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Did You Know.......


Betty’s big win
Betty Dix (yes, Murray's mum!) always supports the Heart Foundation Lottery: "I've got a pacemaker, and my husband has had open heart surgery," she says. But no one could have been more surprised to receive the phone call advising her of the Lottery 93 draw. Betty won first prize, a Jennian designer dream home, fully furnished, in Whangamata! "I was in shock for a few days," she confessed, "and quite overwhelmed." As always, Betty was thinking of her family, with plans to ensure they get to enjoy the new 'holiday' home for a while. Everyone who knows Betty quotes that old cliche, 'it couldn't happen to a nicer person'. We agree.

Friends with benefits
Have you become a Friend of the Museum? Apart from giving support to the museum, there are some distinct advantages for you and your family. For a start, there is free entry to the museum for the year of membership, and when you consider that annual membership is just $30, or $50 per couple which includes families with children under the age of 18 years, this has to be a very good deal. You'll also receive up to three newsletters per year to keep you informed of latest developments and upcoming events, plus invitations to guest lectures held at the museum. Call in and join up.

First special exhibition
'When War comes to Mangawhai', the first special exhibition, is now open. RMS Niagara, and the sinking by a German mine (there is one on display) features in a comprehensive and fascinating record of what was happening here in Mangawhai. You'll need plenty of time to read the letters, news clippings, and photographs that are bound to fascinate all ages. And if you've joined up as a Friend, you'll be able to return as often as you wish without having to pay the entry fee!

Community Garden report
Because we are well into May, Community Garden volunteers are planting out the cold weather seedlings. Wet Fridays don't deter the happy team of more than a dozen regular volunteers plus many others who come whenever they can, or to harvest the vegetables for distribution by Julie and Graeme Wintle to sick and elderly clients of Geneva Health.

Many people don't seem to be aware that the gardens are real 'community’ gardens, not individual allotments. Volunteers arrive any time from 8am on a Friday, and all help with planting, harvesting, composting, weeding, digging or whatever people feel like doing before stopping to gather for a chat over Joan's homemade lemon drink and a biscuit. Anyone who helps is welcome to take home a share of the produce before the bulk of it is collected for distribution. Work is complete by 11am.

As is common in magical Mangawhai, there are many people who quietly contribute to the success of these gardens: the Memo donations for necessary gardening requirements; alpaca manure which Russell collects from Dana's farm; Adrian's poultry manure; Rick's calf shed mulch; horse manure and hay that gets dropped off… . Thanks to Russell who keeps the kikuyu in check, and Ian who kindly grows

the seedlings of many vegetables planted, and people who bring down their own surplus fruit and veges for distribution. Anyone who is interested in joining this worthwhile and productive project can contact Joan or Ted on 431 5924, or simply turn up on a Friday morning.

More riparian planting
And across the road from the Community Garden there is more planting about to happen – riparian planting. There is to be a special Riparian Planting Day on Sunday May 31 (Queens Birthday weekend) starting at 10am, on the corner of Tara Road and Kaiwaka Mangawhai Road at the spot known locally as the Bridge to Nowhere! If it should be pouring with rain, meet at the same time the next day, Monday June 1. If the whole weekend is wet, the back-up time to meet is Sunday June 10 at 10am. Come suitably attired and with your choice of tools. One or two hours work, and it should be interesting to see what is happening there with previous plantings. Jane Vaughan is the contact 431 4828.

Hey pesto!
Kale is very fashionable this season, but Elaine (who works at Village GAS) has been making kale pesto for years. Those who have tried it say it is 'to die for' – so many requests for the recipe that it is easier to print in this column! Please note, do NOT substitute the toasted pinenuts with other nuts.

METHOD: 12 kale leaves (remove the stems), blanch for 15 seconds. Quarter cup of toasted pinenuts, one third cup grated Parmesan cheese, 3 cloves garlic, juice of a lemon, half teaspoon salt, half cup olive oil... all in the blender. Yum!

Casino fundraiser
What a night this promises to be, the big Casino Royale fundraising dinner and auction on Saturday June 20 in the Recreation Centre. Five families have worked together to present this gala event, with the aim of having a fabulous night of fun while raising $20,000 for the covered family picnic and barbecue area planned at the Mangawhai Activity Zone (MAZ). Tickets on sale now from Bammas in the village – $80pp, or $600 for a table for 8. A big night from 6.30pm until midnight with Leigh Hart as MC, and a shuttle bus service!

Ethical dilemma
Something quite different is Everybody's Reading Room, written by Sheri O'Neill, and staged at Otamatea Repertory Theatre on June 6&7. Described as a Kaipara crisis of conscience during the First World War, it challenges us to ask ourselves what's right and what's wrong and how we decide.

Despite horrendous losses at Gallipoli, the anti-militarism of Dargaville draper Arthur Grace is opposed by many. Frustrated by the jingoistic fervour of his community, Arthur loses himself in writing a play and conducting an out-of-character affair. But with the war dragging on, he must again stand for his convictions, and on the eve of the Somme offensive, harsh consequences become inevitable. Recommended for audiences over 13 years. Bookings at eventfinda.co.nz.

n The former museum building in the village is to be occupied by Mangawhai Artists Inc. to house a gallery and workshop. An exciting step forward for the group.

n This Town, a TV series with an episode filmed locally, is due to be seen on our screens sometime in July.

n That frustrating green button which activated the door at the Vet Centre has now been replaced with a manually operated door handle which everyone knows how to use! Lots of positive comments!

n Spotted: Sign outside La Croix hairdressing in Bennetts market square saying Closed this Saturday, rugby with Lochie. And proud mum Sheryl reported that he was awarded player of the day too!

n Kaiwaka Community Cinema: Still Alice, Friday May 29, 7.30pm; Birdman, Friday June 12. Phone 431 2225 or 431 2234 for details.

n Coming up on July 24, a delicious Indian meal fom Spice Lounge and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel all for $25. Last event sold out, so prebook early by phoning Penny 431 2225.

n SeniorNet Mangawhai have a HELP clinic this Thursday at the Club, Molesworth Drive, from 10.30am -12.30pm. Bring your laptop, iPad, tablet, or just come along with your questions. Just $10 members, $15 non-members.

Also, an iPad course commences this Wednesday May 27. Some spaces still available. Remember, you don't have to have your own device to come to a course as SeniorNet have some available for students to use. Contact Tony Cox 431 2269.

n Interested in cruising? Claudia Moir from NZ Travel Brokers is hosting an information evening at The Club, Thursday June 4 at 6.30pm. Drinks and nibbles, guest speaker. RSVP by June 1 to Claudia 431 5899 or text 021 431 589.

Chick upside down being banded-160Fairy tern monitored
Recently, there was a slight misprint in the Focus describing banding of fairy terns as 'branding'. Blame spell check! This is not the same procedure as seen in old Western movies of cowboys applying a hot iron to sizzle on the rump of cattle. Jane Vaughan of the Fairy Tern Trust explains that the only similarity is that both procedures give us a way of knowing where animal and bird came from.

Banding is done to young fairy terns just before they can fly, usually between 16 and 19 days. The tiny birds freeze as a DoC officer approaches and pops it into a soft material bag. It is then weighed, wing span and beak length noted, and a tiny feather removed, from which the gender is decided from the speck of blood in the base. Small pliers are then used to put bands on the matchstick-sized legs; a metal one with a number and two or three others of coloured plastic. This procedure is over very quickly and they are soon back with their parents. When the combination of colours and metal bands are seen by eagle-eyed observers, migration, age of first breeding, parents and siblings are known. Also, this is a clear way of counting them.

RECORDS: Banding of a fairy tern at Mangawhai Spit. A combination of coloured bands gives the chick its personal identification. – PHOTO/Supplied

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

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