The News ….. in brief

Cambridge Town Hall welcomes new manager

Simon Brew – new Town Hall general manager

Work to boost the usage of the Cambridge Town Hall and freshen up its facilities will pick up the pace this year with the Cambridge Town Hall Charitable Trust announcing the appointment of Simon Brew as its new general manager.

Born and bred in the Waikato and an old boy of St John’s College in Hamilton, Brew is returning to his roots, relocating back to the Waikato after many years in Wellington.

$6m overpaid

Te Whatu Ora Waikato (formerly Waikato DHB) says 6000 staff members were overpaid during the cyber outage in 2021, most by only small amounts. The organisation is now endeavouring to recover the $6 million owed. The DHB will not chase anyone overpaid by less than $20, said Jacquie Sherborne, acting executive Organisational Support. Read more.

Website hits

Well over a third of all hits to our website in the last week have been to our story about Cambridge drivers being driven to anger at roundabouts. Our social media post had nearly 200 comments and reached 50,000 people. Blame at the roundabouts was evenly spread between locals and new residents while district councillors were also held to account. The rest of the top five were: Home Page, Road works set to connect Cambridge, Wonderful Waka and The News ….. in brief.

Linking the generations

Dennis Lloyd flanked by Bunnies manager Sheree Jones, left, with youngsters Ava Jones and Chloe Beattie, and Cambridge Resthaven resident Linda Gorham, at the launch of ‘The Resthaven Bunnies’. Front from left are Blaze Collins, Maree Campbell, Jessie Haywood, Olive Pickering, Mel Burt with Sagato Kennach and Matthew Taylor. Photo: Michael Jeans

A new community venture linking the generations is tying together Cambridge Resthaven and Bunnies Childcare and Pre-School. The initiative kicked off with a morning tea at the Resthaven Village Centre that brought together Resthaven village residents and Bunnies youngsters.  Guest of honour at that event was Cambridge ‘good sort’, 91-year-old Dennis Lloyd, known for giving children soft toys on his daily walkabouts through town.

Dennis was presented with two large boxes of soft toys for him to give away. They were collected by the Resthaven residents and Bunnies families.  Resthaven residents and the Bunnies youngsters, who ranged in age from 17 months to just over three years, enjoyed toys and party food before the Bunnies group delivered a Christmas singalong. The gathering was the brainchild of Resthaven resident Linda Gorham and Bunnies manager Sheree Jones.  Both are keen for what has been called ‘The Resthaven Bunnies’ to become a regular fixture and are planning the next one for February.

Linda said the ‘surrogate grandparents’ would be welcome to join the activities, enjoy the singalong and read stories to the children, while Sheree said the venture offered an opportunity for Resthaven residents to build relationships with the young generation.

Road works

Transportation manager Bryan Hudson at developments on Hamilton Road.

Major road works will begin next month along Cambridge and Hamilton roads in preparation for development and growth in Cambridge West. The first stage of works will include road upgrades on Hamilton Road, between Vogel Street and just past Kelly Road. It will also involve extending the existing Hamilton Road cycleway and adding a signalised pedestrian crossing on Hamilton Road outside Little Thinkers kindergarten. New bus stops and shelters are planned for outside and across the road from the new medical centre. Read more.

Piarere push

Campaigner John Hansen says the positive reaction to last week’s story in The News about his call for a flyover, rather than the roundabout proposed by Waka Kotahi, to be built at the intersections of highways 1 and 29 at Piarere has reinforced his confidence. Read more

Driver shortage

Waipā District Council has conceded normal collection schedules can’t be maintained for “the foreseeable future” as a consequence of a national shortage of drivers. The council’s contractor Metallic Sweeping is struggling to find trained Class 4 drivers and has also been hit by staff illness. Metallic Sweeping managing director Clive Peter said the company was working with consultants to fast-track skilled drivers from overseas and had offered staff a finder’s fee to find new work mates.

Riding for funds

Two men are on their bikes for a good cause this week. Hamilton’s Keith Hobson, 76, is cycling 1000km over 12 days to raise money for the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter while Te Kuiti’s Kieran Powell, riding with a broken his wrist, is circumnavigating the country to raise funds for Hospice Waikato as a tribute to his grandmother who died aged 97 in August.

19 January 2023

Going spare

Prince Harry’s memoir ‘The Spare’ has generated steady but not overwhelming interest from Waipā readers. Waipā outreach librarian Dee Atkinson said the book was on order from the publishers and that by Monday 18 holds had been placed on it across the public libraries in Cambridge and Te Awamutu. Paper Plus in Cambridge and Te Awamutu are taking orders for the book, which is also in stock at both The Warehouse stores.

Car yard coming

Waikato-based car dealer John Ingham has dismissed rumours the development of its building on the former Bunnings site in Cambridge is not going ahead. Final touches are being made to the resource consent application following discussions with contractors acting on behalf of Waipā District Council. Ingham said instead of doing one dealership on the site, there was likely to be two. “It will be the end of this year before we put a spade in the ground though.”

Pedestrian counts up

Cambridge pedestrian stats for December show close to 95,000 shopped in the central business district – well up on the previous two years, says the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce. Many visitors, including international tourists, stopped in town on their way to other destinations, said the chamber.

Recession or not?

Former Reserve Bank governor of the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina and columnist for The News, Peter Nicholl gives his views on the coming year. Read more.

Nail salon pinged

The Employment Relations Authority has ordered Royal Nail Spa in Cambridge to pay a former employee $14,209.53 in wage arrears and $2500 in penalties along with $2500 to the Crown after the salon breached its statutory obligations and failed to act in good faith. The authority found Royal Nail failed to retain a copy of a signed employment agreement, keep a wage and time record, did not pay the correct adult minimum wage or holiday pay on termination. The authority reserved costs.

Plus one …

The first tenant – national retailer Postie – has been confirmed in the Leamington Village development. It will be the 110 year old company’s debut in the Cambridge market – it already has a store in Te Awamutu. Postie (formerly known as Postie Plus) is expected to open mid next month.

Record E-Waste pick-up

Urban Miners collected 72 car loads of e-waste in two hours on Sunday in the first collection of the year. The organisation’s new truck – a 1995 Isuzu Elf – was donated by Waipā District Council last year and got put to good use with heaps of TVs, computers and microwaves. The first Te Awamutu e-waste collection will be held on 29 January at the Te Awamutu Sports Rugby Club.

Busy parks staff

Waipā parks staff have hit 2023 running after 300mm more rain fell around the district in the last three months than usual. Once the rain stopped late last week, staff were out weeding and cleaning up.

Croquet winners

Leamington’s Ngaire Lucas, left, and Te Awamutu’s Christopher Johnpillai were named the winners at Leamington Croquet Club’s Mixed Club Day held on January 9. The event was Leamington’s first tournament of the year and drew players from Claudelands, Hamilton East, Te Awamutu and Putaruru. Monthly Mixed Club days are casual gatherings intended to pass on skills to newcomers and give players the confidence to enter tournaments. This season marks the Leamington Croquet Club’s 90th anniversary. In November 1932, the then Waikato Independent hailed the one-time pasture and swamp area at Leamington Domain as now providing “splendid facilities for tennis, bowling, croquet, cricket, hockey and football” for the people of Leamington and Cambridge. By October 1933, facilities were enhanced with the building of a clubhouse.

12 January 2023

One of the major events on the Waka Ama calendar – the national sprint championships – will start on Lake Karāpiro on Sunday. It runs to and running through to January 21.

Church music fest planned

A Festival of Church Music at St Andrew’s Church is being brought to Cambridge for the first time. The Auckland and Waikato branches of the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) event will run over three days from January 20.

Up to 40 singers and church musicians from around New Zealand will get together on the Friday evening, with Saturday set aside for fellowship, meals and workshops.  The celebration of church music will culminate in a sung Eucharist Service at 10am on the Sunday, a 4pm service on the same day, featuring items by famous composers.  The Sunday services are open to the public.

RSCM Waikato secretary Merv Hunt said while other church music initiatives had been held  in Cambridge this was the first time a festival such as this had come here.  The most recent similar event was a five-day RSCM Summer School held in Auckland five years ago, he said.

Top marks

St Peters is celebrating a 100 per cent pass rate in International Baccalaureate exams for 2022. All students entered have been awarded the full diploma.
The results follow three challenging years of pandemic learning and disruption for students and the results rank among the best seen at St Peter’s since 2009.
Highlights included Julie Brouwer being awarded a bilingual diploma, and five students – Amisha Sadani, Jack Dams, Paige Hughes, Jessica Walton and Fleming Wang – being among the top 40 scholars. The school’s average grade was 34 points; the world average was 30.9. The school also recorded four A grades for Theory of
Knowledge and three A grades for Extended Essay, two A grades for English Extended Essay (Masha Gavrilova and Rheannah Rapley) and one A for History (Fleming Wang).

New Year honours

Anita Mazzoleni

A total of four Waipā-based people were recognised in the New Year Honours List.

Karen and Ken Morris both receive the Queen’s Service Medal while Anita  Mazzoleni becomes an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) and Eric Murray joins an elite list as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM).

See: Honours for Waipā residents

Our top 10

Online visits to the Cambridge News website last year smashed all previous records and were 105 per cent up on 2021.The home page came in at number one with 14 per cent of the views followed in order from two to 10 by: Tea without Marg, Online Publications, Woman dies after freakish winds topple tree, Fire chief dies, The long and winding road, Honouring Don, Susan O’Regan elected Waipā mayor, Library plan driven out and The News…in brief.

See: The News grows online

Four on robbery charges

A 13-year-old boy is among four people arrested following a string of robberies in the Waikato. Waikato Police announced at the weekend that they had arrested a man and three teenagers following an operation targeting aggravated robberies. The Armed Offenders Squad was called in before a raid on a property in Rukuhia on Sunday.
Detective Senior Sergeant Scott Neilson said a 13-year old, two 17-year-olds and a 29-year-old were arrested without incident. It is alleged the four have been involved in offences over several months. “Offending such as aggravated robberies has a real impact on victims, their families, and the community. A considerable number of resources have been involved in the operation, and today’s outcome is a good result,” Neilson said.

The 29-year-old faces charges of theft, unlawfully using a motor vehicle, and driving while disqualified. He appeared in the Hamilton District Court this week. The three teenagers who are before the Hamilton Youth Court face a series of charges of including aggravated robbery.

Reader injured

A meter reader is in a critical condition in Waikato Hospital this week following an incident in Kihikihi. Police are appealing for details of sightings of two vehicles. One, a red Daihatsu Terios, registration LKN281, belongs to the injured person and the other is a silver Nissan Primera, registration DHA220. Both vehicles are believed to have been driven to Kihikihi from Tihiroa. An ambulance was called on January 5 to Oliver Street where the meter reader had suffered serious head injuries.

Business awards

Entries for the Waipa Networks Business Awards will close in just over a month – on February 13. Organisers, the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, are also calling for nominations for the Leader of the Year award. The award is open to any chief executive in the region.

Gas leak

Bowen St between King St and Princess St, and Williams St between Grosvenor St and Stafford St in Cambridge were closed on Tuesday while a gas leak was  stemmed.

Quake felt

The magnitude 5.1 earthquake which rocked Te Aroha and was felt extensively throughout Waipā at 5.39am on January 4 was a major talking point on social media. Our online call to see who felt it attracted more than 200 comments. The quake was 6.7 kilometres deep.

See: Earthquakes felt in Cambridge

Weather forecast

As Cyclone Hale brought an end to a predominantly dry spell over the start of the New Year, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, NIWA, was forecasting more of the same for the first three months of 2023 – warmer than average temperatures and more rain than usual, particularly in the east of the North Island.

22 December 2022


Labradors are the most popular breed among registered dogs in Waipā.

Bella and labradors top the Waipā dog poll

If your dog is called Bella and you’re out for a walk and call out her name, be prepared to have several dogs come bounding up to you. Bella is the top dog’s name in Waipā followed by Molly, Charlie, Ruby and Poppy. And it’s odds on one of the dogs will be a labrador as that’s the most popular breed in the district with 1271 of the 9434 dogs followed by collies (642), huntaways (491), spaniels (465) and Jack Russell and fox terriers (both 413).

The council has rehomed 42 dogs in the last year including Duke who was impounded five times in the past year and the council animal control staff have finally found him a new home and hope to have seen him for the last time. Not a lot is known about the name and breed of the 318 unregistered dogs on the council’s database other than owners can expect to see an animal control staff member soon.

And it’s a merry ….

The Cambridge News will next publish on January 12 and we will update our website and social media platforms during the break. Email us any news tips on [email protected] Merry Christmas from the editorial team of Roy Pilott, Mary Anne Gill, Viv Posselt and Steph Bell-Jenkins. See you in 2023.

Website visits

You can never beat a good baby story. The picture/story Mama… Mia, featuring Cambridge community board member Alana MacKay, husband Phil and new-born Mia, accounted for 25 per cent of all visits to the site in the last week. The also rans were: The News …. in brief, Hit the Target, A serving of pickleball, Council looks at Māori land.

Alana and Mia MacKay

Covid warning

Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand Waikato is warning Waikato residents to plan ahead as Covid infection rates rise. Covid-19 Directorate executive lead Maree Munro said there were 3000 active Covid-19 cases in the region and it was important to check when medical centres and pharmacies will be open. Free RAT kits can be ordered online at the Covid-19 website. Waikato hospitals are open over the holiday period and emergency departments will continue to provide urgent care.

Restricted fire season

A restricted fire season has been declared for the Coromandel from 9am today (20 December) until 1 February 2023. District Manager Daryl Trim says the fire season has been changed to reduce the risk of fires getting out of control with the expected influx of holidaymakers in the area.

No dumping please

Hospice Waikato is urging people not to dump their post-Christmas leftovers at their op shops in Cambridge and Te Awamutu.

Funding secured

Waipā District Council has secured up to $5.24 million from the government’s Better Off fund. The money has been allocated from a $2 billion fund to help councils pay for community improvement projects as part of the Three Waters reform. Funding will be used for Te Ara Wai Discovery Centre, a resource recovery centre, Lake Ngā Roto management plan, CCTV cameras, Te Awamutu/Ngā Roto/ Pirongia cycleway connection and a feasibility study for a new Cambridge library.

Fire call

The Don Rowlands Centre at Karāpiro was evacuated during last weekend’s Christmas rowing regatta following an electrical fault. Cambridge volunteer firefighters found the problem resolved when they arrived – the power had been switched off. All that was then required was to ventilate the building.

River project

A project to retrieve foreign objects dumped in the Waikato River has received $250,000 funding. Deep Dive Division will work at seven sites from Narrows Landing, through Hamilton city to Ngāruawāhia retrieving dumped items.

More potholes

Waka Kotahi says the latest round of bad weather has affected both road conditions and progress on road renewals. The roading agency says a number of new potholes emerged following rain in the middle of last week.

15 December 2022

Café for pool

A café will be built within the Cambridge Perry Aquatic Centre at no cost to the Waipā council. Access to the café will be available to both internal and external customers via kiosk type windows and operated by a third party on behalf of the Waipā Community Facilities Trust.

It will be in an existing service accessway to the 50m pool, adjacent to a Waipā Networks transformer enclosure, which will have to be moved.

Charitable Trust scholarships

Charlotte Risi, Chloe Cawte and Gemma Barham of Cambridge High School were among 31 recipients of David Johnstone Charitable Trust grants presented in Hamilton last week. Each student received $6000 to start their tertiary career. Hundreds of Waikato school leavers have realised their potential in tertiary education in science, engineering, teaching and technology thanks to Johnstone’s determination to give other ambitious, hard-working young people the gift of learning. He died in 1990 and the first of the annual scholarships were awarded in 1993.

Ava’s a winner

Karāpiro School student Ava Williams has featured in the 2022 Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand Humanity Awards. Principal Tina-Maree Thatcher said Ava, who was nominated by the school, was a role model “and we are delighted to celebrate her success… we will follow Ava’s future humanitarian endeavours with interest.”

Ava Williams with teacher Daniel Churstain.

Hit the Target

A community newspaper advertising campaign calling for registered and enrolled nurses and midwives keen to return to work at Waikato, Thames, Te Kuiti, Taumarunui or Tokoroa hospitals, has hit the target. Read more.

Top five stories

Our online readers to loved the news in brief feature we launched last week.

It was the top page with more than 37 per cent of all visitors. The rest of the top five were: A warning about photos, Ready for the Special Olympics, Cambridge girl from beginning to end and CJD blood ban will be lifted.

Welcome back

Philip Coles

Mike Pettit

Two councillors on leave since they were re-elected to the Waipā District Council on October 8 have been welcomed back and sworn in.

Philip Coles and Mike Pettit missed the pōwhiri and swearing in of Waipā’s mayor and councillors on October 31 at Lake Karāpiro and meetings held in the intervening period. Now back from leave, they made their declarations at the council meeting this week.

They had been unable to act as members of the council until the ceremony.

Ready for foot and mouth

The spread of foot and mouth disease in Indonesia has Emergency Management operations staff in Waipā, and the rest of New Zealand, on red alert. The Ministry for Primary Industries is leading national planning, Waipā Emergency Management operations manager David Simes told the Regulatory committee this week.

Basic scenarios were worked through at national planning workshops where lessons identified during the Covid 19 pandemic were considered. New Zealand has never had an outbreak of foot and mouth disease which is caused by a virus that infects cloven-hooved animals – cows, pigs, sheep, goats, deer, alpaca and llama – but not rodents, cats, dogs, birds, or horses.

It is an animal health disease and unrelated to the human hand, foot and mouth disease common in young children.

Kiwifruit on high ….

An application to build artificial shelters for a Cambridge kiwifruit orchard is heading to the High Court.

Independent commissioner Alan Withy granted the land use consent in August, but a neighbour applied for a judicial review which will be held at the High Court in Hamilton next May 13.

Owners GDP Orchards at 383 Parallel Road want to build vertical and horizontal (overhead) artificial shelter and cryptomeria shelterbelts breaching setbacks and site coverage requirements in the Rural Zone.

Further down the road, at 582 Parallel Rd, Kiwifruit Investments Ltd has applied for a retrospective land use resource consent to build vertical and horizontal artificial kiwifruit shelters.

Owners started planning vines at the former grazing block and asparagus plot earlier this year and have already planted 15ha with another 8.5ha to go. A hearing date has yet to be set.

8 December 2022

Grinch in town

Vandals smashed lights around the base of Cambridge’s public Christmas tree on Sunday, only hours after a successful parade. Community board chair Jo Davies-Colley said the board would replace them at a cost of about $400. “Hopefully it doesn’t happen again. We want the town looking festive,” she said.

Hall St sealing

Relief is finally near for Hall Street residents in Cambridge who have complained for years about their ‘third world’ street which they say resembles a cross country course. Design is underway to seal the road edge after residents said the designated ‘heritage’ street was a victim of incomplete roading and poor maintenance by Waipā council.

River ride opens

The last section of the Te Awa River Ride from to Riverglade Drive in Tamahere to Howell Avenue in Hillcrest will open tomorrow – 13 years after the ride was started. The 65km ride from Karāpiro to Ngāruawāhia passes through Hamilton, Tamahere and Cambridge.

River slips

Further slipped has occurred from the Cambridge Wastewater Treatment Plant along the Waikato River banks beneath the rapid infiltration beds. Waipā District Council and Waikato Regional Council are both monitoring the slips and planning remedial planting once a safety plan is in place. Cambridge’s new $110 million wastewater treatment plant will be one of the most advanced operations in the country when it opens in four years. In the meanwhile, it is operating on a short-term consent.

Route extended

Construction on the Cambridge Road urbanisation extension to just past Kelly Road in Cambridge will begin early next year. The transport corridor will extend walking, cycling and mobility options and add further bus stops, lighting and another signal pedestrian crossing.

Footpath renewals

Princes, Vogel, Taylor and Fort streets in Cambridge had footpath renewal works completed in October while 500m of new path was completed in Milton Street, Roading manager Bryan Hudson told the Waipā Service Delivery committee this week. Cobblestones were also laid outside the Hazlemere Crescent shops in Te Awamutu and a new foothpath is planned in Collinson Street, Pirongia early next year.

Drivers recruited

Publicity generated when there was a shortage of drivers to pick up glass recycling resulted in the recruitment of new drivers, Waipā Waste Minimisation officer Sally Fraser said. Having new drivers learning the duties and routes means there have been some missed collections, but this will improve.

Bus numbers on the up

Regional bus services from Cambridge and Te Awamutu into and back from Hamilton are now ahead of pre Covid levels. Easing of Covid restrictions and half price fares are responsible, Waipā Roading manager Bryan Hudson says. Total Mobility data, for those with mobility issues or disabled, is not available but usage there is also expected to be up on pre-2020 levels.

Namings approved

The Waipā Service Delivery committee approved six new road names – Mangahia Lane, part of the Reid Road development near Ngāhinapōuri, Keri Rua Road, Hauhake Terrace, Whakahaumako Road and Bruce Cochlane Lane, all in Leamington. Mangahia Lane is near a stream of the same name, Keri Rua means digging the holes and refers to the borrow pits that have been a prominent feature of the cultural landscape, Hauhake means harvest and Whakahaumako means enhance, a reference to horticultural soils. Bruce Cochrane is named after the Cochranes Transport owner and is a right of way road off Cambridge Road.

Council says yes

Three applicants to the District Promotions Fund have been granted funding. Waipā District Council allocated a total of $14,000 from the fund, including $8000 for the Takapoto Classic, a week-long international show jumping event in February, $1000 to the Mountain Bike NZ National Cross-Country Series Race 3 at Pirongia next February and $5000 to help fund a two-day tournament in April as part of Cambridge Football’s 75th Jubilee celebration.

Top five online stories

Our best read stories on line at last week were  Karāpiro changes ahead, Gaye joins the team, Community ‘disconnect’, Filling in where needed and A council still divided.

Glitches galore

We have to fess up, several mistakes slipped through our usually reliable checking system last week. We sent you to pages to read stories that weren’t there, said Gaye Bezzant played goal and not golf and had mayor Susan O’Regan sitting next to Bruce Wright when it was Fonterra chair Peter McBride. The previous week we reported Cambridge’s new wastewater treatment plant would cost $28 million. The estimate is actually $110 million.

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