Far North news in brief: Sailing week entries; bridge opens; and mental health workshop

Entries for January’s 21st edition of the Bay of Islands Sailing Week are now open.

Sailing week entries

Competitors are being urged to get their entry in early for the 2024 Bay of Islands Sailing Week regatta, with a prize up for grabs for those who do, and late-entry fees for those who don’t.

Early birds who sign up and pay their regatta entry fee by December 31 will go in the draw to win a top-of-the-line Gill Offshore sailing jacket from Burnsco in Opua. While skippers who are late to the start line and don’t enter in time will be hit with an additional late entry fee of $100 on top of their normal entry fee.

The 21st edition of the sailing week is from January 23-26.

More information and online entry form can be found at www.bayofislandssailingweek.org.nz


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Bridge open to traffic

A new $3.5 million, 60m bridge key to the Ōtiria and Moerewa flood scheme has opened to vehicle traffic.

Construction of the Pokapu Rd bridge — on multiple-owned whānau land with the blessing of its shareholders — began in January. A dawn blessing ceremony attended by several players key to its construction was held at 5am at the site on Saturday, before the bridge’s official opening to traffic.

The bridge is a critical part of a scheme designed to better protect the communities of Ōtiria and Moerewa from the adverse impacts of flooding.

The smaller 18m bridge the new structure replaces acted like a dam in a flood, diverting floodwaters towards Ōtiria and Moerewa and worsening flooding problems.


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The new structure has wider spans and it — and an associated spillway due to be completed before Christmas — is designed to allow three times more floodwaters to pass underneath, enabling it to cope with a once-in-a-century flood event. The old bridge will be removed over the next few weeks and beams salvaged from it will be repurposed at Whangārei’s Quarry Gardens.

Mental health workshop

A Mental Health Awareness Workshop is being held in Kaitāia on Thursday.

The free event, from 8am to 3.30pm at Unit 3, 5 Puckey Ave, is a transformative learning experience designed to equip participants with essential knowledge and skills related to mental health and wellbeing. This workshop delves into the complexities of mental health, offering insights into various mental illnesses, risk factors, and prevention strategies, both in the workplace and personal life. Participants will also gain an understanding of the legal obligations for employers and employees, as well as the role of Worksafe NZ in promoting mental health within organisations.

To register go to www.tehikubusinessboosters.org/event-details-registration/mental-health-awareness-workshop

Community board funding

Te Hiku Community Board has granted three organisations a share of more than $4000 in funding during its September meeting.

Te Hiku Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRY Challenge received $3000 towards a three-week nationwide programme that encourages Kiwi kids aged 5-15 to get active and have fun as they work towards achieving a physical activity goal, earning their champions medal and TRYathalon t-shirt.

The board has allocated $1365 to Te Hiku Roller Skating. The group has started a Sunday skating session held at Te Ahu every second Sunday from 2pm-4pm when participants aged 5 and over are welcome. This funding will help cover hire fees at Te Ahu and the purchase of a sound system.

The board also approved a grant of $200 to Esther Louise for props in the filming of Loloma, a celebration of Fijian culture and language.

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