Beach Hop Returns to Whitianga 23rd March

Beach Hop has captured the imagination of the young and old for many years on the Coromandel Peninsula– and this year is lining up to be no exception. Car enthusiasts and rock and roll lovers get ready as the Beach Hop Repco Beach Party returns to Whitianga on the 23rd March!

The Repco Beach Party Whitianga has been included as part of the full Repco Beach Hop event programme during the five days of motoring enthusiast celebrations on the Coromandel Peninsula.

We are really excited to be able to bring in the vibe of the 50’s and 60’s to Whitianga for the day with 600-800 classic cars expected to park up in the centre of town. This is the seventeenth year of beach hop and it just gets better and better.

Noddy Watts, Event Manager Repco Beach Hop

Repco Beach Party Whitianga

Planning is still underway for the free Repco Beach Hop Party event to Whitianga with a classic car park-up, drag race, bands, games, competitions and spot prizes planned for the day.  Beach Hop classic cars will assemble on Buffalo Beach Reserve on the day and then parade along the Esplanade and park up in the centre of town from approximately 11am-3pm. Behind the scenes there are particular traffic management planning details that have been organised to get the 600 plus cars across the four one lane bridges into Whitianga, and of course the space to park all of the cars in the centre of town.

This is a fantastic event to be brought into town and we encourage as many local businesses, community groups, schools and individuals to be part of the event planning and to participate in the event on the day.

Paul Kelly, Mercury Bay Community Board Chair

Beach Hop Rock ‘n’ Roll Programme 2017

Repco Beach Hop 2017 runs a full programme of events held from the 22nd-26th March.  Events include bands, hot rods, classic cars and caravans, motorbikes, nostalgia fair, hop idol, junkyard fashion show, retro pin up show and a nostalgia surf fest. 

Over 650 cars registered for Beach Hop in the first hour that we made entry forms available in October 2016. It is expected that up to 1000 cars, motorbikes and caravans will be registered for the weeks events during March and we are looking forward to a special week of cars and Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Noddy Watts

As part of the programme registered vehicles are able to take part in a range of activities as part of the programme.

  • Waihi Warm Up Party
  • Repco Beach Party Whitianga
  • Castrol Edge Thunder Cruise
  • Drive in Movie Whangamata
  • Grand Parade Whangamata

    Repco are proud to continue the partnership with this world famous New Zealand event as the naming rights sponsor. We are especially excited about the The Repco Beach Party in Whitianga. Our team are looking forward to seeing you all for some good times and great memories during the five days of motoring enthusiast celebrations.Thank you to the Beach Hop team for making this event truly amazing and we look forward to many more years working together.

    Jonathan Maddren, Executive GM Repco NZ

    The Range Of Classic Vehicles To View

    Entries from a range of predominantly 1950's and 1960's classic vehicles, caravans and motorbikes are invited to enter the Repco Beach Hop.

        • Beach Hop Cars - beach Hop is all about celebrating the 50’s and 60’s and the vehicles of that era.  Vehicles made prior to 1972 and Hot Rods are eligible to enter Beach Hop.  Cars made in the USA from 1972 to 1985  are permitted at the discretion of the Beach Hop committee.
        • Beach Hop Retro Caravan Camping and Show - bringing back the caravanning memories is the Retro Caravan campground which is set up at the Whangamata Area School during the Beach hop for pre-1980 caravans.
        • Motorbikes and Trikes -two wheels and three wheels are not forgotten during the hop with pre 1972 and any American made bike permitted to the event.

    View The Programme And Get Tickets

    For full programme information about Repco Beach Hop 2017 go to the Beach Hop website or go to our What's On pages for specific information about the Repco Beach Party in Whitianga.

Mercury Bay Music Festival - June 3-5

The township of Whitianga will be full of world-class musicians and music over Queen’s Birthday weekend as part of the inaugural Mercury Bay Music Festival.

The Mercury Bay Music Festival programme has an incredible line up of over 30 artists who are set to entertain music lovers of all ages over Queens Birthday Weekend.   Artists will be entertaining music lovers in solo performances and many will also be jamming with other groups.  With such a great programme on offer, and an excellent selection of top class bars, restaurants and cafes all within walking distance of the music venues this festival is sure to please all music and culinary tastes.

We wanted to hold an event that everyone could be part of and enjoy and would also have benefits for our local businesses in their off season. It will also be an inspirational event for our young people and musicians of all abilities, with workshops being held throughout the weekend.

Jan Wright, Chair of Festival Organisers Creative Mercury Bay.

 

A range of music genres on offer


Organisers Creative Mercury Bay are presenting three evening concerts and a full programme of daytime music events over five venues in the town over Queen's Birthday weekend. The festival is a mix of musical genres chosen for their wide appeal to both music aficionados and the general public alike. Acts have a range of styles from acoustic guitar, jazz, blues, country folk, urban funk, flamenco, soul, big band and everything in between.

Top class acts performing

Artists such as well-known singer songwriter Don McGlashan, established folk and country acts like Hobnail and Hamilton Country Bluegrass Band, to acoustic guitar experts, jazz, blues and big band sounds. Local acts will be featured in the Friday night concert with national and international guests performing throughout Saturday and Sunday.

Venues all within walking distance

A weekend pass gives entry to all venues and allows concert-goers to move between venues to catch their favourite performers. Whitianga Town Hall hosts the Friday night concert, both the Town Hall and The Blue Lagoon, (behind the Mercury Bay Game Fishing Club), have concerts on Saturday and Sunday from 11am till 11.30pm, while Enigma Café will be hosting open mic sessions and day time concerts along with the C3 Church on Coghill St.

Enigma Café is a free venue and local musicians can still register for open mic spots by going to the festival website. Another free event is a Sunday morning gospel choir performance at the Crossroads Church, Cook Drive.

All venues are under cover, weather proof, and most are licensed premises.

Workshop Classes

Other highlights of the Festival are stagecraft and masterclass workshops by visiting artists being held at the Mercury Bay Area School and a Young Guitarist Award with the prize of a trip to New York to attend the Tommy Emmanuel Guitar Camp.


Where to get tickets

Ticket holders will receive entry wristbands at Festival Headquarters on Monk St, next to the Whitianga Town Hall, where some ticket sales may be available during the weekend. Festival HQ will be open from 3pm Friday June 3.

For more programme information and to book tickets on line go to the Mercury Bay Music Festival listing on our What's On page.

New Zealand Children’s Day – Te Ra O Te Tamariki

Children’s Day has been running since early 2000, and this Sunday 6 March is national Children’s Day.  The purpose of the day is to provide a specific date in the calendar to encourage us all to take some time out as families, carers and friends to celebrate the children in our lives.  The broad theme of National Children's Day is “what it means to treasure our children”.

Celebrating Children’s Day in the Coromandel

It’s no secret that families are attracted to the Coromandel Peninsula by a raft of fantastic things that our community and environment can offer growing children and young adults.  This led me to ask the question - what would our local Coromandel kids want to do on National Children’s Day?  For some inspiration I checked in with some of our 10 year olds in a Year Six class at Mercury Bay Area School to ask this very question.  The responses were just delightful.

Kids ideas to celebrate Children’s Day

  • Parents to give me breakfast in bed
  • Music bands and dancing
  • Hold a pet day
  • A day at home
  • Unicorns dress up day
  • Paintball competition
  • Motor cross all day
  • Camping on Saturday Night
  • Getting outside surfing and sailing
  • Harry Potter Marathon (books or films) sleepover party
  • Sports activities
  • A day at the pool
  • Video games
  • A day at Hot Water Beach
  • Toys picnic
  • A sleepover party in the classroom/School sleepover

Some ideas on Treasuring our Children

The thing that is amazing about children (and indeed people in general) is the possibilities. I look at the young ones in our care and marvel at where they might be and what they may be doing in 10 years time. At the same time, we need to recognise that they are "someone" right now and we need to celebrate and embrace that.

Anne-Maree McDougall, Deputy Principal Primary Years, Mercury Bay Area School.

We need to see that each day is a precious day for our young people - that they are well loved and nurtured, are safe, secure and happy in all that they do; and schools are a significant part of this picture of well-being. We are striving really hard to ensure our young people are learning and growing, day on day, in an environment in which they can flourish. The seeds for each young person were planted right from day 1 of their lives; it is over to us all to provide the foundations and conditions so that they can indeed flourish.

John Wright, Principal Mercury Bay Area School.

Children are precious, they are our hopes, our aspirations our future.  They need to be cherished and loved so they can reach their full potential.

A quote provided by Julie Coughey, Managing Director Peanuts Childcare and Education Centre Whitianga.

Children are our treasure and Children’s Day is a perfect time for use to stop and think about what we can do for the small people in our life.

Children's Day website.

History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children.

Special session of the UN for Children, New York City May 9, 2002

Useful links

Check out the Things to do for Kids, ExploreWhat's On and Community Group pages on All About Whitianga to keep up with groups, events and activites that you may like to get involved in with your children.

Link to information about local schools and child care and education .

National Organisations:
Office of Children’s Commissioner.
Children’s Day website.
Universal Children's Day, United Nations ( held annually on 20 November).

New website for Mercury Bay Area School

Mercury Bay Area School have started the school year with a brand new cutting edge website that will cater more effectively for the needs of its growing online audience.

Mercury Bay Area School New Website

The MBAS website has a fresh new look and a menu that can be easily navigated by the school community including teachers, national and international students, parents and caregivers to quickly access school information.

“This website project grew from the desire to provide a platform that is easy to navigate, easy to update school information and is reflective of our school values”

says Mercury Bay Area School Principal, John Wright.

“The website will also provide an opportunity for staff and students to be more involved in providing visual and written content. In particular, the new blogging feature and document resource section will enable more online engagement right throughout the year”.

The new look of the website has been designed to take cues from the Mercury Bay Area School logo colours, and the menu has been structured to reflect the Student Year levels and variety of courses that the school offers. Quick links on the website have been developed so that everyday information such as enrolment procedures, school terms dates, student services, staff contact details and timetables can be easily found.

Partnering with local business

The school have partnered with local Whitianga website design company Creative Fuel to develop the new site.

“Our team is passionate about supporting Mercury Bay Area School as it's such an important part of our community. We have worked hard to provide a website that reflects all that the school has to offer to existing families, and attract new families. We are excited to be a partner and key sponsor of this project.”

said Website Design Director Dean Klouwens.

All About Whitianga is also a proud major sponsor and supporter of this project by assisting in the promotion of the school and the local community.

Increasing roll and growing online audience

With a roll this year of 921 students and an additional 27 international students, Mercury Bay Area School is the largest Area School in New Zealand. It provides education for Year 1 to Year 13 and caters for a significant number of international students. There is a particular focus in the website design to reflect the different year areas and courses offered in the junior, middle and senior years, and a focus on international student information, academic areas and activities offered at the school.

As the school roll has continued to grow the school website has become an increasingly important tool for the school to provide information to existing and new students, and for the school community who are seeking to find and share information online.

View the new website at: mbas.ac.nz

For more information contact:
John Wright, Mercury Bay Area School Principal Ph: 021 383 865
Dean Klouwens, Creative Fuel Ltd Ph: 07 866 2500

International Volunteer Day – Cheers Volunteers!

You probably know someone who volunteers, or you are a volunteer yourself. Saturday 5th December marks International Volunteer Day. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the many volunteers in our Coromandel communities and to say, “cheers volunteers”.

International Volunteer Day

The day was established by the United Nations in 1985 and the theme for this year is “Your world is changing. Are you? Volunteer!”

New Zealanders are recognised for their generosity and volunteering ethic. On average there are just over 400,000 kiwis volunteering every week for a charity, giving over 1.5 million hours to our communities

Jo Goodhew, Community and Voluntary Sector Minister.

Volunteering in the Coromandel

Local volunteers in Whitianga and the wider Mercury Bay provide an incredible amount of their time, energy, and skills across a wide range of projects and activities. There is no doubt that they are a big part of making our Coromandel communities a better place to live.

Nationally New Zealanders are amongst the most generous in the world when it comes to volunteering and helping others. I am proud to say that here on the Coromandel we are ranked No 5 with numbers of volunteers according to census figures. That equates to nearly 19% of the population aged 15 or over.

Scott Simpson, MP for the Coromandel.

Volunteers in Whitianga and the wider Mercury Bay assist with social, environmental, sports, arts and cultural, emergency services, advocacy, churches and events activities to name just a few!

To find out about not for profit groups in the Mercury Bay Area see the Clubs and Organisations section listed in our Local Info guide.

Spotlight on Local Volunteers

Three not for profit groups in the Mercury Bay spoke to All About Whtianga about the role that volunteers play in their organisations.

A Taste of Matarangi – a vision to celebrate all things local

A dedicated team of community volunteers who had a vision to organise a festival for the community and to fundraise for a local charitable cause started A Taste of Matarangi.

The first festival in 2013 received an overwhelmingly positive response from festivalgoers, the local community, media and local and regional businesses. This encouraged the event committee to continue planning the event annually and it is now in its fourth year.

"Volunteers are vital and their help is needed with the set up of an event of this size. The last three years accomplishments would not have been possible without the pool of volunteers who offered their skills, talent, time and support towards this festival" says Bronwyn Ririnui, Event Coordinator A Taste of Matarangi.

Since its inception the festival has successfully raised $25,000 to support the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service. The event committee are now well underway for planning the next festival to be held on the 9th April.

Volunteer contributions are what makes this community a community - people coming together for a good cause, because they know it makes a difference.

Bronwyn Ririnui, Event Coordinator A Taste of Matarangi.

Find out more about the festival and book your tickets here.

Mercury Bay Tennis Club – remarkable efforts for over a century

The Mercury Bay Tennis Club has been supported by an enthusiastic group of local volunteers since it was formed in 1898. A grass paddock on Buffalo Beach Road provided the original tennis courts for the club until it made several moves to its current site at Albert Street.

The club supports junior tennis, school tennis, business house evenings and open club nights where everyone is welcome.

“For a small voluntary club with two courts, it is remarkable what has been achieved over the past 117 years,” says Peter Grant, Treasurer Mercury Bay Tennis Club. “With the advent of professionalism in sport we need to occasionally remind our national associations the need to acknowledge these small clubs to keep sports active throughout our communities”

The game is always bigger than one person

Peter Grant, Treasurer Mercury Bay Tennis Club.

Find out about the Mercury Bay Tennis Club here.

Mercury Bay Museum – nurturing our heritage

The award winning Mercury Bay Museum is not only packed full of fascinating exhibitions, it is also supported by a team of very friendly and knowledgeable volunteer staff who are on hand to greet each visitor through the door. The Museum hosts over 13 core exhibits that have both local and international significance. The Mercury Bay Museum is located in the heart of Whitianga by the wharf and attracts over 6,000 visitors through the door each year.

A team of over 27 volunteers support the museum in roles such as front of house, exhibition maintenance and development, education visits, special museum events and information and record keeping for the collections.

Museum volunteers have a passion for history and meeting new people, many are also members of the Mercury Bay Historical Society. Volunteers share their skills and also have the opportunity to make new friends and to learn skills from being involved at the museum.

A recent visit to Auckland War Memorial Museum, sponsored by the Community Organisation Grants Scheme was a great way to say thanks to the efforts of the volunteers, and proved to be an extremely popular social and educational day out.

Ron Morgan, Museum Curator is always keen to hear from new people who may want to volunteer as he explains; “There are many untapped skills in our community that would be great to use in our museum. We are always pleased to hear from members of our community who may have a few hours or more to spare to join our team.”

Volunteers bring an incredible amount of skills and engagement to our community facility. Volunteering also provides the volunteer opportunities for social engagement, especially for new people to our community.

Ron Morgan, Mercury Bay Museum Curator.

Contact the Mercury Bay Museum here.

Want to become a volunteer?

There may be a group or volunteering opportunity that is just waiting for you!

Your world is changing. Are you? Volunteer!

See the great list of local clubs and organisations in the Local Info guide, which includes opportunities for you to get involved in the following types of groups:

  • Arts and Culture
  • Churches
  • Community and Social Clubs
  • Libraries
  • Emergency Services
  • Environmental Groups
  • Schools
  • Sports and Recreation
  • Welfare Organisations

A few more thoughts on volunteering

One of the interesting facts to come out during National Volunteer Week is the report that notes the major impact seniors have as volunteers. By 2051, seniors will be contributing $35 billion in unpaid and voluntary work, up from around $8.5 billion in 2011. Too often we hear our ageing population described as a burden. That attitude is objectionable and completely wrong. Many of the volunteer organisations which help families and enrich communities across the country rely on senior’s dedication and commitment.

Scott Simpson, MP for Coromandel

I firmly believe that through generosity we enrich our own life as well as those we are helping. Today is a reminder of how we can use this generosity to give back to society.

Jo Goodhew, Community and Voluntary Sector Minister.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead, Cultural Anthropologist.

Raise the profile of your Not for Profit community group

All About Whitianga is proud to sponsor web pages for "not for profit organisations" in the Mercury Bay area. Please contact Cathy to discuss how we can assist a group you may be associated with.

Preventing Mediterranean Fanworm in Coromandel Waters

Mediterranean Fanworm (Sabella spallanzanii) is an invasive species that poses an imminent threat to the waterways of Whitianga and the wider Mercury Bay. Currently the Fanworm is prolific in Auckland and has also taken hold in a number of other North Island regions.

Preventing Mediterranean Fanworm in Coromandel Waters 

The fanworm has been identified as a species that has the potential to be a significant threat to NZ Biodiversity and the public is urged to take the necessary steps to keep the Coromandel region free from infestation. Vigilance is necessary, especially if you keep (or visit for prolonged periods) your vessel in the infected areas.

How to prevent the arrival of this pest in the Mercury Bay

Waikato Regional Council and other Marine Operators are requesting Boats visiting the Coromandel this summer to have undertaken one of the following:

  • Anti-foul of your vessel hull within the last 6 months.
  • Vessel has been lifted and washed within the last month.

If you sight the Fanworm or any other unusual looking marine animal, you can report it to the Ministry of Primary Industries pest and diseases hot-line 0800 809966 or call the council on 0800 800 401. Please help with these measures to mitigate the spread of fan worm.

We ask property owners to convey these new recommendations to visitors arriving in their vessels, in the aim to avoid any unwanted surprises and the spread of Mediterranean Fanworm.

For more information on Mediterranean Fan Worm visit the Ministry of Primary Industries Website.

Commemorating James Cook in the Mercury Bay

On November 3 in 1769 Lieutenant James Cook arrived in His Majesty's Bark Endeavour in the Mercury Bay and observed the transit of the planet Mercury. Fast forward into the future and November 2019 will mark 250 years since he stepped ashore.  Across New Zealand and Mercury Bay planning is underway to commemorate this sestercentennial. There will be a range of events in Whitianga and the wider Mercury Bay to celebrate Captain Cook's visit to the area.

Commemorating Captain James Cook in the Mercury Bay

Cook's 12 days in the Mercury Bay

Cook not only observed the transit of Mercury during his stay, he also established the geographic coordinates of New Zealand whilst in the bay.  Of equal importance was the shared Maori and Pakeha experience at Te Whanganui A Hei at that time. It was here where mutual respect between Europeans and local iwi evolved. This was a formative meeting place of our now multicultural nation.

Mercury Bay 250th Anniversary Trust Established

A local Trust has been established to coordinate and plan for events that will mark this anniversary of Cook's arrival in Te Whanganui A Hei (Mercury Bay). Currently the Trust has five trustees, a patron and advisors to support its work.

Celebrating this milestone in New Zealand history, and the significance of what took place during Cook's 12 day stay in Mercury Bay will be the focus of local, national and international attention.

Paul Kelly, Trust Chair

Other Trustees include Ngati Hei Kaumātua Joe Davis, Mercury Bay Area School Principal John Wright and Mercury Bay Museum Trustee Richard Gates. Sir Michael Fay is patron of the Trust with TCDC councillors Tony Fox and Murray McLean acting in an advisory role.

Captain Cook mural painted on Mercury Bay Museum

Pictured above: Mural located outside the Mercury Bay Museum commemorating Captain Cook in Whitianga.

The Trust has identified three key project themes which will be integral to commemorative events in Whitianga and the wider Mercury Bay Area that recognise Cook's on-going legacy in Mercury Bay. The themes will be relevant and enduring, for both the wider Coromandel Peninsula area and the nation as a whole and include:

  • Navigation and Exploration – Crossing Place (Kupe to Cook)
  • Scientific Discoveries – Transit of Mercury
  • Meeting Place – Sharing of Cultures

National Commemorations Planned

The Trust is also liaising with similar regional organisations which have been established in Gisborne, the Bay of Islands and Queen Charlotte Sound. Gisborne, where Cook first stepped ashore in New Zealand, followed by Mercury Bay, the Bay of Islands and Queen Charlotte's Sound. All being the key sequential stopovers during Cooks 1769/70 circumnavigation of New Zealand.

How to get involved

The primary role of the Mercury 250th Anniversary Trust is to work with central and local government as well as inform and engage the public, community organisations and other interested parties who may wish to participate. A priority is encouraging public support and participation in staging of commemorative events which will leave lasting memorials that recognise the prominent role Te Whanganui A Hei played in New Zealand's early history.

A public meeting will be held to discuss event planning for Captain Cook Commemorations in Whitianga early in the new year to inform the local community on what is being planned for the anniversary.

If you are interested in contributing or assisting with the planning for this event contact:

Paul Kelly, Chairman Mercury Bay Community Board and Chair of the Trust.
Landline (07) 866 4430 or Cellphone 0274466094

New Zealand Conservation Week

It’s Conservation Week and the Department of Conservation theme for this year is “Healthy Nature Healthy People”. The week aims to get New Zealanders into the natural environment and to be more aware of the link between a healthy natural environment and their own health and wellbeing.

At the heart of the Coromandel community are individuals and groups of people who seriously care about our environment. So you really don’t have to look too far to find some shining examples of people striving hard to nourish, sustain and protect our natural surrounds.

I spoke with some conservation groups in the Mercury Bay area to find out their thoughts about what this year’s conservation week means to them and about the environmental work they do.

Saving our Iconic Kiwi

Project Kiwi Trust has been saving Coromandel brown kiwi on the Kuaotunu Peninsula for 19 years. During this time the Trust has not only halted the decline in the kiwi population, but has grown it. The peninsula now hosts around 600 kiwi.

Project Kiwi Kuaotunu

Paula and Jon Williams have project managed the Project Kiwi Trust for seven years. During this time they have worked with a huge number of volunteers who share their passion for the holistic health of the environment on the peninsula, one that is rich in biodiversity where kiwi flourish.

Project Kiwi Trust is certainly a team effort. “We sell the long-term goal to keen locals and volunteers and let them find a way they want to help,” says Paula. “All skill sets are relevant to the functioning of a charitable trust. We have accountants, ecologists, trappers, mapmakers, scrub cutters, social media boffins and GPS geeks. All support the Trust’s goal of building kiwi abundance through volunteering their areas of expertise or energy.”

The reality is that in the absence of this team effort the kiwi population on the peninsula would have declined by 50-60%. “The several hundred kiwi that have been saved through active conservation management of this peninsula is the Trust’s greatest measure of success,” comments Paula. “The sustained effort has been intense but has brought reward – not only have we halted the decline, we are slowly growing the kiwi population.”

Project Kiwi Trust was the first community-based kiwi conservation programme in New Zealand. It was a Green Ribbon award finalist in 2014 and is a guiding light for kiwi programmes nationwide. The Trust has a pest and predator programme in place to manage rats, possums, cats, ferrets, stoats and weasels.

The Trust also invests in captive rearing. This involves the incubation, hatching and rearing of kiwi chicks in a predator-free environment until they reach 850 grams in weight - to be released back into the wild at this weight significantly increases their chances of survival through to adulthood. To date, the Trust has raised the funds for 132 kiwi to be released at this weight milestone.

Find out more about the Trust and how you can get involved.

War on Weeds

Department of Conservation Ranger, Natalie Collicott works to support a range of environmental projects, groups and individuals across the Coromandel Peninsula. During Conservation Week Natalie is hosting a volunteer ‘weeding day out’ with Benson Lockhart from the Waikato Regional Council to help to control the invasive weeds near Maramaratotara track.

Climbing Asparagus

The Department of Conservation is working with Waikato Regional Council, QEII and Thames Coromandel District Council to tackle an infestation of climbing asparagus on this popular walking track between Ferry Landing and Front Beach. This work is vital to halting the spread of climbing asparagus, which is strangling native trees and forming a dense mat on the forest floor.

Committed landowners have already started control on bordering properties, but reinvasion is an on-going issue. The invasive climber is spreading, with infestations also reported at Purangi road and Cooks Beach, and sightings at Whitianga township. The plant is spread by birds and in dumped vegetation.

However there is some good news at Ferry Landing where climbing asparagus has been controlled, progress is visible, with fewer seedlings appearing each year. “With strong community support, we can halt this weed before it becomes widespread.” says Natalie

If you are interested in forming a Weedbusters group to restore and protect biodiversity at this historic site please email Natalie on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you have climbing asparagus on your property, you can talk to Benson Lockhart at Waikato Regional Council about methods of control.

To get involved in the Volunteer Weeding Day find details here.

Natural History Documentary in the making

The Coromandel Film Collective is a not for profit group of professionals with a unique set of skills in the art of storytelling using digital media. This year the Film Collective are drawing on these skills to produce a natural history documentary to tell the story of the Kauri.

Coromandel Film Collective

The aim of the film collective is to educate and foster filmmaking talent in young people within the Coromandel. James Muir, Founder of the Film Collective explains that the production of Kauri – A Natural History Documentary is an opportunity for local filmmakers and conservationists to tell the story of the Kauri tree which is now being threatened by disease, and the story about the conservation guardians and pioneers who are working hard to protect it.

Filming is now underway and is expected to be completed late in 2016.

The Film Collective offers the opportunity for students to be exposed to a filmmaking experience that is close to home – a rare opportunity. The Film Collective worked with students earlier this year to produce a short video poem titled “I Am Kauri” – a poignant piece on Kauri.

Watch the video

 

If you would like to be part of the making of this documentary as a partner, sponsor or part of the filmmaking crew contact James.

Conservation Week 1-8 November

What does the Conservation week theme “Healthy Nature Healthy People” mean to our conservationists?

Conservation week is an excuse to get outdoors and do something positive for the environment. Of course, by being active and taking part, your health also benefits. A dose of nature is undeniably good for us. On the Coromandel we are spoilt for choice, with some of the best beaches and bush New Zealand has to offer. One of my favourite local walks is to catch the ferry from Whitianga, walk the Mararamaratotara track over to Front beach, then amble out to Shakespeare cliffs and Lonely Bay. Such a stunning back-drop right on our doorstep.

Natalie Collicott, Department of Conservation, Conservation Services Ranger

I would like to thank the people of DOC, TCDC, community volunteers, Regional Waikato, businesses and Tangata Whenua, together working to protect the forests parks, ecological zones, islands and marine environments of the Coromandel Peninsula. As Auckland continues to grow more people visit and stay a greater commitment of time and resources will be needed. My dream to ensure healthy nature and healthy people would be to see areas of the Coromandel Peninsula and surrounding Islands together become a World Heritage Park.

Chris Twemlow, Media Producer and Editor, Coromandel Film Collective

We want New Zealanders to get out into our conservation land, whether it’s for exercise, relaxation, getting away from it all or helping out with one of the hundreds of different groups doing great work to protect our natural heritage.

Maggie Barry, Conservation Minister

Want to Volunteer?

See our Clubs and Organisations Guide for Environmental Volunteer Groups near you.

Happy Halloween with a Friendly Trick and Treating List and Tips

Halloween is getting ready to knock on your door this Saturday 31st October. There will be ghouls, ghosts, goblins, pumpkin people and scary fairies preparing to take to the streets for some fun, laughter and the promise of some prized sugar-laden treats.

While this is one of America’s favourite holidays the tradition of dressing up as the weird or the wonderful has been developing its own character in New Zealand.

Halloween Whitianga

For the last three years in Whitianga self-confessed Halloween fan Eloise Green has prepared a special Halloween Trick or Treat Friendly list. The purpose of the list is really simple. While there is great support for Halloween in some camps, it is well known that Halloween is not everyone’s cup of tea. This is where Eloise saw the opportunity to coordinate the Trick or Treat Friendly list. It provides the addresses and the times that Halloween enthusiasts can visit listed addresses around Whitianga town.

“The list provides a win -win situation on Halloween night. People who want a visit from trick or treaters can list their address and times that they will receive Halloween visitors. On the flip side those wanting to celebrate Halloween can plan out their evening of fun to visit the addresses that celebrate Halloween,” says Eloise.

Popular costumes for this year have been mooted as follows from some Halloween enthusiasts getting ready for this Saturday night; the classic ghoul, witch or axe through the head inspired Frankenstein. More modern interpretations include the onesie inspired crazed Dalmatian or demented Minion.

Whitianga Halloween Group Photo

If you are in Whitianga on Halloween evening make sure you visit Halloween HQ at 6pm for the group photo!

Download a copy of your Halloween Trick or Treat Friendly list.

Some key tips from Eloise for your house if you are leaving out treats on Halloween:

  • Hand out lollies to your Halloween visitors, rather than a free for all with kids
  • Limit the number of lollies your give out :)
  • It's great to give special lollies to trick or treaters in special costumes – reward the effort
  • Avoid unattended lollie dishes if possible

A happy Halloween to all.
Look forward to seeing your costumes and have a great Halloween!

Rally NZ – Goldrush Rally of Coromandel Highlights

NZ Rally drivers in Whitianga, Coromandel
From right to left: David Holder, Emma Gilmour, Jason Farmer, Lane Heenan, Adina Holder, Lindsay Tressler. Image by David Hedge.

There was certainly a sense of excitement when NZ Rally announced that round five of the 2015 New Zealand Rally Championships was coming back to Whitianga and the Mercury Bay for the second consecutive year. From the very start as Rally New Zealand began planning the Goldrush Rally of Coromandel it promised to be another year of exciting rally action right here in Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula. And well, it didn’t disappoint. The Whitianga community embraced the return of the rally, and in return the rally teams embraced the town back.

Rally teams enjoy activities on the water in Mercury Bay, Coromandel

It was undoubtedly a more sedate day on Sunday for Rally New Zealand crews after race day on Saturday, but it still came with its own set of excitement and thrills. All About Whitianga's Business Development Manager Tracey Denize teamed up with local tourism operators in Whitianga and the Mercury Bay to provide rally drivers with a taste of some local scenic action adventures.

As it happened, the Sunday morning weather could not have been more perfect for the day ahead. When local Skipper Ken Hindmarsh from Cathedral Cove Cruises pulled away from a picturesque Whitianga Wharf there were some very big smiles on the Rally NZ crews faces. Most of the Rally NZ crew members that were aboard had never been on the water in the Mercury Bay before, and some had never been to Whitianga before. The experience for the day showcased the fantastic highlights and activities on the water that are on offer to explore in and around Whitianga and the Mercury Bay on the Coromandel Peninsula.

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The crews had the opportunity to cruise around Mercury Bay and enjoy the scenery of Shakespeare Cliff, Cooks Beach, Cathedral Cove and Whanganui a Hei Marine Reserve, Champagne Bay and Orua Cave. Of course a visit to the Mercury Bay is not complete without a kayak tour at stunning Cathedral Cove. The "off road" setting at Cathedral Cove, Coromandel encouraged a few NZ Rally crew rivalries when they were hosted by Mike Grogan and the team at Cathedral Cove Kayaks for a kayaking paddle challenge. On the return to Whitianga wharf a pod of dolphins was spotted to round off a great day of rest and relaxation post Goldrush Rally of Coromandel.

From the fun Whitianga street party on the Friday prior to racing, to race day and a bit of post racing scenic adventure on the Sunday, it really seems that Rally NZ and Whitianga is a perfect match all round.

New Zealand Rally Crews, Race Day and the Goldrush Rally of Coromandel Results

Rally NZ Coromandel
Image by Geoff Ridder

A total of 56 crews across New Zealand from Whangarei to Dunedin (with one team hosting an Australian co-driver) came to Whitianga to compete in the nine special stages of the rally. Each Coromandel rally stage had its own particular challenge, and provided plenty of drama for many of the crews including local Alex Kelsey who encountered an off-road excursion.

The order of the Coromandel Rally 2015 race day and stages included:

Ernslaw 1, 309 Road, Service A (Mercury Bay Multi Sport Park), Tapu-Coroglen 1, Kelsey’s Castle Rock 1, Service B (Mercury Bay Multi Sport Park), Tapu-Coroglen 2, Kelsey’s Castle Rock 2, Whitianga Super Special 1 (Joan Gaskell Drive), Ernslaw 2, Whitianga Super special 2 (Joan Gaskell Drive)

Whitianga locals and visitors to the Coromandel turned out in high numbers to enjoy the rally first hand. The official prime spectator spot was on the 309 Road stage at Waiau, but many people also enjoyed some great viewing across many of the stages.

Those who weren’t able to get to the 309 Road, Tapu-Coroglen or the Kelsey’s Castle Rock stages of the rally certainly didn’t miss out. Many spectators caught up with the NZ Rally action located in the centre of the Whitianga town ship. The Mercury Bay Multi Sport Park and Whitianga Super Special stage one and two on Joan Gaskell Drive provided key central areas in Whitianga where spectators came to view the action up close and personal.

Mercury Bay Multi Sport Park provided the perfect spot as Rally Head Quarters and service area for crews. Fans of the rally, and those who were just plain curious had the opportunity to view rally cars as they came in for servicing after the 309 Raod and Kelsey’s Castle Rock legs of the rally. As rally drivers caught a quick bite to eat during servicing rally fans mixed and mingled with the crews and their families to get the low down and offer their support.

The Whitianga Super Special stages one and two on Joan Gaskell Drive provided a central vantage point to see the racing action. Hundreds of spectators took to the berms for prime viewing positions of the NZ Rally racing crews as they hurtled down Joan Gaskell Drive and back across the bridge. For two fantastic stages, this normally sedate main road into town was transformed into an adrenalin road into town.

Subaru driver Ben Hunt, from Nelson, confidently beat off the competition over the 132 kilometres of the nine special stages of the Coromandel Rally. Hunt won by 37.8 seconds over his closest competition Mitsubishi driver Phil Campbell from Tauranga. This is Hunt’s third successive round win and puts him in line for his first national rally.

“This is a great result for our team and exactly what we needed for the championship. I don’t think we will be getting much sleep before Rally Wairarapa so we can make sure the car is 100% reliable for the final,” commented Hunt at the Goldrush Rally of Coromandel finish.

The 2015 Brian Green Property Group NZ Rally Championship points after round five Coromandel Goldrush Rally are as follows:

  1. Ben Hunt (Nelson- Subaru) 130 points
  2. Phil Campbell (Tauranga – Mitsubishi) 106
  3. Lance Williams (Te Aroha – Subaru) 88
  4. Matt Summerfield (Rangiora – Subaru) 84
  5. Graham Featherstone (Te Aroha – Mitsubishi) 73

Drivers now have a short break to prepare for the final round of Rally NZ being held in the Wairarapa on Saturday 3rd October.

Mercury Bay Events Calendar 2017/2018

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