Saturday, 04 April 2020


Update on the conditions in Mercury Bay

Power is still out in the entire Mercury Bay area, from Whangapoua to Whenuakite and also in Cooks Beach, Hahei and Hot Water Beach. Power is expected to be restored by 5:00pm today.

State Highway 25 between Whitianga and Tairua and the Tapu-Coroglen road are both now open. State Highway 25 is still closed at Hikuai.

Both the Telecom and Vodafone mobile phone networks are still out, but repairs are underway.

The storm last night caused widespread damage across Mercury Bay. Some properties lost their roofs, trees were uprooted and Buffalo Beach and Brophy’s Beach in Whitianga suffered significant erosion damage.

Massive Company acting and directing workshops coming to Mercury Bay

Aspiring actors and directors from the Mercury Bay community will from 27 - 29 June get to participate in three days of workshops with actors and directors from Massive Company. The workshops, which have been organised by Creative Mercury Bay, will be held in the performing arts area at Mercury Bay Area School. They will focus on devising and directing theatre, using Massive’s innovative and collaborative techniques.  

The aim of these workshops is to further develop directing and acting skills in the Mercury Bay community, building on the extraordinary experience of The Brave, brought to Whitianga in August last year by Massive Company. People of all ages were deeply moved by The Brave and these workshops are a special opportunity for the community’s actors and aspiring directors to learn from amazingly talented tutors.

The workshops will be run by Sam Scott, Jonny Moffat and Neil Amituanai, all three of whom were in Mercury Bay last year to present The Brave. Sam is the company’s artistic director, and Jonny and Neil both act and direct.

“Creative Mercury Bay is very pleased to be offering acting and directing workshops for youth and adults led by Massive’s brilliant directors. Mercury Bay has a decades-long history of really talented and active amateur theatre groups - both actors and directors - and we hope these three workshops will build on the drama skills already evident in our community, said Jan Wright, chair of Creative Mercury Bay.

Although the acting spaces in the Friday acting workshop are already filled with MBAS students, there are still a couple of spaces left in the workshop for people who are interested in learning about directing.

The Saturday workshop is for both actors and aspiring directors

The Sunday workshop is purely for aspiring directors

Workshop dates - Friday 27, Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 June

Times: Friday 9am - 3pm (for both actors and aspiring directors), Saturday 10am - 4pm (for both actors and aspiring directors), Sunday 10am - 2pm (purely for aspiring directors).

Numbers: Workshops are each limited to about 25 people.

Age: 14 years plus.

Venue: Performing Arts area at MBAS for all workshops.

Cost: Adult - $25 per workshop, student $15 per workshop.

Registration and enquiries to Jan Wright on telephone 027 224 1927 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Mercury Bay author among 2014 LIANZA Childrens Book Awards finalists

Mercury Bay author, Des Hunt are among the 2014 Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) Children’s Book Awards finalists announced today.

The LIANZA Children’s Book Awards acknowledge excellence in junior fiction, young adult fiction, illustration, non fiction and te reo Māori.

Judges were delighted to see publishers backing non-fiction in the print form. Quality productions and a usefulness derived from good research and compilation has resulted in a list of finalists that are a pleasure to take home, to refer to constantly and to share in a way that supersedes an online experience.

The finalists are -

LIANZA Esther Glen Junior Fiction Award

  • Dunger by Joy Cowley, (Gecko Press)
  • Brave Company by David Hill, (Penguin Books)
  • Project Huia by Des Hunt, (Scholastic New Zealand)
  • Felix and the Red Rats by James Norcliffe, (Random House New Zealand)
  • A Winter’s Day in 1939 by Melina Szymanik, (Scholastic New Zealand)

LIANZA Young Adult Fiction Award

  • Recon Team Angel, Book 3: Ice War by Brian Falkner, (Walker Books Australia)
  • Dear Vincent by Mandy Hager, (Random House New Zealand)
  • When We Wake by Karen Healey, (Allen & Unwin)
  • Bugs by Whiti Hereaka, (Huia NZ Ltd)
  • Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox, (Gecko Press)
  • Cattra’s Legacy by Anna Mackenzie (Random House New Zealand)

LIANZA Russell Clark Illustration Award

  • Bruiser and the Big Snow by Gavin Bishop, (Random House New Zealand)
  • Flight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber, illustrated by Brian Lovelock, (Walker Books Australia)
  • Taka Ki Ro Wai by Keri Kaa, illustrated by Martin D. Page (National Treasures Design Ltd trading as Tania & Martin)
  • The Teddy Bear’s Promise by Diana Noonan, illustrated by Robyn Belton, (Craig Potton Publishing)
  • Henry’s Map by David Elliot (Random House New Zealand)

LIANZA Elsie Locke Non Fiction Award

  • Wearable Wonders by Fifi Colston, (Scholastic New Zealand)
  • Flight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber, illustrated by Brian Lovelock, (Walker Books Australia)
  • The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand, by Paul Adamson, (Random House New Zealand)
  • Anzac Day, The New Zealand Story, What it is and why it matters by Philippa Werry, (New Holland Publishers (NZ)

LIANZA Te Kura Pounamu (te reo Māori)

  • Taka Ki Ro Wai by Keri Kaa, illustrated by Martin D. Page (National Treasures Design Ltd trading as Tania & Martin)
  • Meariki by Helen Pearse-Otene, illustrated by Andrew Burdan, (Huia NZ Ltd)
  • Pūao (series) Te Pātiki, Te Mānawa, Te Whai, Te Tāmure by Huia Publishers, (Huia NZ Ltd)
  • Tāhoe: He Pakiwaitara mō Hinemoa rāua ko Tūtānekai by Chris Szekely and Andrew Burdan, (Huia NZ Ltd)
  • Ngā Kaitiaki a Tama! By Kawata Teepa and Jim Byrt, (Huia NZ Ltd)
Increased wind risk for Peninsula

A severe weather warning of strong winds for the Coromandel Peninsula and eastern Waikato, on the inland side of the Kaimai Ranges, has now been issued by MetService.

The Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Group said this emphasises the need for people to take care due to the wild weather.

East to northeast winds in those areas are expected to gust to 120 kilometres an hour from this afternoon until tomorrow morning.

“People should take this wind advice into account when moving around and also secure any items that could be blown away,” said Waikato Civil Defence programme manager Greg Ryan.

Mr Ryan also said that, as expected, heavy rain was affecting many parts of the wider region and this is expected to continue through till tomorrow.

“The heaviest downpours are due across the Coromandel Peninsula, accompanied by those gale east to northeast winds, from this afternoon.”

At the latest update, up to 100 millimetres had fallen on the Peninsula and MetService now expects another 100mm to 150mm. This is in line with earlier expectations, but rainfall intensities could be higher than initially forecasted, particularly tonight.

Mr Ryan said the rain across the region had been patchy so far and there were no significant problems reported due to the weather. “But people do need to be aware that these conditions are expected to persist for another day or two and that there remains the potential for flooding and slips, along with road closures and power outages.

“We ask people to report any such problems to their local council or electricity supplier. Take particular care on the roads and be aware of the potential for hazardous driving conditions.”

Heavy rain forecasted for Coromandel

Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Group and the Waikato Regional Council flood management team are urging Coromandel residents to be cautious for the next few days with heavy rain forecast from today through to Wednesday. Strong winds are also possible during this period.

Between 150 and 200 mm of rain is expected from midday today until midnight Wednesday, according to the Metservice. As much as 20-25 mm per hour is possible.

Heavy rain can lead to slips, roads becoming greasy, surface flooding and rising waterways.

The Waikato CDEM Group, working alongside the Waikato Regional Council flood management team, is monitoring the situation.

Group controller Lee Hazlewood is urging people to take the forecast into account with their travel plans and other activities.

“Take care on the roads. People should also stay up to date with weather and road closure information.”

Civil defence also suggested people check drains and gutters and clear away any autumn fall of leaves.

Supporting Leah Gubb to go, well, somewhere

The New Zealand Secondary Schools Girls Under 16 Football Team won’t be travelling to Thailand next month anymore. According to Carl Gubb, the father of Leah Gubb -Mercury Bay Football’s only representative in the team, the parents of all the team members weren’t comfortable with the tour going ahead while Thailand is in a state of political instability. The team was scheduled to play two games against the Thailand Girls Under 16 Football Team and two club games.

The New Zealand team will still be travelling this year, still in July or in October, depending on the speed with which new arrangements can be put in place, to either Japan, Europe or Canada.

Leah is only one of three Waikato Bay of Plenty girls who made the team of eighteen players. It was a long road to get there. She first had to qualify to attend a Federation Training Centre for players from the Waikato Bay of Plenty region. Thereafter she was chosen to attend one of three National Training Centres. Only 120 girls from across New Zealand were invited to these National Training Centres. From those 120 girls, the New Zealand team was chosen.

The next goal for Leah in her football career is to be chosen for the New Zealand Girls Under 17 Team. As she’s still Under 15, and assuming she’ll make the Secondary Schools Under 16 Team next year again, she may well have experience of four international games when she tries out for the Under 17 team.

The Mercury Bay Football Club is fully supportive of Leah’s efforts to play international football.

They will be holding a fundraiser to help with her expenses on 15 June with a live screening of the international England v Italy football game at Whitianga’s Monkey House Theatre in Coghill Street. Tickets cost $10 per adult and $5 per child and include coffee, hot chocolate and croissants. Tickets are available from the Mercury Bay Area School office.

Three Whitianga residents among those on the Coromandel who received New Zealand citizenship yesterday

Ten Coromandel residents were officially granted New Zealand citizenship in a Mayoral ceremony in Thames yesterday. Three of the new New Zealand citizens, Ian Ross, Aihua Jiang and Alejandra Bermeo Martinez, are from Whitianga

The ten newest citizens originally came from Mexico, South Africa, China, Singapore and the United Kingdom. In addition to Whitianga, they now live in Thames and Whangamata. 

Coroglen sale yards to become public reserve

Plans are well underway to ensure the site of the old Coroglen sale yards remain available for public use. Thames Coromandel District Council has already secured two parcels of land both sides of State Highway 25 that was part of the sale yards (in size just under half a hectare). A working committee, made up of community members, TCDC staff and members of the Mercury Bay Community Board, has been set up to look at ways the land can be developed.

"Due to its special place in Coromandel's history, we talked to Wrightsons, who used to own the sale yards, about the possibility of transferring the land back to the community. We know this area has always been the heart of the Coroglen community,” said Thames Coromandel District Council mayor Glenn Leach.

TCDC made $95,000 available in its draft annual plan for development of the land. A concept development plan is available for viewing at The Coroglen Tavern and members of the public are welcome to provide their comments to TCDC. The concept plan makes provision for preservation of some of the stock pens and the sale yard’s lunch and administration huts, signage explaining the history of the sale yards, car parking, picnic and BBQ areas, walking tracks and easy access to the Waiwawa river.

An idea has also been floated for a potential footbridge across the Waiwawa River (next to the one-lane vehicle bridge), but no funding for that has been allocated from any source and the New Zealand Transport Agency will have to be approached for their consent.


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