14 Far North community groups funded

Source: Far North District Council

The district’s three Community Boards have distributed nearly $50,000 in funding this year to Far North sporting, cultural and community groups. 

Each year the Council’s three Community Boards fund a range of community organisations and events from the Local Grants Fund. The funding aims to encourage community leadership, self-reliance, volunteer work, and new facilities or services within the Kaikohe-Hokianga, Te Hiku, and Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Wards. 

Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board has shared nearly $24,000 among four groups. Of that, $13,500 went to Midway Incorporated Northland Day Services Trust to buy a physical therapy machine, and a pool lifting device. The equipment will be installed at Kawakawa’s Te Papawai Bay of Islands Community Pool for community use.

The Board also allocated: 

  • $4350 to youth addictions support group, Be Free Incorporated, to help it attend the Mangonui Waterfront Festival.
  • $3130 to Kaeo Festival Group to run Nga Purapura 2019, Kaeo’s music, arts and nature festival for children. 
  • $2900 to Pear Tree Paddlers to stage the National and Regional School Stand Up Paddle Boarding Championships 2019.

In Kaikohe-Hokianga, Taheke Marae was granted $7000 by the Community Board to help purchase aluminium windows and hire scaffolding, part of on-going health and safety improvements being made to marae buildings. 

In total, the Board has distributed almost $18,000 this year, including: 

  • $3700 to Volunteering Northland to assist with annual operating costs. 
  • $2500 to the Rawiri Love – Smiley Campaign to promote Get Fit Kaikohe.
  • $2000 to Hokianga Environmental Protection Group to assist with the Real Food Hokianga festival.
  • $1500 to Ohaeawai Taiamai Residents Association to assist with the Taiamai community day.
  • $700 to Rawene Golf Club to help with catering for the Hokianga Golf Fun Day 2019.
  • $500 to Hokianga Sailing Trust for the cost of replacing life vests. 

Te Hiku Community Board has distributed nearly $7000 this year, including $3000 to the New Zealand Offshore Powerboat Association to stage the 2019 NZ Offshore Powerboat Series at Doubtless Bay on 29 April.

It also provided $2970 to Awhina Hoiho, a Kaitaia-based therapy charity, and $1000 to Be Free Incorporated to attend the 2019 Be Free Event at Mangonui.

Community Groups wanting to apply for funding should go to www.fndc.govt.nz/services/community to find out more. 

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Kerikeri venue for National Remembrance Service

Source: Far North District Council

The Far North District Council will now hold only one service in the District as part of tomorrow’s National Remembrance Service for victims of the terrorist attack in Christchurch. 

The Council had planned to hold seven events across the District, so communities could watch a live broadcast of a service in Christchurch and join together in prayer and song. 

It has decided to reduce the number of services after discussions with the New Zealand Police today.

Mayor John Carter says police were concerned about security and wanted to concentrate their resources on one event which will be in Kerikeri.

The service at the Turner Centre in Kerikeri will proceed as originally planned with doors open at 9am.

A live broadcast of the service at Hagley Park in Christchurch will be shown on-screen from 10am and finish at about 11am.

The decision does not affect any remembrance events that community groups are planning. 

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Dry autumn sees water restrictions for Kawakawa and Moerewa

Source: Far North District Council

Very low levels in the Tirohanga Stream have forced the Far North District Council to introduce level 3 water restrictions for Kawakawa and Moerewa.

Level 3 restrictions prohibit the use of outdoor hoses. This means all residents and businesses connected to the Council’s treated water supplies can only use a bucket to water gardens, and wash cars or boats. Filling private swimming pools from Council water supplies is completely banned.

General Manager – Infrastructure and Asset Management, Andy Finch, says the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) is predicting lower than normal river levels and soil moisture in Northland right through to May 2019.

“Despite some recent rainfall, the normally resilient Tirohanga Stream catchment has not recharged. Water consumption in both towns has also remained relatively unchanged from peak summer levels.

“In order to protect the river environment and water supplies for downstream users, we are applying level 3 restrictions for both Kawakawa and Moerewa from 28 March.”

Mr Finch says the restrictions will hopefully delay, or avoid altogether, the need for more stringent restrictions in the future if conditions remain dry, as predicted.

To help conserve precious water supplies, Mr Finch is urging all Far North residents and businesses to adopt simple conservation measures. These include:

  • Collecting water from the hot tap while waiting for it to heat up and using this on your garden 
  • Only washing clothes when you have a full load. A washing machine uses up to 150 litres of water for one wash
  • Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving
  • Putting the plug in the sink when washing vegetables 
  • Mulching your garden with grass clippings or compost. Mulch prevents up to 70 per cent of water loss through evaporation.

Go to the bewaterwise.org.nz website to find more water conservation tips. 

Residents concerned about restriction breaches or water leaks should contact the Council on 0800 920 029. 

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Far North National Remembrance Service venues

Source: Far North District Council

Seven venues across the Far North will join Friday’s National Remembrance Service for victims of the terrorist attack on mosques in Christchurch.

The official service to remember and honour those who lost their lives and were injured in the tragic events will be held at Hagley Park in Christchurch from 10am, Friday 29 March. A live broadcast of the Hagley Park service will be shown on-screen at the Far North venues.*

Doors will open from 9am.

Each of the Far North District Council venues will include a setting of candles and flowers. A Councillor or Community Board member will also attend each service.

Council staff will accept donations on behalf of the Christchurch Foundation’s Our People, Our City Fund.

The Council-supported venues are: 

  • Kaitaia – Te Ahu Centre, State Highway 1 and Mathews Avenue
  • Kerikeri – Turner Centre, 43 Cobham Road
  • Kaikohe – Council Chambers, Memorial Avenue
  • Kawakawa – St John’s Hall, 121 Gillies Street
  • Russell – Christ Church Parish Hall, Church Street
  • Opononi – South Hokianga War Memorial Hall, 15 State Highway 12
  • Broadwood – Broadwood Area School, 1041 Broadwood Rd

People can make donations to the Our People, Our City Fund online at: https://christchurchfoundation.org.nz/giving/our-people-our-city-fund/donate.

* Christ Church Parish Hall at Russell does not have the facilities to screen the live broadcast of the Hagley Park service. 

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Youth Council picks Innovation Fund projects

Source: Far North District Council

Youth-led projects in the Far North are benefitting from IF Innovation Fund grants allocated by the Far North Youth Council. 

The first projects to be funded include a youth wananga in Herekino, a marae-based youth development programme in Matawaia, a youth mural project in Kaitaia, and an inspirational tour where a young leader from Kaitaia visits Far North secondary schools to speak on the topic of mental health and resilience.

The IF Innovation Fund was launched in 2019 to encourage youth leadership, youth mentoring and youth volunteering through projects delivered by and for youth in Far North communities.

Funded by the Ministry of Youth Development, the project allows Far North Youth Councillors to learn skills in governance and mentoring while supporting other young people with funds to extend youth development opportunities within the Far North.

An individual application received from Far North Youth Councillor Manaakitia Hoepo received the top rating from the young decision makers, who allocated $1000 to ‘Manaaki’ to support his public speaking tour, Manaakitia Hoepo Perception is Reality, at secondary schools.

“I have a strong passion for helping rangatahi,” says Far North Youth Councillor Manaaki Hoepo. “I want to show rangatahi that you should never let your circumstances or past dictate who you are today, tomorrow and in the future.”

The Herekino wananga, at Rangikohu Marae, will be planned and delivered by young staff at Waitomo Papakainga. The wananga will teach approximately 50 youth about identity, culture, basic reo and skills, and knowledge around caring for the environment.

The Matawaia Marae project, delivered by young staff from He Iwi Kotahi Tatou Trust, will engage approximately 50 youth in learning about their culture and continuing the traditions of their iwi and hapu, including waka ama.

Finally, the youth mural project in Kaitaia has been planned by youth navigators involved with Shine On Kaitaia, a project led by He Whanau Marama Trust, which focuses on positive youth activities through creativity in the wider Kaitaia area. 

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Kiwi remedy gives hope for Opito Bay pohutukawa

Source: Far North District Council

A unique organic product created by a New Zealand plant and soil nutritionist may have saved four Opito Bay pōhutukawa trees illegally poisoned late last year. 

In November, an arborist contracted by the Far North District Council, confirmed that holes had been drilled into the root systems of four ailing pōhutukawa on a reserve at Opito Bay near Kerikeri. The 15-metre trees were losing foliage and the arborist predicted they would die. Several dead branches were removed for safety reasons. 

Just four months after the attack, the much-loved, beach-side, shade trees are displaying strong signs of life with new leaves and shoots sprouting from limbs previously thought to be dead. 

The dramatic reversal is due to technology developed by Phillip Walesby, owner of the Scriptfert Group. The Bay of Islands resident says he immediately thought his products would help the Opito Bay trees after reading news reports about their poisoning. 

“I went out to Opito Bay to look at the damage. After talking to locals, I was put in touch with the Far North District Council and was contacted by the arborist. I offered my help and agreed to donate the product if they supplied the labour to apply it.”

The first phase of the treatment saw a soil acidity regulator applied around the base of the trees. Then, two weeks later, the Scriptfert product was sprayed onto the foliage of the 50-year-old pōhutukawa. 

Mr Walesby says it was the first time the compound had been applied to pōhutukawa trees. “I’m really impressed at how well they have responded with leaf colour and new growth. Even the tree most badly affected by the poison is showing strong signs of returning to health with multiple new shoots sprouting in a very short timeframe. ”

General Manager – Infrastructure and Asset Management, Andy Finch, says Opito Bay residents were understandably outraged someone had attacked the four trees last year. “These trees were planted by locals and are much-valued for the shade they provide on one of Kerikeri’s few swimming beaches. Unfortunately, someone decided that their needs were more important than anyone else. We are very grateful to Phillip and thrilled his treatment has provided new hope for these trees.” 

Mr Finch says the Council has improved surveillance at the reserve and is asking local residents to be vigilant for suspicious activity.  “All trees on public reserves are protected by the Reserves Act and the Resource Management Act.  We will prosecute anyone caught damaging the trees on this reserve or other reserves in the District.

Anyone with information that may help identify those responsible for poisoning the Opito Bay trees should contact Kerikeri Police on (09) 407 9211, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

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Road sealing work begins

Source: Far North District Council

Five unsealed roads in the Far North will collectively receive $1 million of improvements under a seal extension programme funded entirely by ratepayers.

Normally, new road sealing is undertaken with funding assistance from the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA). However, NZTA applies very strict criteria to this funding and many unsealed roads fail to reach the threshold for assistance. 

The Council voted to spend $1 million a year of its own funds over the next 10 years on road seal extensions when it adopted its Long Term Plan 2018-28 in June last year.  

Elected members decided in December which roads would get seal extensions this year.  The Council awarded contracts for the works (see next page) in late January.  Physical works should be completed before June.

Mayor John Carter says councillors made the selection based on a priority matrix developed specifically for the 2019 budget allocation. 

Their decisions were based on the presence of schools, marae, health centres and sports facilities. High levels of forestry traffic and road dust, the number of homes along the route, the number of complaints about the road, and whether it is used as a detour route were also taken into account. 

“For future allocations, we will ask the Northland Transportation Alliance to independently develop a prioritisation matrix that compares roading needs district-wide.”

Mayor Carter says the Council understands that road sealing is a priority for many Far North residents. 

“Like them, I would like to see all of the district’s roads sealed. Unfortunately, the financial burden for ratepayers would be crippling, adding up to $14,000 to each rates bill. In the meantime, this programme of unsubsidised road sealing will bring some relief to families living on roads that just fall short of NZTA funding criteria.”

He says the Council is continuing to seek funding from NZTA to seal more of the district’s unsealed road network. 

Far North Road Seal Extension Projects 2018/19

Te Hiku Ward

Road:  Okahu Road

New seal location: RAPID numbers 2603 to 3542

Contractor:  Fulton Hogan

Road: Fairburn Road

New seal location:  RAPID numbers 9028 to 10327 

Contractor:  Fulton Hogan

Road:  Pawarenga Road

New seal location:  200 m at RAPID number 1207

Contractor:  Fulton Hogan

Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Ward

Road:  Otangaroa Road

New seal location:  RAPID numbers 0 to 608

Contractor:  Fulton Hogan

Kaikohe-Hokianga Ward

Road:  Punakitere Loop Rd 

New seal location:  RAPID numbers 3149 to 3602

Contractor:  Broadspectrum (NZ) Ltd (Roading)

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Hokianga Ferry to resume sailing Tuesday

Source: Far North District Council

The Hokianga Ferry should resume normal services tomorrow with repairs to one of its engines due to be completed today. 

Sailings of the Hokianga vehicle ferry were halted yesterday as a precaution due to mechanical issues. 

The Far North District Council is now working with a local ferry operator to arrange for a passenger-only service to begin crossing the harbour this afternoon.  

Updates on when this service will commence, and on repairs to the vehicle ferry, will be posted on the Council website at www.fndc.govt.nz and on its Facebook page as soon as details are available.

People can also phone our Contact Centre on 0800 920 029 for updates. 

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Harold Ave attack dog seized

Source: Far North District Council

Far North District Council Animal Management Officers have seized the dog that allegedly attacked 95-year-old Kaikohe man, Jim Morgan, on Monday.

The terrier cross was impounded during an early morning visit to a property previously identified by Mr Morgan. Another young dog was also impounded from the same address, although this dog is not believed to have taken part in the Monday attack. The dog owner was not at the Harold Ave home when Animal Management Officers visited.

Meanwhile, four Animal Management Officers have conducted door-to-door checks of all properties on Harold Ave to check that dogs are registered and adequately secured. They found a total of 16 dogs. Five of these, including the two impounded resulting from the attack on Mr Morgan, were not registered.  

Darren Edwards Manager – Environmental Services says Harold Ave residents will be understandably relieved that the dog has been impounded.

“This does not resolve persistent dog control problems we have in parts of the district. Since the 16 December attack on Mr Morgan and his dog, Sandy, we have impounded 20 straying dogs and seized another two in the Kaikohe area. That illustrates how pervasive the problem of irresponsible dog ownership is. It is not just a Kaikohe problem; this is replicated across the district.”

Mr Edwards says his staff share the frustration residents feel about uncontrolled dogs. “Many of these dog owners do not respect the law or Council staff. They hide dogs after an attack and refuse to co-operate with Animal Management Officers. We have to operate within the law and adhere to a high burden of proof when taking dog owners to court.

“This means we rely on the community to help by providing witness statements and, where necessary, testifying in court. We know this is not always easy as witnesses may feel frightened of dog owners, who are often their neighbours.”

He says this is the key reason no prosecution has yet been made in the December attack on Mr Morgan that caused the death of his dog, Sandy. “I hope that a $1000 reward now being offered by a member of the public to the first person providing information leading to the prosecution of the owner of the dogs will help.

“It isn’t appropriate for Council to offer payment for information. However, we are willing to facilitate a third party offer in the interests of upholding the law and keeping the community safe.”

He encourages anyone who witnessed the 16 December attack, or who knows someone who did, to contact him confidentially on 0800 920 029.

He adds that Animal Management Officers are continuing to conduct door-to-door checks of randomly selected streets in problem areas across the district to ensure dogs are under control and registered.

“The Dog Control Act states that all dogs must be registered and under control. We are enforcing that and will fine owners if they are unwilling to comply. However, we want to encourage responsible dog ownership and will use our discretion where owners are willing to work with us to fulfil their legal obligations.”

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Council working on Kaitaia water supply resilience

Source: Far North District Council

Summer water restrictions in Kaitaia should become less frequent as the Far North District Council works to make the town’s supply more drought-resilient. 

Dry weather and high water use forced the Council to introduce Level 2 water restrictions for properties connected to its Kaitaia water supply last week.

General Manager – Infrastructure and Asset Management, Andy Finch, says the restrictions have continued to highlight the vulnerability of Kaitaia’s water supply during dry summers.  However, he assures residents that considerable work is being undertaken to increase its resilience. 

“Residents may be aware of past plans to extract water from the Aupouri aquifer. The Council decided to defer development of that option until a robust business case had been developed and all other options to increase the resilience of the supply had been explored. We have made good progress on that.”

The Council recently received a hydrogeological study from Lincoln Agritech comparing different extraction options from the Aupouri aquifer. The study used a mathematical model to estimate the yield and quality of potential bores that are within 10km of Kaitaia and have road access and power supplies. The study identified a number of bore sites that may provide the town with a new water source, including the Sweetwater Bore which the Council has a resource consent to take water from.

“This answers many questions about the suitability of the aquifer as an alternative water source. In the meantime, we have been working to make other parts of Kaitaia’s water supply more resilient.”

The traditional approach of reducing unaccounted-for water via leak detection and pipe repair programmes has been underway for more than two years. This has prevented main breakages and tracked a number of leaks. However, there remains a substantial unaccounted-for water problem. This is likely due to combination of many small leaks, often due to the historic use of materials with a high failure rate, and inaccurate water meters. The Council will now take a more strategic approach and has engaged an expert to provide a systematic strategy to locate hard-to-find leaks and identify which meters require replacement.

The Council also plans to undertake a study of flows in the Awanui River during drought conditions to assess whether the current consent limit can be safely lowered. This can only be undertaken in drought conditions, which have not existed over the past two summers. It is possible conditions may be suitable to undertake the study this summer.

Staff are preparing a report on options for elected members to consider. This will be presented to the Council within two months. 

Awanui River: This is Kaitaia’s primary water source.  The Northland Regional Council limits how much water the Far North District Council can take from the river to safeguard its ecosystem and possible impact on users downstream. The river flow should not fall below 460 litres per second at the point where water is taken. 

Kauri Dam: This provides Council with a back-up water source, but it is unusable in summer because of algal blooms.  The Council resolved last year to stop using the dam as a backup water source, but it has not specified a timeline for this. 

Aupouri aquifer: The Council has a resource consent from the Northland Regional Council to extract water from an aquifer bore at Sweetwater.  Several other consents exist to extract water from the aquifer. While the Council has not used the bore, the resource consent has been rolled over and remains valid. 

Triboard plant: Juken New Zealand Ltd, a significant local employer, consumes around 25 per cent of the water produced by the Kaitaia Treatment Plant. The company works with the Council to reduce consumption by changing some of its processes during dry weather.

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