided to take a break in 2017.

“Initially we were going to travel around New Zealand for three months,” says Robyn. “That turned out not to be long enough. We decided to bid farewell to the real estate agency we were with and take our time to enjoy life while considering what we were going to do in the future. We were open to the idea of moving out of Auckland and putting down roots in a smaller place. Our travels eventually brought us to Whitianga and for both of us all our pleasant summer holiday memories just came flooding back. The town has also reminded us of the way Orewa was before it became just another Auckland suburb.

“When we eventually got around to thinking about the future, Whitianga was the frontrunner among the places we considered as a possible new home. The town really has everything.” Gary and Robyn have looked at a variety of options before they signed up with Mike Pero. “In Whitianga we were looking at several businesses that were on the market and we’ve also investigated the feasibility of developing a motel,” says Gary. “But we just couldn’t get away from the idea that we both liked and were comfortable in the real estate industry. The Mike Pero brand and business model appealed to us and fortunately Mike Pero and his management team were keen to talk to us.

“As it turned out they had a few territories available, including the central and northern Coromandel. It really was a no-brainer.” Robyn says her and Gary’s office in Monk Street is a showcase of what Mike Pero is about. “Boutique, personal and professional,” she says. “We’re under no illusion that we first have to crawl before we can walk, but we promise to do our very best for our clients right from the outset. If things are going according to plan, we most definitely will be looking at opening satellite offices in other parts of our territory in time to come.” In addition to establishing a business in Whitianga, Gary and Robyn have also purchased a section in a subdivision in the town and look forward to when they can start building.

“Make no mistake, we’re in Whitianga for the long haul,” says Robyn. “We just love it here. We go in the mornings for walks along the beachfront and really enjoy the live music scene in the cafés, restaurants and pubs.

“And we’re already getting to know the locals, which is something that’s pretty special.” Gary Davey and Robyn Beard in their new Mike Pero office in Monk Street in Whitianga.

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Page 20 What’s On The next few weeks REGULAR EVENTS Op-Shops Social Services Op-Shops - 2 Cook Drive, Whitianga. Open Monday to Friday, 9:00am - 4:30pm and Coghill Street (west of Albert Street), Whitianga. Open Monday to Saturday, 9:300am - 2:00pm. The Church Op-Shop - at St Andrews by the Sea Community Church, Owen Street, Whitianga.

Open Tuesday to Saturday 8:30am - 12:30pm. St John Opportunity Shop - Albert Street, Whitianga. Open Monday to Friday, 10:00am - 4:00pm and Saturday 10:00am - 2:00pm.

Mercury Bay Cancer Support Trust Bookshop Albert Street, Whitianga. Open every Monday - Saturday from 10:00am - 2:00pm. Women’s Wellbeing and Weight Loss (the old WW) Meet every Wednesday from 5:00pm - 6:00pm at Whitianga Social Services, 2 Cook Drive, Whitianga. A support group for women striving to be the “best versions of themselves” they can be. “Weighing in” at meetings is optional, but all are motivated towards being more active and encourage each other to eat well. Phone 869 5648 for more information. Peninsula Penultimates (ex Probus Club) Meet the fourth Monday of every month at 10:00am at the Mercury Bay Bowling Club, Cook Drive, Whitianga.

Phone 866 5027 for more information.

Whitianga Senior Citizens Club Meet Mondays in the Whitianga Town Hall, 1:00pm - 4:00pm. Bowls, scrabble, card games, housie etc. Afternoon tea, 55 plus age group. Phone Adrian Telders (president) on 866 5377 for more information. Matarangi Craft Group Meet the second and fourth Tuesday of every month from 7:00pm - 9:00pm at the Matarangi Fire Station. Phone Lesley on 866 0788 for more information. Whenuakite Area Playgroup Every Wednesday 9:30am - 12:30pm at the Hahei Community Hall. Ages birth - six years. Visitors welcome. Tea and coffee are provided.

Whitianga Playcentre Every Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:00am - 12:00 noon at 1D White Street, Witianga.

For children 0 - 6 years, free entry. Visitors welcome. Mercury Bay Quilters Meet the first and third Monday and the second and fourth Saturday of the month from 10:00am - 4:00pm at Whitianga Social Services, 2 Cook Drive, Whitianga. New members welcome. Phone Delys on (07) 866 0265 for more information. Mercury Bay Community Choir Meet Mondays at 6:00pm at the Mercury Bay Area School music room, 20 South Highway,Whitianga.All welcome.To find out more, phone Kate on (027) 270 9058 or Edie on (027) 272 5733.

Whitianga Tramping Group Meet every second Sunday at 8:30am. Phone Wally on (021) 907 782 or Lesley on (021) 157 9979 for more information. Mercury Bay Woolcraft Group Meet every first and third Wednesday of the month in the Whitianga Town Hall in Monk Street, from 10:00am - 2:00pm. Phone Wendy Russell on (07) 866 3225 or Michelle McLuckie on (021) 104 1205 for more information. Whitianga’s Death Café Meet the third Sunday of every month at the Embassy of Friendship, 5 Coghill Street, Whitianga. “Challenging the taboos around death.” All welcome. Email David at david@aikido.co.nz for more information.

Serenity Al-Anon Group Meet every Tuesday at 1:30pm. Phone (07) 866 5104 or (021) 086 10955 for more information. For those affected by someone else’s drinking.

Cooks Beach Garden Circle Meet the last Thursday of every month from 11:15am - 2:30pm. New members welcome. Phone Leila on (07) 866 3264 or Anne on (07) 67 1618 for more information. Whitianga Art Group Meet every Thursday and Friday from 10:00am - 4:00pm at the Art Centre and Gallery at the end of School Road, Whitianga.Visitors welcome. Phone Phone Merle on (021) 024 19368 or Beverley on (07) 866 2345 for more information. Dog Walking Group Meet every Thursday at 2:00pm at Lovers Rock, Robinson Road, Whitianga. An opportunity to socialise your dog. Mercury Bay Contract Bridge Club Meet every Wednesday at 1:00pm at the Mercury Bay Bowling Club, Cook Drive, Whitianga.

Newcomers and visitors welcome. Phone Bob on (07) 866 5831 for more information.

Regular Church Services St Andrews by the Sea Community Church Albert Street, Whitianga. Worship service and kids-friendly Bible session at 9:30am every Sunday. St Peter the Fisherman Anglican Church Dundas Street, Whitianga. Service at 9:30am every Sunday. Crossroads Whitianga Corner of Joan Gaskell Drive and Cook Drive, Whitianga. Service at 10:00am every Sunday. St Patrick’s Catholic Church Campbell Street, Whitianga. Weekend Mass every Saturday at 5:30pm and every Sunday 8:30am. Whitianga Baptist Church 112 Cook Drive, Whitianga, tel 393 0000. Service and children’s programme at 10:00am every Sunday.

C3 Whitianga 23 Coghill Street, Whitianga, email info@c3whitianga.org.nz. Service and children’s programme at 10:00am every Sunday.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS Church or Mormons) Meet at the Whitianga Social Services building, 2 Cook Drive, Whitianga at 10:00am every Sunday. All welcome. Phone (021) 277 2126 for more information. Seventh Day Adventists Home study group. Phone Laurie/Lois on 866 2808 for more information. SPECIFIC EVENTS Mercury Bay Game Fishing Club Tristram Marine Open Saturday 16 February - Saturday 23 February. See www.mbgfc.co.nz for more information. New Zealand Sport Fishing Council Simrad/ITM Nationals Saturday 16 February - Saturday 23 February. See www.mbgfc.co.nz for more information.

Whitianga Art, Craft and Farmers Market Saturday 16 February from 8:30am - 1:00pm at Soldiers Memorial Park, Albert Street, Whitianga. Whitianga’s 2nd Annual Touch Tournament Saturday 16 February at the Mercury Bay Multisport Park, Moewai Park Road,Whitianga. From early in the morning. More than 18 teams from Auckland and the central North Island are expected to enter. Come support all the Mercury Bay players.

Coromandel Music Society Presents Soul Sax Plus Saturday 16 December in the Admirals Arms garden, Coromandel Town. Doors open at 6:00pm, show starts at 7:00pm. Tickets $15 each, available from the Coromandel Town Information Centre or at the door. Coroglen Farmer’s Market Sunday 17 February from 9:00am - 1:00pm at the Coroglen Hall, State Highway 25, Coroglen. SeniorNet Whitianga Open Day Tuesday 19 February from 12 noon - 3:00pm at the Whitianga Social Services building, 2 Cook Drive, Whitianga. An opprtunity to dicover what SeniorNet can fo for you.

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Page 21 Issue 702 - 17 August 2016 Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 • Spouting • Roofing • Water treatments systems • Septic tanks • Hot Water cylinders • New Housing • Alterations • General Maintenance • Solar water heating • All LPG gas installation Whitianga 07 866 0070 The Coromandel’s most romantic beach We were inundated with entries into our Valentine’s Day competition we published in last week’s Informer.

Readers could enter by telling us which Coromandel beach is their favourite to enjoy in the company of their loved one. In a nutshell, we asked our readers to nominate the Peninsula’s most romantic beach.

The prize was a $100 voucher to spend with one of our advertisers. We accepted entries as comments on our social media posts about the competition, via email and by hand-delivery to our office. The winner was drawn on Monday this week by Rohit and Sangita Ranchhod of Smart Brokers in Whitianga. Congratulations to Bob Brown and Jane Milbank, the lucky winners of the voucher. They nominated the beach at Opera Point in Whangapoua as their favourite. Many entries were accompanied by reasons why a specific beach was a reader’s favourite. Two of the reasons stood out for us.

This is what we received from Ella Powell, who nominated Otama Beach - If I want to swim in a deep blue sea Otama Beach is the one for me.

If my hubby who is a bit of a dish wants to catch a big fish Otama Beach is the one for him. If visitors come and we want to show off Otama Beach is the one they see. If we want to reflect on 35 years of love and romance Otama Beach is the one for me. And this what we received from Thom Dodd, who nominated Opoutere - My wife and I immigrated to New Zealand in 1996. Living in Hahei, our landlord moved us on in December to rent our place out to holidaymakers. So, we took a tiki tour.

First stop, the lovely YHA hostel at Opoutere where we were welcomed with buckets to gather pipis and cockles for tea. The next day would be Christmas and our hosts invited us to their annual “Christmas dinner for travellers.” They wanted all travellers to feel at home and part of their family over Christmas. We woke Christmas morning to the most spectacular dawn chorus of bird song we have ever heard. Later that morning, we were all given our jobs. We harvested (garden and sea), peeled, chopped and set tables on the lawn overlooking the estuary. They were long tables, where we could all rub elbows.

At about 7:00pm our hosts appeared, carrying bottles of bubbly and roast turkeys. All the trimmings were there and we ate until the late sunset. Then out came the trifles, sticky date pudding and ice cream. We go back to Opoutere periodically to relive this memory. Valentine’s Day is always perfect for such a visit. Sadly, the YHA hostel closed 10 years or so ago, but in the decade after our first Christmas there, we had several more Christmas experiences at the hostel. We’re happy to also offer Ella and Thom a $50 voucher each to spend with one of our advertisers.

Almost every beach along the east coast of the Peninsula, and even Peachgrove Bay on Great Mercury Island, was nominated in the competition.

Otama Beach was the clear winner, however, with more than twice the number of nominations than its nearest rivals, Matarangi and Opito Bay. Honourable mentions have to go to Lonely Bay, Matapaua Bay and Buffalo Beach. They have done well too. Rohit and Sangita Ranchhod of Smart Brokers busy drawing the winner of our Valentine’s Day competition on Monday this week.

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Page 22 Last week’s solution Name _ _ Tel no _ _ Last week’s winner - Barbara Hargreaves ACROSS 1. Of plants 4. Hand digit 7. Mouse noises 8. Playing-card Jack 9. Duplicated 12. Supervisor 15. Postponement 17. Not transparent 18. Beijing is there 21. Lightning streaks 22. Mean person 23. Drearier DOWN 1. Cut in half 2. Find innocent 3. Large family 4. Elephant ivory 5. Revised 6. Nip 10. Bridal endowment 11. Stringed instrument 13. Reminisce 14. Avers 16. Photographer’s tool 18. Overfill 19. A long way off 20. Paint roughly Win a $5.60 Wednesday Lotto ticket.

Hand deliver or mail or scan and email your entry to The Mercury Bay Informer, 14 Monk St, Whitianga or PO Box 426, Whitianga or info@theinformer.co.nz to reach us by 6:00pm Monday each week.The winner must please claim their prize from the New World check out manager directly before the Wednesday of the week following the issue in which they were announced the winner.

Crossword Puzzle 832 © Lovatts Puzzles Crossword Polyurethane coating & colouring Timber & Cork Floor Installation www.mercurybayfloorsanders.co.nz Call chris mcKibbin M: 021 046 7169

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Page 23 Issue 702 - 17 August 2016 Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 The St John Siren Sponsored by Mercury Bay Pharmacy - Tel 866 4532 This year has started off with a hiss and a roar. The ambulance service in Whitianga has had its busiest month on record last month. Our total responses for January were 157, which was made up of 113 medical call-outs and 44 trauma related call-outs.

This total was 34 responses above January 2018. We utilised an air ambulance on 10 occasions during the month.

Our busiest day was on Thursday 3 January with 13 responses for the 24-hour period. We were fortunate to have had two ambulance officers from Auckland seconded to Whitianga over the month. They really helped with the workload. There were times where all three ambulances stationed at Whitianga were busy, responding to or transporting patients, with all three ending up at Thames Hospital at the same time. As usual the team from the Whitianga Volunteer Fire Brigade assisted us during the month to lift and extricate patients or to assist us with cardiac arrests by providing extra manpower. We really appreciate their help.

On the staffing front, we currently have 19 volunteer ambulance officers and four paid full-time paramedics. We’re awaiting the formal acceptance of another volunteer, which should happen in the next few days and will bring our volunteer strength up to 20. Our target for this year is to build our volunteer strength up to 25 members. Over the last little while we’ve been seeing a lot of people with fever. Fever is the body’s natural response to fight off viruses and bacteria by weakening germs and limiting their ability to reproduce. It also helps burn away toxins and stimulate the immune system.

Since a fever is the body’s preferred method for healing itself, you should only use medication to cure a fever if your temperature gets too high or you become extremely uncomfortable. While you can handle most fevers at home, even though they make you feel miserable, seek assistance if you also have severe dehydration, severe headaches, hallucinations, difficulty walking or breathing, or you have seizures. If in doubt, seek assistance. Some of the things you can do to help yourself at home when you have a fever are - • Drink lots of water. If you’re drinking sports drinks, dilute them by half with water.

• Lower the room temperature. Open windows and get the air moving. Use a fan if necessary. • Get plenty of rest. • Resist the urge to put extra clothes on. You may get chills and will be shivering. This is the body’s means of getting rid of the heat of a fever. You don’t need to make it more difficult by putting more clothes on. • Sponge down with cool water or take a lukewarm shower. • Take paracetamol if your temperature gets above 39°C. Follow the directions on the packet.

• See you doctor if your fever doesn’t come down or lasts longer than 72 hours. • Also see your doctor for (or if) - • Children under three months with fever.

• Children under two years with a high fever or a fever that lasts longer than 48 hours. • You’ve recently had surgery or have travelled and have a fever. • You experience flank pain and/or painful urination. • You’re experiencing fevers frequently. Use common sense. If you’re unwell and you become concerned, seek medical help. That’s all for now folks. Enjoy the rest of the summer.

Mike Burrows St John Whitianga Station Manager There were times last month when the three St John Whitianga ambulances ended up at Thames Hospital at the same time.

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Page 24 Sudoku (Just for fun) Solution Fill in the boxes using the numbers 1 to 9. Every row and column, and every group of nine boxes inside the thick lines, must contain each number only once. This is a fun challenge and no prize can be won. The solution is, upside down, below the puzzle. Sudoku Puzzle 832 Mobility equipment available for locals and visitors.

Walking frames, crutches, walking sticks and wheelchairs. Phone Roger on 07 867 1986 for more information

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Page 25 Issue 702 - 17 August 2016 Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 A number of people took to the water on Waitangi Day last week. Plenty of snapper were caught in the Puddle and out behind Centre Island. Out wide there were a number of vessels searching for bigger fish, but coming home unrewarded. It’s a shame as there were last week half a dozen or so game fish caught off Waihau and various other places dotted along the east coast of the North Island. Surely it’s only a matter of time before these fish turn up in good numbers in our fishing area.

Our Tristram Marine Open tournament will be fished from Saturday 16 February to Saturday 23 February. With a dozen or so eligible species, there will be something in it for everyone. Anglers can fish as many or as few days as they like. Listen to channel 61 for announcements and fish that will make it into the prizes. Sponsored by Mercury Bay Marine - Tel (07) 867 1280 Fishing Report By the Mercury Bay Game Fishing Club A friendly junior T20 cricket game on Waitangi Day The Mercury Bay junior cricket team played a friendly Twenty20 game against a Hauraki Plains team on Waitangi Day last week.

Both teams were a mix of ages ranging from seven years old to 12 years old.

The game was played at the Mercury Bay Multisport Park in Whitianga. It was a fun game with each player batting four overs, bowling two overs and enjoying fielding in the sunny weather. The supporters of both teams were treated to some excellent skills. The final score was Hauraki 135 runs and Mercury Bay 113 runs. Cricket in Mercury Bay is growing among both junior and senior players. The juniors practice on Saturday mornings at the Mercury Bay Multisport Park at 9:30am. Superstar Cricket, a New Zealand Cricket programme for children between five years old and eight years old, is run at the same time.

Twilight cricket is played on Thursdays at 6:00pm, also at the Mercury Bay Multisport Park. Men and women, and boys and girls of all ages and skill levels are welcome. For more information, see the Mercury Bay Cricket Club website, www.mbcc.net.nz, and Facebook page. Pictured is Mercury Bay junior cricket team member, Will Lockhart, bowling to a Hauraki Plains batsman on Waitangi Day.

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Page 26 Brain Teaser Puzzle 832 Name _ _ Tel no _ _ Win a coffee and a muffin from Espy Cafe in Whitianga.

Hand deliver or mail or scan and email your entry to The Mercury Bay Informer, 14 Monk Street,Whitianga or PO Box 426,Whitianga or info@theinformer.co.nz to reach us by 6:00pm Monday each week.The winner must please claim their prize from Espy Cafe directly before the Wednesday of the week following the issue in which they were announced the winner.

Last week’s winner - Janet Mitchell Brain Teaser - Vaki Puzzle © Tamaki Education and Sports Society Inc Last week’s solution - Binary Puzzle Vaki Puzzle Instructions The puzzle is solved when there is a playing card (Ace - A, King - K, Queen - Q, Jack - J) and a suit (Diamonds - D, Hearts - H, Clubs - C, Spades - S) in each cell and each card and each suit appears once in each row and once in each column. Each pair occurs once and only once in a solved puzzle.

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Page 27 Issue 702 - 17 August 2016 Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 The Whitianga Camera Club have changed the way they work and now cater for two levels of members within the club.

Level 1 is made up of beginner to intermediate photographers and Level 2 is made up of advanced photographers. The advanced club members are also part of the Photographic Society of New Zealand. “Creativity” was the club’s challenge for January. Members were asked to use their imagination to go beyond a simple photograph.

The winning Level 1 photo (on the left) was taken by Wendy Pemberton. Wendy called her photo “Little Ladies on the Beach.” The photo was taken at Front Beach and Wendy had to lie down on the sand to achieve the composition she wanted. It took three days of attempts to capture an image she was happy with. Lia Priemus took the winning Level 2 photo (on the right). The photo, “Abstract in Reflection,” was taken in Pushkar, India. “The day before there had been a particularly unseasonal heavy rain, leaving puddles on the dirt road,” says Lia. “There were some interesting reflections of a now bluer sky, buildings, trees and cast shadows to capture.” Lia edited the image by making an orientation turn and sharpening the reds, yellows and blues.

“Lia’s photo is a true abstract masterpiece,” says Kate Beauchamp, convenor of the Whitianga Camera Club.

Whitianga Camera Club’s most creative photos for January

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Page 28 Hygiene Positions Available Immediate Start We are currently looking for staff to join our hygiene team. Cleaning experience in the food industry and chemical sanitisation knowledge would be an advantage, however training is provided in order to meet our compliance requirements. Successful applicants shift hours - 11:30pm to 5:00am Monday to Friday. Applications can be made online at www.opcolumbia.co.nz or call into the office to submit an online application.

PROCESSING POSITIONS O P Columbia (OPC) is a major participant in the aquaculture industry on the Coromandel Peninsula New Zealand. We specialise in Greenshell™ mussels. We are now taking new applications for factory positions. If you are motivated, reliable and have an excellent work ethic then this job would suit you. We pay competitive rates with the opportunity to increase pay based on performance. Travellers are required to commit to a minimum of 3 months and provide a current work visa. NZ applicants need to have NZ residency or a valid NZ work visa.

Positions are available on dayshift 6am to 3pm and nightshift 3:30pm to 12:30am.

Applications can be made online at www.opcolumbia.co.nz or call into the office to submit an online application. SITUATIONS VACANT SALES/ADMINISTRATION ROLE There is an opportunity for someone to work in our busy Whitianga store. Hours per week will vary as this role will start out as casual to cover staff annual leave, sick days, staff away for school holidays as well as busy sale periods. This position will start out as casual with approximately 15 - 20 hours per week, but with the potential to become a permanent full-time position for the right person.

Sales experience with a strong focus on customer service is essential and good administration skills to be able to process the corresponding paperwork is also required. Please apply in writing and include a current CV to s.dalgliesh0383@gmail.com. Classifieds and Public Notices HOUSE WASHING Call Drew for a free quote The Expert with the time tested and guaranteed method of removing mould, lichen, moss and stains. In fact any exterior surface that needs a clean, Drew can deal to with a harmless but totally effective wash.And remember a pre-paint wash will extend the life of your paint job and make painting easier.

Buildings. Boats. Fences. Wood. Concrete. Metal. Call Drew Edwards - The Chemwash Man Mobile: 0274 375 578 a/h 07 867 8493 PlaceMakers is a dynamic, interesting and fast-paced environment to work in. We also happen to be one of New Zealand's leading and largest suppliers of building materials and a very successful business unit within the wider Fletcher Building Group. We have a diversity of customers who come through our branch and it’s up to us to make sure we deliver outstanding service to each and every one of them. Our motto is that nobody is easier to do business with and that’s something we live and breathe.

We are looking for someone with exceptional customer service skills to join our team here in Whitianga. The role based in our Drivethru and timber yard, will offer a mixed workload which will appeal to someone who enjoys being busy and is happy to get stuck in and do what it takes to look after customers. We are looking for a genuine team player and an individual with an excellent work ethic.

You don’t need experience in the building industry, as this is something we can help you to learn from our award-winning team. Key requirements will be - • Great interpersonal skills and a love for taking care of customer needs and making customers believe that nobody else can look after them better. • Excellent verbal communication skills and a natural friendly and approachable manner. • A full licence would be preferable but not essential If you have an interest in our business and what we do, we can help you to build a career! We have some amazing success stories of people who have shown commitment to work hard and they have gone on to achieve incredible things.

Could you be our next success story?

Ideally we are on the hunt for someone able to work fulltime Monday to Friday with rostered weekend work. However, for a superstar, we do have some ability to be flexible. To apply please send your CV to Olivia.Kathan@placemakers.co.nz. You will need to pass a pre-employment medical and drug test to be eligible for this opportunity.

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Page 29 Issue 702 - 17 August 2016 Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Classifieds and Public Notices public notices CLEANERS WANTED To join our busy team. Phone (021) 138 7293. COROGLEN DART CLUB AGM Thursday 21 February at 7:00pm at The Coroglen Tavern.

All welcome. Phone Kirsty on (021) 405 222 for more information. WHITIANGA ART, CRAFT & FARMERS MARKET Saturday 16 February 2019 Soldiers Memorial Park, Albert Street, Whitianga, 8:30am - 1:00pm. Unique locally created art, craft & local produce. Phone Doreen on 866 5237 or 021 061 6489 or Anne on 866 5550 or 027 246 0072 Mercury Bay Junior Rugby Club NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Mercury Bay Junior Rugby Club will be held - At - Mercury Bay Rugby Club Rooms, Lyon Park, Albert Street, Whitianga On - Tuesday 19h February, 6:00pm All welcome, we do hope you can join us.

Enquiries to - Club Secretary (Saasha Hoar) mercurybayjuniorrugby@gmail.com Phone number - (022) 390 3094 PRESIDENT, SECRETARY, COMMITTEE MEMBERS, COACHES, MANAGERS AND REFEREES FOR THE 2018 JUNIOR RUGBY SEASON The Mercury Bay Junior Rugby Club are now seeking expressions of interest for the 2019 season for the above roles. Be a part of our family-orientated club and ensure the health and growth of rugby in our community and in our children’s lives. Training, support and guidance available for all roles. Call Saasha on (022)390 3094 for more details or email mercurybayjuniorrugby@gmail.com.

CENTRE ISLAND TRUCKING Driver required Class 4 driver for 3 - 4 days per week (approximately 40 hours). Reasonable level of fitness and strength needed. Call Rob on (027) 223 3522. public notices SITUATIONS VACANT BINGO! BINGO! BINGO! Every Sunday at 2:00pm in the Whitianga Town Hall.

Contact (021) 083 51424 for more information.

The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Page 30 for sale CHURCH SERVICES COUNSELLING SERVICE ST ANDREW’S BY THE SEA Community Church Albert Street, Whitianga COMMUNITY WORSHIP EVERY SUNDAY 9:30am. Come, join the family of God! Enquiries 869 5452 www.standrewsbythesea.org.nz DRUG SCREENING WORKPLACE DRUG SCREENING AVAILABLE. Ph: Tracy 021 462 554. FIRST AID COURSES FIRST AID COURSES, Ph: Tracy to book 021 462 554. GOODWOOD FIREWOOD Green or Dry (021) 240 9909 goodwoodfirewood.co.nz.

TO LET STORAGE SHEDS, Whitianga Total Storage opposite Carters. Ph: 0800 944 660 Container It Self Storage, 17 Moewai Road, Whitianga. Ph: 0274 817 258 STORAGE SHEDS, various sizes, dry and secure. Free trailer. Ph: 07 866 5147 STORAGE, Self storage/boat storage, Matarangi - Kuaotunu. Ph: 07 866 5693 Classifieds and Public Notices DOG GROOMING HOME BREW SUPPLIES Join our discount club. Mercury Bay Pharmacy HEALING FACILITATOR CARD READINGS VERNA (027) 320 0079 vernacarrspiritualhealing.com HOLISTIC HEALTH DEATH NOTICE WHITIANGA MARINA 14M BERTH, berth D40, available for long term rental. Ph: (07) 829 4751 or (027) 472 7434 WANTED TO RENT STUDIO/WORKSHOP SPACE IN WHITIANGA Preferably ground floor, 25m² - 40m², close to town.

Phone Rick (021) 215 8847. EVANS, Antje Sjieuwke (nee Koopal) Anneke passed away peacefully on 29th January 2019 after a short struggle with cancer, aged 68. The family wish to thank Dr David Wilson and the staff at Whitianga Continuing Care, Waikato DHB Hamilton and Thames, and Te Korowhai who demonstrated their care and professionalism. According to Anneke wishes, following an eco cremation a celebration will be held at Purangi Estate later in the year. FIREWOOD FOR SALE, dry gum, $180 cube delivered. Ph: (021) 842 140 MERCURY BAY COMMUNITY BUS For your door to door travel to hospitals and related services in Thames, Waikato, Auckland and Tauranga.

To book a date phone 866 4993. Sponsored by the Mercury Bay Club. COMMUNITY BUS WORK WANTED WORK WANTED DAVE’S DRAINAGE Drainlaying, Public & Private, 1.8 Ton Digger Hire. 30 Years Experience. Free Quotes or Advice Call Dave 027 727 0348 davesdrainage@xtra.co.nz SLIDING DOOR WON'T SLIDE? BIFOLD DOORS NEED REPAIRS? Call an Exceed Technician today! 0800 25 25 00 www.exceed.co.nz MIKE’S MOWING $25 empty sections, fortnightly or monthly mowing. Free edge spraying. Free quotes. Phone Mike or Deb 866 4678 or 027 320 1703. Rubbish Removal Trees, Lawns, Garden Bags. Phone John 866 5511 THE BESS HANDZ EMBROIDERED MONOGRAMS Alterations, repairs, zip and hem service.

Phone 866 5277.

EXCEED Retractable Screens Now Available Never let annoying insects spoil your party again! Check out www.exceed.co.nz and Ring Exceed 0800 25 25 03 today. 021 745 350 WINDOW CLEANING BY THE WINDOW WIZARDS Max Munro Telephone (020) 4020 6478, (020) 432 2233 or (07) 866 2592 Email thewindowwizard@hotmail.com. GARAGE SALE Private tuition with a professional teacher I can help with statistics and calculus to NCEA Level 3, and physics, chemistry and biology to NCEA Level 2. Go to www.kipmcgrath.co.nz/whitianga to book a free assessment.

SATURDAY 16 FEBRUARY, 26 Dundas Street, Whitianga, 8:00am.


The Mercury Bay Informer - www.theinformer.co.nz Page 31 Issue 702 - 17 August 2016 Issue 832 - 13 February 2019 Sport Results MERCURY BAY TENNIS CLUB Business House Tennis - Thursday 5 February The Vessel def Evakona 9 - 7 9 - 8, The Cut Hut def New World 9 - 7 8 - 9 4 - 2. MERCURY BAY CLUB SNOOKER Wednesday 6 February Best of three frames. Nine players. Brian Codyre (one day after his 80th birthday) achieved three straight wins to take home the rump steak. The runner-up was young Jason Smith with two wins. Peter Challis and Ian Pudney were the only other players with two wins.

No high break recorded.

Saturday 9 February Best of three frames Seven players. Phil Jones was too good for everyone else with three straight wins and took home the lamb roast and chicken drumsticks. The runner-up was Roger Smith who unfortunately missed the black on the last ball against Phil. Joining Roger with two wins was Evan Hayward. The highest break of 18 was shared by the Bellingham brothers. MERCURY BAY GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB Men’s Scramble Stableford - Wednesday 6 February Results - 1 Stuart King, 2 Kerry Allan, 3 Alan Henderson. Twos - Steve Collins, Mark Burcombe and John Sedcole. Ladies Nine Hole Opening Day - Thursday 7 February Fifteen ladies participated.

An ambrose three per team format.

Winners - Ann Kerkhof, Hiro Takahashi and Claudia Atford - net 34. Play was followed by a shared lunch. Twilight Stableford - Thursday 7 February Results Men - 1 Brett Proctor/Jeff Dixon, 2 Tuck Ishihara/ Matty Menzies. Results Ladies - 1 Wendy Albright. Men’s Scramble Captain’s Trophy Round 1 Par Competition - Saturday 9 February Results - 1 Kerry Allan, 2 John Lister, 3 Alan Henderson. Longest Drive (Division 1) - James Duncan, Nearest the Pin (Division 1) - Mark White, (Division 2) - Paul Lupton. TAIRUA COUNTRY CLUB Punters Bar & Grill Business House Golf Round 4 - Wednesday 30 January Results Tai - 1 BackinLine, 2 Surf & Sand, 3 Coconut Gallery, 4 Punters.

Results Rua - 1 Coastal Electrical, 2 Bill's Place, 3 Tairua Pharmacy, 4 Lotto & Stationers. Business House Competition Winners - Bill's Place Opening Day - Saturday 2 February Sponsored by Helloworld Thames. Results 18 Hole Men - 1 Brent Masson 45, 2 Norm Hammond 45, 3 John Fraser 42, 4 Equal Eric Bartlett and Brian Fellows 40. Results 18 Hole Ladies - 1 Robyn Hunter 43, 2 Ruth Crossman 39, 3 Kath Hale 46. Results Nine Hole - 1 Ian Rainbow 24, 2 Craig Collier 23, 3 Brent Chalmers 23, 4 Arthur Larsen 22. WHITIANGA TOUCH CLUB Wednesday 6 February Family Touch Shield Round - Untouchaboars 2 v 25ers 5, Modern Family (defaulted) v Turbos, Maul of Duty (defaulted) v 25ers.

Family Touch Cup Round - Hit 'Em Up 9 v Blended 3, Wax City 8 v Fast and Furious 4. Women’s Grade - Can’t Touch this (defaulted) v Rainbow Warriors, CAS Mixed 4 v Netty Girls 4, Queen Beez v First XV (forfeited). Men’s Grade - Whānau Tūtahi 7 v Nek Level 3, Razzle Dazzle (forfeited) v Humbugs, Wild Stallions v Bay Boys (defaulted). Mixed Grade Shield Round - The Strokes 2 v Pacific Jandels 4, Razzle Dazzle (forfeited) v Freestyle. Mixed Grade Cup Round - Darkside (defaulted) v Wild Stallions, 866 (forfeited) v Humbugs. MERCURY BAY BOWLING & SPORTS CLUB Thames Valley Bowls Open Mixed Singles Championship - Saturday 9 February and Sunday 10 February The Mercury Bay Bowling Club hosted a section of the championship on Saturday 9 February with 16 players competing, among them six Mercury Bay players.

Lynn Clifford, Trevor Knight, Peter Mead, Nirie Reddy and Jayne Skinner all won two games to qualify them for post section play in Te Aroha the following day. On Sunday 10 February in Te Aroha, Trevor, Nirie and Jayne got through to the last 16 players and Lynn and Peter won a further game to get them to the last eight. Unfortunately neither Lynn nor Peter managed to reach the semi-finals, but it was a tremendous effort by all the Mercury Bay bowlers.

Nine Mercury Bay players, in 3 teams of triples, are competing in the Thames Valley Bowls 3 Five competition which commenced in Coromandel Town on Thursday 7 February. This week Thursday (14 February), Mercury Bay are hosting both Coromandel Town and Thames with games commencing at 4:30pm. Bowls 3 Five is a quick, entertaining, shortened version of the game, so come along and support the Mercury Bay players. How to rescue rugby An opinion piece by Whitianga resident, Trevor Ammundsen A growing number of observers are commenting on the state of our national game, all having the view that rugby is suffering and needs some reorganisation.

Their views are based upon declining participation numbers, declining interest in poorly-organised professional competitions and a virtually meaningless international season, with the exception of a Rugby World Cup year. The focus of rugby administrators seems to be on international competition as they search for the magic dollar. This has resulted in a reduction in the quality of competition. I wonder if the administrators are looking in the wrong direction.

In 1995, New Zealand had the best and strongest national rugby competition in the world, the National Provincial Championship (NPC). With the birth of professional rugby in 1996, the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (as the organisation was then known) should have built on this strong foundation, but instead they made a hasty decision to form Super Rugby at the expense of the NPC. I believe that if rugby is to survive and grow, then the NPC or another form of national competition/s must regain relevance and strength.

Something that can be considered is a national knockout competition, similar to soccer’s Chatham Cup.

Consider what this would do for the minor unions. For example, the Thames Valley Swamp Foxes won the Heartland Championship for the first time last year. Imagine the enthusiasm in Whitianga if they have also had a deep run in a knockout competition, possibly hosting teams such as Canterbury on their way to glory. Such a competition would only take five rounds and could be interspersed into the NPC or run at the end of the season.

In addition, the NPC (what is now effectively the Mitre 10 Cup) could be easily revamped to support the existing 14 teams and two-division structure. Division Two should consist of six teams that play each other on a home and away basis. This would take ten weeks and fit into the current allowance for the NPC of 11 weeks. The winner would automatically be promoted to Division One in the following year. Division One should play each other just one time, taking seven weeks, after which the top five teams could play a final knockout series such as the Australian League used to run, before they got too grand.

This knockout series would take four weeks and also fit into the 11-week window. The Division One teams would therefore be playing for three things - to avoid relegation which would be automatic for the lowest team, to make the top five and to win the NPC. And to make things really interesting, the top five could be New Zealand’s representatives in the Super Rugby competition in the following year.

Couple this reorganisation with a bit more imagination from the administrators to enable private investment in teams, lifting salary caps and allow overseas players to take part and we can build the NPC back to where it once was. Such a revamp could invigorate rugby in New Zealand. It offers more for the unions and provide them with an opportunity to take part in an international competition. It offers more opportunities for investors who may wish to have a financial stake in a team. It offers more for players who wish to have multiple opportunities for success. And in the same way, it offers more opportunities for coaching staff who are currently blocked by what looks like an old boys club coaching Super Rugby.

And, of course, it offers more for the fans - meaningful competitions that are fair and easy to follow. And if your provincial team made the top five, you do have something exciting to look forward to in the following year.

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