April 17, 2019 Mahurangimatters 29
F E AT URE
Participants are invited to use their imagination for the parade.
An artist’s impression of the tree lighting expected at the Warkworth Wharf during the Mahurangi Winter Festival of Lights. The lights will remain even after the festival ends.
Mahurangi festival of lights set to beat the winter blues The Mahurangi Winter Festival of Lights promises to shine even brighter this year, with a new illuminated parade event and Auckland Council ATEED funding to light up the Warkworth Wharf area. The parade will kick off on Friday, July 19 at 6.30pm and feature illuminated floats, trucks, cars, bikes, scooters, people and possibly even beds on wheels. Organiser Murray Chapman says he wants people’s imagination to run riot, perhaps including lighting up grandma in her wheelchair. The parade will assemble on Baxter Street and continue down Queen Street. It will end in the illuminated Wharf area where colour washes of light will play over the water and
nearby trees. The Jane Gifford and other boats will be ablaze with light. Buskers will play and crowds can enjoy eats from brightly-lit food trucks. The fun will continue into Saturday, July 20, with ice skating on Baxter Street from 11am, real snow for kids to play in and more food trucks catering to all tastes. Children can also enjoy a movie at the Warkworth Town Hall at 4pm. They will then be provided with glow sticks to walk down to Baxter Street to enjoy the spectacular laser light show, which takes place from 6pm. Murray hopes businesses will really get behind the event, sponsoring different parts of the festival, lighting up their shops, entering floats in the parade
and staying open late on Friday and Saturday nights. “It’s going to bring a whole lot of people into town and shops who don’t open are going to miss out,” he says. He says last year even Chocolate Brown in Mill Lane, which is some distance from the main events, reported it had its busiest day ever on the day of the laser light show. “Even if you are, say, a women’s clothing shop, it’s true nobody is likely to be out buying clothes, but there is still the opportunity to wander around and hand out vouchers to people.” Murray adds that it’s the “Mahurangi Festival”, not just a Warkworth event and he is eager for places such as Omaha, Snells Beach, Matakana, Leigh
and elsewhere to actively participate. Last year’s inaugural festival attracted many people from outside the area and Murray hopes to build on this trend, encouraging strong bookings for motels and restaurants. “It’s only going to get bigger and bigger each year. People who went last year say their kids are still talking about it,” Murray says. “Winter can be a depressing time of year. The whole idea is to bring a smile to people’s faces.” To enter a float, help with sponsorship or participate in other ways, email email@example.com
Info: facebook.com/ mahurangiwinterfestivaloflights
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Home heating options worth considering ahead of winter Heat pumps have become the hottest thing in home heating thanks to their energy efficiency, but modern wood fires are now giving them a run for your money. In a semi-rural area like north Rodney, firewood can often be sourced very cheaply, if not for free, so the idea that heat pumps are cheaper may be an urban perspective. North City Heating consultant Jason Smith says wood burners are cheaper for producing heat, but incur an initial outlay cost. “There is the cost of the fireplace which starts from $1900 and then the consent and any additional flashing you might require on your house. I just completed a job for $4200 in the Kaipara district, which is the most expensive place to get a consent,” he says. The cost of firewood in the area can range from $120 per cubic metre for a hot mix of pine, macrocarpa and blue gum from Wyatts Haulage, to just $55 for offcuts from the Cypress Sawmill, or even free from the side of the road or Facebook. A typical household running a fireplace every evening could expect to burn through 10 cubic metres during the winter season. According to Laser Electrical Silverdale managing director Bryan Fairgray, the cost of installing a heat pump is not dissimilar to woodburners at $2500 to $3000, but he says they are incredibly efficient.
Though heat pumps are popular, wood burners could make more financial sense in a rural area.
“A 2kW heat pump will produce 6kW In terms of heating a space, a wood that burning something for fuel would of heat so it is using a third of the fire puts out considerably more energy be worse for the environment, modern energy it is putting out. If you install a with the smallest and least expensive wood burners have come a long way. ducting system they can also heat the burners producing 11kW and larger In the Rodney district, a wood burner models up to 26kW. whole house,” he says. is required to produce less than 1.5 particulate kilogram of “The heat pump is also much quicker Pat Neems from Wyatts Haulage grams of Call: 09 411 411per9604 9604 at taking the chill off the air because Firewood says fires are popular in wood that burns. A modern wood fire it blows heat around the room. I have the area, particularly in older houses achieves this with a hotter, ‘cleaner’ DDIIVVI ISSI IOONN OOF FWW TATT TL ALNADNSDCSACP A E PSEU SP U P LPIPELSI E S theY AYdry heat can burn off the burn, which produces less smoke and a pump and a fireplace, and I use the A because humidity in the air, instead pushing it particulates. pump when I get home because the fire takes about an hour to get started.” around. 948 State State Highway Highway1616•• Waimauku WaimaukuHowever, it is impossible to make “I pay 50 cents an hour to run the heat “We bring in 500 cubic metres of a direct comparison between the after theMuriwai Muriwai turnoffoff ( just just after the turn ) ) winter at the beginning of emissions of a wood burner and a heat pump and it costs me $350 in a season firewood e te.nt z.n z s .n and that will get us through three pump, due to the elise.n p li variation in how for firewood. I daresay the wood is p p u u s s e ppe nnddssccaamight much be used in a single cheaper over the hours, but there is quarters of the season,” he says. w.l.laawood ww w w t e d burn and the variation in the means of more work involved with chopping Another consideration is r acarbon e p o emissions. n While you might expect electricity generation. the wood and cleaning the soot.” ed &
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Gardening Andrew Steens
Heading into winter Your plants (and probably you!) might be exhausted after a long, hot and hopefully productive summer. Some can be coddled along a bit more, others may need to be terminated; the plants, not the gardener! Heavy feeding crops, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicum, courgette and eggplants will have exhausted most of the nutrients supplied at planting. Now is the time to be feeding heavily with fast-acting fertilisers and liquid manures. The growing season can be extended by using frost cloth or cloches to reduce wind chill, trap some of the sun’s rays and reduce heat loss overnight. Plant fast growing greens like lettuce and spinach to take up the slack until winter crops such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower start coming on. Onions, garlic, carrots and leeks can all be planted now. Celery, parsley and coriander are also good crops for this time of year, tending to bolt to seed less than in the summer months. Keep an eye out for summer crops that have gone to seed; just leave the seed heads (or pods) on to fatten up. Harvest them once they have yellowed off and then finish the drying process by laying them out on mesh in a dry area before popping into dated and labelled paper envelopes. Good seed can last for two seasons if they
Strawberry runners are easy to pot.
Leeks are an easy autumn crop.
are stored well, which means you always have some spare in case of a crop disaster. Many crops such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and boysenberries produce runners now, which are easy to pot up for planting out later into a new bed. The cooler, drier months of autumn are perfect for rejuvenating your soil. The warm, moist but not yet sodden soil is easier to work, and the weather is less exhausting for the gardener. I like to add a 2-3cm layer of compost to the beds, with a dusting of dolomite (or
lime) and gypsum. As a rule of thumb, the dusting should look about the same as a well-floured ciabatta bread. This combination is like gold for earthworms and microorganisms. Lime and gypsum need time to dissolve and move through the soil so autumn application is a good idea. Other fertilisers dissolve more readily in heavy winter rain and tend to leach out of the soil more easily, so applying these just before planting is a better option.
Most crops hate wet feet and many soil-borne diseases thrive in wet conditions. If your beds are not already raised, now is a good time to do this. Raising the soil level by even a few centimetres can improve drainage, which also keeps the soil slightly warmer. A raised bed can be as simple as digging out paths and using this soil to mound up the beds. To reduce disease risk over winter and cut down on pests and diseases continued to next page
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Alas, the bounty of summer is almost over. from previous page
next summer, completely remove any weeds and old vegetation from beds and paths. Disease spores and pests will hibernate on these. Bare soil is an invitation to weeds; you can reduce weeds by mulching the soil or take advantage of the downtime to grow a green crop such as mustard, oats, lupin, peas, phacelia or buckwheat. Green crops reduce soil erosion and compaction from heavy winter rain, reduce pests and diseases in the soil, and add to soil nitrogen, carbon and humus levels. Give any surrounding trees and shrubs a good haircut. The winter sun sits lower in the sky so nearby trees shade more. I always like to start my winter pruning season in autumn; sounds strange I know, but I can’t wait to get started and then I don’t have the big rush just before spring when there are so many other jobs to do in the garden. My plums have already been pruned – straight after harvest is the best time to do these. Table grapes are next as, like plums, they are so vigorous that pruning before leaf fall hardly makes any difference. Apples, pears, stonefruit and figs follow – usually by end the end of May when they have lost most of their leaves. I leave persimmon to the last of all the deciduous trees, as the autumn colours are just so gorgeous. Cherry guavas, macadamia and feijoas are pruned straight after fruiting for height and width control. Autumn rains are a trigger for tree planting time; with warm moist soils and mild weather. This is the best time to plant citrus, subtropicals and
any other evergreen fruit trees, with deciduous trees best planted in winter. It’s also the best time to get slow-acting fertilisers such as lime, dolomite, gypsum magnesium sulphate, sulphate of potash (the granular, not crystalline form), superphosphate and animal manures around the drip zone of trees while the roots are still active. Once all that lot is done, you can put your feet up in front of a toasty fire for the winter!
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34 Mahurangimatters April 17, 2019
Top tyre tips for winter Dangerous roads become even more treacherous during winter when conditions are often wetter and darker. Mahurangi Matters spoke to Brendan Woolley, of Beaurepaires Warkworth, about making sure your tyres are up to snuff when the going gets tough. Why are wet roads a problem? The tread pattern on a tyre is formed to enable the tyre to clear water from underneath the tyre. If the water is not cleared it will force the tyre off the road surface – this is known as aquaplaning or hydroplaning. If a tyre has limited tread depth, it is more likely to lose traction, and you cannot stop or steer a vehicle without traction. Wet roads also take a lot longer for a vehicle to stop on. This makes the chances of accidents higher. Globally, 75 per cent of accidents occur on wet roads. Some tyre manufacturers make tyres that have small cuts inside the tread details. These are called sipes and the best manufacturers ensure these last the whole life of the tyre. These cuts allow for massive grip improvement on wet, greasy and cold roads. In winter, we must remember that although the law says you can still use tyres with low depth of tread, performance in the wet will be dramatically reduced. How often should motorists be checking their tires during winter and what should they look for? Tyres should be correctly inflated for
Brendan Woolley says tyres are the primary safety system on a vehicle.
the load and use. Unless you have one of the latest cars with a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), you should be checking your tyre pressures every two weeks and before a long or high-speed journey. You should also look for damage and cuts, which can let water into the structure and will cause problems later. The law says tyres should be changed when the tread depth falls to 1.5mm. Most car manufacturers recommend changing tyres at 3mm for safety. They have no agenda other than keeping people safe. Are there any kinds of vehicles where having tyres in good condition is especially critical? Vehicles such as 4x4s and SUVs weigh
more and require more grip. What is often ignored, however, is that older vehicles need much better tyres. They often don’t have now standard safety features such as anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and vehicle traction and stability assistance. Studies show you are much more likely to be seriously injured in an older vehicle. If your car has not got good crash protection, then make sure you invest in great tyres. Tyres are the primary safety system on a vehicle. Brakes slow the wheels only – good tyres stop the car. Should I consider buying tyres specifically for winter? Most motorists don’t really need
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a winter tyre formulation as our temperatures are relatively warm compared to other countries. Snow tyres are not a good option unless there is snow and ice on the ground and “winter” tyres only really come into their own when it is 7C or less. You need these types of tyres if you are working in the snowfields or higher ground, but they offer less performance when used in other areas and temperatures. Final tip? Carry our regular condition checks, rotations and alignments to get the best life from your tyres and to keep yourself and others safe.
April 17, 2019 Mahurangimatters 35
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Springboard ramps up firewood output for winter As we head into winter, Springboard Community Works has had to pull out all the stops to meet orders for firewood. On April 4, the non-profit social agency, which assists struggling young people, threw out an invitation to the wider community to help out in a “community bag day.” Community members joined young people involved in Springboard programmes in bagging firewood ready for sale. The effort produced 600 bags. Springboard has been selling firewood both for fundraising and skills-training
purposes for more than 10 years. Local contractors donate the wood, which is then cut and split to a suitable size, bagged, and then sold through Mitre 10. Young people develop skills in wood handling, tractor driving and business. The effort raises about $55,000 each year. Springboard chief executive Gary Diprose says it was important for Springboard to get more bags produced to honour its contract with Mitre 10. “We can’t leave them in the lurch over winter,” he says.
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Winter around the corner
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Before I get started on an update, I thought it would be good to clarify who “TOSSI” is. The Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary Society (TOSSI) was formed in 2002 to help make the Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary project a reality. TOSSI works in partnership with the Auckland Council and is involved in volunteer programmes, fundraising, education and advocacy. We are a community-based organisation with charitable status. TOSSI projects include forest and wetland restoration, re-introduction of threatened species, monitoring animals and plants, pest control, our nursery, and the development of walking tracks. Last time I wrote, summer was nearly upon us and now we are well into autumn and winter is just around the corner. That’s not a negative view, it’s just the way the seasons progress and with it our activities change. The show goes on – just with coats on. So what does winter mean to us? We welcome The level of activity does not really decrease, it just takes a different course. For the rangers, it means a all – young and old, change from being parking attendants for the vast families, groups number of beachgoers, to getting on with jobs they of friends, work probably prefer. For the general public, the beach colleagues, or may not be so appealing. So those who still need a regular dose of Tāwharanui will move to exploring individuals who the bush and all the treasures hidden there. For the want a great day livestock, there are shorter days without the heat out with a chance and the ewes get to fatten up nicely – especially to meet some likethose who met up with a ram earlier in the year! For TOSSI, it’s time to get the plants grown over minded people. summer into the ground. Planting is our major winter activity. We have three public planting days, plus additional volunteer planting days. The public planting days are scheduled for the first Sunday in June, July and August. We welcome all – young and old, families, groups of friends, work colleagues, or individuals who want a great day out with a chance to meet some like-minded people. It’s a great day, albeit hard work sometimes. We even provide workers with lunch to finish off. Put it in your diary now, we look forward to seeing you there. The additional volunteer plantings usually coincide with the Tuesday morning nursery group. The team will do some more specific infill or special project planting. Anyone with time to spare is welcome to join us. While the ground is wet, we need to get our 20,000 plants in the ground but that doesn’t mean other activity ceases. The bird and reptile monitoring continues, traplines still need to be serviced, fence monitoring continues, track and fence maintenance becomes even more important, and the weeds still need controlling. It just becomes muddier and slipperier, causing many a muddy bottom. Best of all, winter means spring is just around the corner.
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Winter home fire safety tips Now that the clocks have gone back and days and nights are rapidly cooling down, most people are thinking about lighting fires or turning on the heating. However, the colder weather brings with it a special set of dangers that could increase the risk of house fires. Fire and Emergency NZ has produced a checklist of tips and precautions to help householders keep their homes and families safe this winter. First and foremost, everyone should make sure smoke alarms are fitted and working throughout the home. Also, power multi-boards should not be overloaded or covered, as they can overheat and cause a fire. Fireplaces and chimneys • Clean chimneys and flues before lighting the first fire of the season. • Always use a fireguard or sparkguard when using an open fire. • Never throw rubbish into the fireplace – especially batteries and aerosol cans. • Always empty ashes and ashtrays into a metal bin and pour water over them before disposal. Remember that ashes can take up to five days to cool completely. • Keep matches, lighters and anything else that can create fire out of reach of children. Electric blankets • Worn and old electric blankets can cause electric shock, fire and possibly even death. At the first sign of wear have your electric blanket checked by a qualified electrician.
• Replace your electric blanket every five years with newer, heatprotected models. • Don’t place heavy objects on the bed while the blanket is switched on. • Make sure the blanket is always flat on the bed and that controls or cords are not twisted or caught between the mattress and the base of the bed. Twisted cords are a common cause of electric blanket fires. • Roll your blanket when you store it for summer, don’t fold it. Heaters and clothes dryers • Remember the heater-metre rule – always keep furniture, curtains, clothes and children at least 1 metre away from heaters and fireplaces. • Never cover heating appliances or store objects on top of them. • Don’t overload clothes dryers and clean the lint filter after each load cycle. Portable LPG gas heaters • Check to see the gas hose is in good condition and doesn’t show any signs of damage or wear. • If the heater does not light straight away, turn it off and then try again. Don’t let the gas build up before trying to relight it. • Always have fresh air coming into rooms where a gas heater is in use. • Have your heater serviced every 12 months. Info: Contact your local volunteer fire brigade, or visit fireandemergency.nz
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Mahurangi Matters 17 April 2019_A Brighter Winter FEATURE