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Out and about in Mangawhai with Jo Roberts

Next stage for mangroves

It used to be that the 'Mangawhai season' started at Labour Weekend, and wound up around Easter. But while holiday home owners and visitors may not be so conspicuous over the winter months, many local people increase their voluntary input as community projects continue to strengthen. 

Stage 1 of the mangrove removal project being undertaken by the Mangawhai Harbour Restoration Society (MHRS) has been completed, and the area at the bottom of Lincoln St looks better than ever. Contractor Dave Smith transported all the material away and a volunteer crew led by Ernest Hurley ensured the area was left tidy. MHRS chairman Trevor Downey says they are now pricing up the next stage which is the Insley St area and the southern shoreline of Black Swamp Road.

Museum December deadline
At any given time you will notice people working inside the museum building as volunteers race to achieve the planned December deadline for the official opening. The exhibition space, which once looked so large, is now partitioned up into themed areas portraying geological features, Maori history, large glass showcases, harbour activities, wharf shed, tram car conversion, and even a good old fashioned 'dunny'.

Winter work at MAZ
Mangawhai Activity Zone (MAZ) volunteers are also ramping up the work over the winter months. Reg Davenport has volunteered to keep the grounds mown and do a bit of caretaking, with the area already starting to look really good. The old shed has been painted, and plaques on the snake path are to be replaced. A retaining wall for the playground will be built using timber logged from the St John Ambulance site which is soon to be prepared. Well-drilling investigations have been undertaken for a bore in preparation for public toilets and drinking fountains, and a double flying saucer swing is awaiting installation. And KDC has also approved the erection of dog control signs in the area. Mangawhai Excavations too, deserve a public thank you for the time they have contributed recently.

Graffiti crackdown
Sadly, graffiti increased markedly during the school holidays, completely undermining much of the good behaviour. The MAZ Trust is now looking at installing security cameras as this sort of behaviour is just not acceptable and offenders need to be accountable to the community. Volunteers work quickly to remove graffiti but even a trace gives an unfavourable impression.

House truck in the village with a sign at the rear: 'Sorry for holding you up, but how fast does your house go?'

And on a contractors vehicle: Tree Wise Men.

Wait almost over
It has been a long wait for the St John Ambulance Station but it is nearly over. The Mangawhai Park site, just to the right inside the entrance where the palm trees are, has been approved, and work is due to start on clearing the ragged trees from the building platform. Plans, on display at the Op Shop in the village, have been approved, and will shortly be going out for tender. Building consents etc are all underway. 

Jigsaws a real puzzle
Meanwhile, support for the fundraising Op Shop continues to grow, and every dollar raised means less to borrow! Always some delightful stories from the congenial group who volunteer there, such as this one involving the donation of jigsaws. Local wordsmith Maureen Skinner volunteered to check the pieces so that jigsaws could be sold with assurance that they were indeed complete. Of course, she can't do them all, but a tick on the box means St John can add an extra dollar or two. Maureen always puts a little note inside completed puzzles, rating the difficulty level, interest etc, she is sooo concerned at doing a sound job: ‘Another, yes, another, with one piece missing. We are beginning to wonder if it's us, but we've checked clothing, crawled all over the floor, lifted mats, and moved the furniture. Still missing!’ Worth buying a jigsaw for the possible messsage inside!

Tua an official ‘friend’
Jane Maurice and her dog Tua are a familiar duo on beach walks, at the Frog & Kiwi, or out and about in the little orange car. Did you know they are part of the Canine Friends Pet Therapy Inc? This is a New Zealand-wide network of people who share their friendly, well-behaved dogs with people in hospitals, rest homes and hospices. Both dog and owner are vetted and assessed, with 10-year-old Tua having passed her test to enable her to wear the offical Canine Friends red scarf. Jane too has her official badge. She says Tua, a regular visitor to the Ranburn dementia hospital and rest home units accepts all manner of handling, with residents responding most enthusiastically.

Music makers multiply
Mangawhai Music Makers, the monthly Open Mic evening at Sail Rock cafe attracted a large audience and cross section of performers last week, from beginner ukes to the talented Flamin' Ukes from Waipu, solo guitar, Maori songs, opera and the musicals, own compositions, and a rousing trio of guitars and vocals. Come along on the first Tuesday of the month to entertain or be entertained, from 7-9pm with $2 entry.

Family Seattle-bound
Eleven-year-old Isha Walker sang so confidently at the Music Makers evening, but it’sactually her last appearance for the year. Together with dad Mark (of Save Te Arai campaign), mum Anita (the mosaic lady!) and younger sister Scarlett, she's off to Seattle. Mark will be working on an IT project, while the girls and mum have quite a list of things to see and do while the house sitters take care of things at home!

Join the Rush
And if you haven't tried the award winning Rush Coffee, remember it's Rush Espresso.
Coming up
This Saturday May 17, 7pm, UK duo of Adam Piggot and Jayne Freeman will be performing at Sail Rock Cafe. Bookings essential. They are undertaking an extensive New Zealand tour, performing accoustic, folk, Americana with a range of instruments including ukulele and accoustic guitar. Outstanding performers. Check them out at www.adampiggotandjaynefreeman.com.

Kaiwaka Cinema, Friday June 6, 7.30pm the award winning film Gravity. And on Sunday June 8, 2pm, a matinee showing Walking With Dinosaurs. All tickets just $5.

News and views to share through this column? Phone Jo Roberts 431 4711, 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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