News Briefs ……..

Ruth sets a mountainous challenge

Te Awamutu resident Ruth Mylchreest is in training for a marathon set of climbs in November.

Mylchreest plans to climb Mt Kakepuku 10 times in 24 hours – a total distance of 75km – in the hope of raising $15,000 for Motor Neurone Disease New Zealand and Multiple Sclerosis Waikato.

The Neurology clinical nurse specialist works at Te Whatu Ora Health Waikato (formerly Waikato District Health Board) providing care and support for people living with neurodegenerative diseases.

She has christened her event the Kakepuku 10 Challenge and has already started raising funds through a givealittle page.

“Because of the promotion of this challenge, I have been contacted by Waikato families, living with Huntington’s Disease, who were not aware of the care and support they can receive through the Waikato Hospital Neurology service and wider community based services – so this event already feels very worthwhile,” she said.

Dog gone

The Dog Control Policy and Bylaw review will spill over into a second day next Tuesday after nearly six hours of deliberations and submissions were hold earlier this week. Council received 277 submissions with a number electing to be heard at the hearing. The proposed changes at Lake Te Koo Utu – which suggests a mixture of banning dogs or new hours plus the debate on clearing Mt Kakepuku of dogs, will be debated next week.

Overdue success

One Waipā Libraries member returned 20 overdue books when the council removed overdue fines on books from July 1, Community Services manager Brad Ward told the council’s Service Delivery committee this week. “We’ve had some really positive feedback from the exercise,” he said, noting there had been a “significant” amount of overdue books returned across the district.

Daffodil Day

Ahead of its August 25 Daffodil Day appeal, the Cancer Society Waikato/Bay of Plenty has reported its Lions Lodge at Waikato Hospital has hosted record numbers of people seeking treatment.

Pump blockages

The pump controlling water supply to Te Awamutu War Memorial Park’s fountain is still playing up. Council staff have met with contractors to find a solution.

Artwork collection

An audit of Waipā council’s artwork collection is nearing completion and covers the condition and significance of the works. A care management plan has been developed to improve storage conditions while a  photographer took images of the collection and outdoor sculptures to ensure a high-quality digital documentation of each of the works.

Members up

Te Awamutu Library signed up 288 new patrons in the three months ended June 30 taking membership to 16,296. Book issues lag behind their Cambridge counterpart with 39,747 for the quarter, compared to Cambridge’s 73,052. The library had 159,541 books issued in 12 months while Cambridge had 293,633.

3 August 2023

Cambridge’s newest All Black, former St Peter’s School student Cam Roigard (left) was all smiles ahead of making his test debut last Saturday.

Before All Black 1210 ran onto the ground in the 60th minute at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to help retain the Bledisloe Cup with a 38-7 win over The Wallabies, he caught up with Cambridge counterpart and teammate, former Cambridge High School student Luke Jacobson, right.  The pair was pictured at last Friday’s captain’s run at Melbourne’s Xavier College.

Roigard’s parents Dave and Lisa Roigard own and operate Karapiro Charters and Tours and were there to see their son’s “incredibly emotional” debut. “I turned to Lisa and said, ‘you’re now the mother of an All Black’,” Dave told The News. “It’s so special – Cam did incredibly well.” The All Blacks face Australia again on Saturday in Dunedin.

New livestream technology

Waipā council has upgraded most of the hardware and installed two new livestream cameras, retaining the original cameras, in its Te Awamutu chambers complete with new microphones for councillors. The upgrades, costing about $116,000, provides clearer audio with microphones that last longer between charges; a presentation microphone (allowing the presenter to walk around and speak); multiple camera angles with better focus on the speaker; simplified user interface for creating/managing meetings and a new option to connect a laptop for presentations. There are still plans to upgrade some of the hardware in the Kaipaki Room in Cambridge to improve the functionality there too.

Online stats

Monty the Horse. Photo: Newshub.

It was all about Monty in cambridgenews.nz online stats last month. While the home page led the way with 17 per cent of page views, Monty, the therapy horse, followed in second, fifth and sixth places making his story the best read on our website.

The online version of our newspaper was third while Hautapu winning the Waikato rugby championship came in fourth.

Teawamutunews.nz home page was top of the online stats last month with 19 per cent of all views. The dairy owner’s dilemma caused by road works outside his shop was second following in third by Te Awamutu Sports’ win in the Waikato rugby competition. The online version of our newspaper was fourth while Jeremy Smith’s obituary on former Te Awamutu and Pirongia fire chief Robbie Morriss was fifth.

Chambers to gather

Prime Minster Chris Hipkins and National leader Christopher Luxon will attend breakfast events in Hamilton when the Waikato Chamber hosts  the national Chambers of Commerce conference next month.

Column changes

Some details, relating to issues including legal advice and time when staff advice was given in last week’s column about Memorial Park plans by Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Board chair Ange Holt were incorrect. Her corrected column can be read here.

Land zoning

A private plan change lodged with Waipā District Council in late December for the rezoning of rural land to greenfields at 2025 Ōhaupō Road in Te Awamutu to enable urban development is on hold pending a final decision on increasing housing density in Cambridge, Kihikihi and Te Awamutu residential zones.

Quickfall leaves

Tony Quickfall

District Plan and Growth manager Tony Quickfall is leaving Waipā District Council after four years for a position at the Ōtorohanga council. Quickfall was involved in Civil Defence emergency management deployments during Cyclone Gabrielle early this year. Meanwhile the council is also advertising for an Economic Development advisor to replace Steve Tritt who left in April.

Consents up

The number of land use and subdivision consents lodged with Waipā District Council in the three months ended June 30 was up by one on the previous quarter. Land Information Memorandums (LIMs) were also up, from 223 to 237.

Building down

Building consents plunged by 81 to 471 in the Waipā district in the quarter ended June 30. The value of the work was $88.84 million  compared to $209.83 million in the same three month period last year. May was the busiest month with 172, down on the 199 in May last year. Code compliance certificates are also down to 345 for the three months.

Parking infringements

Drivers continue to test the council’s patience by over staying their time parking in Cambridge and Te Awamutu’s central business districts. Waipā parking officers issued 187 parking infringement notices during the three months ended June 30, well up on last year. Five littering infringements were also issued.

Housing development

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has received eight tenders for land it owns in Cambridge North. Waipā planning staff provided pre application notes to help tenderers with consistency. Only 34ha of Cambridge North remains to be developed. The Health hub is working through more detailed design and safety audits for a roundabout.

Court action

One owner out of six in the Cambridge C1 growth cell has lodged an appeal to Waipā council plans to purchase land for a stormwater basin. C1 is bound by Waikato Expressway to the north, Victoria Road to the east, the town belt to the south and Abergeldie Way in the west and includes 46.2ha of land. The appeal is heading to court.

Quarry on hold

Beacon Hill’s retrospective consent to operate sand quarrying activities at Oreipunga Road in Cambridge remains on hold pending further information from the operators. The application by the owners, which include former Waipā councillor Elwyn Andree-Wiltens, was lodged in April last year after it was revealed there had been illegal quarrying at the site for five years before that.

Piazza change

The Cambridge Town Hall piazza.

The Waipā District Plan will undergo a number of minor changes including increasing the number of events able to be held with the Cambridge Town Hall piazza. Currently only two events are pre-approved – Anzac Day and Armistice Day. Staff told the Strategic Planning and Policy committee this week it was “entirely appropriate” to increase the number. The piazza hosted Matariki events last month.

Glaringly obvious

Glare from new commercial and industrial developments close to residential properties have resulted in a number of complaints to the Waipā council. Staff plan to review the rules in the District Plan to add a lighting standard to enable effective measurement and compliance.

Tiny houses

Waipā council has joined a working group established by the New Zealand Tiny House Association. A standardised fact sheet about the rules relating to tiny homes will be posted on the council’s website and provide specific information on district plan rules, rates and development contributions.

Cycling champs

Cambridge will host the pre-Olympic National Track Cycling Championships next March. The championships will be held at the Grassroots Trust Velodrome in Cambridge from March 2 to 7.

Careers expo

St Peter’s School and Cambridge High School have teamed up to run a careers expo at the Cambridge Town Hall today (August 3) from 3.30pm-7pm.  The event will showcase about 40 exhibitors and entry is free.

Charity shipment

Cambridge knitters and crocheters contributed to an impressive tally of blankets and clothing that was packed and sent to orphanages and struggling communities in Eastern Europe last month.  The hundreds of blankets, scarves, hats, gloves, socks and jerseys, plus toiletries, were made and collected by local members of Operation Cover-Up, an organisation with links to the Christian charity, Mission Without Borders. They were displayed in Cambridge last month before being packed and shipped to Europe.

Sale settled

Proceeds from the $2.683 million sale of 1.4ha of Waipā council land at 1262 Cambridge Road in Te Awamutu to Kainga Ora are being held in trust with interest payable to the council while finer details are being worked through The development will provide 30 homes for 55 year olds and over and construction will start within two years.

Job done

The first turnaround bay, part of safety improvements on State Highway 1 between Cambridge and Piarere, has been completed. The work at the intersection of Hydro Road, was finished ahead of schedule.

Company fined

A Te Kuiti dairy company has been fined $32,500 over its failure to notify National Animal Identification and Tracing that it was moving 910 cattle onto its farm, the Ministry for Primary Industries has announced. Rangitoto Dairies Ltd, which operates a dairy and beef farm business at Te Kuiti, had pleaded guilty to a representative charge.

Doggy poo

The appointment of a new contractor is expected to see the number of complaints to the council lessen about full dog poo bins not being emptied regularly. Cambridge and Leamington seemed to be the areas most affected.

Under age check

Police and Waipā liquor licensing inspectors held a controlled purchase operation earlier this year and found minors buying alcohol at two premises. Enforcement action against the outlets is expected.

Waipā winner

A project by Waipā based Lee Turner Architecture was one of three from Waikato recognised at the regional architectural design awards ceremony in Tauranga. Soaring Box House, in Whatawhata, won the Cambridge based company the Regional Resene Colour in Design Award.

May 2023

Gabrielle costs

The final cost of cleaning up after Cyclone Gabrielle was $156,000 putting the Waipā council over its annual storm damage budget by $140,000. The council responded to 295 customer requests and removed 42 cyclone damaged trees. In Cambridge, 12 trees blocked tracks around Lake Te Koo Utu and had to be removed. Hazardous trees and debris were removed from the lake and all tracks reopened.

Pathway confirmed

The Te Ara Rimu Kihikihi pathway scheme plan was approved by Waipā’s Service Delivery committee this week. After feedback, there will be cul-de-sacs and pedestrian malls established, additional bus stops on Whitmore Street, enlargement of the bus stop outside Kihikihi School, improvements to pedestrian crossing points and additional traffic calming measures. Read more.

Reading galore

Waipā Libraries signed up 657 new members – 379 in Cambridge and 278 in Te Awamutu – in the first three months of the year. The service hosted nearly 36,000 visitors – about 18,000 in each town – and issued 110,415 items. Cambridge has 21,870 patrons and Te Awamutu 16,318.

Lions plan

Te Awamutu Lions will combine their belated 60th anniversary celebrations with their June 25 change of officers function. The Lions launched in Te Awamutu in May 1961 – and the 60th anniversary fell during the Covid lockdown period.

New footbridges

Manapiko Stream, Shanel Place and Memorial Park footbridges in Te Awamutu are installed and open. All bridges will get their decorative panels in the next month. The old Shanel Place bridge still supports the water and wastewater pipes which once moved will result in the bridge’s removal and repairs to the concrete path.

Sports fields review

Following a series of meetings with sports field lessees in the district, the council is considering five options for the next stage of engagement. They include maintaining the status quo, a voluntary opt in to council management, urban sports fields managed by council, all sports fields managed by council or a different type of investment. The aim of the review is to assess which option will best deliver a network of high quality, safe and accessible sports fields that enables and inspires residents to get active, supports a strong event calendar and contributes to placemaking and environmental outcomes.

Park purchase

Waipā hopes to purchase 2.82ha of land next to Castleton Park in Te Awamutu. The Park Road property is within the flood hazard area and can be joined with the park. A valuation report has been completed and property staff are about to make an offer subject to council approval.

5G rollout

The Government is signing contracts with major telecommunications network operators today to speed up the rollout of 5G to regional towns, including Te Awamutu.

Let us help

Waipā District Council has offered to assist Waikato Regional Council with its passenger transport services’ communications and marketing. This follows residents’ complaints they were unaware of new regional bus services travelling through Cambridge and Te Awamutu.

Trash talk

Contractors have removed large amounts of rubbish from Ngā Roto, Bulmer’s Landing and Keeley Reserve. Included was household rubbish, whiteware and green waste. Meanwhile there has been a reduction in vandalism and graffiti across the rural reserves this year.

Bus patronage up

The regional bus service between Te Awamutu-Kihikihi and Hamilton went past 10,000 trips last month with 1039 trips – the most in the month – taken on Thursday April 6, the last day of the school term. The busiest stop is the Te Awamutu i-Site with 3762 passengers catching the service from there. Patronage has gone 25 per cent over pre Covid numbers.

4 May 2023

Discretionary grants

Te Awamutu and Kihikihi Community Board granted $22,202.18 from its discretionary grants fund last week. Money went to: Central Kids Rewi Street Kindergarten $2000, Grandstand Community Trust $3000, Kihikihi Police House & Temple Cottage $347.83, Kihikihi Rugby Sports Club $2200, Ko Wai Au Trust $2000, Te Awamutu Army Community Cadet Unit $954.35, Te Awamutu Brass Band $1700, Te Awamutu Music Federation $1000, Te Awamutu Rose Society $4000, Toi Aringa Trust $5000.

Dog policy

A revised Dog Control Policy is going out to consultation in Waipā for a month. Changes in the draft include prohibiting dogs from exercising behind motor vehicles, tethering rules for dogs on the back of utes and trailer, a change to certain neutering decisions and a limit on the number of dogs able to be taken into an exercise area. Submissions close on June 16.

Weather report

Another month another lot of rain… that’s NIWA’s assessment of early May. Its season outlook through to July opens with a period of tropical weather – and rain –  followed by “variable”, slightly warmer than usual weather.

Notices issued

The council’s enforcement team has been busy issuing nine littering infringements where it was obvious who the offender was and 190 parking infringement notices. The majority were for “overstaying” in Cambridge and Te Awamutu’s central business districts.

Website visits

Our story about the fire at a pie shop and gym in Ricket Rd which caused $1 million in damage topped our website visits to teawamutunews.nz in April. Tom Roa’s column on his visit to Waikato Hospital Emergency Department was second followed by the plans for Anzac Day, details on new IBO world cruiserweight champion Floyd Masson and council’s plans to fast track housing by selling land to Kāinga Ora came in fifth.

Noisy times

Waipā noise control officers were kept busy during the first three months of the year responding to 440 complaints. Thirty-six people were issued with written directions and 17 issued with verbal instructions to reduce excessive noise. No equipment was seized.

Dog gone

Only 127 dogs remain unregistered with Waipā District Council – which is 1.3 per cent of all dogs in the district. The council will continue pursuing owners. Meanwhile 54 dogs impounded in the quarter ended March 31; 43 were claimed by their owner, three put down and one rehomed. Seven dogs were still in the pound at the end of the quarter. Twelve of the 17 reported issues to Animal Control were reports of dog bites – 12 on other animals and five on adults – with most being relatively minor.

April 20, 2023

Web statistics

Our story on Ruby Webb wanting to know Where’s the playground Susan? was the top visited page on teawamutunews.nz in the last week with 35 per cent of all page views. Keeping the stories alive about Richard Cato and Kingsley Field was second, the story of John Rochfort third and New waters model fails to address key issues and museum collection faces review rounding out the top five.

Pirongia funds

The Koromatua Memorial Hall Association gets $2500 in the latest Waipā Pirongia ward discretionary fund allocations to replaces the hall’s weather boards and beam. Other grants went to the Ōhaupō School Parent Teacher Association ($2750), Pirongia Community Centre ($495.65), Pirongia School 150th Jubilee ($1500), Stewart Reid Memorial Trust Board ($1500), Te Awamutu Brass Band Inc ($400), Te Pahu Hall Society Inc ($1400), The Pirongia Heritage & Information Centre ($1800).

Rowers gather

Te Awamutu Rowing Club will stage its annual masters regatta on Saturday at Lake Ngaroto. It’s expected 130 competitors from clubs as far afield as Horowhenua and Auckland will compete from 9.30am. The club is celebrating its 60th birthday and will host a social event for around 70 past and present members on Saturday night.

Four candidates

Three candidates have been nominated for the vacant Māori ward seat on the Waipā District Council. They are Raukawa trustee Gaylene Roberts, who also stood in the 2022 election, Barney Manaia of Ngāti Maniapoto and environmental indigenous advocate Dale-Maree Morgan of Te Awamutu. The seat has been vacated by the resignation of suspended lawyer Takena Stirling and The News expects the nomination number to grow beyond three when they close next week.

Rates owing

Ratepayers owe Waipā District Council $77,000 in outstanding rates from before July 1 last year. The final instalment of this year’s rates will be levied on May 22. Outstanding water rates stand at $933,000.

Land sales

Waikato Regional Airport Ltd, owned by Hamilton city, Waipā, Waikato, Matamata-Piako and Ōtorohanga district councils, has made a half year operating surplus of $17.7 million. Land sale profits have driven the increase from the previous year. The results include Titanium Park, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism and Jetpark Hotel.

Eyes on the road

Bryan Hudson

The Cambridge locations of three community closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras containing automatic number plate recognition technology have been changed so police can detect cars coming from both directions. Waipā District Council approved locations across the district – in Te Awamutu, Pirongia, Ōhaupō, Ngāhinapōuri, Te Awamutu and Cambridge – at its December council meeting.
The sites had existing cameras with power and fibre communications, said Transport manager Bryan Hudson in a report to the Service Delivery committee meeting this week.
However, some locations could only detect cars from one direction. In talks with its CCTV provider, the council chose a better Cambridge location on Tirau Road near the Fergusson (Low Level) Bridge in place of cameras in Victoria, Queen, Duke, Shakespeare and Cook streets. “The objective is to provide police with early warning wherever possible,” he said.

Tritt retires

Waipā business development manager Steve Tritt has retired after nine years at the council. Tritt’s role involved leading business growth and investment in Cambridge and Te Awamutu.

See: Waipa eyes slice of movie money.

Waipa business development manager Steve Tritt with Waikato Screen’s Madelien Scholten at Karapiro scouting for locations.

13 April 2023

Grants considered

The Pirongia ward committee considered 12 community organisation applications for money from its Community Discretionary Fund at its meeting yesterday. The committee had $12,388 left to allocate. Applications from Ko Wai Au Trust, Koromatua Memorial Hall Association, Ōhaupō School Parent Teacher Association, Pirongia Community Centre, Pirongia Forest Park Lodge, Pirongia School 150th Jubilee, Stewart Reid Memorial Trust Board, Te Awamutu Brass Band, Te Pahu Hall Society, Te Pahu Preschool group, Te Tamawai Trust and the Pirongia Heritage and Information Centre totalled nearly $37,000 with the largest being one for $10,000 from Ōhaupō for a new playground.

Prison visit

Waipā councillors held a briefing day and workshop at Waikeria Prison on Tuesday after brief discussions in the council chambers about the Dog Control Bylaw review and Ahu Ake – Spatial Plan. No agenda or details were published on the council website for the day-long programme.

Events funding

Applications opened this week for a share of Waipā council’s $150,000 District Promotions Fund. The fund supports events that drive economic activity and promote Waipā as a great place to live, work, invest in or visit. At the same time, $30,000 will be available to support grass-roots events through Council’s Community Fund. That fund helps events which celebrate community pride, maximise use of facilities and public spaces and help people connect.

Revaluations locked in

Waipā’s rating revaluations will be in the post later next month. The revised date comes after two false starts from council’s independent property provider which saw revaluations delayed twice. New property values will be based on the most likely selling price as at August 1, 2022 but are not intended to be used as market valuations.

6 April 2023

Angela Roberts

Weather report

For La Niña, read El Niño. Weather condition are set to change with the arrival of winter and an “El Niño” watch has been issued by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research – NIWA. It is predicting “changeability” will be a theme in weather patterns and the possibility of heavy rain in April.

Roberts nominated

Taranaki based Angela Roberts will contest the Taranaki-King Country seat for Labour at the general election. Roberts is already a list MP. The seat is held by National’s Barbara Kuriger.

Yevette Williams

Back on the water

Having successfully hosted the 2023 Maadi Cup over the last week, Karāpiro is set to welcome competitors for the national dragon boat championships this weekend – followed by a second festival the following weekend.

Teacher sues

Yevette Williams, former deputy principal and wife of former St Peter’s School Cambridge executive principal Dale Burden, has gone to the Employment Relations Authority over the time the school took to release a report into allegations against her husband. While Williams awaited the report she resigned from St Peter’s.

Andrew Brown

Corrections

The idea to serve up rubbish waste to councillors for morning tea came from Waipā District Council’s communications team and not from mayor Susan O’Regan and deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk, as reported by The News last week. We also reported Andrew Brown chaired Te Ara Wai committee. He was in fact appointed this week. Changes were made to both stories online.

23 March 2023

Shakespeare success


He was born just 459 years ago – but William Shakespeare’s influence remains as strong and as relevant as ever. Eight schools competed in the Waikato regional section of the annual Sheilah Winn Shakespeare festival at Te Awamutu last weekend, presenting five and 15 minute excerpts of his work,.

“I personally love the work that Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand (SGCNZ) does through this Festival,” Te Awamutu College’s drama department head Morag Carter told The News. See: The bard still rules

And up she rises….

Te Awamutu’s Anzac Green flagpole is back, all present and correct. Read more.

Te Kanohi appointments on hold

Susan O’Regan

Waipā mayor Susan O’Regan has put the appointment of mana whenua representatives on four council committees on hold.

She made the call today following the resignation last week of Waipā Maori ward councillor Takena Stirling. Read more.

‘Rubberneck’ delays

A crash on State Highway at Karāpiro on Sunday resulted in delays for motorists. Police say it was motorists slowing to look at the crash who caused the long traffic jam which backed up to the southern end of the Waikato Expressway. The crash did not block the road. Three people were taken to Waikato Hospital with what were described as minor-moderate injuries.

Pools’ patronage up

User numbers at Go Waipā pools in Te Awamutu and Cambridge have now recovered to pre Covid numbers. However, staff shortages have tested the facilities’ ability to maintain normal operating hours and expected levels of services. Te Awamutu numbers for the six months from July 1 were 68,526 and 66,249 for Cambridge.

New president

Richard Cato was elected president of the Te Awamutu Menzshed last week, succeeding the retiring head Steve Mannington.

Mike third

Mike Bowe, pictured during December’s regional finals.

Pirongia’s Mike Bowe placed third in the national excavator competition in Feilding on Saturday. The Civil Contractors NZ CablePrice National Excavator Operator Competition title went to Dunedin’s Troy Calteaux who pipped Northland’s Steven George.

Water eyed up

Waipā District Council’s Water Safety Plans are currently under ‘rapid review’ by Taumata Arowai, the new water services regulator for New Zealand. The organisation’s role includes overseeing the environmental performance of the three waters – drinking, waste and storm. The council will learn soon whether the regulators want a more detailed audit done.

Website hits

Takena Stirling

Our online story about the Law Society’s shock suspension of Te Awamutu lawyer Takena Stirling for diverting funds for his own use and his subsequent resignation from Waipā District Council accounted for nearly two thirds of all visits to teawamutunews.nz. The Audit rebuke for council, a profile on Stirling following last year’s election called Humbled and privileged, Council’s feedback frenzy and Kiwifruit decision to be appealed rounded out the top five.

Fluoride application in

Council staff have submitted a funding application to Manatū Hauora-Ministry of Health for its share of the $11.3 million available to the 14 local authorities ordered by outgoing director-general Ashley Bloomfield in July last year to add fluoride to their community water supplies. The estimated costs for Cambridge, which would include the Karāpiro and Alpha Street plants and the only Waipā supply affected, will be $480,000 with annual operating costs of $130,000.

Deputy Brown

Lou Brown

Waipā councillor Lou Brown has been appointed Waikato Civil Defence’s Emergency Management joint committee deputy chair. Taupō’s Anna Park chairs the committee made up of representatives from the region’s district and regional councils.

Kihikihi bus stop

Land at 29 Havelock Street in Kihikihi will lose its reserve status to become a bus depot for Waikato Regional Council. The rest of it, used as a dog pound facility, will retain its status. Designation for the 880m2 bus depot will need approval from the Minister of Conservation.

Road closures

Road closures were approved by Waipā’s Service Delivery committee this week for the Dragon Boat Festival Pink Parade (April 14), Cambridge Cycling Festival and Anzac Day (April 25).

Three charged

Three men will appear in court in Te Awamutu on April 4 after arrests were made following an incident in January.  The three, aged 33, 36 and 50, are charged with wounding with intent, taking a motor vehicle, and arson. Emergency services were called to a house in Oliver Street, Kihikihi, after a man described as a meter reader suffered serious head injuries.

Sports stars make young Chiefs

Nine Waipā players are among the 27 named in the Chiefs under 20 rugby squad playing in the Super Rugby tournament playing in Taupō this week. Five are from Te Awamutu Sports – hooker Sean Ralph, loose forward Malachi Wrampling, outside back Cody Nordstrom, loose/lock forward Tai Cribb and loose head prop Manahi Goulton.

Selectors’ eyes were on Nordstrom who made his senior debut as a 17-year-old. Famously in one match he scored four tries against Hamilton Old Boys. A product of Hamilton Boys’ High School, winners of the last eight National Condor Sevens titles, he was picked in the New Zealand Under 20s squad that won the Oceania Championship last year.

The other four Waipā Chiefs players are from Hautapu Sports – winger Waisake Salabiau, flanker Andrew Smith, loose forward Jonty Shorty and number eight Senita Lauaki. The team lost its first match at Owen Delaney Park on Sunday against the Highlanders. The tournament, which wraps up on Saturday, presents an opportunity for national selectors to assess the country’s best merging talent ahead of the World Rugby Under-20 Championships and Trophy competitions in South Africa and Kenya later this year.

16 March 2023

Tina Turley, left, and Big Johnny Blue, right, direct from Canada with drummer, Kiwi Dean McGaveston, ahead of their appearance in the Cambridge Autumn Festival. Photo: Steph Bell-Jenkins.

Getting the Pirongia Blues

Canadian performers Big Johnny Blue and Tina Turley will be appearing in the Pirongia Blues Festival on Saturday at the Pirongia Rugby and Sports Club with all profits going towards the Cyclone Gabrielle Relief Fund. Other artists featured from midday through to midnight are Dirty Tones, Magic & 3AM Blues, Paradise Moon, Theory 89,  Al’s Angels, Conmen, Hillman Hunters, Kiwi Blues Connexion, Mudslide Band, Wyde Stripes.

Tina and Big Johnny are also among the attractions at the annual Cambridge autumn festival which runs from March 24 to April 2. Music is playing a big part in this year’s festival and the Musica Bella performers will be at St Andrew’s Church, Cambridge, on March 28. Paint it Jazz, the Nairobi Trio and Richard Adams and Neal Palmer, is at The Woolshed in Te Awa Lifecare Village on March 31 and the Hamilton Big Band will be at the same venue the following day.

Flagpole update

The Anzac Green flagpole could be back in place in Te Awamutu early next week. The pole was taken down earlier this month to have some rotting timber replaced as part of a joint effort by the Te Awamutu RSA, Menzshed, Waipā District Council and Mitre 10.

Mike has the X-factor

Mike Bowe, pictured during December’s regional finals.

Pirongia’s Mike Bowe will carry Waikato’s hopes in Feilding at the CablePrice National Excavator Operator Competition. Bowe is one of 13 champions from around New Zealand whose excavator skills will be pushed to the limit over a series of challenges.

They will include traversing a trench and digging around pipelines, using his 13 tonne digger to slam dunk a basketball into a two-storey concrete pipe using an excavator’s bucket, and a slalom course. Manfeild Park will host the competition on Friday and Saturday.

Bowe qualified at the Waikato regional competition in December. The Bowe Brothers Excavating Ltd owner-operator has won the Waikato title four times. “I know how much work goes into the nationals, it’s a lot of work and a lot of preparation to build up the skills for the competition,” he said. “That’s mental preparation too – every time I jump in the digger between now and nationals, I’m thinking about how I can improve, make things better and faster and be prepared the best way I can be. I want to be there and take out the title.”

The national excavator operator competition was founded in the mid-1990s by CCNZ Manawatu Branch as the brainchild of local contractors Graeme Blackley and Grant Smith.

CCNZ Chief Executive Alan Pollard said the operators are the elite of the country’s excavator operating community and many will have been involved in the response to Cyclone Gabrielle.

Grinners are winners

Cambridge Raceway has launched a sweepstake with a prize pool of $100,000 for the Race by Grins meeting next month with 2000 tickets sold at $100 each. Ten tickets will be drawn and get allocated a horse in the $1 million race. First gets $50,000, second $20,000, third $12,000, fourth $6000 and fifth to 10th $2000 each.

Woman charged

A 26-year-old woman faces a series of charges after police said she rammed one of their vehicles. The woman has been charged with shoplifting, aggravated assault and dangerous driving. Police had been dealing with a shoplifting case when it’s alleged the woman rammed their vehicle and then drove to Te Awamutu where she crashed into another car.

Library fines

A series of plans outlined by Waipā District Council – including scrapping library fines –   has gone out for public discussion for a month. The council stopped fining users for late returns of children’s books in 2019. Read more.

Website visits

Our exclusive story on the Alpha Hotel in Kihikihi being upgraded continued to lead website visits last week with 28 per cent of all visitors to teawamutunews.nz reading that article. Second was another exclusive – Janine Krippner on handing back an artefact from her grandparents’ farm. Our string of News briefs, details of a second footbridge installed at War Memorial Park and Viv Posselt’s story on the opening of an alternative museum space, rounded out the top five.

No through road

The rail crossing on State Highway 1B Telephone Road will remain closed to traffic for the “foreseeable future” Waka Kotahi says. The crossing, east of Hamilton was closed in April 2022 after repeated incidents where low vehicles damaged the railway tracks. There is no funding to resolve the issue – which is costed at up to $11 million – but at the same time use of the road has lessened as a result of the opening of the Waikato Expressway.

9 March 2023

Record website hits

Margaret Johnson and Bill Harris outside the Alpha Hotel. Photo: Roy Pilott

Our front page story on the Alpha Hotel in Kihikihi last week has become the Te Awamutu News best-read online story quadrupling views over the second best read story about dodgy pies. In second place for the week’s website hits was the online story of Te Awamutu Museum bouncing back followed by Songs of Rangiaowhia, Did you get the memo? And O’Regan, Davies-Colley for Le Quesnoy rounded out the top five.

Run the Runway

And they’re off – runners, walkers and cyclists at the beginning of the runway event last year.

The annual Run the Hamilton Airport Runway event is on again this Sunday from 6.45am. The Rotary-organised 5km event will benefit the charity OrangeSky.

Nursing intake up

The University of Waikato is now the largest provider of graduate-entry nursing, taking in more nursing students (pictured) than the University of Auckland and Wintec – in just the second and third year of programme delivery. Photo / Supplied

Waikato University welcomed a record 211 new students into its Registered Nursing programme this week, doubling last year’s intake. Cambridge’s Sue Hayward and Jan Adams were the driving forces behind the Bachelor of Nursing programme with Prof Allison Kirkman. Hayward is Te Whatu Ora Waikato chief nurse and Adams the nursing director at Pinnacle Midlands Health Network. Both are now honorary professors at the university.

Open Day

St Peter’s School Cambridge has an Open Day next Thursday (March 16) and on Saturday April 1, the Owl Farm has a public open day.

On yer bike…

In its ninth year, The Big Bike Film Night will celebrate cycling in all its shapes and forms, as part of the lead up to the Cambridge Cycling Festival. The film night will screen at the Tivoli Cinema in Cambridge on April 24  with a series of short films.

Writers’ nights

Two upcoming ‘Girls Nights’ events at Waipā libraries will take the shape of mix and mingle evenings with groups of women authors.   The first is at Cambridge Library tomorrow (Friday) and the second at Te Awamutu Library on March 17.  Both start at 5.30pm.

Absences noted

Takena Stirling

Waipā councillors and committee members absent from meetings will now have to give a reason why they cannot be present under new conventions introduced this term. Two councillors – Bruce Thomas and Takena Stirling – were absent from Tuesday’s Strategic Planning and Policy committee with only Thomas giving a reason.

Pirongia plans out

Formal consultation will begin later this month on new plans for the Sainsbury Road Reserve in Pirongia. Consultation will begin in March and span two months. Formal hearings will be held in May with a final plan for the reserve presented for adoption in June this year.

 

Two become one

Waipā now has a new Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) policy replacing two existing ones as part of a rationalisation project after staff noted there might be confusion by having two policies and procedures for different situations. It will sit underneath the council’s Privacy Policy.

Public places

Waipā council staff will review the existing Public Places bylaw which regulates a wide range of issues such as street dining, mobile trading, signage in road corridors and vehicle parking. It is primarily concerned with rules for promoting car user safety, placemaking and community liveability. The bylaw is nearly five years old and must be reviewed before October 30.

Fees up

A new Waipā fees and charges schedule will go out for public consultation with some increases more significant than others. A new $798.50 marquee charge – for marquees over 200 square metres – was debated fiercely by councillors but retained.

2 March 2023

Stockade for housing

Riding for the Disabled currently uses the Stockade Reserve.

A large open 4ha space near the centre of Kihikihi locally known for decades as the “Stockade Reserve” has been identified as a much-needed section for housing.

Until recently Riding for the Disabled operated out of the land but Waipā District Council recently purchased land on Herbert Street which the charitable organisation can move onto.

Deputy chief executive Ken Morris said in a report to the Finance and Corporate committee this week it gave the council an opportunity to develop a conceptual masterplan for a housing development.

The planning work would also look into the possibility of the new Kihikihi skatepark being based there.

Stockade Reserve is bounded by Grey, Rolleston, Hall and Whitmore streets. Sometimes also called the Government Paddock, it was the site of the British Army military stables during the Land Wars of the mid to late 19th century.

The work, to be done in four stages, will cost $26,000 and produce a proposed plan.

The site is currently zoned as a reserve which would have to be changed for housing purposes.

“There is potential in this for the reserve zoning to be shifted elsewhere, to enable this land to be used for ‘highest and best’ purpose. These aspects will be considered in the master planning work,” said Morris.

“Council’s vision is for pleasant, medium density housing that would be designed alongside the community.  We don’t want is something plonked in the middle of town that’s not supported.”

A masterplan was unlikely to be available before August this year.

Library membership

Membership at Waipā’s two libraries in Cambridge and Te Awamutu continue trending upwards as do book issues. Cambridge has 21,538 members and issued 147,529 books in the three months starting October 1, while Te Awamutu has 16,096 members and issued 78,526 books, the council’s Service Delivery committee was told this week.

Boy racers out

Roads in Cambridge, Maungatautari, Te Awamutu, Kihikihi, Pirongia and Ōhaupō will be closed between 9pm and 4am under Waipā council plans to curb antisocial driving. The behaviour is often intimidating, creates litter issues and excessive noise. In rural areas, the noise frightens stock, as well as disturbing residents, council Transportation manager Bryan Hudson told the Service Delivery committee meeting this week.

High vis reps

There will be no mistaking Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Board members following the board’s decision last night to invest $250 in high vis vests for members attending community events.

Survey complete

Analysis on survey responses asking Te Awamutu residents about a brand to replace Rosetown has been completed. A working group comprising all Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Board members, Shane Walsh and Maria Heslop from the Chamber of Commerce and Bill Harris from Ngāti Apakura will now produce a report and make a recommendation to the community board.

Te Kanohi fees

Waipā’s four iwi representatives – known as Te Kanohi – will receive meeting fees rather than an annual payment, under a recommendation tabled at the Finance and Corporate committee this week. A $450 half day and $550 full day meeting fee, plus mileage, will be paid. The annual fee will come to about $16,300 – up by $3300.

Property sales stall

John Miles’ resignation as Property Projects manager at Waipā District Council has delayed the disposal of property programme, which is  essential for much of the work identified in the Long Term Plan. The position will be filled early next month.  Finance staff will identify how much of the programme can be completed in this financial year ended June 30.

Clocking the risk

The Cambridge Clock Tower will be given a detailed seismic assessment. A heritage architect, who was engaged to make a condition assessment, recommended commissioning a report to ascertain if the tower is an earthquake risk.

Chimes challenge

The Kihikihi War Memorial Tower clock’s $70,000 upgrade has hit a snag because council staff have been unable to deactivate the chimes at night. Waterproofing, painting, upgrading the clock face and hand refurbishment all went well. Clockmakers will finalise the electronics and have the chimes fixed by next month.

Batteries all go

The Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Board’s trial collecting batteries at Pak‘n Save has been a big success. More than 442kg of household batteries have been picked up by Urban Miners at a cost of $1991.03 to the community board. The board was to discuss at its meeting last night (after The News went to press) whether to continue the trial.

Speech winner

Year 12 student St Peters student Sonali Pera has won the United Nations Association New Zealand Speech Award 2022 competition recently. The annual secondary school competition provides students an opportunity to learn more about the UN and developing public speaking skills.

Garden fees

Hamilton Gardens’ enclosed gardens will come at a cost to non-Hamilton residents. Hamilton City Council has opted to charge visitors a $10 fee to the themed gardens – but there will be a concession arrangement for Waipā and Waikato district residents. The charging regime will be introduced when the Gardens’ Visitor Entry Precinct project is completed – likely to be late this year or early 2024.

History lessons

Two historically-linked events will be held in Te Awamutu next week as part of Waipā Libraries Heritage month. From 10.30am on Wednesday a virtual tour is on offer at Te Awamutu Library, entitled From Then to Now – Changing Times for Te Awamutu’s 1920s Commercial Architecture. On March 4, also from 10.30am, is a presentation and tour hosted by the Te Awamutu branch of the NZ Society of Genealogists. Entitled Stories from the Dead Centre of Town, the presentation will include an introduction about the graveyard and the old St John’s Anglican Church, as well as stories from a selection of Māori and pakeha burials

16 February 2023

Website hits

Community constable Ryan Fleming’s tips on preparing for an emergency was the most read online story in Te Awamutu News in the last fortnight. Helping our neighbours, where we revealed how Waipā helped out our southern friends, Museum gems protected, United it stands – about Anzac Green’s flagpole – and the story about an upside down 1864 maps called Maps and mapping round out the top five.

Perry third

Te Awamutu’s Georgina Perry placed second on day one of Cycling New Zealand’s Elite Road National Championships in Tokoroa last weekend. The event was won by Georgia Williams, who celebrated her fifth national time trial victory, drawing her level with the mark set by 2004 Olympian Melissa Holt. Williams clocked 50:42 for the 33.57km distance to finish 1m 19s ahead of Perry . Hokitika’s Sharlotte Lucas was third.

Hamilton Gardens charge coming

Hamilton Gardens’ enclosed gardens will come at a cost to non-Hamilton residents. Hamilton City Council has opted to charge visitors a $10 fee to the themed gardens – but there will be a concession arrangement for Waipā and Waikato district residents. The fees will apply to visitors 16 and over and concession rates will include annual passes for non-Hamiltonians.

The rates are yet to be determined. The date new charging regime will be introduced when the Gardens’ Visitor Entry Precinct project is completed – likely to be late this year or early 2024. Access from Waipā to the gardens for cyclists on the Te Awa River Ride opened with the completion of a link from Tamahere.

9 February 2023

Looking at the past

The search for history around Te Awamutu’s Anzac Green continues – but with more questions than answers. As work gears up to renovate the flagpole on the green, district councillor and Te Awamutu RSA member Lou Brown hopes more information about the history of the green will be uncovered.

He understood the flagpole has been in place since 1923. But information provided to The News suggests it may have been added later.

A correspondent reported Te Awamutu’s museum collection has historic photos of the green – but without the flagpole.

The News picked up a copy of the 1984 book Frontier Town – A History of Te Awamutu 1884-1984 at a Hamilton market on Sunday, but a quick scan failed to shed more light on the issue, other than to confirm the cenotaph had been erected in 1923.

It does note that Teasdale St – the green in on the corner of Teasdale and Bank streets – was named after John Burgess Teasdale, a Waipā county councillor who died in 1927. The town’s first Bank of New Zealand building was on the junction of Bank and Alexandra streets.

• Do you know more? Email [email protected]

Storm fallout

Three February meetings scheduled for Alexandra Park have been transferred to Cambridge Raceway after last week’s deluge of rain washed part of the Auckland course away.

Quarries on hold

Two quarry applications in Ōhaupō and Maungatautari remain on hold while Waipā council waits for further information. Rukuhia Land Company has applied to operate a sand quarry in the Ōhaupō rural zone while Beacon Hill Contracting, which had been unlawfully operating a sand quarry at Oreipunga Road, is seeking resource consents to authorise the activities.

Parking tickets

The pre-Christmas parking crackdown in Cambridge and Te Awamutu by Waipā District Council resulted in 93 parking infringement notices – mostly for motorists overstaying their time. Parking in Waipā is free but there are time restrictions in place in the Te Awamutu and Cambridge central business districts.

Dog numbers

There are about 270 unregistered dogs in the Waipā district. The animal control team is working through the list and issuing infringement notices which carry a $300 fine.  Staff impounded 68 dogs in the three months up to Christmas. Owners claimed 49 of them, seven were put down and six rehomed. Meanwhile Waipā’s dog rules will be reviewed following an initial engagement period which resulted in more than 300 people providing feedback. Now a draft policy and bylaw will be drafted and go out for public consultation in April.

Funds available

The second ground of applications to Waipā District Council’s Community Discretionary Fund opened this week.  Funds are administered by the Pirongia Ward Committee, Cambridge and Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Boards, and support community activities or projects in the Waipā district.

New playground

Work to revamp John Rochfort Park on the corner of Hall and Bryce Streets in Kihikihi will begin this month as part of a new $300,000 playground. Read more

Dog rules reviewed

Waipā’s dog rules will be reviewed following an initial engagement period which resulted in more than 300 people providing feedback. Now a draft policy and bylaw will be drafted and go out for public consultation in April.

2 February 2023

St Andrew’s Craft and Collectable Fair January 2023. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.

The St Andrew’s Craft and Collectable Fair on Anniversary Day Monday went ahead despite the inclement weather and was a success, said organiser Ian Dunn.

Thirty stallholders from Auckland decided to cancel because of flooding issues. “At midnight the night before we had about two inches of rain in Cambridge and I wondered ‘oh no’,” said Dunn. But by daybreak, the rain had stopped, and the fair went ahead. “I’ve gone back to them all and thanked them for coming.” Stallholders reported sales were steady while one jewellery retailer reported record sales over previous years.

Website hits

Our mystery yarn about the shooting of George Gilfillan dominated page views to our website last week. Opportunity Knocks, our story featuring Te Awamutu’s brilliant opportunity shops, was second, the home page third, Share and share nicely – Ange Holt’s column on Community Board matters was fourth and the online link to the full Te Awamutu News was fifth.

Tractor trek

More than a dozen tractors are leaving the farm and heading out on the roads in the Waikato for a two-week trek, starting in Cambridge next week, to support a children’s mental health programme. The trek, which is strongly supported by Rotary clubs, is the brainchild of Phil Aish, an ex-farmer himself. His daughter Cat is a Mental Wellbeing educator who tackles the issue of mental health with children through the use of teacher training, education, awareness, resources and presentations. The trek will be officially launched at Cambridge Middle School from 8.30am on Monday February 13. She will visit Te Awamutu the following day and Roto-o-Rangi on Thursday.

Rain a bonus

Heavy rain will have been a help for Lake Ngā Roto where cyanobacterial bloom was reported last week. At this time last year the lake was a graveyard for wildlife during a long hot dry period. Waipā District Council is advising against people using the lake for water activities while the bloom is present.

Hearing set

Independent commissioner Alan Withy has ordered all submissions on a retrospective resource consent application for kiwifruit shelters and shelterbelts within the permitted setback regulations at 582 Parallel Road be with him by February 10 for a February 22 hearing. Withy can decide then whether the application is granted for declined. The News has received several emails from readers about the issue and will follow the story closely both online and in print.

Step up

Susan O’Regan

Waipā mayor Susan O’Regan is on the hunt for smart, inspiring young people to join a national leadership programme. The Tuia Leadership programme is aimed at outstanding rangitahi Māori who have the potential to be leaders and contribute to their community. It involves a young person working alongside their local mayor to gain insights, receive one-on-one mentoring plus share their views and insights into what is important for youth. Applications close February 6.

Read more.

Festival canned

Festival One organisers cancelled the Christian event on Saturday morning after rain made the Whitehall site a quagmire of mud. Bands played on Friday night to half the ticketholders and through Saturday as the site was unpacked. Organisers will refund funds on ticketholders wristbands if received by February 27. Weather permitting, the 2024 event will be held from January 26-29.

School roll growth

Several Waipā schools are experiencing strong roll growth and numbers at all schools across the district are expected to be up when the first term begins this week, says the Education ministry. New classrooms are at Te Awamutu College, Te Awamutu Primary, Goodwood, Cambridge East and Cambridge Middle School. A new contributing primary school will open in Cambridge West early in 2025.

Another Chin victory

Luk Chin

Octogenarian Luk Chin watched from the back of the field again as Safrakova and Alana finished one-two in the Cambridge Gold Cup handicap trot on Monday at Cambridge Raceway. The previous week in the final heat, it had been the other way around. Chin was driving Jasinova, the third of his horses in the race, which finished seventh.

Cambridge driver Matthew White had to use all his skills to get around a galloping Kimkar Dash to win the Group 3 Waikato Trotting Breeders’ Stakes guiding Resolve in the feature at Cambridge Raceway last week.

26 January 2023

Cambridge Town Hall welcomes new manager

Simon Brew – new Town Hall general manager

Work to boost the usage of the Cambridge Town Hall and freshen up its facilities will pick up the pace this year with the Cambridge Town Hall Charitable Trust announcing the appointment of Simon Brew as its new general manager.

Born and bred in the Waikato and an old boy of St John’s College in Hamilton, Brew is returning to his roots, relocating back to the Waikato after many years in Wellington.

$6m overpaid

Te Whatu Ora Waikato (formerly Waikato DHB) says 6000 staff members were overpaid during the cyber outage in 2021, most by only small amounts. The organisation is now endeavouring to recover the $6 million owed. The DHB will not chase anyone overpaid by less than $20, said Jacquie Sherborne, acting executive Organisational Support. Read more.

Website hits

Well over a third of all hits to our cambridgenews.nz website in the last week have been to our story about Cambridge drivers being driven to anger at roundabouts. Our social media post had nearly 200 comments and reached 50,000 people. Blame at the roundabouts was evenly spread between locals and new residents while district councillors were also held to account. The rest of the top five were: Home Page, Road works set to connect Cambridge, Wonderful Waka and The News ….. in brief.

Linking the generations

Dennis Lloyd flanked by Bunnies manager Sheree Jones, left, with youngsters Ava Jones and Chloe Beattie, and Cambridge Resthaven resident Linda Gorham, at the launch of ‘The Resthaven Bunnies’. Front from left are Blaze Collins, Maree Campbell, Jessie Haywood, Olive Pickering, Mel Burt with Sagato Kennach and Matthew Taylor. Photo: Michael Jeans

A new community venture linking the generations is tying together Cambridge Resthaven and Bunnies Childcare and Pre-School. The initiative kicked off with a morning tea at the Resthaven Village Centre that brought together Resthaven village residents and Bunnies youngsters.  Guest of honour at that event was Cambridge ‘good sort’, 91-year-old Dennis Lloyd, known for giving children soft toys on his daily walkabouts through town.

Dennis was presented with two large boxes of soft toys for him to give away. They were collected by the Resthaven residents and Bunnies families.  Resthaven residents and the Bunnies youngsters, who ranged in age from 17 months to just over three years, enjoyed toys and party food before the Bunnies group delivered a Christmas singalong. The gathering was the brainchild of Resthaven resident Linda Gorham and Bunnies manager Sheree Jones.  Both are keen for what has been called ‘The Resthaven Bunnies’ to become a regular fixture and are planning the next one for February.

Linda said the ‘surrogate grandparents’ would be welcome to join the activities, enjoy the singalong and read stories to the children, while Sheree said the venture offered an opportunity for Resthaven residents to build relationships with the young generation.

Road works

Transportation manager Bryan Hudson at developments on Hamilton Road.

Major road works will begin next month along Cambridge and Hamilton roads in preparation for development and growth in Cambridge West. The first stage of works will include road upgrades on Hamilton Road, between Vogel Street and just past Kelly Road. It will also involve extending the existing Hamilton Road cycleway and adding a signalised pedestrian crossing on Hamilton Road outside Little Thinkers kindergarten. New bus stops and shelters are planned for outside and across the road from the new medical centre. Read more.

Piarere push

Campaigner John Hansen says the positive reaction to last week’s story in The News about his call for a flyover, rather than the roundabout proposed by Waka Kotahi, to be built at the intersections of highways 1 and 29 at Piarere has reinforced his confidence. Read more

Driver shortage

Waipā District Council has conceded normal collection schedules can’t be maintained for “the foreseeable future” as a consequence of a national shortage of drivers. The council’s contractor Metallic Sweeping is struggling to find trained Class 4 drivers and has also been hit by staff illness. Metallic Sweeping managing director Clive Peter said the company was working with consultants to fast-track skilled drivers from overseas and had offered staff a finder’s fee to find new work mates.

Riding for funds

Two men are on their bikes for a good cause this week. Hamilton’s Keith Hobson, 76, is cycling 1000km over 12 days to raise money for the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter while Te Kuiti’s Kieran Powell, riding with a broken his wrist, is circumnavigating the country to raise funds for Hospice Waikato as a tribute to his grandmother who died aged 97 in August.

19 January 2023

Going spare

Prince Harry’s memoir ‘The Spare’ has generated steady but not overwhelming interest from Waipā readers. Waipā outreach librarian Dee Atkinson said the book was on order from the publishers and that by Monday 18 holds had been placed on it across the public libraries in Cambridge and Te Awamutu. Paper Plus in Cambridge and Te Awamutu are taking orders for the book, which is also in stock at both The Warehouse stores.

Car yard coming

Waikato-based car dealer John Ingham has dismissed rumours the development of its building on the former Bunnings site in Cambridge is not going ahead. Final touches are being made to the resource consent application following discussions with contractors acting on behalf of Waipā District Council. Ingham said instead of doing one dealership on the site, there was likely to be two. “It will be the end of this year before we put a spade in the ground though.”

Nail salon pinged

The Employment Relations Authority has ordered Royal Nail Spa in Cambridge to pay a former employee $14,209.53 in wage arrears and $2500 in penalties along with $2500 to the Crown after the salon breached its statutory obligations and failed to act in good faith. The authority found Royal Nail failed to retain a copy of a signed employment agreement, keep a wage and time record, did not pay the correct adult minimum wage or holiday pay on termination. The authority reserved costs.

Plus one …

The first tenant – national retailer Postie – has been confirmed in the Leamington Village development. It will be the 110 year old company’s debut in the Cambridge market – it already has a store in Te Awamutu. Postie (formerly known as Postie Plus) is expected to open mid next month.

Record E-Waste pick-up

Urban Miners collected 72 car loads of e-waste in two hours on Sunday in the first collection of the year. The organisation’s new truck – a 1995 Isuzu Elf – was donated by Waipā District Council last year and got put to good use with heaps of TVs, computers and microwaves. The first Te Awamutu e-waste collection will be held on 29 January at the Te Awamutu Sports Rugby Club.

Busy parks staff

Waipā parks staff have hit 2023 running after 300mm more rain fell around the district in the last three months than usual. Once the rain stopped late last week, staff were out weeding and cleaning up.

Croquet winners

Leamington’s Ngaire Lucas, left, and Te Awamutu’s Christopher Johnpillai were named the winners at Leamington Croquet Club’s Mixed Club Day held on January 9. The event was Leamington’s first tournament of the year and drew players from Claudelands, Hamilton East, Te Awamutu and Putaruru. Monthly Mixed Club days are casual gatherings intended to pass on skills to newcomers and give players the confidence to enter tournaments. This season marks the Leamington Croquet Club’s 90th anniversary. In November 1932, the then Waikato Independent hailed the one-time pasture and swamp area at Leamington Domain as now providing “splendid facilities for tennis, bowling, croquet, cricket, hockey and football” for the people of Leamington and Cambridge. By October 1933, facilities were enhanced with the building of a clubhouse.

19 January 2023

One of the major events on the Waka Ama calendar – the national sprint championships – will start on Lake Karāpiro on Sunday. It runs to and running through to January 21.


Church music fest planned

A Festival of Church Music at St Andrew’s Church is being brought to Cambridge for the first time. The Auckland and Waikato branches of the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) event will run over three days from January 20.

Up to 40 singers and church musicians from around New Zealand will get together on the Friday evening, with Saturday set aside for fellowship, meals and workshops.  The celebration of church music will culminate in a sung Eucharist Service at 10am on the Sunday, a 4pm service on the same day, featuring items by famous composers.  The Sunday services are open to the public.

RSCM Waikato secretary Merv Hunt said while other church music initiatives had been held  in Cambridge this was the first time a festival such as this had come here.  The most recent similar event was a five-day RSCM Summer School held in Auckland five years ago, he said.

Top marks

St Peters is celebrating a 100 per cent pass rate in International Baccalaureate exams for 2022. All students entered have been awarded the full diploma.
The results follow three challenging years of pandemic learning and disruption for students and the results rank among the best seen at St Peter’s since 2009.
Highlights included Julie Brouwer being awarded a bilingual diploma, and five students – Amisha Sadani, Jack Dams, Paige Hughes, Jessica Walton and Fleming Wang – being among the top 40 scholars. The school’s average grade was 34 points; the world average was 30.9. The school also recorded four A grades for Theory of
Knowledge and three A grades for Extended Essay, two A grades for English Extended Essay (Masha Gavrilova and Rheannah Rapley) and one A for History (Fleming Wang).

New Year honours

Anita Mazzoleni

A total of four Waipā-based people were recognised in the New Year Honours List.

Karen and Ken Morris both receive the Queen’s Service Medal while Anita  Mazzoleni becomes an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) and Eric Murray joins an elite list as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM).

See: Honours for Waipā residents

Our top 10

Online visits to the Cambridge News website last year smashed all previous records and were 105 per cent up on 2021.The home page cambridgenews.nz came in at number one with 14 per cent of the views followed in order from two to 10 by: Tea without Marg, Online Publications, Woman dies after freakish winds topple tree, Fire chief dies, The long and winding road, Honouring Don, Susan O’Regan elected Waipā mayor, Library plan driven out and The News…in brief.

See: The News grows online

Four on robbery charges

A 13-year-old boy is among four people arrested following a string of robberies in the Waikato. Waikato Police announced at the weekend that they had arrested a man and three teenagers following an operation targeting aggravated robberies. The Armed Offenders Squad was called in before a raid on a property in Rukuhia on Sunday.
Detective Senior Sergeant Scott Neilson said a 13-year old, two 17-year-olds and a 29-year-old were arrested without incident. It is alleged the four have been involved in offences over several months. “Offending such as aggravated robberies has a real impact on victims, their families, and the community. A considerable number of resources have been involved in the operation, and today’s outcome is a good result,” Neilson said.

The 29-year-old faces charges of theft, unlawfully using a motor vehicle, and driving while disqualified. He appeared in the Hamilton District Court this week. The three teenagers who are before the Hamilton Youth Court face a series of charges of including aggravated robbery.

Reader injured

A meter reader is in a critical condition in Waikato Hospital this week following an incident in Kihikihi. Police are appealing for details of sightings of two vehicles. One, a red Daihatsu Terios, registration LKN281, belongs to the injured person and the other is a silver Nissan Primera, registration DHA220. Both vehicles are believed to have been driven to Kihikihi from Tihiroa. An ambulance was called on January 5 to Oliver Street where the meter reader had suffered serious head injuries.

Business awards

Entries for the Waipa Networks Business Awards will close in just over a month – on February 13. Organisers, the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, are also calling for nominations for the Leader of the Year award. The award is open to any chief executive in the region.

Gas leak

Bowen St between King St and Princess St, and Williams St between Grosvenor St and Stafford St in Cambridge were closed on Tuesday while a gas leak was  stemmed.

Quake felt

The magnitude 5.1 earthquake which rocked Te Aroha and was felt extensively throughout Waipā at 5.39am on January 4 was a major talking point on social media. Our online call to see who felt it attracted more than 200 comments. The quake was 6.7 kilometres deep.

See: Earthquakes felt in Cambridge

Weather forecast

As Cyclone Hale brought an end to a predominantly dry spell over the start of the New Year, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, NIWA, was forecasting more of the same for the first three months of 2023 – warmer than average temperatures and more rain than usual, particularly in the east of the North Island.

22 December 2022

 

Labradors are the most popular breed among registered dogs in Waipā.

Bella and labradors top the Waipā dog poll

If your dog is called Bella and you’re out for a walk and call out her name, be prepared to have several dogs come bounding up to you. Bella is the top dog’s name in Waipā followed by Molly, Charlie, Ruby and Poppy. And it’s odds on one of the dogs will be a labrador as that’s the most popular breed in the district with 1271 of the 9434 dogs followed by collies (642), huntaways (491), spaniels (465) and Jack Russell and fox terriers (both 413).

The council has rehomed 42 dogs in the last year including Duke who was impounded five times in the past year and the council animal control staff have finally found him a new home and hope to have seen him for the last time. Not a lot is known about the name and breed of the 318 unregistered dogs on the council’s database other than owners can expect to see an animal control staff member soon.

And it’s a merry ….

The Cambridge News will next publish on January 12 and we will update our website and social media platforms during the break. Email us any news tips on [email protected] Merry Christmas from the editorial team of Roy Pilott, Mary Anne Gill, Viv Posselt and Steph Bell-Jenkins. See you in 2023.

Website visits

You can never beat a good baby story. The picture/story Mama… Mia, featuring Cambridge community board member Alana MacKay, husband Phil and new-born Mia, accounted for 25 per cent of all visits to the cambridgenews.nz site in the last week. The also rans were: The News …. in brief, Hit the Target, A serving of pickleball, Council looks at Māori land.

Alana and Mia MacKay

Covid warning

Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand Waikato is warning Waikato residents to plan ahead as Covid infection rates rise. Covid-19 Directorate executive lead Maree Munro said there were 3000 active Covid-19 cases in the region and it was important to check when medical centres and pharmacies will be open. Free RAT kits can be ordered online at the Covid-19 website. Waikato hospitals are open over the holiday period and emergency departments will continue to provide urgent care.

Restricted fire season

A restricted fire season has been declared for the Coromandel from 9am today (20 December) until 1 February 2023. District Manager Daryl Trim says the fire season has been changed to reduce the risk of fires getting out of control with the expected influx of holidaymakers in the area.

No dumping please

Hospice Waikato is urging people not to dump their post-Christmas leftovers at their op shops in Cambridge and Te Awamutu.

Funding secured

Waipā District Council has secured up to $5.24 million from the government’s Better Off fund. The money has been allocated from a $2 billion fund to help councils pay for community improvement projects as part of the Three Waters reform. Funding will be used for Te Ara Wai Discovery Centre, a resource recovery centre, Lake Ngā Roto management plan, CCTV cameras, Te Awamutu/Ngā Roto/ Pirongia cycleway connection and a feasibility study for a new Cambridge library.

Fire call

The Don Rowlands Centre at Karāpiro was evacuated during last weekend’s Christmas rowing regatta following an electrical fault. Cambridge volunteer firefighters found the problem resolved when they arrived – the power had been switched off. All that was then required was to ventilate the building.

River project

A project to retrieve foreign objects dumped in the Waikato River has received $250,000 funding. Deep Dive Division will work at seven sites from Narrows Landing, through Hamilton city to Ngāruawāhia retrieving dumped items.

More potholes

Waka Kotahi says the latest round of bad weather has affected both road conditions and progress on road renewals. The roading agency says a number of new potholes emerged following rain in the middle of last week.

15 December 2022

Café for pool

A café will be built within the Cambridge Perry Aquatic Centre at no cost to the Waipā council. Access to the café will be available to both internal and external customers via kiosk type windows and operated by a third party on behalf of the Waipā Community Facilities Trust.

It will be in an existing service accessway to the 50m pool, adjacent to a Waipā Networks transformer enclosure, which will have to be moved.

Charitable Trust scholarships

Charlotte Risi, Chloe Cawte and Gemma Barham of Cambridge High School were among 31 recipients of David Johnstone Charitable Trust grants presented in Hamilton last week. Each student received $6000 to start their tertiary career. Hundreds of Waikato school leavers have realised their potential in tertiary education in science, engineering, teaching and technology thanks to Johnstone’s determination to give other ambitious, hard-working young people the gift of learning. He died in 1990 and the first of the annual scholarships were awarded in 1993.

Ava’s a winner

Karāpiro School student Ava Williams has featured in the 2022 Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand Humanity Awards. Principal Tina-Maree Thatcher said Ava, who was nominated by the school, was a role model “and we are delighted to celebrate her success… we will follow Ava’s future humanitarian endeavours with interest.”

Ava Williams with teacher Daniel Churstain.

Hit the Target

A community newspaper advertising campaign calling for registered and enrolled nurses and midwives keen to return to work at Waikato, Thames, Te Kuiti, Taumarunui or Tokoroa hospitals, has hit the target. Read more.

Top five stories

Our online readers to cambridgenews.nz loved the news in brief feature we launched last week.

It was the top page with more than 37 per cent of all visitors. The rest of the top five were: A warning about photos, Ready for the Special Olympics, Cambridge girl from beginning to end and CJD blood ban will be lifted.

Welcome back

Philip Coles

Mike Pettit

Two councillors on leave since they were re-elected to the Waipā District Council on October 8 have been welcomed back and sworn in.

Philip Coles and Mike Pettit missed the pōwhiri and swearing in of Waipā’s mayor and councillors on October 31 at Lake Karāpiro and meetings held in the intervening period. Now back from leave, they made their declarations at the council meeting this week.

They had been unable to act as members of the council until the ceremony.

Ready for foot and mouth

The spread of foot and mouth disease in Indonesia has Emergency Management operations staff in Waipā, and the rest of New Zealand, on red alert. The Ministry for Primary Industries is leading national planning, Waipā Emergency Management operations manager David Simes told the Regulatory committee this week.

Basic scenarios were worked through at national planning workshops where lessons identified during the Covid 19 pandemic were considered. New Zealand has never had an outbreak of foot and mouth disease which is caused by a virus that infects cloven-hooved animals – cows, pigs, sheep, goats, deer, alpaca and llama – but not rodents, cats, dogs, birds, or horses.

It is an animal health disease and unrelated to the human hand, foot and mouth disease common in young children.

Kiwifruit on high ….

An application to build artificial shelters for a Cambridge kiwifruit orchard is heading to the High Court.

Independent commissioner Alan Withy granted the land use consent in August, but a neighbour applied for a judicial review which will be held at the High Court in Hamilton next May 13.

Owners GDP Orchards at 383 Parallel Road want to build vertical and horizontal (overhead) artificial shelter and cryptomeria shelterbelts breaching setbacks and site coverage requirements in the Rural Zone.

Further down the road, at 582 Parallel Rd, Kiwifruit Investments Ltd has applied for a retrospective land use resource consent to build vertical and horizontal artificial kiwifruit shelters.

Owners started planning vines at the former grazing block and asparagus plot earlier this year and have already planted 15ha with another 8.5ha to go. A hearing date has yet to be set.

24 November 2022

Mayoral fashion

A social media post featuring Waipā mayor Susan O’Regan standing in her wardrobe resulted in a sale for the retailer where she bought the clothes she was wearing.

O’Regan laughed when told it would be a story – saying she realised now she was a public figure.

Read the story.

Service on hold

Waipā’s purpose-built glass recycling truck out for at least a week after a non-injury crash at Te Pahu. The district council’s group manager service delivery Dawn Inglis said it was another setback in a problematic few months for the contracted recycling service. The service was on hold last month because of a shortage of drivers.

Fieldays nears

There will be a lot of interest in whether the Fieldays move from mid-winter to the beginning of summer will have any impact on sales and attendance. The Southern Hemisphere’s largest annual agricultural expo was postponed due to Covid mandates and will now be held over four days from next Wednesday. Several Waipā roads and routes will again be affected during Fieldays.

Ex-staffer in court

St Peter’s Cambridge said yesterday it was cooperating with police investigations into a former staff member facing charges over historical allegations of student  abuse. The 73 year old has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges and elected trial by jury. He has been remanded at large to appear in court again next year.

Parks checks

Visitors at Waipā playgrounds will be surveyed from now to late January as part of a $3.3 million update programme. Information will be collected from eight  laygrounds – Lake Te Koo Utu, Leamington Domain, Thompson Street Playground, Gwyneth Common in Cambridge, and War Memorial Park, Hiskens Place  Reserve, Russell Park and Pioneer Park, all in Te Awamutu. The information will influence decisions on future developments across the 26 playgrounds in Waipā.

Road works

Waka Kotahi’s maintenance work has been hampered by recent wet weather. It is planned carry out work on more than 700 lane kilometres of state highway by the end of the second quarter of 2023 in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. Sites being targeted include Okoroire, Lichfield, Ātiamuri, Puketaha, the Ngāruawāhia section of the expressway, Pirongia and Kōpaki.

Early call

Staff at St Peter’s school in Cambridge have met their next principal. Adelaide based Marcus Blackburn, who was named as Head of School for 2023, visited his new school last week.

It’s beginning…

Christmas trees will start popping up on Victoria Street next week as part of the Cambridge Community Board’s Community Christmas Tree Project. Inspired by the Taupo street trees, they will complement the other town Christmas decorations by adding a pop of colour and festive spirit at ground level.

Book released

In Her Blood, the latest book by Cambridge author Nikki Crutchley, is being released next week. Crutchley said the plot of the book came from her love of true crime podcasts and in one there was an episode on stalking and people who become obsessed with other people. The book took a year to write with most of the action in the  fictional settlement of Everly and the Gilmore Hotel, which is based on the Waitomo Hotel.

Dog rules

Suggestions of off and on leash days for dogs are among points raised in feedback to Waipā District Council on dog control bylaw. The proposal came following suggestions for changes, particularly around Lake Te Koo Utu in Cambridge. A review of the laws will be carried out and there will be a formal consultation period
in April and May next year.

Top five

Our online stories at cambridgenews.nz are gaining popularity, so we’ll keep you informed of the ones which have proved popular. The headlines of the top five last week, in order, were

  1. Farewell to netball godmother,
  2. Open day and taggers tagged,
  3. Councillors cut the pay pie,
  4. Remembering them and
  5. Storm clouds above

Our online stories at teawamutunews.nz

Our Kapa haka story was one of the most popular of the year. The headlines of the top five last week, in order, were

  1. Kapa haka festival a success of unity,
  2. Tribute to a historian,
  3. Heat undoes road works,
  4. Paula’s focus is all rural and
  5. Morgan tunes into the US

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