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In this Guide Index

(Groupings of advertisers indicated in bold) Welcome (from us and the Mayor) 2 Support Local 3 Church Services 4 A snapshot of local events scheduled for summer 5 Eating and entertainment 6 Walking makes you happy 6 Walking on the Coromandel 7 Your Coromandel Local Walks Guide 8 Invent your own silly walk, do some brain gym, sculpt in nature and try geocaching 11 Interested in an up close kiwi encounter? 12 Weddings and Photos 13 Tips for parent 13 Festivals and Events 14 The MBAS plane 16 Health, Beauty, Art & Fashion 18 Ferry Landing wharf 18 Hahei Tractor Bash 20 Peninsula Professionals 22 QR code treasure hunt 23 Under Construction 24 Hauraki Rail Trail excites & delights 24 The America’s Cup - and how Mercury Bay changed the course of history 26 On the Water 30

Mercury Bay’s new classic car museum 30 Property 32 Scallop Festival goes from strength to strength 32 Fill in puzzle 34 Mega Crossword 36 Things to Do 38 Out on the water this summer 38 Things to do on solid ground 43 The Airwaves 45 All things Automotive 46 A pest free Great Mercury Island 46 If you Need us… 48 Shop Local 49 Centenary Melbourne Cup win highlight for retired trainer 49 Road trip in paradise 51 From bovidae to bovinae 52 Feature Artist - Verena Tagmann (inside back cover) The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 is published in Whitianga by Mercury Bay Media Limited. Enquiries to PO Box 426, Whitianga 3542 or telephone (07) 866 2090. © 2013. All rights reserved. The Mercury Bay Informer LOCAL NEWS FOR EVERYONE.

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Welcome Welcome from The Informer

Message from the Mayor

Dear Readers, Welcome to the Coromandel, welcome to Mercury Bay. Yes, it’s me the thinking stork again. Thank you for picking up a copy of the Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014. In this guide, once again set up in our distinct Informer style, we encourage you to get out and experience the very best our region has to offer. And what better way to enjoy things than to do so on foot. So dear readers, spoil yourself this summer and walk. Yes, walk the Coromandel. We also talk about two day trips you’ll only find in the wider Coromandel/Hauraki area. The Hauraki Rail Trail is a must-do, we tell you why. And riding the famous Coromandel loop will allow you take in as little or as much of our spectacular part of the world as you like, but it’s guaranteed that you’ll be left with memories that will last a lifetime. We also tell you more about the array of activities some of our local businesses can keep you busy with once back in Mercury Bay. Our community is pretty neat. We have a rich history with wonderful people who have done great things. During 2013 we were privileged to publish in our weekly community paper many stories about our history, those living among us and their achievements and the great events they organise. You’ll find a few of those stories in this guide too. And have a go at our mega crossword. There’s lots of time to complete it and a great prize package up for grabs. Please support those who made the effort to advertise in this guide. Our volunteer sector and community groups enjoy organising the very popular fairs and festivals our area plays host to during summer. And they’re very good at what they do. Our business community is sophisticated. Whether you want to experience fine dining of the highest order or just have fish and chips, whether you want to buy some art or fashion or be pampered, whether you want to buy or build a bach or want to have yours fixed, it won’t take you long to see why many of our businesses reap in the one award after the other. If you’re visiting us, make sure you pick up a copy of our community paper every Tuesday. And if you like what you see, read us online at, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. And if you don’t live here, come visit us again. You’re always welcome. Until next time, Keegan Bocian (Official Informer mascot and spokesperson)

Welcome to summer and spending it on the Coromandel. I feel extremely lucky to have been voted in for a second term as mayor of Thames-Coromandel, with a great team and an exciting three years ahead of us. We’ve recently launched our Economic Development Action Plan to make the Coromandel the most desirable place in New Zealand to live, work and visit. Our aim is to create a more diverse and vibrant economy that attracts new investment, more businesses and more people living and visiting here more often. A non-negotiable will be ensuring we don’t compromise the very things that make the Coromandel so special in the first place in our quest for economic growth. With this in mind we have three big projects under development right now which promote tourism and sustainability: • The Cathedral Coast Walk - a walk connecting Hahei to Wharekaho (Simpsons Beach), • Improving Coromandel Harbour’s facilities with the long term goal of getting a fast ferry into Coromandel Harbour from Auckland, • A cycleway from Kaiaua to Kopu to extend the Hauraki Rail Trail & Cycleway, We also want to provide the best service to our customers in our core business while being continuing to be financially prudent. If you have any issues or suggestions on how we can improve our services, we are always happy to hear from you. Please get in touch with our customer services team on 07 868 0200 or email I am also always happy to hear from you so feel free to email In the meantime stay safe, and have a wonderful Coromandel summer spent with friends and family. Glenn


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Support Local

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Helpful Information Church Services

COMMUNITY CAROLS Whitianga - Friday 20 December 2013 at 7:30pm at Soldiers Memorial Park (behind the Information Centre). All ages welcome. Bring a candle and something to sit on. Cooks Beach - Sunday 22 December 2013 at 7:30pm at the Cooks Beach Hall. Kuaotunu - Tuesday 24 December 2013 at 7:30 pm at the Kuaotunu Hall. ANGLICAN CHURCH St Peter the Fisherman Church, Dundas Street, Whitianga Sunday 22 December 2013 at 9:30am - Nine Lessons and Carols followed by morning tea and fellowship. Tuesday 24 December 2013 at 10:00pm - Christmas Eve Carols and Communion. Wednesday 25 December 2013 at 9:30am - Christmas Day Celebration and Holy Communion. Service every Sunday at 9:30am. For further information phone 869 5577 or 866 5084 or see CROSSROAD ENCOUNTER FELLOWSHIP Corner of Cook Drive and Joan Gaskell Drive, Whitianga Sunday 22 December 2013 at 10:00am - Christmas Service. Sunday 22 December 2013 at 6:00pm - Performance by Auckland dance production group. Service every Sunday at 10:00am.

and afternoon tea. Wednesday 25 December 2013 at 9:30am - Christmas Day Family Service. Service on Sunday 29 December 2013 and every Sunday in January at 9:30am. Sunday 12 January 2014 at 11:30am - Community Service at Kuaotunu Hall and shared lunch. For further information phone 869 5356 or see

MERCURY BAY CO-OPERATING PARISH St Andrew’s By the Sea Community Church, corner of Albert Street and Owen Street, Whitianga Tuesday 24 December 2013 at 2:00pm - Christmas Communion

C3 WHITIANGA Coghill Street Whitianga Service every Sunday at 10:30am. For more information see


WHITIANGA BAPTIST CHURCH 112 Cook Drive, Whitianga Sunday 22 December 2013 at 10:00am - Christmas Service. Service and children’s programme every Sunday at 10:00am. WHITIANGA CATHOLIC PARISH Cooks Beach - Vigil Mass on Tuesday 24 December 2013 at 6:00pm at Cooks Beach Hall. All other services at St Patrick’s, Campbell Street, Whitianga. Tuesday 24 December 2013 at 11:30pm - Midnight Mass with Carols. 25 December 2013 at 8:30am - Christmas Day. Saturdays 28 December 2013 and 4 January 2014 at 5:30pm Vigil Mass. Sundays 29 December 2013 and 5 and 12 January 2014 at 8:30am.

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What’s On A snapshot of local events scheduled for summer Mercury Bay Summer Fun Kids Art Competition, Whitianga - 16 December 2013 to 12 January 2014 Matarangi Beach Summer Festival, Matarangi - 21 December 2013 to 11 January 2014 Health & Wellbeing Fair, Whitianga - 28 December 2013 - 5 January 2014 Mercury Bay Summer Fun Scavenger Hunt, Whitianga - 28 December 2013 Mercury Bay Summer Fun Family Sports Day, Whitianga - 30 December 2013 Keltic Fair, Coromandel Town - 2 January 2014 Mercury Bay Summer Fun Sand Sculpture Competition, Whitianga - 3 January 2014 NZ National Archery Championships and National Field Championships, Whitianga - 4 to 10 January 2014 Cooks Beach Gala, Cooks Beach - 4 January 2014 Tairua Wine & Food Festival, Tairua - 4 January 2014 Warbirds and Wheels, Whitianga - 4 January 2014 Hahei Market Day, Hahei - 7 January 2014 Mercury Bay Seaside Carnival, Whitianga - 8 January 2014 Concert in the Vines, Cooks Beach - 25 January 2014 New Zealand Offshore Powerboat Racing, Whitianga - 22 February 2014 Mercury Bay Art Escape, Mercury Bay (including Tairua) - the first two weekends of March 2014 A Taste of Matarangi, Matarangi - 5 April 2014

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Eating & Entertainment Walking makes you happy Here’s why it’s good for you. It strengthens your heart. It lowers disease risk. It keeps weight in check. It gives you energy. It can help prevent dementia… and osteoporosis too. It boosts your vitamin D levels if you do it in daylight, that is. It tones your legs, bum - and tum, your arms, shoulders and upper back. And ladies, it may even help to say bye bye to those fatty deposits under our arms, rudely referred to as… chicken, bingo and bat wings. It’s easy and free and no special gear is required. But most of all, it makes you happy, and that’s a fact. So get outdoors, somewhere green is best, and go for a walk.


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Eating & Entertainment Walking on the Coromandel

The Coromandel is a walker’s dream with numerous walks for all levels of fitness available. Jagged mountains, postcard-perfect coves and beaches, groves of old pohutukawa - just some of the reasons why. The options are seemingly endless. Take a walk in your local area. It may be a walk you contemplate each time you drive by the track signage on the side of the road. Where does that track lead to, what will you see if you take it? Choose a walk in a part of the Coromandel you are least familiar with, or choose a walk in a part of the Peninsula you have always longed to explore. Create a lasting memory by taking the kids on the famous Windows Walk in the old gold tunnels of the Karangahake Gorge, but don’t forget to take a torch. Adventure seekers, climb Castle Rock on the 309 Road between Whitianga and the town of Coromandel (allow two hours), or tackle the mighty Pinnacles walk in the Coromandel Forest Park and stay overnight at the DOC hut at the top. Both these walks are suitable for any fit adult or child. For the more sedate ambulator, a local history walk may be a better fit. The Coromandel offers many spectacular hikes managed by the Department of Conservation. Visit the Coromandel Walking Tracks pages for more information on these walks at

Marlow Brown looks content after conquering the Pinnacles walk. The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -


Eating & Entertainment Your Coromandel Local Walks Guide The Informer recommends picking up a copy of Thames Coromandel District Council’s Your Coromandel Local Walks Guide. Alison Smith compiled the guide and we asked her what walks she thought would be fun for families with kids. She chose one walk from each of the four areas the guide covers. Northern Coromandel - New Chum Beach (Wainuiototo Bay) from Whangapoua, duration - 1 hour 45 minutes return approximately. Allow plenty of time to enjoy the beauty and isolation of this world-renowned beach. Lots of rock hopping, a nikau forest and huge pohutukawa. Plan the walk for low tide, take a picnic and enjoy. Eastern Coromandel - Moewai Bike Park Walk, Whitianga, duration - 45 minutes approximately. A BMX track has been built here and the walk starts behind the bike park up the bush-clad hillside through native bush to a grove of 50 kauri trees and views through the bush to Mercury Bay and its islands. Thames and Western Coromandel - William Hall


Reserve from Thames Central, duration - 1 hour approximately. Believed to be the oldest arboretum in New Zealand, with an incredible collection of nationally, and internationally, significant trees that were grown from seedlings in the early 1870s by JW Hall. The site affords views over the Firth of Thames and a network of walks through these giant treasures. South Eastern Coromandel - Tairua Historic Trails, Tairua, duration - 1 hour and 1.5 hours each circuit. From the oldest remaining building in Tairua to the site of perhaps the oldest human artifact ever found in New Zealand, the trail features 40 plaques with fascinating stories from the past. At a cost of $5, the guide is available from TCDC offices, libraries and information centres/i-Sites. For additional information on the more than 30 unique walks covered in the guide, download the myParx app for android and Apple smart phones. It is also available as a free e-book at

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Eating & Entertainment

New Chum Beach was voted one of the top twenty beaches in the world by The Observer newspaper.

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Eating & Entertainment

Have some silly walking fun with Monty Python this summer.


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Eating & Entertainment Invent your own silly walk, do some brain gym, sculpt in nature and try geocaching Google Monty Python’s sketch, “The Ministry of Silly Walks” and then have everybody in the family, parents and children, invent their own silly walk. From the Monty Python comedy troupe’s television show, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the sketch involves bowler-hatted John Cleese in a fictitious British government ministry responsible for developing silly walks through grants. Record your family and friends’ silly walks for a good laugh later. Try walking for five minutes with arms either folded in front of you or down at your sides with hands gripping the outsides of your thighs. This brain gym teaches science through experiential learning. It requires a lot of effort to walk when we don’t swing our arms. Arm swinging is an integral part of the energy economy of the human gait, not something left over after humanoids first stood up. If children are tiring on a walk, encourage them to swing their arms to maximise energy levels, make it a game and watch them perk up.

Experiment with sculpture in nature. It gives family members an opportunity to interact with nature in a new way. British Sculptor Andy Goldsworthy pioneered sculpture in nature. Made in the natural setting where the materials are found, the work is non-permanent. Draw with sticks, stones and leaves and then capture the creations with a photograph or drawing. Try geocaching this summer and re-wild the inner child in the whole family. Search for “treasure” using a smartphone or GPS device. Geocache creators hide containers in the outdoors, then post location details on a geocaching website. To play, use a geocaching website to select a cache you want to find. The website will list a description, some map coordinates and possibly cryptic instructions for locating the container. Caches usually take the form of waterproof boxes containing a logbook and a few small items. When you discover a cache, record your details and replace any items you take with ones of your own. It’s like being in a real-life episode of the Amazing Race.

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Eating & Entertainment Interested in an up close kiwi encounter?

The Northern Coromandel is home to the largest predator controlled kiwi habitat on the New Zealand mainland. The Moehau Environment Group (MEG) runs a summer holiday programme that offers people the chance to experience and enjoy the Coromandel's natural treasures guided by local volunteers keen to share their passion and knowledge. If you are interested in an up close kiwi encounter this summer, call MEG on 07 866 6903 or visit their website


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Weddings & Photos Tips for parents Parents need to make “getting outdoors” a planned activity for their children everyday if possible, even if it’s only for five minutes. Ideally we shouldn’t feel the need to prescribe what children do outside, kids are much better than us at inventing exciting games. Let them muck about, shift the balance towards free play and away from adult-supervised play. Plant some ideas, then let the children lead, you’ll be amazed at their innovation. Most children don’t think about keeping a steady pace when out on a walking adventure and they don’t like to be rushed. So be prepared to take rest stops whenever something captures their attention. If they take to building a hut from dead branches and fallen leaves, take a break and watch them at their work, or join in the fun. Ask kids about what they think they are likely to see on a particular walk. Make an eye spy chart with fun drawings representing what they come up with. Get them to tally up the number of times they see each object on their walking adventure. As an example, if you are on a town walk, have the kids mark down how many dogs on leads they see, how many people wearing jandals, how many yellow parked cars, etc. Rather than dragging them along in your wake, let the kids be the guides. Let them navigate the walk and tell the grown-ups exactly where to go. If your kids like to win, play first to the wharf/cattle stop/playground, you’ll be surprised how much energy they muster when they are competing. Another fun idea is to get a pedometer. Keep track of the number of footsteps taken per day and record them on a progress chart. It will motivate kids to try to up their total - even more so if you offer prizes for every few thousand steps.

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Festivals & Events

Kids having summer fun on the beach.


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Festivals & Events

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Festivals & Events The MBAS plane

Whitianga’s Jim Evans is passionate about all things aviation. Pursuing his dream of affordable flight training in Mercury Bay, he bought a VANZ RV12 Light Sports Aircraft kitset and spoke to Mercury Bay Area School. John Wright, principal of the school, was more than happy for the school’s senior engineering students to take on the challenge of building an aeroplane. And on Friday 8 November 2013 more than 40 people witnessed successful completion of the challenge when the wheels of the plane, aptly registered ZK-MBA, lifted off runway 04 at Whitianga Airport. The plane, painted in the colours of Mercury Bay Area School, white, blue and yellow, is testament to the dedication of not only the students who built the plane, but also the teachers who supervised them and the members of the Mercury Bay community who mentored them. Well done to students Hayley Betteridge, Jake Vowles, Casey Wakelin, Harry Vowles, Tyler Relph, Cody Bennett, Karl Mehaney, Jacob Sanders and Shaun Hall, to teachers Karlos Bosson and Chris Cawley and to mentors Jim Evans, Charles Russell, Brian Yelland, Bob Walters, Tony Turner and Peter Austin. And to ZK-MBA, may Jim Evans indeed see the one student pilot after the other coming to appreciate the wonder of flight with your controls in their hands.


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Festivals & Events

ZK-MBA on it’s maiden flight with pilot Alan Coubray at the controls.

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Health, Beauty Art & Fashion Ferry Landing wharf By Richard Gates Thanks to the Mercury Bay Historical Society and other local contributors, the Mercury Bay Museum retains well researched archives relating to the development of commerce and industrial sites in Whitianga and the wider Mercury Bay area. These records date back to the first days of European settlement and many of the Museum displays and exhibits are based on this documented research. The records are further enhanced by original photographs which have been generously donated to the Museum by descendants of the original settlers or obtained from other archival sources. What gives life to these historical records are the stories of those personalities who had the foresight and courage to see the potential of the area. Thanks to local Historical Society stalwart, Brenda Sewell, the Museum holds written records of those who loom large in the formative years. One story of particular relevance to us today, is the background and legacy of the two individuals who were instrumental in the development of Ferry Landing opposite Whitianga. The earliest was John Skelton who, on behalf of a Captain Dacre of Sydney, purchased a block of land in Mercury Bay in November 1831 - where there were trees suitable (Continued on page 19


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Health, Beauty Art & Fashion Ferry Landing wharf (Continued from page 18) to satisfy the British Admiralty’s need for ships masts and spars. Following on from this initiative, Skelton set about building houses and a store at what is now known as Ferry Landing. He also intended to build a small mill, however about that time his ship overturned and sank. Whilst he and his crew were dealing with this drama, some Thames Maori raided the settlement and burnt it to the ground. Captain Dacre then sent his agent, Gordon Browne, to Mercury Bay in 1836 to take possession of his old station at Ferry Landing and in 1837 Browne purchased 1,875 acres from Flaxmill Bay to Purangi. Squared blocks of local stone were then made into a wharf at Ferry Landing the rock being quarried from nearby Quarry Point and taken to Ferry Landing by local Maori. This is said to be the first stone wharf in Australasia. Only part of the original wharf remains, but at least it is the oldest stone structure still used for the purpose for which it was built. The stone wharf at Ferry Landing is registered with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a Category 1 site. The register has over 5,500 entries, but only 17 were constructed prior to 1840. The wharf is the only existing physical evidence of the beginning of European settlement in the Whitianga area.

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Health, Beauty Art & Fashion Hahei Tractor Bash

By Rowena Brown Parking was at a premium in Hahei as throngs of people moved towards the beach area Sunday morning, 28 April for the 2013 Tractor Bash. Adults lugging chilly bins and blankets and children armed with buckets and spades, converged on the beach reserve to make the most of the glorious autumn day. Locals and bach owners from neighbouring towns and visitors from the Bay of Islands, Australia and as far afield as France came to experience this classic day out. French tourist, Parisian Gentiane Cortez said, “In the South of France we have la fete du citron (festival of lemons), but not tractors, this is very unique for me to see.” Hers wasn’t the only camera snapping pictures as the throaty engines roared and an estimated 1,500 onlookers broke the normally quiet mid morning air. Twenty two tractors, Massey Fergusons to David Browns, decked out in a range of themes, paraded down Hahei Beach Road to the beach reserve. Teenager Sam Macfarlane and friends stumbled alongside their entry “Zombie,” dressed in tatters like grisly ghouls on a graveyard shift. Other supporters dressed in the colours of Mexico, green, white and red, waved their sombreros and danced around their float, cajoling the crowds for favour. (Continued on page 21)


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Health, Beauty Art & Fashion Hahei Tractor Bash

(Continued from page 20) Locals say in summer there can be up to 70 tractors on Hahei beach at one time, given there is no boat launching facility. One thing is certain in this popular holiday destination - tractors are part of the family and lifestyle of the resident population and its holidaymakers. Hahei Business Association secretary, Kay Harrison, said a huge amount of effort went into decorating the old workhorses for the parade. “I love the thought of all the hours of family time put in to creating these amazing tractors and the fun that big and small get from it, one tractor was very dressed up and not a child in sight, only grandparents,” she said. The “Jellyfish,” a retired Mainfreight shunter tractor, resplendent with flowing plastic tentacles, was the fantastical culmination of three families working together, winning the judges choice award. Owner, Malcolm Holm said his four-year-old son Sam’s first word was very nearly, “tractor.” Brian Keyche, dressed as a pirate, recalled first driving his girl “Fergie” to Hahei from the Coromandel Golf Course 30 years ago. Others, like “Zombie,” came with an original bach purchase, although not in running order. The Tractor Bash is a true community event, with prizes donated from local businesses and this year’s proceeds going toward additions to the Hahei Community Centre. Best maintained tractor was awarded to a Ford 4110 painted in Resene Blue, most original to King Neptune and the people’s choice to Tractor Tom, the Fire Truck. In addition to kids games and a sandcastle competition run by one of the local dads and the Hot Water Beach Surf Lifesaving team, the community turned on some tasty treats at reasonable prices. Bay of Islands visitors rated the paua fritters a 9.8 and Aucklander Tom Male who drove over from his Tairua bach, said the scallop fritters were, “Definitely a 10 and at $8 a steal.”

BLACKJACK ART Gallery & Espresso Local Artwork & award winning ‘Coffee LaLa’ Open daily Blackjack Rd, Kuaotunu Village

07 866 4420

Make sure you put the next Hahei Tractor Bash on your list of must-do’s. It’s a classic Kiwi day out, with a great family atmosphere - and no alcohol in sight.

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Peninsula Professionals

Top photo - Aucklander Tom Male on the Ford 4110 that won best maintained tractor at the 2013 Hahei Tractor Bash. Bottom photo - 16 year old Sam Macfarlane said the only thing missing from “Zombie” at the 2013 Hahei Tractor Bash was Michael Jackson’s song “Thriller.”


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Peninsula Professionals QR code treasure hunt

Seasons greetings from us here at IT Worx, Whitianga. We hope that your holiday is enjoyable, relaxing and refreshing. For your entertainment, here’s a QR code treasure hunt. There are four QR codes (excluding our QR code next to our logo and The Informer’s QR code on page 1) scattered throughout this guide. Find the codes and scan them with your mobile device. Each of them will take you to a web page. There’s a common word between the pages - find the word, it’s that simple. The word is 12 letters long. Hopefully it should be easy to spot. You’ll find the answer on page 50. Don’t peak! Here are a couple of reference sites for installing apps to your smartphone or tablet android-apps-install. How-to-Download-iPad-Apps. htm.

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Under Construction BUILDING CONTRACTOR Quality workmanship guaranteed

Design-Build or Your Plan Alterations & Maintenance Now available for more work in all areas Contact Bernie on any of the following Mob 0274 946 019 Ph 866 4877 Fax 866 4879 Email:

Whitianga Coromandel Peninsula

Windscreens l Balustrades Splashbacks l Showers l Mirrors Residential & Commercial Glass Phone 07 867 1772 (24hrs) 65 Cook Dr, Whitianga


Hauraki Rail Trail excites & delights

By Rowena Brown

Having recently ridden the Hauraki Rail Trail, I can recommend holidaymakers take advantage of this unforgettable free outdoor activity. It is literally the easiest cycle track in New Zealand, and it’s on our doorstep. Suitable for the whole family to enjoy, riding the Hauraki Rail Trail could well be the big highlight of the holidays. I gave it a massive thumbs up. There are three distinct sections and whether you select just one to ride this summer, I’m confident you’ll make plans to eventually ride them all. The trail from Thames to Paeroa (33kms) and Paeroa to Te Aroha (21kms) follows an historic railway formation and runs across farmland. The third section (22kms) runs from Paeroa, through the Karangahake Gorge to Waihi. Here is an overview of aspects I found interesting. Thames to Paeroa - Cycle around some of the old architecture Thames is famous for, from the stock exchange, where men once walked up and down the street crying out share prices, to Brown Street where many old dames of yesteryear still stand. Cycle along the Thames Coastal Walkway at Victoria Park and let the kids take a train ride at the Thames Small Gauge Railway. The Firth of Thames is one of New Zealand’s three most important coastal stretches for shorebirds and offers an encyclopedic array of bird watching for avian enthusiasts. 74 species, many rare or uncommon, have been recorded at this site, with a large proportion coming from the Northern Hemisphere to spend their winter season in our warmer climes. See if you can spot some from the Karaka bird hide. Also of interest is the oldest and only surviving wharf built to service Thames after proclamation of the goldfield. This section of the trail goes under the new Kopu bridge into the heartland of dairy farming. Paeroa to Te Aroha - Maritime history, artists workspaces, antiques, a giant L&P bottle, once a fake rocket, and the world’s only natural soda water geyser. A highlight is visiting 70 year old Allan Smith’s model train set up on the Paeroa end of the Paeroa to Te Aroha road. His shed houses a phantasmagorical model railroad he built from scratch over the last ten years. Another great stop is the Depot Garden, where you can enjoy a Devonshire tea and walk in a formal Parterre garden with over 5,000 buxus plants grown from cuttings. The mirrored patterning of the twirls and fleur-de-lis a nod to the famous French gardens in Versailles. Paeroa to Waikino and on to Waihi - The spectacular Karangahake Gorge is the star of the show with the Talisman Battery Windows Walk a hit with both adults and kids. The leisurely forty-minute walk takes you along the narrow track overlooking the raging river below. (Continued on page 25)

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Under Construction Hauraki Rail Trail excites & delights

(Continued from page 24)

Children will think they are happening on an adventure mystery as they explore the old gold-mining tunnels and ride through what was once the Paeroa-Waihi railway line, a 1.1km tunnel cut from solid rock. Make sure to carry a torch. A lovely place for a rest is the staircase Owharoa Waterfall nestled in the heart of the gorge. Cycle around the Victoria Battery site and try to put all the pieces of the mining puzzle together. Adults and kids will enjoy a ride on the Goldfields Vintage Railway that runs from Waikino to Waihi. There are QR codes around the pit rim of Newmont’s Martha Mine and smart phone users can scan the codes and play hunt for gold - with chocolate fish rewards for playing. If you need help planning your trip, want to hire bikes or book a shuttle pick up, give the friendly Hauraki Rail Trail team a call on 07 868 5740 or check out their website

Top photo - Pelton wheel in the Karangahake Gorge (photo by Helen Wilson). Bottom photo - Railtrailer Rowena Brown outside the Matatoki Cheese Barn. The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -


Under Construction The America’s Cup and how Mercury Bay changed the course of history By Stephan Bosman One day in August 1851, a yacht named America and representing the New York Yacht Club, beat the best the British could offer in a boat race off the south coast of England for the Royal Yacht Squadron’s 100 Pound Cup. The syndicate who owned America returned to New York and donated the trophy to the New York Yacht Club. That was done by way of a Deed of Gift, “Upon the conditions that [the trophy] shall be preserved as a perpetual challenge cup for friendly competition between foreign countries.” And so the America’s Cup was born. A boating event which was shaped greatly into what it is today by the Mercury Bay Boating Club. For the Mercury Bay Boating Club, it all started in 1987 when Michael Fay (now Sir Michael Fay) asked them to challenge for the America’s Cup in 1988. Cup challenges were in somewhat of a routine at that time, twelve metre boats battling it out every four years. The Mercury Bay challenge was to be based on a strict reading of the Deed of Gift. The Club committee, sworn to secrecy, agreed. So, in July 1987, Mr Fay served a notice from the Mercury Bay Boating Club on the San Diego Yacht Club (the holders of the Cup at that time) challenging for the Cup in ten months’ time. The challenge was to be made in a 90 foot, single masted racing yacht. By then, construction of the mono-hull boat was well underway and she was given the name KZ1. The challenge was (Continued on page 27)


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Under Construction The America’s Cup and how Mercury Bay changed the course of history (Continued from page 26) accompanied by KZ1’s registration papers, citing Mr Fay as owner of the boat and as a member of the Mercury Bay Boating Club. The challenge was unwelcome news for San Diego. They were promptly off to the New York State Supreme Court (which administers the Deed of Gift) seeking for it to be declared invalid. They lost and lacking time for preparation, met the unconventional challenge with an unconventional response. Under their own strict interpretation of the Deed of Gift, they designed a cutting edge catamaran which was inherently faster than any mono-hull boat. That caused Mr Fay and Mercury Bay to allege that a multi-hull defence of the Cup wasn’t friendly competition within the spirit of the Deed of Gift and it was their turn to go to Court. The Court decided the Cup should be contested and legal action should be delayed until after the challenge. Dennis Connor, defending American skipper, said in December 1987 about the approaching challenge, “The boats to be very big, very radical, and very controversial. The contest will not be a sailboat race.

It will be a design lottery in which the sailors will have little or nothing to do with the outcome. In one word, the 1988 America’s Cup challenge will be bizarre.” Unsurprisingly, KZ1 couldn’t keep up with the American catamaran during the challenge, not winning a single race. But that wasn’t the end of the matter. For the third time, the Mercury Bay Boating Club was a party to legal proceedings in a New York Court. In the words of Al Gould, past commodore of the Club, “It was a David and Goliath battle. There we were, a club with around 30 members, no club rooms and running our races from the back of a Mark II Zephyr, up against one of the most famous Yacht Clubs in the world.” On 28 March 1989, Judge Ciparick of the New York State Supreme Court disqualified the San Diego Yacht Club from the challenge and Mercury Bay became the holder of the America’s Cup. The Court’s decision was, as was expected, appealed and around a year after the challenge was raced, four of the five judges sitting on the Court’s Appellate Division handed the Cup back to San Diego. “The time between the Cup having been awarded to us and then having been taken away again, was long enough (Continued on page 28)

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -


Under Construction The America’s Cup and how Mercury Bay changed the course of history

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(Continued from page 27) for Michael Fay to get the Mercury Bay Boating Club name engraved on it,” said Al. During the Cup challenge, Toby Morcom was the commodore of the Mercury Bay Boating Club. His term in office ended with issuing a second challenge for the America’s Cup to the San Diego Yacht Club. That challenge was to take place in 1992. The 1992 challenge was without much controversy and Mercury Bay just missed out in the qualifying Louis Vutton Cup to again race against Dennis Connor and his crew. New Zealand’s participation in the America’s Cup was after 1992 adopted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, with skipper Russell Coutts claiming the cup from Dennis Connor in 1996 and successfully defending it in Auckland in 2000. If it wasn’t for the Mercury Bay Boating Club, the 2013 America’s Cup challenge may not have been in large multi-hull boats and it may not have been so spectacular. And two New Zealand boat club names wouldn’t have been engraved on the Cup. It may not have been conventional, but Mercury Bay changed the course of history.

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The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -

Under Construction

The 30 December 1989 issue of the Telegraph Weekend Magazine (then distributed as an insert in the Saturday issue of the United Kingdom’s Telegraph newspaper) contained an extensive feature on a visit by reporter Geoffrey Moorhouse to, “New Zealand’s America’s Cup challengers.” In the above photo are the first two pages of the feature, showing Carol Moyes’s 1956 Mark II Ford Zephyr, which, according to the feature, was “The closest thing to a clubhouse that the Mercury Bay Boating Club has ever had.” Whitianga’s Karen Campbell brought a copy of the magazine home after visiting the United Kingdom for the 1989/1990 Christmas and New Year period.

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -


On the Water Mercury Bay’s new classic car museum

Mercury Bay’s first classic car museum is open and members of the public are welcome to browse through the more than 40 vehicles on display. “Our area has such a great collection of old vehicles,” said Harold Abrahamson, the driving force behind the museum. “They’re all privately owned. Almost all the owners belong to our local vintage car club and we thought it’ll be a good idea to put them all under one roof for the public to enjoy.” The museum is at the very end of Moewai Road, Whitianga (past Carters) and the vehicle owners plan for the museum to be open until the end of January 2014. “If the museum has a good summer, we may well decide for it to remain open for longer,” said Harold. Among the vehicles that will be on display are an immaculately restored 1926 Buick, a 1928 Model A Ford Leatherback (one of only a few in New Zealand), Thames Coromandel District Council mayor Glenn Leach’s 1965 Mark 1 GT Cortina, Tony Richards’s Humber Supersnipe that participated a few times in the Variety Bash fundraiser and four or five American Cadillacs from the 1960’s and 1970’s, some of which are 6.5 metres long. Quite a few of the vehicles have interesting stories. There’s an Austin Healy, for example, that raced extensively around New Zealand and came thirteenth in the first New Zealand Grand Prix that was held in 1954. There’s also a 1943 GMC Truck that was used as a troop transporter in Guinea during World War II and then abandoned. In 1951 the truck came to New Zealand, was restored and used to load top dressing planes on the east coast of the North Island. The truck was again abandoned in 1968, until it was rescued and restored into its original fertiliser loading state by Miles Briant of Whitianga. Pick of the bunch when it comes to interesting stories, has to be the 1985 Rolls Royce Silver Spirit that is on display. The car took three months to build, had a list price of more than $300,000 and belonged to millionaire Frank Renouf, who was married to socialite Lady Susan Renouf. Reporting on her diagnosis of cancer earlier in 2014, the New Zealand Herald took the opportunity to expand on Lady Renouf’s three marriages, to Australian politician Andrew Peacock, British racing tycoon Robert Sangster and Mr Renouf. Lady Renouf’s marriage to Mr Sangster was long enough for him to buy her as a 40th birthday present a landmark piece of Sydney real estate in Point Piper, but not long enough for her to fully enjoy the property. So Mr Renouf happily parted with $8 million in 1985 (the same year he bought the Rolls Royce) to buy the property for his new bride from her ex-husband. (Continued on page 31) 30

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -

On the Water Mercury Bay’s new classic car museum

(Continued from page 30) The museum also has a few old motorcycles, an old Ferguson tractor, in mint condition, and a few diesel engines on display. Ferguson tractors became famous as the first ones fitted with a hydraulic system that automatically transferred weight from an attached implement to the back wheels to gain traction. Two of the diesel engines in the museum were used to propel shearing plans and a third one came from a Whitianga dairy farm. It was installed in 1926 to power the cowshed on the farm and was used until the early 1950’s, when electricity came to the Coromandel.

Some of the vehicles on display in Mercury Bay’s new classic car museum.

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -


Property Scallop Festival goes from strength to strength Hundreds of kilograms of fresh locally caught scallops were shucked and sizzled at the 2013 Whitianga Scallop Festival. Hailed as the ultimate in seafood indulgence, the 2013 Festival attracted 4,500 people through its gates bringing much-needed economic revenue to the Mercury Bay area. From Caribbean scallop tostadas to scallop pot stickers, scallops were prepared in a myriad of different ways by some of New Zealand’s most-accaimed chefs and celebrity cooks. Accompanied by top drops from New Zealand wineries and breweries and great entertainment, Whitianga’s biggest festival was a hit with visitors and locals alike. Thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers, the Festival has grown into one of New Zealand’s top seafood celebrations showcasing the region’s cuisine and marine culture. As part of the Festival’s performance review, Festival goers were asked for feedback so organisers can continue to improve the Festival. Scallop Festival chairperson, Linda Taylor-Bird said, “Very pleasing to us this year was that 93 per cent of those who completed feedback cards

indicated the Festival is one of the best in New Zealand.” Mercury Bay Events and Scallop Festival organiser, Fiona Kettlewell said, “We ask Festival goers how they rated the Festival in terms of food, entertainment and overall enjoyment, how many days they spent in Whitianga and other places on the Coromandel, how much money they spent on accommodation, food, transport and attractions and how much money they spent inside the Festival grounds.” Online Festival ticket purchases suggest that 95 per cent of Festival goers came from outside the area. Although only seven per cent of Festival goers completed feedback cards, the results were telling. The average spend inside the Festival grounds was $150 per person. Those who came to the Festival from outside the area indicated they additionally spent $500 on accommodation, food and things to see and do before and after the event. Including admission sales and stall bookings, the Festival caused a staggering amount of money to change hands. Plenty of Peninsula-based businesses and local community groups manned stalls at the Festival and all benefited. The Mercury Bay Golf Club reported their hole in one stand (Continued on page 33)

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Property Scallop Festival goes from strength to strength (Continued from page 32) resulted in a $1,300 profit. The Whitianga Coastguard food stall reported a profit of $6,700. The financial benefits of the Festival are clearly far reaching into the community and further afield. This year it cost $210,000 to host the Scallop Festival. Festival goers, stall holders and sponsors from outside the area paid around $190,000 towards that. With around $133,000 of that money going to local contractors and suppliers, it can be said the direct economic benefit of

the Scallop Festival this year was in excess of two million dollars. When these figures were mentioned to Thames Coromandel District Council Mayor, Glenn Leach, all he said was, “That’s awesome. I’m stoked.” And maybe that’s a good summary of the Festival. It’s awesome and we should be stoked. The tenth Whitianga Scallop Festival will take place on Saturday 6 September 2014.

The 2013 Whitianga Scallop Festival - once again a great success. Photo by Fika Photography.

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -


Property Fill in puzzle


The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -

Property Fill in puzzle This is great holiday fun! On the opposite page is a fill in puzzle. To complete it, simply work out where the words listed below fit in. The solution is on page 47. Don’t peak before you’re done!

Lurid Blink Onerous Abuse Onset Mused Saute Abets Trees Slops Agent Hello Solar Udder Koala Earnest Handy Weeks

Llama Shush Bubbled Rouse Olden Inset Plead Deeds Sorry Boost Askew Lunar Goose Issue Elate Eternal Kites Trays

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -


Mega Crossword Be in to win...

Below are the clues for the mega crossword on the opposite page. To win a prize package comprising of two tickets to the 2014 Scallop Festival, two nights’ accommodation at Admiralty Lodge in Whitianga on the weekend of the Festival and a dinner voucher to the value of $100 at Whitianga’s Salt Restaurant and Bar to use during the Festival weekend, please let us have your completed puzzle by no later than 5:00pm on Monday 31 March 2014 with your name and telephone number. All correct entries will go into the draw to win the prize package. Entries can be posted to us at PO Box 426, Whitianga or hand delivered at our offices, 14 Monk Street, Whitianga. The crossword solution will be posted on our website, on 1 April 2014. Please note that we will not engage in any discussion about the winner of the competition once the draw has been completed. ACROSS 1. Displace 5. Combined 11. The D of COD 15. Famous ballpoint 16. Whiskey flavour 17. Entombs 19. Handiwork 21. Lanky 23. Presented (play) 25. All together, en ... 27. Shards 28. Bay 30. Washing machine contents 31. Unnoticed 32. Earthy pigment 33. Bangkok cuisine 34. Brash newcomer 35. Quartz rock 36. Antlered beast 38. Bar (of soap) 40. Ascend (2,2) 42. Rapid surge 44. Unconscious state 45. Incite (3,2) 46. Tower (over) 48. Bahamas capital 49. Palaver (2-2) 50. Long narrative 51. Trendy (4,2) 52. Boast 53. Replenishes (stamp pad) 54. Adolescent 55. Skin irritation 56. Memorised 58. Fairly 59. Hi-fi 61. Desexes 63. Whichever 64. Type of plastic (1,1,1) 65. Ugly elf 67. Scale (mountain) 69. Knight's charger 71. Snake, puff ... 73. Major Egyptian metropolis 74. Girls 76. Accumulates (debt) (4,2) 78. Dodge (duty) 80. Appeal 82. Astronaut, ... Armstrong 83. Disciple of Jesus 85. Walks confidently 89. Examine 91. Kidnap payout


93. A solitary 94. Nuclear 96. Boudoir 98. Alien spaceship (1,1,1) 99. GPS direction-finder, sat ... 100. Salad item, ... sprouts 102. Two-tone horse 103. US capital of Georgia 104. Mice 105. Belly 106. Pooch 107. Strange & beautiful curios 108. 21 gun ... 110. British award (1,1,1) 112. Sends via Internet 114. Kabul currency 117. Dethroned 120. Staying power 123. Cook in oven 125. Confiscate 127. Profundity 128. Derived from milk 131. Withstand 133. Powerful gust 134. Overweight 135. Metered-fare conveyances 136. Sample 137. Niggard 140. Dolphin group 141. Seal pelt 142. Frittered away 145. Slightest 147. Of voting system 148. Uncomfortable, ill ... (2,4) 150. Radiance 151. Ripped 152. Ancient Peruvian 153. Old school, ... mater 154. Tradition 156. Copied 158. Dangle 160. Lumberjack's shout 162. Front of hand 163. Gender war, battle of the ... 164. Acclaim 165. Tibet's Dalai ... 166. Moose 167. Stretched firm 168. Poor, ... up 170. Flow of cars 172. Reproduction

173. Jeans maker, ... Strauss 174. Philatelist's scrapbooks 177. Carry out 179. Prude 180. Dance nightclub 182. Roadway cavity 183. Perishing 185. Move with springy steps 187. Tiddly 188. Terminate 189. Persuade 191. Sixth musical note 192. Line (of knitting) 193. Detested 194. Incessantness 195. Supplements DOWN 1. Bored 2. TV studio filming area 3. Sacks from job 4. Recedes 5. Regional speech pattern 6. Degrade 7. Penetrate (3,2) 8. Female zebras 9. Flex (muscles) 10. Evaporating 11. Bargain 12. Final (effort) (4-5) 13. Heart monitor (1,1,1) 14. European Jewish language 18. Steadfastly 20. Speckled 22. Arid US state 24. Modification 26. Able to be overcome 29. Near miss (6,6) 37. Enfold 38. Highway reflectors 39. Self-centred people 40. Delicate gauze 41. Duck-billed Aussie river mammal 43. Situation comedy 44. Abel's brother 47. Roast lamb herb 57. Accompany 60. Lesser white herons 62. Mexican friend 66. Address crowd 68. Forbidden 69. Religious offshoot 70. Prince Charles, ... of Cornwall

72. Fancy food shops 73. Hotel cleaner 75. Satisfied sighs 77. Do ... others 79. Lavish 81. Be triumphant 84. Shriek 85. Smeared 86. Highest level of building 87. Strips bare 88. Criticised brutally 90. Ghost 92. Peace prize 95. Florida resort 97. Choose 101. Slipshod 109. Nitrogen-rich soil additive 111. Whack 113. Picnic pests 115. Is wide open 116. Onto terra firma 118. Prepare (manuscript) 119. Former husbands 121. Convent head 122. Dead ringer, spitting ... 124. Compulsive thief 126. Prettily 129. Military operation's title 130. Tumbles (of water) 131. Deflected bullet 132. Airline (catering & entertainment) (2-6) 138. Tropical lizard 139. Abnormal thinness 143. Tapering at the top (4-6) 144. Amount 146. Desist 149. Wagging appendage 155. Wastes 157. Alaskan natives 159. Routinely (2,1,4) 161. Assailing 165. Pond flower leaf (4,3) 169. Excavators 171. Provide garments for 172. Jockeys 175. Raised bid, ... the ante 176. Fashion 177. Sharpen view 178. Depart 181. Marketed 184. Des Moines is there 186. Promos 190. Ashes jar

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -


Things to Do Out on the water this summer

There are plenty of ocean-based activities to enjoy this summer in Mercury Bay. This is a short overview of a few of the options available to locals and holiday-makers alike. In Whitianga The Whitianga Banana Boat is a must do. Operating from the southern end of Buffalo Beach, rides of varying length are available on the “big banana” for all ages and confidence levels. Once back on the beach, why not play some beach volleyball or just hang out and watch Mercury Bay enjoying summer? Established in 1999, Cave Cruzer Adventures is the one of the oldest scenic tour operators in Mercury Bay. They showcase Cathedral Cove, venturing inside blowholes and through the Hole in the Rock. Get up close to the bays, beaches, caves and other attractions. Listen to music inside the Orua Sea Cave or make your own on a conch shell or didgeridoo. Have a swim on their Scenic & Sound Experience - snorkelling gear is complimentary. Their two ex-Navy vessels have Hamilton water pumps so they get you places other vessels can’t. Reach out and touch the rocks. They can comfortably cater for larger groups. They are always proud to offer you the best of the Bay, on the day. In their words, “100 per cent pure Kiwi magic.” Dive Zone is an iconic Whitianga business and a one stop shop if you want to get into or go under the water. Discover what scuba diving is all about and if you like it, do a PADI scuba diver course. They can take you through the steps, certifying you as an open water diver or, if you want to take it further, they can help you to become a dive instructor. Their Wilderness Adventure Tourism Diploma is a full time training course accredited by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. With that in hand, you’ll be ready for an exciting career as a dive professional or in the outdoor adventure industry. (Continued on page 40)


The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -

Things to Do

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -


Things to Do Out on the water this summer

(Continued from page 38)

They have daily trips on their purpose built dive boat, Scubadoo, to all the outstanding Mercury Bay dive sites and cater for beginners all the way through to the most advanced divers. You can jump on board with your own equipment or you can hire equipment from them. They also offer kayak hire and can fill your tanks if you run out of air. And if you really like what they do, why not join them on one of their New Zealand dive tours or their very popular yearly dive trip to somewhere exciting in the South Pacific? The Glass Bottom Boat offers everyday scenic two hour cruises from Whitianga Wharf to Cathedral Cove. Their two aluminium pontoon boats are both fitted with glass bottom viewing windows and their cabins are fully enclosed. The marine life at Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve at Cathedral Cove offers outstanding viewing with it’s diverse range of marine life. Be prepared to spot fish such as red moki, triggerfish, angelfish, marblefish, parore, schools of mao mao and massive snapper at Gemstone Bay. You’ll most likely see a crayfish or two and a stingray as well. And if you’re lucky, a dolphin or orca may swim past. You’ll visit many sea caves on your journey and complimentary on-board snorkelling gear is available if you feel like a swim in the reserve. If you want someone to help you find that fish that’s always eluded you, then John Neighbours is your man. Infinity Fishing Charters can tailor make packages at competitive rates to include fishing tackle, bait and a hot drink or two. Infinity is a fast, stable 12m powercat and her skipper has more than 40 years’ experience in the productive waters around the Mercury islands. John is also president of the famous Mercury Bay Game Fishing Club. In Hahei Cathedral Cove Dive & Snorkel is situated right on the beach at Hahei. Just bring your togs and within three hours they’ll have you scuba diving in the calm and shallow Hahei waters. Of course they also offer daily dive trips for more experienced divers - to all the popular Mercury Bay dive sites. You can rent dive and snorkel gear directly from them. Cathedral Cove Kayaks Tours specialises in guided sea kayaking tours in the Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve. All their clients are treated to cappuccinos and hot chocolates on the Cathedral Cove Beach. Qualmark endorsed and with 15 years experience, they run half and full day guided tours all year round. (Continued on page 42) 40

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -


Things to Do Out on the water this summer

(Continued from page 40)

With rave reviews on and several tourism awards to their name, Cathedral Cove Kayak Tours are not to be missed. No previous kayaking experience is necessary and tours are catered for all ages and abilities. Have a look at their video at Phone for a reservation. Cathedral Cove Water Taxi is the new hassle free way to get from Hahei to Cathedral Cove. No bookings are necessary. Just be at the main car park on the Hahei beachfront or at Cathedral Cove Beach. Spend as many hours as you wish at one of the world’s great natural attractions without any parking worries. And, oh yes, be prepared to get your feet wet. Recently voted the number one water activity in New Zealand on the AA’s 101 Must Do’s, the Hahei Explorer is the perfect way to visit Cathedral Cove and all the highlights of Mercury Bay’s amazing coastline. Their tour includes the marine reserve and offshore islands as well as the rugged coast south of Hahei - with its stunning bays, sea caves and hidden underground blow hole. They recently celebrated their 20th birthday! Gift vouchers, valid for twelve months, are available in case you want spoil someone with a gift that will create memories of a lifetime. In Hot Water Beach Always wanted to learn to surf? Hot Water Beach Surf School offers daily two hour surf lessons by OSSCA certified coaches. Surfboard and wetsuit hire are included in the lesson cost. You can also separately hire surfboards and wetsuits if you want to play on your own. Once you’re done and dusted and it’s still low tide, grab a spade, dig a hole and relax in your very own hot pool on an iconic beach Lonely Planet lists in its top ten mineral bath experiences in the world.


The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -

Things to Do Things to do on solid ground If you want to take a break from the water or just like to keep yourself busy on terra firma, don’t despair. The good people of Mercury Bay have enough on offer to make sure your summer days are full and satisfying. Here’s an example of what’s available. For non-stop fun activities for the whole family, look no further than Combat Zone. For older children and adults, “Combat Paintball” is legendary - battle it out in the forest or in the trenches. Either way your heart rate is guaranteed to go up. A downgraded version for the younger ones is available with Splatmaster, that’s paintball that’s “ouchless.” Another thrillseeker’s dream is the Argo, an 8 x 8 amphibious monster that goes up hills and down dales on an exhilarating trip that will leave you exhausted and screaming for more. Outdoor laser tag, laser clay bird shooting or archery are activities family and friends will have oodles of fun doing together. If that isn’t enough, what about challenging the relatives to a game of soccer golf or hockey golf? For kids older than six, but younger than twelve, the Kidz Quadz are a blast. Also suitable for younger children is paintball target shooting, find out who is the sharpest shooter in your family. Want to get into the air? Then High Zone is the place to go. Their ropes course is 12m to 15m above ground with nine activities on offer, including a flying fox and a high swing.

This exhilarating and rewarding challenge caters for all ages and fitness levels - with specialized top of the line equipment to ensure everyone stays safe. Individuals, families and large groups are all welcome. No holiday in Mercury Bay is complete without a visit to The Lost Spring, a three and a half acre property that’s hiding unobtrusively in the middle of Whitianga and listed in the AA’s 101 Must Do’s in New Zealand. Immerse yourself in beautiful hand sculpted pools, filled with 16,000 year old thermal mineral water (based on GNS Science reports) coming from 667m below the surface and surrounded by luscious native and tropical bush. Ranging in temperature from 32 to 42 degrees, The Lost Spring’s pools will leave you relaxed and rejuvenated. Or why not make a booking and be treated to some well-deserved pampering in the Treetop Day Spa? A wide range of treatments options, from relaxation massages to indulgent facials, are available. Complete your experience with a cocktail or snack served poolside, or a Lost Spring Café meal made from local organic produce that can be enjoyed on the sky deck, next to the lagoon or in the café. Want to go to Cathedral Cove or Hot Water Beach? Why not turn the trip into a journey? Rent a bicycle from the Bike Man in Coghill Street, Whitianga, put it on the ferry and cycle through the amazing scenery the other side of the Whitianga River has to offer.

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -

(Continued on page 44)


Things to Do Things to do on solid ground (Continued from page 43) For something different and for an evening experience you’ll never forget, head to Kuaotunu for Stargazers’ astronomy tour of the Coromandel’s spectacular dark sky treats. See the moon, stars and galaxies like you’ve never seen them before, maybe see a few moreporks and glow worms and handle meteorites older than the Earth. Stargazers have daytime options available as well, where you can learn more about the sun and double stars. It doesn’t matter if you’re two years old or 82 years young, Whiti Farm Park is a must do during your Coromandel holiday. Meet, hand feed, cuddle and interact with more than 40 species of farmyard and exotic animals, birds and reptiles in more than eight acres of mature park like surroundings. There’s a one of a kind tree house and a real life fire engine. And why not take a jump on the Peninsula’s biggest trampoline? At 3m x 7m it’s big enough for a crowd. Quite a few baby animals are due to be born around Christmas time. You never know what you may end up seeing. Whiti Farm Park was recently awarded the best farm attraction in New Zealand on the travel website. Mercury Twin Cinemas have recently converted their

(Continued on page 45)


The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -

The Airwaves Things to do on solid ground

(Continued from page 44 )

projection plant to digital to be ready for the launch of the blockbuster sequel, “The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug.” The cinema team can’t wait for you to experience the digital difference, complete with state of the art surround sound. If you want to see more of the Coromandel, but not keen to do the driving, take a day tour with Coromandel Nature Tours. Experience the entire top end of the Peninsula, or jump on board for a shorter option to Opito Bay and Otama Beach, New Chum Beach, Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach or inland to the Waiau Falls and the Kauri forests. In addition to their guided tours, Coromandel Nature Tours have transport only options available too. To experience the great Coromandel outdoors on horseback, Twin Oaks Riding Ranch is the place to go. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t ridden before, you’ll be given a horse to match your skill. Treks are approximately two hours in length and one of the best ways to take in the breathtaking views of Mercury Bay, Matarangi, Whangapoua, Great Barrier Island and the Pacific Ocean. Safety stirrups and riding helmets are provided. Mercury Bay Estate outside Cooks Beach is just the spot for some wine tasting and maybe a simple French style breakfast (until the end of January) or a gourmet platter for lunch (or dinner until the end of January). Great wines, great views!

Mosaic Gallery in Whitianga is a unique browsing experience, exhibiting a cross-section of quality New Zealand art talent. Have some time to kill? A problem Mosaic can easily solve. If you’re into art or not, the Little Gallery of Fine Arts in Tairua is an experience not to be missed. Supporting and promoting more than 40 Coromandel artists, the gallery is not only a cultural rendezvous, but also a beacon in Tairua. If you want to see the woks of artists you may only have heard of before, pop in for a look around. Be aware that you may end up using your credit card while there. Blackjack Art Gallery & Espresso at Kuaotunu is a showcase of the work of the many talented local artists in their creative community and surrounding areas. They display pottery, garden art, jewellery, sculptures and paintings capturing the beauty of the Coromandel Peninsula. Relax and take in their stunning beachfront view while enjoying a cup of “insanely good” locally roasted Coffee LaLa. You may even spot some dolphins playing at the same time! The Whitianga Town Hall is from 28 December 2013 to 5 January 2014 home to the Health and Wellbeing Fair. Lots of stalls to browse, including handmade jewellery and crafts, free daily talks and on-site massages and therapies. Doors open 10:00am every day and close at 5:00pm. Entry is free and yet another way to experience why the Coromandel is good for your soul.

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -


All Things Automotive A pest free Great Mercury Island

Great Mercury Island is one of the many spectacular islands off the Mercury Bay coast. The island is privately owned, but accessible to the public. In winter 2014 a programme will commence to make the island pest free. The island’s owners said that Great Mercury will remain open to the public, but boat owners and day trippers must please help them to ensure no pests will be re-introduced on the island after the pest eradication programme has been completed.


The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -

All Things Automotive Fill in puzzle solution (Puzzle on page 34)

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -


If you Need us...

Above - Hi Jinx with jockey WA Smith who rode her to victory in the centenary Melbourne Cup. Left Trevor Knowles, Whitianga resident and the oldest surviving trainer of a Melbourne Cup winner.


The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -

Shop Local Centenary Melbourne Cup win highlight for retired trainer By Rowena Brown

The Melbourne Cup is the richest two-mile handicap in the world. This past November over A$6 million in prize money was up to grabs. But it wasn’t that much in 1960 when Whitianga resident, Trevor Knowles pulled off a 50:1 win with his horse Hi Jinx. Mr Knowles, 90 years old, is the world’s oldest surviving trainer of a Melbourne Cup winner. He moved to Whitianga in 1993 from his Hamilton stud and training establishment after having trained a huge number of winning racehorses, approximately 300 he said. Sports Illustrated’s 14 November 1960 article “Upset in the Cup,” was ablaze with the story of Hi Jinx, as a 100,000-strong crowd saw her whooped to victory in the Centenary Cup race. Hi Jinx became the 77th dark horse to win in 100 runnings of the Cup. “Trapped in a slow-starting field, she was back in 18th place at nine furlongs, when Jockey WA Smith saw a hole and took her through. I had my field glasses on and could see she was going really well, when she got from out the back, she was able to finish over the top of the 32 horse field,” Mr Knowles said. Born in Palmerston North in 1921, Mr Knowles always had an eye for a good horse. He knew he could be a successful trainer, by virtue of his love of animals and his innate sense of kinship with the equine world. Before he started a training regime, Mr Knowles first broke in the horse. His horses learnt how to trot and canter and when fit enough, he got them doing pace work, initially at half the pace of a gallop. “Then I’d bring them on to three quarters pace, with a good hold on their heads, then galloping at race course speed,” he said, “Hi Jinx was bred to be a stayer.” Although the famous filly was fed predominantly oats, she loved the occasional peppermint - and she got a couple that November 1960 day. At her end, she suffered from bad arthritis and had to be put down at 35 years of age, a long life for a horse. “It was better to put her down than to let her suffer,” Mr Knowles said. Hi Jinx was given a special burial in Matamata.

Betta Electrical

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -


Shop Local

QR code treasure hunt answer See page 23 for details. HUMANITARIAN


Be inspired by the Coromandel's beauty this summer Photo by Thames-Coromandel District Council.

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -

Shop Local By Rowena Brown

Road trip in paradise

With the townships of Thames, Coromandel Town, Whitianga and Tairua on the main route, a firth, sparkling harbours, two world-renowned “must do” destinations, a marine reserve, precious kauri stands and the home of the Coromandel brown kiwi, its no wonder the mantel “The Coromandel - good for the soul” feels like a snug fit. This summer, the Informer suggests taking a day out to drive around our gorgeous peninsula to remind ourselves that we really do live in paradise. State Highways 25 and 25A are our “Route 66” for this ride that’s sure to strengthen your connection to our beautiful Coromandel Peninsula. Depending on where you start and what direction you take, the almost 200km route travels through sub tropical forest, Pacific coastlines, rural farmland and the Pohutukawa-clad coastline of the Hauraki Gulf. From Kopu, it follows the Thames Coast up to Coromandel Town, then across to Whitianga and down to Tairua where it connects with State Highway 25A back to Thames. Magic views call for multiple stops along the way. Vistas from the top of Kereta are some of the Peninsula’s finest. From the top of Whangapoua Hill the views are vast, stretching out over both coastlines. Watch out for the ancient cabbage tree forest that follows the river in Hikuai. Hot Water Beach, Cathedral Cove and the Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve are just some of our natural treasures (taonga) that reflect the fragility of our planet, so remember to leave only footprints

everywhere you go this summer. Dig your own hot pool in the sand and have a soak with our tourists at Hot Water Beach, be a positive ambassador for the Coromandel. Arrive at Cathedral Cove by kayak, paddling out of Hahei Beach and taking in Gemstone Bay, Stingray Bay and Mare’s Leg Cove on the way. Alternatively take the 45-minute walk from the northern end of Hahei. The Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve has an abundant, aquatic environment, so is the perfect place for an unforgettable snorkeling experience. There are chances to view large rock lobster, snapper and other coastal species up close. Fishing or removal of any plants, animals, shells or rocks is not permitted within the reserve. There are many wonderful experiences and encounters to have riding the loop. Find a spot to lay a blanket down in the shade of a Pohutukawa tree on the Thames Coast and stare out to sea, maybe a family of orca will swim by. Go for a bush walk from Coromandel Town and take time out to contemplate our environment - a rare Siamese Kauri can be found in Kauri Grove, about 10kms south of the township. Pack a yummy picnic and your favourite beach toys and take the ferry from Whitianga to the sheltered north-facing Flaxmill Bay. Hike up Mount Paku in Tairua for a 360-degree view of the area. Whatever you choose to do, make it a day to remember how fortunate we are to live in paradise.

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -


Shop Local By Richard Gates

From bovidae to bovinae

The rise of the dairy industry in Mercury Bay was preceded by domestic goats, which were an early source of fresh milk for settlers prior to the establishment of pasture land for cattle. The eventual demise of the goats came about through their indiscriminate feeding habits. They bred rapidly and wandered far and wide, destroying trees and vegetation. One frustrated pioneer farming family at Hahei, the Wigmores, banished a goodly number of them to Mahurangi Island - which then became popularly known as “Goat Island.” Some escaped to other remote areas around the bay and became wild. However, as the local population grew through kauri milling, mining and bush work there became a demand for fresh dairy products by the workers and their families - rather than relying on the kegs of butter that were shipped in to Whitianga from further afield. The butter tended to be rancid when the kegs were opened and the few domestic cows could not meet local demand for fresh dairy products. Hence the establishment of dairy farming as land was cleared for pasture in the surrounds of Mercury Bay. It soon became apparent that the supply of dairy produce would outstrip local demand and a thriving export business was developed and continues to prosper to this day as a significant contributor to our local economy. Now where is all this leading? Well the Mercury Bay Museum is integral to the history of the local dairy industry. The Museum is housed in the former Mercury Bay Cooperative Dairy Company factory building that was purpose built in 1934 on an old timber mill site located opposite the Whitianga wharf. It replaced an earlier wooden factory on Albert Street built in 1911.


The convenience of the Esplanade site was its close proximity to the Whitianga wharf for both receiving milk and cream by launches from outlying farms and for shipping the processed products to overseas markets. The Cooperative continued operations at the Esplanade site until 1972 when closure became inevitable with the advent of tanker-base whole milk collection - which enabled milk to be transported cost-effectively to more modern and comprehensive processing factories in the Waikato. The former dairy factory was then purchased in 1978 through a fund raising drive by the Whitianga Lions and officially transferred by deed of trust to the TCDC in perpetuity and forever be used as a Museum. However, the Museum Trust Board has recognised the heritage value of the building and where possible retained the original appearance of the exterior. Many fascinating exhibits display the original factory equipment and dairying implements of that time, along with photographic records and historical archives on the development of the dairy farming in the area. One such display item is the large Anderson 65 butter churn which produced 14,000 imperial ton of butter between 1947 and 1972. It is thought to be the only one of its type still in its position and original condition in an early dairy factory. Now let me explain the subtitle to this article. The goat is a member of the family of “bovidae” and closely related to the sheep. The cow is the most common type of large domestic ungulates and is a prominent member of the sub-family “bovinae.”

The Mercury Bay Informer Summer Guide 2013/2014 -

Feature Artist Verena Tagmann “Fish in the River” by artist Verena Tagmann is the mixed media artwork adorning the front cover of this issue of The Mercury Bay Informer’s Summer Guide. Verena moved to New Zealand from Switzerland ten years ago. Her first visit to New Zealand was in 1989. Friends she made during that trip invited her in 2003 to house sit for them in Kuaotunu for six months. In that time, Verena met her partner, Craig Comstock from Blue Water Marine Services in Whitianga, and decided to make Whitianga her home. “The environment I grew up in, played a significant role in inspiring the artist in me,” said Verena.” I was born surrounded by beautiful landscapes and colourful traditions. I’m trained as an art therapist. In Switzerland, I was very busy and didn’t know where to go with my art. That of course changed when I came to New Zealand. Kuaotunu, and then Whitianga, allowed me to focus on my technique and the media I like to work with. “My art relaxes me, it allows me to dive into a different world and have fun. “My style is expressionistic. I like bold lines and strong colours. I’m very fortunate that ideas just come to me. I allow myself to follow my feelings and see every artwork as an adventure to be created. “With ‘Fish in the River’ I had this idea of creating a river. The Whitianga River inspired me to include boats and fish. I had fun playing around to get the composition right. And when I was done, I felt, yes, that makes sense. “That’s what I’m striving for, when I’m done with a piece, it must have some kind of sense.” Verena is member of the Mercury Bay Art Escape and will during the open tours to take place on the first two weekends of March 2014 be exhibiting in Hahei. The well known Little Gallery of Fine Arts on the Main Road in Tairua started exhibiting Verena’s work from when they opened. They’re still the major stockist of her art. Pop in or check out their website, Verena’s work is also available on her website, and she’s part of a group of artists exhibiting at Whitianga’s Bread & Butter Gallery until 29 December 2013.

The Informer 2013 Summer Guide  
The Informer 2013 Summer Guide