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Volunteers welcome at community garden
Prolific production from the Mangawhai Community Garden. Friday morning volunteer helpers report that beans, tomatoes, capsicum, broccoli, silverbeet, courgette, beetroot, lettuce, and very trendy kale, are all flourishing. Distribution to those in the community is carried out by Julie Wintle for Geneva Health Care, with several helpers even making up special salad mix bags for those on their own.

And if you haven't caught up with just what goes on at the Community Garden on Domain land just behind Rose Madsen Cottage, pay a visit on a Friday morning between 8.30am and 10.30am to see how you can help. Volunteers are made very welcome, especially those who might be able to help during the dry weather by watering during the week. Volunteers get to take home surplus vegetables, although many with their own home garden bring along even more produce to distribute!

You don't have to be a gardener to help out either – there is always a myriad of tasks to be done, from tying up beans to turning compost. In fact, much of the success comes from the fantastic compost made from donations of horse, chicken and even alpaca poo! Joan and Ted are the folks to contact if you would like to know more, so give them a ring on 431 5924.

Win a Walking Weekend package
Like to win a Mangawhai Walking Weekend package for two? A walk of your choice Saturday and Sunday, packed lunch both days, Food & Wine Festival tickets (dance to the Mermaids) Saturday afternoon/evening, walkers Big Breakfast on Sunday morning, all valued at $240. So what do you have to do? 'Like' the Mangawhai Walking Weekend page on Facebook between now and February 14 to go into the draw. If you already 'Like' the Facebook page, invite a friend to 'Like' and share the package. Winners will be posted on February 14. The Walking Weekend is March 27-29, starting with the entertaining Troubadour Trail. Entries etc on mangawhaiwalking.co.nz.

Valentines Day ideas
For Valentines Day, February 14, chocolate factory Bennetts of Mangawhai has gone all out with a delightful range, from a single passionfruit milk chocolate 'A Passionate Affair' to a ‘Hugs and Kisses’ tin! There's a 'Lucky in Love' trio, 'In A Heartbeat' box, 'Sending the Love' message bars, and loads more treats, including the salted caramel box which includes a little story from Mary tucked inside. Something very special from Mangawhai to share.

And in the evening, in the Hakaru Hall, a Valentines Day dance, organised by the Anglican Church at 8pm, $10pp, with music from ever-popular Des Chitty. Tickets at the door, or you can purchase prior by contacting Ann Dowson 431 5913.

A concert to remember
Yulia & Friends in Concert promises to be a night to remember. This outdoor concert (bring a rug!) on Sunday February 15, features not only Yulia, but a line-up of local talent including Molly Curnow, Tasha Perrett, Mercedes Von Dinklage, Michelle Clarke, Jasmine Sampson,and Olly Knox. This special community event is just $10 per adult, under 18 free, with proceeds to the Kaiwaka Sports Association. Tickets are available fom Jaques Four Square, Maungaturoto Four Square, and Mangawhai Heads Four Square.

Artist shows writing talent
Remember the handmade history mural by talented Mangawhai resident Mary Kelleher, used to promote the building of the musem? Mary has recently published two books, reviewed very favourably on National Radio last week. The Story of a New Zealand Truck Driver is in a format which is very novel, tracing the journey of Bert Williams and his deliveries on Banks Peninsula, each page folding out to create a stand up story mural. 'Suitable for 8 to 80-year-olds' said the reviewer, who recommended that it be used in the classroom to engage with history. Mangawhai Museum gift shop has copies of Truck Driver, and Kaiapoi Woollen Mills in the same format, both of which have complementary CDs. Fascinating! You can check out more of Mary's work on her website handmadehistories.co.nz.

Express yourself with song!
Mangawhai World Choir (soon to feature on TV!) has begun practising again, and welcomes new singers. Over the years, conductor Bert van Dijk has developed an exciting repertoire of polyphonic songs from around the world. He explains the main focus of the choir is the sheer joy of singing and harmonising together, but as part of the practice sessions he and Rawiri will also help participants to achieve economy of breath, more vocal power and resonance, and to extend expression of a variety of feeelings and intentions in your singing. And if you attended the December concert in the Village Hall, you'll appreciate just what the singers achieved.

Lessons at the Mangawhai Village Library Hall on Monday evenings 7.30pm until 9pm. Cost is $10 per session employed, or $6 unwaged. Spread the word, come along with friends and family, and reap the benefits of singing together.

n Lots of people wanted to win the quilt raffled for St John. Ursula was the lucky ticket holder.

n SeniorNet AGM this Thursday, 2.30pm at the Club. Good news too, as Milestone Cottages’ conference room is the new Mangawhai base for classes.

n Mangawhai rubbish collection from Kaipara Refuse is every Monday, even if the Monday is a public holiday! This year, the extra holiday collection on a Thursday will continue until the end of February.

n Looking forward to Wireless 88.1FM moving on up the dial to 90.4, along with an increase in power from 1 watt to 100 watts. Wow! Won't be long now, and Mark will ensure we all know when to change the dial.

n Entries for the Mangawhai Triathlon on Sunday February 22 close on the 18th.

n Kaiwaka Community Cinema: What We Do In The Shadows – Friday Feb 20, 7.30pm. The Box Trolls – Sunday Feb 22, 2pm.

n Mangawhai Heads Surf Livesaving will be patrolling weekends and public holidays through until Easter. February 28 will see them hosting the Lifeguard Longboard Nationals, open to all past and present lifeguards.

n Beach and Country Market on Sunday February 22. Free parking and entry at the Domain.

n Special deals on kitten desexing this month at the Vet Centre. Call in or give them a ring on 431 4535.

News and views to share through this column? Contact Jo Roberts 431 4711 or email jo.roberts@xtra.co.nz.

The Mangawhai Focus is the only 'Mangawhai' community Newspaper and is the paper of choice within the local area.

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