The women’s crew on board Rikki owned by Ray Haslar, in the Doves Bay Ladies Sailing Series, 2017. Skipper Annie Presett is in the middle, behind the wheel. The sseries is being revived in 2023. Photo / Kerikeri Cruising Club
Sailing series for women
A Ladies’ Sailing Series is being conducted under the auspices of the Kerikeri Cruising Club from Doves Bay in February and March.
The organiser is Vonnie France, who has been sailing
yachts for over 50 years and has developed skills and confidence through crewing for others and with ladies racing out of Auckland. She has also sailed in coastal and offshore events and has chartered boats in Vanuatu and the Bay of Islands.
“Since 2018 the Kerikeri Cruising Club Ladies Series has shrunk from the original eight boats and five races, with full ladies’ crews, until the last three years when only one boat showed up.
“Last year the one race was called off because of the weather.”
The series has now been revived. Most of the boats being used are owned by men, some have wives or partners as crew and Vonnie has spent some time promoting and helping to boost crews for the yachts. She has secured sponsorship from Errol Rogers 100%.
This year there is a commitment for eight boats with four more “in my sights”, she said. There is one race each Wednesday and the race will be a maximum of two hours.
The races will be followed by a light supper with spot prizes for each race for crew and a spot prize for the men supplying their yachts. The overall winner will receive the Carmen Woods Trophy Shield.
Racing dates: February 8 and 22, and March 8. Start time 6pm. For further information contact Vonnie France, email@example.com
Comedy heavyweights perform in Kerikeri
Three of the biggest names in comedy in New Zealand are appearing together at the Turner Centre on Saturday, February 4.
Called Saturday Laughs, the two-hour show has Justine Smith as Master of Ceremonies, or should that be Mistress of Ceremonies? And it features Tom Sainsbury and Nick Rado.
Smith has previously won the Billy T Award in 2003 and the NZ Comedy Guild’s Best Female Comedian in 2008. She lives in West Auckland and is a regular guest on The Project on TV3.
Tom Sainsbury has been active in the industry for many years but he exploded onto the mainstream media stage in 2017 after using Snapchat and short-form video content to satirise New Zealand politicians during that year’s elections.
Nick Rado is a guest panellist and head writer of over 250 episodes for TV3′s topical news comedy show 7 Days. He is the only comedian to win the NZ Comedy Guild Award for Best Comedy MC five times and he won the Best Male Comedian in the same awards in 2019.
He grew up in Titahi Bay, just north of Wellington, and is a former lifeguard. He attempted to set up a swim school when he was 19 but it was shut down by the local council because it was deemed “inappropriate”.
These three comedians are joined by a rising star on the comedy circuit, Kura Turuwhenua, who was the 2022 Raw Comedy Quest winner and was crowned the best new stand-up comedian in the country. She has given her fans her hilarious hot takes on TikTok and she has written for 7 Days.
Completing the line-up is Orain Ruaine-Prattley, who won the Wellington Raw Comedy Quest in 2021. He lives in Palmerston North and has made a name for himself by getting the loudest laughs from his subtle punchlines.
Italian Festival returns to Russell
The second Italian Festival is on again in Russell. The first, which was a sell-out, was held in April 2021.
Why Italy and Italian culture? Why not, says one of the organisers, who is Swiss. Chris Albrecht said the Italian influence in New Zealand is significant.
“A number of the mission helpers of Bishop Pompallier were Italian and some of the sailors navigating with Captain Cook were Italian.
“There wasn’t perhaps the large influence of Italian culture in New Zealand like there was in Australia, the USA or South America, but there are many episodes that remind of us the Italian presence here.
“The fisher families settling in Wellington, the Garibaldi gumdiggers in Otago and the Māori Battalion in World War II had encounters with the Italian population and discovered a similarity in family-oriented culture and lifestyle.”
Albrecht said these days the choice for an Italian to visit or settle in New Zealand is more connected to leisure, study or career.
The Italian Festival is being held at Hone’s Restaurant in Russell on Saturday, February 18. There’s a dress-up competition called “Wanna Be Italian” (think actors or fashion icons or even the Venetian carnival) and organisers are encouraging the dramatic.
There will be Italian music, lunch with an Italian twist, a quiz and Italian fashion accessories for sale. The idea for the festival came out of nostalgia for Italian culture and food.
Little Italian Festival, Hone’s Restaurant, York St, Russell, February 18 from 10am.
Project Island Song receives a donated vehicle
Until recently, the Department of Conservation (DoC) principally funded Project Island Song, the ecology group that has made the islands of Ipipiri (eastern Bay of Islands) pest free for 13 years.
That funding, however, has been reduced at a national level which has impacted other projects around the country that have now either had their funding reduced or stopped altogether. However, DoC will still be responsible for the walkways and surveillance on the islands.
Although Project Island Song receives other funding from various community groups and businesses, the withdrawal of the DoC funding forced the group to look elsewhere.
They turned to the local community, making an approach to the Freemasons Lodge Kororāreka No 304, through the Kororāreka Charitable Trust. The proposal submitted to the trust was for a vehicle of choice.
It was agreed to and the trust supported the purchase of a Mazda BT50. Pacific Motor Group offered a discount, Fleetline provided the rear canopy and Visual ID created the graphic design wrapped around the vehicle.
The Mazda will be used to tow a boat currently being built and which is expected to be ready for the water in mid-February. Funding for the boat was raised by public donations.
The Freemason Lodge has been involved in the community for 92 years but previously none of its charitable deeds has been made public. The vehicle handover to Project Island Song was the first public acknowledgment of their charity largesse.
Alastair Mitchell, spokesman for the lodge, said 20 years ago the Masonic organisation had 25,000 members nationwide. Now that’s down to 5000 and he said they have to encourage young men to join. They had also made significant contributions to the community over the years.
“But for far too long we have hidden our light under a bushel and from now on we will be openly talking about what we are doing because without any promotion we will wither on the vine,” he said.
The Mazda BT50 was handed over to Project Island Song at a ceremony at Russell School sports grounds last Monday.