News in brief from Northland – Oil spill drill, youth festival and smoke alarm warning

Northland Regional Council staff taking part in an exercise on a fictional oil spill from a commercial fishing vessel running aground on a rock in the Tūtūkākā Harbour last week.

Oil spill exercise

Two dozen Northland Regional Council staff have taken part in a practical exercise based around a fictional oil spill from a commercial fishing vessel running aground on a rock in the Tūtūkākā Harbour. Exercise Red Rock Tūtūkākā saw council staff – watched over by an observer from Maritime New Zealand – mobilise, set up an Emergency Operations Centre and take to the water in two boats as part of last Thursday’s response. Oil spill exercises are an important way for those who respond to real spills to keep their skills sharp. The latest exercise had been based on a commercial fishing boat becoming badly damaged after running aground on Tūtūkākā Harbour’s Red Rock, spilling lubricating oil from a 900-litre container on deck. The make-believe vessel also had seven tonnes of fuel in its tanks and held 200 litres of hydraulic oil for its hydraulic system.

One hurt in serious crash

One person has been seriously injured in a single-vehicle crash in Northland. The crash happened at about 3.20 pm yesterday on Paparoa-Oakleigh Road at Mareretu, north of Paparoa. Police said there were two people in the vehicle and one was seriously injured.

Smoke alarms warning

Fire and Emergency New Zealand is urging people to take home fire safety seriously after four people were injured in a house fire in Northland early Saturday morning. Group manager Wayne Martin said a parent and three children received burns in the fire on the outskirts of Kaikohe. They did not get early warning of the fire because there were no working smoke alarms in the house. “This shows the importance of having working smoke alarms in every home. Every whānau and household needs to have an escape plan for their home, and make sure everyone knows what to do in the case of fire. That includes getting out quickly, going to the pre-arranged safe meeting place, and not trying to go back inside.” After escaping their home, the family sought help from neighbours some distance away, and four fire crews from Kaikohe, Ōkaihau and Kawakawa battled to save the house, but it was already well ablaze when they arrived about 10 minutes after being alerted. Martin said the fire was devastating for the whānau involved, and he hoped to save others from suffering the same traumatic experience.

Free festival for Youth Week

A free youth event with live music, entertainment and activities will be held in Whangārei in May to help celebrate Youth Week. The Puāwai Taiohi Wellbeing Festival will be held at Pūtahi Park, at Whangārei Town Basin on Saturday, May 20, from 11am to 2pm. Organisers said the idea for the festival was spawned at an Inspiring Stories Youth Summit held in Whangārei last November. A group of taiohi (youth) pitched the idea to host a festival to encourage their peers to find passions and opportunities in their local area in a safe, and fun way. The youth were feeling disheartened at how many of their peers have a disconnect from their community. There will also be information about health and wellness services in Whangārei that are available to support young people.


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Trail needs support

Te Araroa Northland Trust is seeking trustees to join a small, high-energy team devoted to being kaitiaki (guardians) and champions of the long pathway of New Zealand. Valued skills include basic building or landscaping, and financial or fundraising experience for charitable organisations. Those based near Kerikeri, Puketī Forest, Mangamuka, Ōmāhuta, Kaitāia, Ahipara, and Herekino may benefit from proximity, but all are welcome to help facilitate an outstanding experience for walkers. To learn more, contact William Fuller on 0277147845 or

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