Whangaruru Coastguard – Saving Lives at Sea

The Whangaruru Coastguard has a big year lined up for their crew and volunteers with the announcement that they will be receiving one of the AC36 Protector RHIB America’s Cup chase boats at the end of the America’s Cup regatta. The new 9m RHIB will be fully refitted post the regatta, with members of the unit involved in the refit design. The new boat will replace the existing 6.8m Naiad (RV Tangaroa). The extra size of the new boat will be a great boost for the unit as it will increase the ability to do larger tows, handle heavier weather conditions and increase the range.

To read more about the America’s Cub regatta chase boats, click here.

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The Whangaruru Coastguard’s training regime is progressing well with six operational crew and one trainee. The big push for this year will be to progress senior operational crew through to skipper.

Whangaruru Coastguard are seeking dry crew for their administration team, including the roles of secretary and treasurer, as well as committee and fundraising positions. The Whangaruru Coastguard Incorporated Society’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is scheduled for 6pm, Sunday, 22nd March 2020 to be held at the Whangaruru Coastguard Shed, Wharf Road. Nominations can be made to one week prior to the AGM. Following the AGM, there will be a shared meal.

A warm welcome to attend is extended to all volunteers, members and the wider community of Whangaruru.

Kit Bigelow, Acting President – as published in the March 2020 Whangaruru Pothole Newsletter

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For more information on the Whangaruru Coastguard, click here and here. To follow them on Facebook, click here.

Beach Hop Dance at Oakura Bay

By Margaret de Jong

Oakura Hall was swinging once again to the music of the Basin City Big Band on the last day of February.  The dance floor was jam-packed with enthusiastic dancers as the band of 20 plus musicians pumped out some old time and modern music.  The atmosphere was fantastic; the hall decorated for the Beach Hop theme with surf and boogie boards, buckets and spades, beach balls and fishing nets and rods adorning the walls and hanging from the ceiling amongst the fairy lights. With a true community style supper at half time, and donated spot prizes awarded, the evening was a great success for all.

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So can we continue like this ?  YES of course. In April we will have a Dancing Through the Ages theme with the Steve Tulloch Band from Auckland .  Steve has a 3-piece band who play chart hits from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.  On alternate months, we will hold casual dances in the hall – no theme, decorations or pre-sold tickets – just dancing.  Just $5 at the door on the night, turn up if you like and enjoy an evening of non-stop dance music, streamed through the sound system. BYO drinks and a plate of finger food for a shared supper. 

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Mark it in your calendars – Saturday 21st March from 7pm.  We warmly welcome suggestions on dance themes or ideas to improve your evenings of dance.  Check out our Facebook page, Oakura Dances, for information on upcoming dances.

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Heritage Military Vehicles visit Oakura Bay

Nearing the end of an organised convoy traversing the Far North, on Wednesday, 4 March 2020, some lucky residents and visitors to the bay were treated to the sight of a number of heritage military vehicles. The owners of these vehicles were en-route south to overnight in Whangarei, before deciding to drop in to treat themselves to an ice-cream on what turned out to be the wettest day in the Bay for months.

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Organised by the New Zealand Military Vehicle Club Inc., these vehicles are owned by a community of like-minded MV enthusiasts from New Zealand (and elsewhere) with a common goal – to have fun on an adventure packed holiday of sun, sand and sea – as well as taking in some military heritage and other historic sights along the way. The MVs on convoy cover a wide range of types, not just the iconic US army jeep familiar to anyone who watched the TV series, M*A*S*H, back in the day. Without exception, all vehicles have been lovingly restored by their respective owners.

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Setting out from Orewa on Sunday, 23 February, optional side trips were also available for participants to tour WWII gun emplacements, pill boxes and other historical sites. Some of the US vehicles were actually returning to where US forces were once stationed in the North at airfields, radar stations and coastal defences during WWII.

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The convoy was organised by a team with many years of convoy experience, many of whom are veterans of convoys both here in NZ and in the United States. We hope they enjoyed their brief sojourn in the bay.

For more information, visit the New Zealand Military Vehicle Club Inc.’s website here.

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Our thanks to Skips Fish’n’Chips for the use of their images.

Australian bushfires turn skies orange over Oakura Bay

Driven by stratospheric level westerly winds, smoke from the raging bushfires in NSW, Australia, more than 2,000kms away, turned the skies over Oakura bay a bright orange hue before plunging the bay into near-darkness during the late afternoon of Sunday, 5 January 2020.

At the time, there were over 143 fires burning across New South Wales, causing widespread devastation to large swathes of the country, loss of life and property, as well as the death of millions of animals.

Further photos of the orange sky over Northland (and other parts of the country) can be seen in an article by Mike Dinsdale published in the Northern Advocate on 7 January 2020.

Visit to Dragonfly Springs Wetlands

On Wednesday, 22 May 2019, a number of WSRRA committee members (and friends) visited the privately owned Dragonfly Springs Wetlands situated harbour side at Onerahi.  Once a waste area comprised of open drains and illegal rubbish dumps, the area has been transformed into a nature reserve where freshwater springs and a system of ponds have been extensively planted to capture rain, and filter stormwater run-off and sedimentation into the harbour. The once neglected site also provides extensive bird and other wildlife habitat and is an educational asset for the local (and wider) community. 

Previously earmarked for subdivision in 2002, the land was purchased by Jeremy Busck and Pamela Winter in 2004 after an unsuccessful campaign to have Whangarei District Council buy the site. The couple then embarked on the mammoth task of turning the neglected low-laying land into a wetland sanctuary that would also provide the basis for environmental education. Today, the resource is used by a number of educational facilities ranging from primary through to tertiary level, as well as trusts and gardening clubs. Community planting and maintenance is encouraged with regular planting days scheduled. Many of the plants are derived from local native plant seeds collected and grown on at the on-site nursery.

Here in Oakura Bay, WSRRA in conjunction with WDC, are about to embark on the construction of a wetland and nature reserve shortly. With this in mind, and on the recommendation of Councillor Anna Murphy, we arrived at Dragonfly Springs Wetlands eager to observe and learn as much as we could. Jeremy was extremely generous with his time. He not only lead us on a guided walk through the wetlands, but also spent considerable time imparting some of his wide and extensive knowledge. We would encourage others to visit this stunning reserve.

Where: End of Raumati Crescent, Onerahi 0110

For more information, visit the Dragonfly Springs Wetland’s Facebook page.

Or contact Jeremy Busck and Pamela Winter – Phone (09) 436 0112, Mobile 021 232 6525 or email

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