News in brief: Ruapekapeka Rd sealed; Census Day coming up in March

Access to Ruapekapeka Pā near Kawakawa has improved with the sealing of the road.

The road to one of New Zealand’s most significant battle sites has now been sealed, greatly improving access to Ruapekapeka Pā near Kawakawa. The project involved sealing 5.3 kilometres of Ruapekapeka Road from State Highway 1 to the pā and the British encampment, as well as road widening, drainage works, corner corrections and ‘eco-friendly’ paving at the Monument Rd intersection to help manage stormwater flows. The sealing was funded by the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund and delayed by pandemic-related materials shortages. A temporary 50km/h speed limit will remain in place until the Northland Transportation Alliance finishes its review of speed limits. Ruapekapeka Pā was the site of the final battle of the Northern War of 1845-46. Ruapekapeka Rd is used as a secondary route when flooding or crashes close SH1 south of Kawakawa.


The official five-yearly count of Aotearoa New Zealand’s people and dwellings, citizens, residents, and overseas visitors is near, with Census Day on March 7. According to a Census spokesperson, iwi, community organisations, councils, businesses, and the Government use census data to make important decisions about where to fund and locate services and key aspects of infrastructure like hospitals, schools, roads, public transport, parks, and recreation facilities. It’s also the only way information about iwi affiliation and how many people speak te reo Māori is collected. Questions will be translated into New Zealand Sign Language for the first time, and the call centre is being set up with nine languages, with information available in 29 languages. To learn more, visit:



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The Kerikeri-Waipapa town supply has been flushed out in a bid to reduce water discolouration. Far North Waters Alliance manager Guillaume de Rouvroy said customers had raised concerns earlier this week about brown-coloured water coming from their taps. Tuesday night’s pipe flushing would help mitigate discolouration caused by higher-than-normal manganese levels in the Waingaro Reservoir, one of the town’s two water sources. Manganese is a naturally occurring trace mineral and, despite its appearance, the water was safe to drink, he said. Most of Kerikeri’s water supply was sourced from Puketotara Stream, but there were limits on how much water could be taken, so reservoir water was used during summer to supplement river water. If water discolouration continues, residents should phone the council contact centre on 0800 920 029.


According to NRC’s economics team, economic activity in the region increased by 1 per cent in the year ending September 2022, following two years of significant volatility. Meanwhile, the cost of living has increased, with a 8.4 per cent rise in food prices and a 5.8 per cent rise in the average weekly rent. Of the region’s four key primary industries, only kiwifruit increased in production and revenue in the 2021/22 season, although revenue also increased for dairy despite a fall in its output per hectare. The area planted in avocado and plantation forestry expanded, and the former experienced a drop in output.

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