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The Oakura Bay Community Hall gets a makeover

by Norma de Langen

The year 2022 was the year the wider Oakura community saw a great deal of progress made on a number of community projects. However, none more so than on the long overdue makeover of our much loved Oakura Bay Community Hall. 

In the early stages, Chrissy Henderson and Colleen Ferguson proved extremely adept at writing grant applications, successfully receiving much needed funds from both the Lotteries Commission and Whangarei District Council, for which we are extremely grateful. Along with these funds, a hugely successful community fundraiser instigated by the Oakura Hall & Reserves Board to ‘Buy a Window’ proved to be an absolute winner. Not only did the local community get in behind this initiative, the Committee was also the recipient of two very generous donations from donors in the United States and Australia. 

Work on the hall began in earnest in April/May of 2022 and was completed by the end of October. Managed and led by Committee Chairman, Glenn Ferguson, the hall and the adjoining Medical Centre were reclad, prepped and painted, the old windows replaced and a ramp built to provide access for all ages and abilities. Glenn was ably assisted by fellow builder John Fitt, Malcolm Devereux, Clint Shields, Marty James, Guy Fuller, Guy Mawson and local electrician, Gareth Preston. Dempster & Hill Electrical also assisted with mains power issues. We owe them all a huge debt of gratitude for providing many hours of labour as well as their professional expertise. We also give thanks to local store owner, Nena Rogers for generously providing scaffolding and Travis for assisting. Simply put, we would not have a ‘new look’ hall if it were not for the combined efforts of these people in particular. 

We also give thanks to any, and all other community members who were able to assist. A special mention must go to the team of ladies who provided baking to keep spirits high and stomachs full. 

Although the final outcome looks amazing, it wasn’t always plain sailing for Glenn, John and the rest of the team. Numerous stop/starts occurred due to a long, wet winter, along with unavoidable hold-ups obtaining materials, the result of the Covid-19 restrictions that plagued 2021 and well into 2022. However, in due course, the exterior of the building was completed and the hall and Medical Centre are now looking very stylish indeed.

Following on from the outside work, 2023 will be the year the inside gets a makeover. Planning is well underway for work to be done on the floor, walls and kitchen. Already, heat pumps generously provided by Foundation North, have been installed and are now operational.

Once again, our heartfelt thanks to all that assisted, funded and supported the makeover of our community hall.

Whangaruru Community Sports Hub nears completion

by Hamish Haika, Deputy Chair, Whangaruru Coastal Community Group – published in the Pothole, March 2022 edition

There has been great progress made on our Whangaruru Community Sports Hub in Oakura over the last few months, despite the impacts of Covid. It’s been a long journey, but we hope to be done in a few weeks and have a place all in Whangaruru can be proud of. The community has willingly given their time and we are very grateful. From the rugby boys cleaning and painting to Craig and the NUD team donating machinery and their time to help with the power connection, to Dave and Pete on the brushes, our kuia/kaumatua support and many more. Even the smallest of tasks has made a difference.

As a community, we are gearing up for the start of winter sports and we are very strong in many codes, both seniors and juniors, including rugby, netball and basketball. Our Rugby Club has not been able to play home games during the build and like many sports, has had to meet the demands of Covid. It will be great to soon play at home at this new multi-code facility. This year, our rugby juniors will play an in-house competition and there are four Whangaruru teams already with the possibility of more to join. They will be our senior curtain raisers and we invite you all to come along and support them. As we complete this building and look forward to a wide range of events being held here, we are already well into planning for the next stage which includes an additional rugby field and hard courts. We want to ensure the current and future generations of Whangaruru will enjoy and benefit from our efforts and the aspirations of the community.

Update: Although the community sports hub building was not completed in time and therefore is yet to officially open, the first home game of the season was able to be played on 21 May 2022 on home ground. Whangaruru RFC won their game against Marist 31-19. Congratulations!

Photography courtesy of Samzsz Sun

Memories of Oakura

by Eamon Parkes

I remember coming to Oakura Bay when I was a kid. Mum (Kate Parkes) would always bring us up here from Whangarei and we would spend our time with my Uncle Lance Kelly. Uncle Lance was the Principal of Ngaiotonga Valley School before it was closed down. I have memories of going to the school with him, I think about 1992. Not sure exactly. My Aunty Barb (Barbara Kelly) also worked at the school. 

Every year during the Christmas break, we kids would have free range of the bay, going out on my Uncle’s sail yacht, going to the the local dairy to get lollies. 

Another memory I have of Oakura, was going to the fishing competitions they held before it was moved to Ruakaka. From what I can remember, my Uncle did the organising of that or helped out with it. I remember the massive Lion Red can that was blown up and put up at the main stage. Mum used to work in the local dairy for her time that she was in the bay with us kids. Another memory I have is of going to the rock pool, or the mermaid pool, not sure what people call it now. It was at the back beach, us kids were very rarely allowed to go to the back beach due to my Uncle not been able to see us from his house up on the hill. 

One day I would love to take my son up there from Nelson and give him the same experience as I had when I was a kid. 

Photographer: Unknown

Oakura Bay Fire First Response – Update

REMINDER: In the event of FIRE call 111 FIRST.

THEN:  Call one of your local Oakura Fire First Response team. Please remember we are all volunteers, not always available and you may need to call more than one number.

The earlier we are asked for help, the better opportunity we have to contain a fire.  An example of this was the bush fire on the Oakura Hill behind the Reserve during the drought. This potentially dangerous fire was extinguished by the Fire First Response group during the hour that it took the Fire Brigade to arrive.

We will not be able to cope with a fully engulfed house fire, except perhaps to try and protect nearby property. We will keep out of the way of Fire Service vehicles and personnel when they arrive.

To reiterate, we are a group of local volunteers providing a fire first response. We are not a fire brigade. In the event of a fire, call 111 FIRE and then call the first response numbers which you should have readily accessible. Be aware that you may need to ring more than one number to make contact.

In the recent floods, the fire first response team spent a number of days pumping water out of houses along the waterfront. Appreciation for the effort and time put in by our members was shown by a number of our community making very generous donations to the Fire First Response fund. A sincere thank you from us to those people – you know who you are!

The Fire First Response group is open to people who are willing to become competent with the equipment or who are willing to assist with committee administration work. We already have people who have expressed interest, and we will be organising a training session in the near future.

Fire First Response Team

Oakura Bay Medical First Response Team – Volunteers Needed

The Oakura Bay Medical First Response team was set up over eight years ago. Fundraising events were held, and charities approached and we purchased two defibrillators and set up the Medical Rooms next to the hall with stretchers, St Johns medical packs and other equipment. Since then there has been a small number of people, who have done the St Johns First Aid course, who have been happy to have their phone numbers listed as first responders.

However we now need more volunteers to go on that list. Over the years the Medical Committee have run free and subsidised St Johns courses for those interested, and at some stage in the near future another partly subsidised course will be organised.

It should be noted that the First Response team is only for medical emergencies, to be there as support while ambulance/helicopter assistance arrives. It is not set up to handle grazes and minor injuries.

First responders should have done at least the St Johns First Aid Level One course before volunteering to go on the First Response List.

If anyone is interested they can contact our Civil Defence person, Jim Lynch, email address hemihune@gmail.com.

Oakura Bay Fire First Response – First Callout

The recently formed Oakura Bay Fire First Response team had their first “callout” on Sunday afternoon, 26th January 2020.

The fire team successfully extinguished a bush fire on the hill between the Hall and Waimarie Avenue. Neighbours heard a loud bang and saw smoke high above the area. It was from a large firework and the falling debris ignited the bush, which was of course tinder dry.

Fortunately a nearby householder saw smoke from the fire and used a garden hose and carried buckets of water to contain the situation. The Oakura Fire First Response team were notified and 111 fire calls were made.

The First Response team had the fire completely extinguished when the Hikurangi Fire Brigade arrived approximately one hour later. A serious fire was definitely averted as the dry conditions would have enabled a serious fire to develop right in the Oakura Bay heartland.

The Oakura Bay Fire First Response group deserve our hearty congratulations!

Deb Glasgow – as published in the March 2020 Whangaruru Pothole Newsletter.

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