The News ….. in brief

Waiting to spend a penny

A toilet block in Cambridge destroyed by an arson attack in April has yet to be replaced. The land where the Thornton Road disability friendly toilet block stood near the Lake Te Koo Utu playground has been cleared.
Waipā District Council says its Community Services team is working with insurers and contractors on valuations and quotes for the rebuild. Timeframes are expected next week. The nearest public toilets are adjacent to the Lake Te Koo Utu carpark off Albert Street.

Voting opens

The race to replace Waipā District councillor Takena Stirling in the Māori ward starts today. The by election has four candidates – Bill Harris, Barney Manaia, Dale-Maree Morgan and Gaylene Roberts. Voting is open to electors on the Māori roll and runs to June 23. Stirling resigned in March.

Fines drop

The fining system for overdue library books in Waipā – which generates about $18,000 a year but comes with administration costs and angst, is to go. Waipā District Council, debating its 2023-24 fees and charges, has decided to join other councils around the country in removing overdue library fines from July.

Art winner

Hawke’s Bay artist Ricks Terstappen won the Fieldays No.8 Wire National Art Award for his artwork titled Connectivity last week. The finalists’ artworks will be on display until July 2 at ArtsPost in central Hamilton.

Museum closed

Cambridge Museum will be closed from next Tuesday for seismic strengthening work. The work, expected to cost about $400,000 should take about six weeks.

Land sale

Waipā District Council has made a sizeable profit by selling part of a 3.7ha parcel it bought for just under $700,000 six years ago. A 1.4ha block has been sold to public housing Crown agency Kainga Ora for almost $2.7 million. The land in Cambridge Rd, Te Awamutu, will be the site of 30 homes as part of an affordable housing project for people 55 years and over. Read more.


25 May 2023

Papakāinga go ahead

The council has approved the Ngāti Koroki-Kahukura Trust’s application to build a further nine new houses in its Westlea Road, Maungatautari papakāinga development. The consent is for two five bedrooms, three four bedrooms and four two-bedroom homes, three of which are kaumātua houses. Papakāinga is owner-occupied housing owned and occupied by and for whānau, generally with a Māori Land Court registered Licence to Occupy.

New dress for investiture

Karen and Ken Morris have Queen Service medals for now as the recognition process started while Queen Elizabeth was still alive. Photo: Mary Anne Gill

Karen Morris has a new dress while husband Ken has drycleaned his suit for tomorrow’s investiture ceremony in Government House, Wellington. The Cambridge couple will receive their Queen’s Service Medals for services to the community from Governor general Dame Cindy Kiro, and husband Richard Davies in front of family members.

New retirement village

Arvida Group has applied to build a new retirement village on Maungatautari Road. The village, which will be in the grounds of the Henley Hotel, will comprise 130 standalone villas and 20 serviced apartments in the rural zone. Arvida, which developed Lauriston Park in Leamington, is one of the largest operators of retirement village and aged care communities in New Zealand and proposes to redevelop Henley into a new retirement community for Cambridge.

Website visits

Our front page story about plaudits for the Cambridge Farmers’ Market has been the best read story on our website so far this month. Trio’s glad tidings about the three children who found money at the beach and then got it when no one claimed it came in second. Super Gran, who penned in the ram raiders, still ranks well ahead of Early look at dam work about Karāpiro Dam and our consistently popular News in Briefs rounds out the top five.

Diversion road to keep traffic flowing

A diversion road to minimise traffic disruption during construction along Cambridge Road, Cambridge will be in place from Tuesday June 6. It will start just past Te Awa Lifecare for approximately 200m and will divert back onto Cambridge Road. The diversion is expected to be in place for 16 months while contractors lay storm water pipes and complete the construction of the new single-lane roundabout.

Bus figures

Last week, The News was provided data, also given to Waipā District Council, which showed that on two days last month – April 9 and April 17 – no passengers caught the Cambridge bus. The regional council has since confirmed that was incorrect, attributing it to “technical issues” with its patronage database. In fact, on April 9, 64 passengers caught the Cambridge bus, and, on April 17, 443 passengers were aboard.

Previous story

Bus patronage mixed

Two Cambridge regional bus services ran with no passengers all day last month – on Easter Sunday April 9 and Monday April 17, according to figures released by Waikato Regional Council to the Waipā council. Nearly 10,000 trips were made to and from Cambridge and Hamilton in the month with the busiest day – 794 trips – on Monday April 3. The most frequented stop is in Victoria Square, opposite the Town Hall.

Disaster test

There will be a nationwide test of the Emergency Mobile Alert System on Sunday between 6-7pm. The test will be followed by the Annual Disaster Preparedness Survey which will contain questions about receiving an emergency mobile alert.

Art finalist

Te Awamutu’s Dagmar Elliott is one of 26 finalists in the  2023 Fieldays No.8 Wire Art Award. The Fieldays event challenges artists to turn wire into art and the winners will be announced today ahead of an exhibition of the finalists’ artworks startering tomorrow at Hamilton’s ArtsPost Galleries and Shop.  Elliott and son Nick won the competition in 2014.

18 May 2023

The temporary cycleway and footpath opposite Hugo Shaw Drive in Cambridge Road. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.

Safely does it

A temporary cycleway and footpath has been installed on Cambridge Road from Resthaven to the Velodrome as part of Waipā District Council’s $3.5 million first stage roading upgrade. Stage one of the two-year Cambridge Corridor project includes road upgrades on Hamilton and Cambridge Roads, between Vogel Street and just past Kelly Road. A new signalised pedestrian crossing is going in outside Little Thinkers Kindergarten and across the road to the Hamilton Rd Shopping Centre as are new bus stops and shelters.

Within two years a safe roading network, including a new roundabout and underpass, will link the town with the new Cambridge West developments. The temporary cycleway and footpath will enable residents of Te Awa Lifecare to travel safely on foot, bicycle or on mobility equipment between the retirement village and town for the first time since the village was built a decade ago.

Preparations heat up

A three-person Cambridge team, the Cambridge Vollys’ – made up of Glenn Philip, Michael Morton and Leon Vincent – has raised $4949 ahead of competing in the 2023 Firefighter Sky Tower Challenge on Saturday. The challenge, now in its 19th consecutive year, sees teams racing 328m up Auckland Sky Tower’s 51 flights of stairs – or 1103 individual steps – in full firefighting kit weighing 25kg to raise funds, and awareness for, Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand. This year, about 1000 firefighters from around New Zealand – and even some from Australia – are set to make the climb.

Gabrielle costs

The final cost of cleaning up after Cyclone Gabrielle was $156,000 putting the Waipā council over its annual storm damage budget by $140,000. The council responded to 295 customer requests and removed 42 cyclone damaged trees. In Cambridge, 12 trees blocked tracks around Lake Te Koo Utu and had to be removed. Hazardous trees and debris were removed from the lake and all tracks reopened.

Let us help

Waipā District Council has offered to assist Waikato Regional Council with its passenger transport services’ communications and marketing. This follows residents’ complaints they were unaware of new regional bus services travelling through Cambridge and Te Awamutu.

Trash talk

Contractors have removed large amounts of rubbish from Ngā Roto, Bulmer’s Landing and Keeley Reserve. Included was household rubbish, whiteware and green waste. Meanwhile there has been a reduction in vandalism and graffiti across the rural reserves this year.

Reading galore

Waipā Libraries signed up 657 new members – 379 in Cambridge and 278 in Te Awamutu – in the first three months of the year. The service hosted nearly 36,000 visitors – about 18,000 in each town – and issued 110,415 items. Cambridge has 21,870 patrons and Te Awamutu 16,318.

New library?

Work has started on exploring the need and possibilities of having a new Cambridge library as part of the government’s Better Off Funding package. Waipā council will use the $250,000 grant to secure some external support and utilise the Cambridge Community Board’s expertise. The board has getting a new library as one of its top priorities.

Depot moved

Cambridge-based Waipā District Council parks staff are on the lookout for a new depot. Staff currently use space under The Warehouse in Wilson Street, adjacent to council offices, but there have been health and safety concerns raised. Long term, council is looking at a new depot in Matos Segedin Drive on council land but short term, a site in Carters Flat is under consideration.

Cooper selected

Cambridge cycling coach Jack Cooper has been named by Paralympics New Zealand in the first cohort of 42 para athletes and coaches for the Para Sport Collective.       The collective is for those in the pre-high performance stage of the para sport pathway.

Footpaths replaced

New footpaths have been installed on Cook Street in Leamington while pavers have been relaid or replaced on Empire and Lake streets in the Cambridge central business district.

Root damage

Consultation is underway with Hall Street residents over sealing parts of the road edges in one of Cambridge’s oldest streets. The tree-lined designated heritage street has several rough edges caused by tree roots. The council has been in talks with residents for more than a decade.

House bought

A two bedroom house in Milicich Place, Cambridge which Waipā council bought last year for strategic purposes will be leased out for two years. Settlement for the property, currently used as offices, is next month. The council owns several properties in the area and wants to produce a feasibility study to determine a long-term strategy for it.

Going it alone

Hautapu Rugby Club decided to get its own concept plans drawn up for Cambridge Memorial Park rather than collaborate with other groups in the northern area of the Town Belt. The groups met earlier this year and chose not to seek external funding for a combined masterplan prompting the rugby club to engage its own supplier but is open to working with other stakeholders.

New fields set

Cambridge’s newest playing fields have had their first mow but are not expected to see any sporting action on them for a few weeks. The two new fields to the north of John Kerkhof Park cost $900,000 to complete and work included the installation of new drainage and irrigation, earthworks and re-levelling of the ground. A swale drain – which had prevented the fields being used as a football pitch or cricket area – has been filled in.

The fields had previously been unusable during winter. Waipā District Council community services manager Brad Ward told the Service Delivery committee this week contractors, who started work in November last year, did extremely well in testing conditions. As part of the work TIC Contracting completed the installation of primary and secondary drainage and irrigation at the park. The fields are in a grow-in phase and are expected to be open for play later this month.

Meanwhile following a series of meetings with sports field lessees in the district, the council is considering five options for the next stage of engagement. They include maintaining the status quo, a voluntary opt in to council management, urban sports fields managed by council, all sports fields managed by council or a different type of investment. The aim of the review is to assess which option will best deliver a network of high quality, safe and accessible sports fields that enables and inspires residents to get active, supports a strong event calendar and contributes to placemaking and environmental outcomes.

Hospice t shirts

It is Hospice New Zealand’s National Awareness Week and Cambridge-based fashion brand Harrïe & Sam has collaborated with Hospice Waikato to create a collection of exclusive T-shirts aiming to raise awareness and vital funds for the organisation. Stacey McIntosh said raising funds for hospice was important for her as it allowed her company to recognise and honour the remarkable individuals who make hospice’s daily operations possible including nurses, entertainers, shop volunteers and family caregivers.

Apprentice grants open

Cambridge Rotary wants building apprentices to apply for its annual grants which provide up to $1000. The money can be spent on tools, technology or course costs. Students must work in the Cambridge area, have at least six months experience in the building or construction trades, and be recommended or sponsored by their employer. Applications close May 25.

Raising funds

Cambridge woman Angela Neville is joining a national effort to support Kiwis affected by breast cancer by participating in a Pink Ribbon Breakfast challenge this month. She is hoping to raise at least $350.00 from participating in her fundraising challenge for Breast Cancer Foundation NZ and has already raised over half that amount. If you’d like to host a Pink Ribbon Breakfast, visit 

11 May 2023

Kip coming

Education centre Kip McGrath opens its new Cambridge premises in Lakewood on Saturday with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Taupō MP Louise Upston and Waipā mayor Susan O’Regan. A public open day follows starting at midday.

Dairy awards

The winners of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards will be announced in Auckland on Saturday. In the running is Te Awamutu’s Sam Dodd, who is a Dairy Manager of the Year finalist. Finalists compete for a total prize pool of about $200,000.

Contract call

Waka Kotahi is preparing to go to tender and hopes to have the contract awarded by August for its planned State Highway 1 and 29 intersection roundabout. The project was given the go ahead by the Environment Court.

Tour coming

Award-winning Kiwi photographer and storyteller Helen Manson will speak in Cambridge on Monday as part of her ‘A Celebration of Humanity’ tour.  Manson works for Tearfund and will speak on her experiences across 35 countries.  The talk is at the Raleigh Street Christian Centre, and doors open at 7pm.

4 May 2023

St Andrew’s Gala for Cyclone Gabrielle

Cyclone fundraiser

Details of how much the St Andrew’s Craft Fair and Gala in Cambridge raised on Saturday for Cyclone Gabrielle funds will not be known for some days, according to organiser Ian Dunn. All payments for the 135 site or stall fees went to the fund. Photo: Mary Anne Gill

Dog policy

A revised Dog Control Policy is going out to consultation in Waipā for a month. Changes in the draft include prohibiting dogs from exercising behind motor vehicles, tethering rules for dogs on the back of utes and trailer, a change to certain neutering decisions and a limit on the number of dogs able to be taken into an exercise area. Submissions close on June 16.

Back in the saddle

Many happy returns: Cambridge constable Paul Bevan helped make Troy Johnson’s day last week when he returned a stolen bike. Troy’s son Maddox, 16, had been working at Burger Fuel in Cambridge when the bike was stolen, and it was one of two discovered by police when they searched a property. Troy, pictured with daughter Mieke, is a joiner who owns Huis Joinery. His advice: get your bike engraved, and always lock it.

Weather report

Another month another lot of rain… that’s NIWA’s assessment of early May. It’s season outlook through to July opens with a period of tropical weather – and rain –  followed by “variable”, slightly warmer than usual weather.

Notices issued

The council’s enforcement team has been busy issuing nine littering infringements where it was obvious who the offender was and 190 parking infringement notices. The majority were for “overstaying” in Cambridge and Te Awamutu’s central business districts.

Donations made

Cambridge’s Cruisers Rock n Roll Club has presented $7800 to both the Cambridge Community House and Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, from the $15,600 raised from its March dancing with the stars event. Representatives of the two organisations, Gabby Byrnes and Norma Taute respectively, who accepted the money, discussed how the donations would support the continued success of their projects.

Website visits

Website visits for April to smashed all previous monthly records thanks to the story about our Super Gran who foiled ram raiders. John Hansen standing firm on his Piarere flyover campaign was next followed by Where’s the Playground Susan?, Me and my Kiwi Momma and in fifth, The Women strike back about dragon boat competitors.

Noisy times

Waipā noise control officers were kept busy during the first three months of the year responding to 440 complaints. Thirty-six people were issued with written directions and 17 issued with verbal instructions to reduce excessive noise. No equipment was seized.

Dog gone

Only 127 dogs remain unregistered with Waipā District Council – which is 1.3 per cent of all dogs in the district. The council will continue pursuing owners. Meanwhile 54 dogs impounded in the quarter ended March 31; 43 were claimed by their owner, three put down and one rehomed. Seven dogs were still in the pound at the end of the quarter. Twelve of the 17 reported issues to Animal Control were reports of dog bites – 12 on other animals and five on adults – with most being relatively minor.

No Planet B

Readers will spot Peter Matthews’ regular musings are absent this week. Peter will produce his No Planet B column for the rest of the year on an occasional basis. His past columns are on our website

Show goes on

St Peter’s School senior musical production Anastasia, which was to open on April 29, will now open tonight (Thursday) due to a variety of illnesses among the cast and crew. The show will now end its four-day run on Sunday with a matinee performance.

Chopper Fundraiser

Bob Laws of Cambridge had his 80th birthday at Te Awa Retirement Café recently and used the opportunity to raise $1038 funds for the Westpac Waikato rescue helicopter. Laws would not have made his birthday had the helicopter not transferred him to Auckland Hospital in 2019 after he had a stroke. He presented the money last week at the chopper’s Waikato Hospital hangar.

Record high for fundraiser

Christmas Festival Society president Deb Robinson, right, with representatives of some of the recipient groups. Pictured, back from left, Dawn Harpur (Octopus for Preemies), Adrienne Windsor (Waikato Rivertones), Paul Murphy (GW Railway Modellers), Phil Johnson (Volunteer Fire Brigade), Marilyn Bird (CCH), Selby McClelland (Achievement House) and Peter Wright and Richard Crease (Voluntary Fire Brigade). Front, Sally Hall (Cambridge Toy Library), Jo Simpson (La Leche League) with Charlotte and Samantha, Heidi Gleeson (True Colours) and Gabby Byrne (CCH).

Read more.

27 April 2023

Three pairs

They say every picture tells a story, and there were plenty of stories to tell at the dragon boat racing events at Karāpiro this month.  Here’s some from the International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission Participatory Dragon Boast Festival…’

Aiming for a clean sweep

The Waipā district parks and reserve team spent Monday tidying up the Cenotaph and Town Hall gardens in Cambridge ready for Anzac Day. Pictured were, back row, from left, Jim Cooper, Paul Wootton, Jo Chambers, Jade Wilson, John Swafford, Ali Ferguson and Frank Verhoeven, front Darrian Gedge and Phill Gumbley.

Centenary celebrated

Past and present residents and friends gathered in Monavale Hall recently to celebrate its belated 100th birthday. The hall was upgraded for the occasion with an extra toilet installed, interior painting and a large French door on the eastern side. The hall opened in June 1922 at a cost of £150.

Eltje wins bronze

Cambridge paracyclist Eljte Malzbender won two bronze medals – in the women’s T1 time trial and road race – at the Italian Para Cycling World Cup in Maniago. The trike rider completed the road race in 1:06:17.

Grants made

Cambridge Community Board allocated its discretionary grants last week. Successful recipients were: Brain Injury Waikato Inc $1500, Cambridge Chamber of Commerce $526.80, Cambridge Community Garden $813.92, Cambridge Cycling Festival Inc $1000, Cambridge Repertory Society Inc          $2350, Cambridge Safer Community Charitable Trust $9000, Citizens Advice Bureau Cambridge Inc $660, Ko Wai Au Trust $2000, Leamington Croquet Club Inc $1500, St Andrew’s Church $499, St John Cambridge Area Committee $3855, The Rotary Club of Cambridge Charitable Trust $1519.35, Waikato Rowing Club Inc $1500.

Chestnuts removed

Council contractors Treescape remove the last of the two chestnut trees from the Cambridge Domain. Photo: Mary Anne Gill

Cambridge lost two chestnut trees last week from between the Thomas Wells Memorial Gates at the entrance to The Domain. The trees – a horse chestnut and a sweet chestnut – both died during the summer. Neither tree came into leaf and council arborists suspect a series of long hot summers took their toll.

Replacement trees will be planted in autumn or winter when they have a better chance of surviving. The species have not been selected but they will be large-growing trees to provide shade and match other trees in the area. Treescape, council’s contractors, mulched some of the wood for garden chip to be used in council gardens and parks. The rest will be used for firewood.

  • Meanwhile council has confirmed there was little useable wood from five trees poisoned five years ago near the Lakewood development. They were found in poor condition with drill holes indicating poisoning. Three totara, a cryptomeria and a cedar were all felled and the culprits never found. There was only a small amount of useable wood from the larger totara tree and it went to the local marae for carving.

20 April 2023

Rocking it: Florence Hubert, 17 months, rocking it at the Family Fun Day at Leamington Domain to the music of entertainer Jack Wallis.

It’s fun time in Leamington

It was the kids’ turn to have their say on Leamington Domain’s future at a family day on Sunday and they did it in their own unique way, as Mary Anne Gill found when she visited to check on feedback. Comments such as “we like slides” and “keep the trains” written in colouring pencils and lots of pictures represent valuable feedback, says Waipā District Council.
Feedback closes tomorrow (Friday).

Poppy presentation

Making the presentation this week to RSA president Tony Hill, second right, and Brigadier Jon Broadley, right, were from left, NZMCA Waikato chair Michael Cullen and members Chrissy Cullen, Nena Hergatt and Carole Talbot.

Poppies knitted by New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) members at a ‘knit in’ have been presented to the RSA Cambridge in time for Anzac Day. The poppies were made during the association’s recent national rally in Te Aroha and given out to motor home friendly towns in the Waikato.

Web statistics

Taupō MP Louise Upston posted this picture taken on Monday afternoon showing glazier Glenn Philip making a start on repairs.

There was only one story in town in the last week and that has been reflected in web statistics. Our story about ‘Super Gran‘ and the ram raiders captured 95 per cent of all visits to Flyover advocate John Hansen standing firm on his plans for the Piarere roundable was second followed by Where’s the Playground Susan?, Thieves steal lifesaver and Here come the girls.

Four candidates

Three candidates have been nominated for the vacant Māori ward seat on the Waipā District Council. They are Raukawa trustee Gaylene Roberts, who also stood in the 2022 election, Barney Manaia of Ngāti Maniapoto and environmental indigenous advocate Dale-Maree Morgan of Te Awamutu. The seat has been vacated by the resignation of suspended lawyer Takena Stirling and The News expects the nomination number to grow beyond three when they close next week.

Eyes on the road

Bryan Hudson

The Cambridge locations of three community closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras containing automatic number plate recognition technology have been changed so police can detect cars coming from both directions. Waipā District Council approved locations across the district – in Te Awamutu, Pirongia, Ōhaupō, Ngāhinapōuri, Te Awamutu and Cambridge – at its December council meeting.
The sites had existing cameras with power and fibre communications, said Transport manager Bryan Hudson in a report to the Service Delivery committee meeting this week.
However, some locations could only detect cars from one direction. In talks with its CCTV provider, the council chose a better Cambridge location on Tirau Road near the Fergusson (Low Level) Bridge in place of cameras in Victoria, Queen, Duke, Shakespeare and Cook streets. “The objective is to provide police with early warning wherever possible,” he said.

Market back to CBD?

Les Velutich, has banned plans to re-establish a street market in Cambridge’s main shopping centre after the Lions Trash ‘n’ Treasure market post-Covid move to Memorial Park. The Lions have applied to renew its permit to operate on the second Sunday of each month in the CBD.

Minister visits

Lee Turpitt with Police Minister Ginny Anderson

Police minister Ginny Anderson has visited Hautapu to see a government subsidised fog cannon in place. The cannon was installed by Watchu Security at the Hautapu dairy as part of a scheme run by MBIE to combat a spate of aggravated assaults.  “We have installed several locally, and I think more knowledge of this subsidy would be helpful for residents,” company spokesperson Lee Turpitt said. The minister visited Hautapu last Wednesday.

Arsonist strikes

The burnt out toilet block

A toilet block near the playground on Thornton Rd, Cambridge, has been the victim of an arson attack. Meanwhile, police in Te Awamutu have arrested two young teenagers after a fire was lit at a commercial building in Rickit Rd. Early assessments suggest the damage will run to $1 million.

Dance time

Cambridge’s Scottish Country Dancing will begin an eight-week beginners’ workshop series next Wednesday. Club secretary Lesley Gousmett said the club, which meets weekly at St Andrew’s Church Hall is keen to grow its membership numbers.

Tritt retires

Waipā business development manager Steve Tritt has retired after nine years at the council. Tritt’s role involved leading business growth and investment in Cambridge and Te Awamutu.

See: Waipa eyes slice of movie money.

Waipa business development manager Steve Tritt with Waikato Screen’s Madelien Scholten at Karapiro scouting for locations.

Rates owing

Ratepayers owe Waipā District Council $77,000 in outstanding rates from before July 1 last year. The final instalment of this year’s rates will be levied on May 22. Outstanding water rates stand at $933,000.

Land sales

Waikato Regional Airport Ltd, owned by Hamilton city, Waipā, Waikato, Matamata-Piako and Ōtorohanga district councils, has made a half year operating surplus of $17.7 million. Land sale profits have driven the increase from the previous year. The results include Titanium Park, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism and Jetpark Hotel.

13 April 2023

Grants considered

The Pirongia ward committee considered 12 community organisation applications for money from its Community Discretionary Fund at its meeting yesterday. The committee had $12,388 left to allocate. Applications from Ko Wai Au Trust, Koromatua Memorial Hall Association, Ōhaupō School Parent Teacher Association, Pirongia Community Centre, Pirongia Forest Park Lodge, Pirongia School 150th Jubilee, Stewart Reid Memorial Trust Board, Te Awamutu Brass Band, Te Pahu Hall Society, Te Pahu Preschool group, Te Tamawai Trust and the Pirongia Heritage and Information Centre totalled nearly $37,000 with the largest being one for $10,000 from Ōhaupō for a new playground.

Prison visit

Waipā councillors held a briefing day and workshop at Waikeria Prison on Tuesday after brief discussions in the council chambers about the Dog Control Bylaw review and Ahu Ake – Spatial Plan. No agenda or details were published on the council website for the day-long programme.

Events funding

Applications opened this week for a share of Waipā council’s $150,000 District Promotions Fund. The fund supports events that drive economic activity and promote Waipā as a great place to live, work, invest in or visit. At the same time, $30,000 will be available to support grass-roots events through Council’s Community Fund. That fund helps events which celebrate community pride, maximise use of facilities and public spaces and help people connect.

Revaluations locked in

Waipā’s rating revaluations will be in the post later next month. The revised date comes after two false starts from council’s independent property provider which saw revaluations delayed twice. New property values will be based on the most likely selling price as at August 1, 2022 but are not intended to be used as market valuations.

Protecting the bridge

Maintenance work on Cambridge’s Victoria Bridge will future-proof it against corrosion, bird droppings – and taggers. The project, started late last year, is reaching what Waipā District Council group manager, service delivery, Dawn Inglis calls an “interesting” stage. The first section of the bridge on the Cambridge town side was completed last month when a final coat of paint and a layer of anti-graffiti coating was added.

Scaffolding being set up on the bridge.

6 April 2023

Angela Roberts

Weather report

For La Niña, read El Niño. Weather condition are set to change with the arrival of winter and an “El Niño” watch has been issued by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research – NIWA. It is predicting “changeability” will be a theme in weather patterns and the possibility of heavy rain in April.

Roberts nominated

Taranaki based Angela Roberts will contest the Taranaki-King Country seat for Labour at the general election. Roberts is already a list MP. The seat is held by National’s Barbara Kuriger.

Yevette Williams

Back on the water

Having successfully hosted the 2023 Maadi Cup over the last week, Karāpiro is set to welcome competitors for the national dragon boat championships this weekend – followed by a second festival the following weekend.

Teacher sues

Yevette Williams, former deputy principal and wife of former St Peter’s School Cambridge executive principal Dale Burden, has gone to the Employment Relations Authority over the time the school took to release a report into allegations against her husband. While Williams awaited the report she resigned from St Peter’s.

Andrew Brown


The idea to serve up rubbish waste to councillors for morning tea came from Waipā District Council’s communications team and not from mayor Susan O’Regan and deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk, as reported by The News last week. We also reported Andrew Brown chaired Te Ara Wai committee. He was in fact appointed this week. Changes were made to both stories online.

30 March 2023

Safe to cross

St Peter’s Catholic School road patrollers had their twice-yearly training session in Cambridge recently with school community officer senior constable Brenton Irwin. Teacher Susie McCreery supervised the training on the Anzac Street pedestrian outside the school’s front gate. The school has 30 Year Six to Eight road patrollers who rotate each term.  Irwin told The News later the message he wanted to get across to parents was to always use the school-provided crossings to set a good example to the children and make them realise it was the safest way to cross the road. Often parents will cross with their children several metres away, which meant children would do that later without their parents. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.

Book launch

Claire Williamson

Cambridge mortgage advisor and rookie author Claire Williamson is launching her ultimate guide for first-home buyers at The Raceway tomorrow (Thursday). Smashed Avo to Smashed Goals not only targets first-home buyers but those associated with the property industry.

With a twist

Waipā singer-songwriter and author Holly Christina provided an entertaining entrée to this year’s Autumn Festival when she talked about her first book ‘Harp and the Lyre’ at the Cambridge Library last week.

Written under her pen-name H.C. Roberts, the book is described as alternative fantasy for young adults, its 410 pages referencing the clash of tech giants Harp and Lyre while incorporating gaming, climate change, influencers and real life.   Much of Holly Christina’s presentation was musical because the book includes 14 songs which are embedded or unlocked for readers via QR codes.

Her talk as part of the Cambridge Autumn Festival coincided with the tail end of Waipā District Libraries’ Author Month.

Exhibition highlight

Carole Hughes

Cambridge fauve artist Carole Hughes and landscape artist Kirsten McIntosh will join forces this weekend for ‘Just the Two of Us’, a two-day exhibition coinciding with the town’s Autumn Festival. Both artists will exhibit at their home studios and will have an item from their exhibition go into a draw to win a work from each studio.

Council posts

Mayor Susan O’Regan, deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk, councillors Roger Gordon and Marcus Gower have been appointed to the Community Boards Project Control group which is being set up to measure processes, successes and/or failures of operational matters associated with the community boards review undertaken last year. The Strategic Planning and Policy committee will provide oversight and direction.

Nominations open

Nominations open tomorrow (Thursday) for a new Waipā District Māori ward councillor. The vacancy has arisen following the resignation of Te Awamutu-based Takena Stirling earlier this month. Only voters registered on the Waipā Māori electoral roll will be able to vote.  Close to 2400 people are on the roll but it is not too late for potential voters to be enrolled and cast a vote.

Science show

The Science Roadshow, currently touring New Zealand in 115 locations and to 46,000 students and 450 schools, will be hosted by Cambridge Middle School tomorrow (Thursday) and tomorrow. The roadshow, an annual event since 1990, seeks to inspire and make interactive science experiences accessible to students from all corners of the country by enlivening the science curriculum.

Mitch to sing

Cambridge raceway manager Dave Branch is overseeing the richest harness race the country has seen. Photo: Supplied

New Zealand’s only $1 million harness racing event The Race, by Grins has confirmed singer-songwriter Mitch James will perform at the event on Friday April 14 at Cambridge Raceway. The news came as the final field closes up with only three vacant slots following Copy That’s victory at Alexandra Park last week. One of those could go to Kango after Cambridge reinsman David Butcher drove it into second place.

Council finances

Waipā’s financial statements show an operating surplus of $23.6 million – $21.6m lower than the $45.2m budgeted for – for the eight months ended in February. A $13.7m decrease in development and reserve contributions is the major reason followed by a $5.2m shortfall in subsidies and grants. Finance costs, due to higher interest rates, are up nearly $900,000. The council has loans of $191m which it expects will increase by $39 m by the end of June.

Victim identified

The man who died after being hit on a pedestrian crossing two weeks ago in Te Awamutu was Jonathan Hood, 29, of Ōtorohanga. Police say they have viewed CCTV footage of the incident, having earlier reported the vehicle involved failed to stop, but have not released any further details.

Visitors up

Domestic visits to Waipā in the year ended December contributed $151.1 million – up 21.5 per cent on the previous year – and international visitors a further $9.6m – up 162.9 per cent. Occupancy rates in motels and hotels were 54.5 per cent in December while Waipā’s 472 AirBnBs experience 73 per cent occupancy. The information was presented to the council’s Finance and Corporate committee by Hamilton and Waikato Tourism chief executive Nicola Greenwell this week.

Development increase

Waipā development contributions for the Hautapu and Pukerimu catchments in Cambridge will increase from July 1. The increase in Hautapu is by 6.3 per cent – based on the reallocation of actual costs for specific projects – and 1.8 per cent in Pukerimu where the rural roading development contribution has been added. A market slowdown is occurring, seen through lower number of consent applications received, and developers actively bringing less sections to the market, meaning expected income is down.

23 March 2023

Jesse Tweddle and Hamilton Kay on stage during last weekend’s Shakespeare festival. Photo: Sam Salcedo

Shakespeare success

Cambridge High won one of the two sections of the Waikato Regional Sheilah Winn Shakespeare festival in Te Awamutu last weekend.

The school produced a five minute performances from Measure for Measure, described as a dark comedy in five acts and thought to have been first performed in 1604.

It was the first opportunity students had had to gather for the festival for two years.

Schools at the regional event included Hillcrest High, St John’s College, Sacred Heart Girls’, Hamilton Girls’ High, Hamilton Boys’ High, Te Aroha College and Te Awamutu College.

Head of Drama Morag Carter said the audience consisted of the teachers and students from the other schools along with a handful of parents and Te Awamutu College staff who popped in to enjoy the performances. See: The bard still rules

Floating in for George

Waipā missed out on its Friday Balloons over Waikato show but Goodwood School did get a visit last week. Pilot Darryn Redshaw brought his Blueprint and Cloud Hopper balloons to the school to support student and Little Heart Kid George Paki. George is an ambassador for Heart Kids NZ and has had a series of heart surgeries and procedures. George, his mum Elaine and Goodwood School deputy principal Marsha Copping were taken on a short flight over the school and Redshaw answered students’ questions about ballooning and the Balloons over Waikato festival. The Heart Foundation is observing Little Heart Day tomorrow. Waipā was again denied an opportunity to see the Balloons over Waikato. They were scheduled for a Friday night lift at Lake Karāpiro, but windy weather made it unsafe. The event – themed “Welcome Back” had been awarded $5600 funding from Waipā District Council. Last year’s trip to Te Awamutu for the festival was also canned – because of Covid.

‘Rubberneck’ delays

A crash on State Highway at Karāpiro on Sunday resulted in delays for motorists. Police say it was motorists slowing to look at the crash who caused the long traffic jam which backed up to the southern end of the Waikato Expressway. The crash did not block the road. Three people were taken to Waikato Hospital with what were described as minor-moderate injuries.

Hacks go nap

The All Hacks have made it five in a row. Keith Hedges, Ray Lewis and Steve Thomas wrapped up their fifth successive Cambridge Bowling Club business house tournament last week. See: A Great start to a Great Year

Pools’ patronage up

User numbers at Go Waipā pools in Te Awamutu and Cambridge have now recovered to pre Covid numbers. However, staff shortages have tested the facilities’ ability to maintain normal operating hours and expected levels of services. Te Awamutu numbers for the six months from July 1 were 68,526 and 66,249 for Cambridge.

New president

Richard Cato was elected president of the Te Awamutu Menzshed last week, succeeding the retiring head Steve Mannington.

Te Kanohi appointments on hold

Susan O’Regan

Waipā mayor Susan O’Regan has put the appointment of mana whenua representatives on four council committees on hold.

She made the call today following the resignation last week of Waipā Maori ward councillor Takena Stirling. Read more.

Mike third

Pirongia’s Mike Bowe placed third in the national excavator competition in Feilding on Saturday. The Civil Contractors NZ CablePrice National Excavator Operator Competition title went to Dunedin’s Troy Calteaux who pipped Northland’s Steven George.

Water eyed up

Waipā District Council’s Water Safety Plans are currently under ‘rapid review’ by Taumata Arowai, the new water services regulator for New Zealand. The organisation’s role includes overseeing the environmental performance of the three waters – drinking, waste and storm. The council will learn soon whether the regulators want a more detailed audit done.

Website hits

Our online story about the Law Society’s shock suspension of Te Awamutu lawyer Takena Stirling for diverting funds for his own use and his subsequent resignation from Waipā District Council accounted for nearly a quarter of all visits to Rounding out the top five were Audit rebuke for council, Showing how it’s done, Kiwifruit decision to be appealed and Will the real Slim Shady stand up, a story written by student Archer Miller last year and picked up by One News and RNZ over the weekend.

Fluoride application in

Council staff have submitted a funding application to Manatū Hauora-Ministry of Health for its share of the $11.3 million available to the 14 local authorities ordered by outgoing director-general Ashley Bloomfield in July last year to add fluoride to their community water supplies. The estimated costs for Cambridge, which would include the Karāpiro and Alpha Street plants and the only Waipā supply affected, will be $480,000 with annual operating costs of $130,000.

Deputy Brown

Lou Brown

Waipā councillor Lou Brown has been appointed Waikato Civil Defence’s Emergency Management joint committee deputy chair. Taupō’s Anna Park chairs the committee made up of representatives from the region’s district and regional councils.

Kihikihi bus stop

Land at 29 Havelock Street in Kihikihi will lose its reserve status to become a bus depot for Waikato Regional Council. The rest of it, used as a dog pound facility, will retain its status. Designation for the 880m2 bus depot will need approval from the Minister of Conservation.

Road closures

Road closures were approved by Waipā’s Service Delivery committee this week for the Dragon Boat Festival Pink Parade (April 14), Cambridge Cycling Festival and Anzac Day (April 25).

Three charged

Three men will appear in court in Te Awamutu on April 4 after arrests were made following an incident in January.  The three, aged 33, 36 and 50, are charged with wounding with intent, taking a motor vehicle, and arson. Emergency services were called to a house in Oliver Street, Kihikihi, after a man described as a meter reader suffered serious head injuries.

Alanna’s treble dip

Alanna Rawson with the intermediate schools shield.

Cambridge Middle School student Alanna Rawson has smashed a series of swimming record at the Waikato intermediate school championships. The 12-year-old year eight student broke three records – including one dating back to 1983. See: Alanna’s triple dip

Sports stars make young Chiefs

Nine Waipā players are among the 27 named in the Chiefs under 20 rugby squad playing in the Super Rugby tournament playing in Taupō this week. Five are from Te Awamutu Sports – hooker Sean Ralph, loose forward Malachi Wrampling, outside back Cody Nordstrom, loose/lock forward Tai Cribb and loose head prop Manahi Goulton.

Selectors’ eyes were on Nordstrom who made his senior debut as a 17-year-old. Famously in one match he scored four tries against Hamilton Old Boys. A product of Hamilton Boys’ High School, winners of the last eight National Condor Sevens titles, he was picked in the New Zealand Under 20s squad that won the Oceania Championship last year.

The other four Waipā Chiefs players are from Hautapu Sports – winger Waisake Salabiau, flanker Andrew Smith, loose forward Jonty Shorty and number eight Senita Lauaki. The team lost its first match at Owen Delaney Park on Sunday against the Highlanders. The tournament, which wraps up on Saturday, presents an opportunity for national selectors to assess the country’s best merging talent ahead of the World Rugby Under-20 Championships and Trophy competitions in South Africa and Kenya later this year.

16 March 2023

The Leamington Domain playground is due for renewal.

Domain planning starts

A masterplan for Leamington Domain is underway with a renewal of the destination playground included. Reserve planner Bonnie Lewis told the Cambridge Community Board tonight – after The News had gone to press – the Domain was an important premier reserve for the Waipā community.

Lewis was also at the Ahu Ake – Spatial Plan open day at the Domain on Saturday and used the opportunity to seek feedback there. She said the Domain, almost  6.9ha in size, with its existing infrastructure and mature specimen trees provided a wonderful destination for the community.

“It is already well used by families, sport and social groups and it is important it continues to provide quality amenities,” she said. The council has engaged Xyst Ltd to develop the master plan and as part of the project will talk to mana whenua, lessees and the community.

The board was to appoint a representative to the project working group which would approve a draft plan for presentation to the council’s Service Delivery committee in August. The project will not consider the campground or netball courts.

Stakeholders include the Cambridge Model Engineering Society, which runs miniature train rides around the Domain’s perimeter, Leamington Art Group and Leamington Croquet. The area is also used for junior cricket, market days and skating. One of the Domain’s significant features is the two-storey octagonal Band Rotunda, built in 1910 on the corner of Pope Terrace and Bracken Street and moved to the Domain in 1921.

Their world is a stage

Year 12 Te Awamutu College students, from left, Avé Culpan, Millie Thackray, Grace Armstrong and Martha Newland will perform an excerpt from Much Ado About Nothing.

Shakespeare comes to Te Awamutu and Cambridge will be there.

Te Awamutu College will host Friday’s Waikato Regional Sheilah Winn  Shakespeare festival – and it will be the first opportunity students have had to gather face to face since Covid intervened two years ago. The Shakespeare Globe Centre NZ University of Otago event has been in digital mode during that time.

Schools taking the Waikato challenge of preparing five and 15 minute scenes from Shakespeare plays include Cambridge High, Hillcrest High, St John’s College, Sacred Heart Girls’, Hamilton Girls’ High, Hamilton Boys’ High, Te Aroha College and Te Awamutu College.

Grinners are winners

Cambridge Raceway has launched a sweepstake with a prize pool of $100,000 for the Race by Grins meeting next month with 2000 tickets sold at $100 each. Ten tickets will be drawn and get allocated a horse in the $1 million race. First gets $50,000, second $20,000, third $12,000, fourth $6000 and fifth to 10th $2000 each.

Woman charged

A 26-year-old woman faces a series of charges after police said she rammed one of their vehicles. The woman has been charged with shoplifting, aggravated assault and dangerous driving. Police had been dealing with a shoplifting case when it’s alleged the woman rammed their vehicle and then drove to Te Awamutu where she crashed into another car.

Library fines

A series of plans outlined by Waipā District Council – including scrapping library fines –   has gone out for public discussion for a month. The council stopped fining users for late returns of children’s books in 2019. Read more.

Website visits

Our cambridgenewsnz online story about the girls’ night in at Cambridge Library about our female writers led our website visitor stats followed by our front page article on rates increases. The rest of the top five were how library fines may be dropped, Mary Anne Gill’s bike ride with Sarah Ulmer and the fund to reduce waste getting a $10,000 boost.

No through road

The rail crossing on State Highway 1B Telephone Road will remain closed to traffic for the “foreseeable future” Waka Kotahi says. The crossing, east of Hamilton was closed in April 2022 after repeated incidents where low vehicles damaged the railway tracks. There is no funding to resolve the issue – which is costed at up to $11 million – but at the same time use of the road has lessened as a result of the opening of the Waikato Expressway.

9 March 2023

And they’re off – runners, walkers and cyclists at the beginning of the runway event last year.

Run the Runway

The annual Run the Hamilton Airport Runway event is on again this Sunday from 6.45am. The Rotary-organised 5km event will benefit the charity OrangeSky.

Joe to the rescue

Joe Scaramuzza was so angry when he read in The News last week that thieves jimmied open a cash box fixed to St Peter’s Catholic School’s sharing shed, he rang the school and offered to replace the lock box and reimburse the money stolen. Principal Anita Asumadu said it was wonderful to hear of decent people in the community after the disgusting behaviour of the thieves.

Nursing intake up

The University of Waikato is now the largest provider of graduate-entry nursing, taking in more nursing students (pictured) than the University of Auckland and Wintec – in just the second and third year of programme delivery. Photo / Supplied

Waikato University welcomed a record 211 new students into its Registered Nursing programme this week, doubling last year’s intake. Cambridge’s Sue Hayward and Jan Adams were the driving forces behind the Bachelor of Nursing programme with Prof Allison Kirkman. Hayward is Te Whatu Ora Waikato chief nurse and Adams the nursing director at Pinnacle Midlands Health Network. Both are now honorary professors at the university.

Open Day

St Peter’s School Cambridge has an Open Day next Thursday (March 16) and on Saturday April 1, the Owl Farm has a public open day.

On yer bike…

In its ninth year, The Big Bike Film Night will celebrate cycling in all its shapes and forms, as part of the lead up to the Cambridge Cycling Festival. The film night will screen at the Tivoli Cinema in Cambridge on April 24  with a series of short films.

Writers’ nights

Two upcoming ‘Girls Nights’ events at Waipā libraries will take the shape of mix and mingle evenings with groups of women authors.   The first is at Cambridge Library tomorrow (Friday) and the second at Te Awamutu Library on March 17.  Both start at 5.30pm.

Absences noted

Takena Stirling

Waipā councillors and committee members absent from meetings will now have to give a reason why they cannot be present under new conventions introduced this term. Two councillors – Bruce Thomas and Takena Stirling – were absent from Tuesday’s Strategic Planning and Policy committee with only Thomas giving a reason.

Pirongia plans out

Formal consultation will begin later this month on new plans for the Sainsbury Road Reserve in Pirongia. Consultation will begin in March and span two months. Formal hearings will be held in May with a final plan for the reserve presented for adoption in June this year.

Footbridge installation

A crane arrived in Te Awamutu’s War Memorial Park earlier this week to install a second footbridge. The first new footbridge was installed in the park in June last year as part of a wider plan to improve pedestrian and cycling access across the Mangaohoi Stream. The work is part of a major makeover for the park.

Two become one

Waipā now has a new Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) policy replacing two existing ones as part of a rationalisation project after staff noted there might be confusion by having two policies and procedures for different situations. It will sit underneath the council’s Privacy Policy.

Public places

Waipā council staff will review the existing Public Places bylaw which regulates a wide range of issues such as street dining, mobile trading, signage in road corridors and vehicle parking. It is primarily concerned with rules for promoting car user safety, placemaking and community liveability. The bylaw is nearly five years old and must be reviewed before October 30.

Fees up

A new Waipā fees and charges schedule will go out for public consultation with some increases more significant than others. A new $798.50 marquee charge – for marquees over 200 square metres – was debated fiercely by councillors but retained.

2 March 2023

Cambridge Skatepark

Temporary closure for Cambridge skatepark, pump track

The Cambridge skatepark and pump track will be temporarily closed next week as work continues on finishing the facility.

Contractors will be reinstating the bank around the side of the pump track and rear of skatepark, contouring soil and regrassing the hill. Bollards will be installed at the pump track side of the park and the entire skatepark will be sealed.

The closure is in place from March 6 – March 10 and is weather dependent.

Ingham’s bid

Ingham Motor Group has lodged a resource consent application to redevelop the site on the corner of Lake and Queen streets in Cambridge for a car dealership. The consent also required a contaminated site management plan as the site – formerly Bunnings – has been identified as potentially hazardous.

Taonga handed over

A family member of a Lake Mangakaware landowner surprised iwi and Waipā staff at the weekend when she presented a taonga her grandfather found several decades ago. The adze head  was discovered near the site of an old pa. Ngāti Hikairo and Ngāti Apakura were present for the handover of a cultural impact report on the lake, near Ngāhināpouri and got a bonus with the taonga.

Clark turning 101

George Clark

Former Waipā stalwart George Clark will celebrate his 101st birthday on Wednesday March 8.

For his birthday last year the former Te Pahu farmer, who now lives in Waihi Beach, received cards from the Queen and then PM Jacinda Ardern.

An article with pictures and a story about his centenary, supplied by daughter former prime minister Helen Clark, was one of the top online articles on The News website last year.

Birthday celebration

Cambridge High School’s library will celebrate its 50th birthday later this month. An event on March 23 will also mark the official opening of the GN Marshall Archive Room. George Marshall was the school’s principal from 1964 to 1972 and died in 2018 aged 93. He left an endowment which is being used to establish the archives.

Fun run, walk back

The 11th annual fundraising Waipā Fun Run returns after a Covid enforced absence to Victoria Square in Cambridge on Sunday. The charity event run by St Peter’s Catholic School and sponsored by Lugtons will see $1 from every entry fee go towards a not-for-profit counselling agency.

Cambridge Lifeskills provides free counselling for children and young people aged 5-15.

The event has become a favourite among families, schools and businesses. One of the best attended Fun Runs attracted about 650 people. Part of its appeal is that it offers a range of courses for runners and walkers of all ages, including 10km and 5km walk and run options, a 2km School Challenge and a 5km Teams Challenge.

Registration will be open at Victoria Square from 3pm to 5pm on Saturday, and from 7am on Sunday. Racing is due to start at 9am and prizegiving starts at 11.30.
St Peter’s Catholic School’s Donna Warwick said the community had again surpassed itself by offering a selection of great prizes.

New audit member

Lou Brown

Te Awamutu councillor Lou Brown has been added to the Waipā council’s Audit and Risk committee joining independent chair Bruce Robertson, mayor Susan O’Regan and fellow councillors Andrew Brown, Roger Gordon and Mike Montgomerie.

Business chance

Fifty $120 places in online business courses which look at sustainability are being offered free by the Waipā District Council. The courses are run by the Sustainable Business Network. The funding for 10 places in five courses comes thanks to a subsidy from Tax Management NZ and money managed by council for the Environment Ministry.

Lions chip in

The Lions Club of Te Awamutu have pledged $3000 to the Lions’ Gabrielle Relief Fund and is inviting businesses, organisations and residents to make donations too. “We do not have a target for donations made by the Te Awamutu community – but the sky is the limit as ongoing support for those affected will be needed,” Te Awamutu Lions President Brendon Hand said. The Lions fund has already contributed $30,000 for flood relief work.

Makes you smile…

Waipā District Councillors were told a daily newspaper would have a photographer at their Tuesday meeting to update the publication’s mug shots. But the promised rare appearance from another media did not eventuate.

Flagpole work starts

The Anzac Green flagpole in Te Awamutu has been taken down for work to commence on removing a rotted segment. It is planned to have the work completed ahead of Anzac Day.

Museum stats

Despite the physical closure of its facility, Te Awamutu Museum staff provided education services for 1155 student visits, 18 schools, 12 different programme and 45 sessions for the six months ending December 31. Delivery of the programmes is part of the museum’s Enriched Local Curriculum contract with the Ministry of Education.

Rural sports finalists

Luk Chin

Tamahere’s Luk Chin and Cambridge’s Nicky Chilcott are finalists in the New Zealand Rural Sports Awards. Both are leading lights in harness racing.

Chin, an anaesthesiologist, is a veteran breeder, trainer and driver and Chilcott was the first New Zealand woman to train and drive 500 winners.  The awards night will be held in Palmerston North on March 10.

Lotto winners

Two Lotto players who bought tickets in Waipā are each $21,038 better off following the weekend’s draw. Tickets bought at Victoria Station in Cambridge and Pak,n Save in Te Awamutu were two of 11 Division Two winners.

Festival programme

The Cambridge Autumn Festival programme is out listing events taking place from March 24 to April 2. The highlight is the Main Street Carnival and Art Market on March 26 where the footpaths will be brimming with original art, photography, jewellery, pottery, sculpture, woodwork and more. The festival finishes with a family friendly concert in the Town Hall featuring Youth Orchestra Waikato.

Website hits

Millions for Masonic, an article about a $4 million upgrade to the iconic Cambridge hotel, is The News’ best read story online the last fortnight followed closely behind by our piece on Selina and Emma Oliver volunteering for the FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament. The News home page, Battling the Big Storm and mayor Susan O’Regan’s column on kiwifruit shelters round out the top five.

Our Battling the big storm wrap on Cyclone Gabrielle’s impact on Te Awamutu was our best read online story in the last fortnight following closely by our story on the Te Ara Wai costs. The home page, news briefs and Painting a future for kōkako round out the top five.

23 February 2023

Te Miro chops in…

Te Miro farmer Paul Manion is doing his bit for the cyclone relief effort by organising an event on Saturday to raise much-needed funds.

Paul is joining forces with other farmers in the area to run what they are calling The Great Te Miro Chop from around 8am on Saturday, February 25. One of their number has a supply of leftover logs after having his timber milled, and it is these logs that will be available to be split into firewood for sale.

Paul said they have linked the Te Miro Chop to a Farmlands Co-Operative national initiative entitled the 2023 Cyclone Gabrielle Relief Fund in which Farmlands pledge to match customer donations to a total value of $50,000.

“We’re hoping we can make around $7000, which once doubled would be $14,000,” Paul said. “It’s not huge and we know it won’t change anyone’s life over there, but it’s more about sending the message that we do care about them and want to do something to help. If other groups did the same and raised similar amounts, it would add up to an amount that really could make a difference.”

Paul is asking people to call ahead so the Te Miro Chop can be held as safely as possible. He can be contacted on 027 662 6212.

Stockade for housing

Riding for the Disabled currently uses the Stockade Reserve.

A large open 4ha space near the centre of Kihikihi locally known for decades as the “Stockade Reserve” has been identified as a much-needed section for housing.

Until recently Riding for the Disabled operated out of the land but Waipā District Council recently purchased land on Herbert Street which the charitable organisation can move onto.

Deputy chief executive Ken Morris said in a report to the Finance and Corporate committee this week it gave the council an opportunity to develop a conceptual masterplan for a housing development.

The planning work would also look into the possibility of the new Kihikihi skatepark being based there.

Stockade Reserve is bounded by Grey, Rolleston, Hall and Whitmore streets. Sometimes also called the Government Paddock, it was the site of the British Army military stables during the Land Wars of the mid to late 19th century.

The work, to be done in four stages, will cost $26,000 and produce a proposed plan.

The site is currently zoned as a reserve which would have to be changed for housing purposes.

“There is potential in this for the reserve zoning to be shifted elsewhere, to enable this land to be used for ‘highest and best’ purpose. These aspects will be considered in the master planning work,” said Morris.

“Council’s vision is for pleasant, medium density housing that would be designed alongside the community.  We don’t want is something plonked in the middle of town that’s not supported.”

A masterplan was unlikely to be available before August this year.

Library membership

Membership at Waipā’s two libraries in Cambridge and Te Awamutu continue trending upwards as do book issues. Cambridge has 21,538 members and issued 147,529 books in the three months starting October 1, while Te Awamutu has 16,096 members and issued 78,526 books, the council’s Service Delivery committee was told this week.

Boy racers out

Roads in Cambridge, Maungatautari, Te Awamutu, Kihikihi, Pirongia and Ōhaupō will be closed between 9pm and 4am under Waipā council plans to curb antisocial driving. The behaviour is often intimidating, creates litter issues and excessive noise. In rural areas, the noise frightens stock, as well as disturbing residents, council Transportation manager Bryan Hudson told the Service Delivery committee meeting this week.

High vis reps

There will be no mistaking Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Board members following the board’s decision last night to invest $250 in high vis vests for members attending community events.

Survey complete

Analysis on survey responses asking Te Awamutu residents about a brand to replace Rosetown has been completed. A working group comprising all Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Board members, Shane Walsh and Maria Heslop from the Chamber of Commerce and Bill Harris from Ngāti Apakura will now produce a report and make a recommendation to the community board.

Te Kanohi fees

Waipā’s four iwi representatives – known as Te Kanohi – will receive meeting fees rather than an annual payment, under a recommendation tabled at the Finance and Corporate committee this week. A $450 half day and $550 full day meeting fee, plus mileage, will be paid. The annual fee will come to about $16,300 – up by $3300.

Property sales stall

John Miles’ resignation as Property Projects manager at Waipā District Council has delayed the disposal of property programme, which is  essential for much of the work identified in the Long Term Plan. The position will be filled early next month.  Finance staff will identify how much of the programme can be completed in this financial year ended June 30.

Clocking the risk

The Cambridge Clock Tower will be given a detailed seismic assessment. A heritage architect, who was engaged to make a condition assessment, recommended commissioning a report to ascertain if the tower is an earthquake risk.

Chimes challenge

The Kihikihi War Memorial Tower clock’s $70,000 upgrade has hit a snag because council staff have been unable to deactivate the chimes at night. Waterproofing, painting, upgrading the clock face and hand refurbishment all went well. Clockmakers will finalise the electronics and have the chimes fixed by next month.

Batteries all go

The Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Board’s trial collecting batteries at Pak‘n Save has been a big success. More than 442kg of household batteries have been picked up by Urban Miners at a cost of $1991.03 to the community board. The board was to discuss at its meeting last night (after The News went to press) whether to continue the trial.

Speech winner

Year 12 student St Peters student Sonali Pera has won the United Nations Association New Zealand Speech Award 2022 competition recently. The annual secondary school competition provides students an opportunity to learn more about the UN and developing public speaking skills.

Garden fees

Hamilton Gardens’ enclosed gardens will come at a cost to non-Hamilton residents. Hamilton City Council has opted to charge visitors a $10 fee to the themed gardens – but there will be a concession arrangement for Waipā and Waikato district residents. The charging regime will be introduced when the Gardens’ Visitor Entry Precinct project is completed – likely to be late this year or early 2024.

History lessons

Two historically-linked events will be held in Te Awamutu next week as part of Waipā Libraries Heritage month. From 10.30am on Wednesday a virtual tour is on offer at Te Awamutu Library, entitled From Then to Now – Changing Times for Te Awamutu’s 1920s Commercial Architecture. On March 4, also from 10.30am, is a presentation and tour hosted by the Te Awamutu branch of the NZ Society of Genealogists. Entitled Stories from the Dead Centre of Town, the presentation will include an introduction about the graveyard and the old St John’s Anglican Church, as well as stories from a selection of Māori and pakeha burials

16 February 2023

Help from on high

The Bay of Plenty Coastal Region rescue helicopter was called to Leamington Domain on Saturday to take a car crash victim to Waikato Hospital. The call followed a two-car crash near the intersection of Shakespeare and Campbell streets. The Cambridge Volunteer Fire Brigade was called to ensure the domain, which was being used by members of the public, was cleared so the chopper could land and take off safely.

Website Hits

Our front page story Build and be damned about kiwifruit cloth shelters was the most read online story in the last fortnight followed by Waikato medical professional Luk Chin’s On the buses proposal. Other kiwifruit cloth shelter stories – Landowners see red and Getting a taste of kiwi came in third and fourth with Lifeline for Autumn festival carnival rounding out the top five.

Hamilton Gardens charge coming

Hamilton Gardens’ enclosed gardens will come at a cost to non-Hamilton residents. Hamilton City Council has opted to charge visitors a $10 fee to the themed gardens – but there will be a concession arrangement for Waipā and Waikato district residents. The fees will apply to visitors 16 and over and concession rates will include annual passes for non-Hamiltonians.

The rates are yet to be determined. The date new charging regime will be introduced when the Gardens’ Visitor Entry Precinct project is completed – likely to be late this year or early 2024. Access from Waipā to the gardens for cyclists on the Te Awa River Ride opened with the completion of a link from Tamahere.

9 February 2023

Traffic build up in Cambridge’s CBD.

Parking tickets

The pre-Christmas parking crackdown in Cambridge and Te Awamutu by Waipā District Council resulted in 93 parking infringement notices – mostly for motorists overstaying their time. Parking in Waipā is free but there are time restrictions in place in the Te Awamutu and Cambridge central business districts.

Looking at the past

The search for history around Te Awamutu’s Anzac Green continues – but with more questions than answers. As work gears up to renovate the flagpole on the green, district councillor and Te Awamutu RSA member Lou Brown hopes more information about the history of the green will be uncovered.

He understood the flagpole has been in place since 1923. But information provided to The News suggests it may have been added later.

A correspondent reported Te Awamutu’s museum collection has historic photos of the green – but without the flagpole.

The News picked up a copy of the 1984 book Frontier Town – A History of Te Awamutu 1884-1984 at a Hamilton market on Sunday, but a quick scan failed to shed more light on the issue, other than to confirm the cenotaph had been erected in 1923.

It does note that Teasdale St – the green in on the corner of Teasdale and Bank streets – was named after John Burgess Teasdale, a Waipā county councillor who died in 1927. The town’s first Bank of New Zealand building was on the junction of Bank and Alexandra streets.

• Do you know more? Email [email protected]

Storm fallout

Three February meetings scheduled for Alexandra Park have been transferred to Cambridge Raceway after last week’s deluge of rain washed part of the Auckland course away.

Quarries on hold

Two quarry applications in Ōhaupō and Maungatautari remain on hold while Waipā council waits for further information. Rukuhia Land Company has applied to operate a sand quarry in the Ōhaupō rural zone while Beacon Hill Contracting, which had been unlawfully operating a sand quarry at Oreipunga Road, is seeking resource consents to authorise the activities.

Dog numbers

There are about 270 unregistered dogs in the Waipā district. The animal control team is working through the list and issuing infringement notices which carry a $300 fine.  Staff impounded 68 dogs in the three months up to Christmas. Owners claimed 49 of them, seven were put down and six rehomed. Meanwhile Waipā’s dog rules will be reviewed following an initial engagement period which resulted in more than 300 people providing feedback. Now a draft policy and bylaw will be drafted and go out for public consultation in April.

Funds available

The second ground of applications to Waipā District Council’s Community Discretionary Fund opened this week.  Funds are administered by the Pirongia Ward Committee, Cambridge and Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Boards, and support community activities or projects in the Waipā district.

New playground

Work to revamp John Rochfort Park on the corner of Hall and Bryce Streets in Kihikihi will begin this month as part of a new $300,000 playground. Read more

Dog rules reviewed

Waipā’s dog rules will be reviewed following an initial engagement period which resulted in more than 300 people providing feedback. Now a draft policy and bylaw will be drafted and go out for public consultation in April.

2 February 2023

St Andrew’s Craft and Collectable Fair January 2023. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.

The St Andrew’s Craft and Collectable Fair on Anniversary Day Monday went ahead despite the inclement weather and was a success, said organiser Ian Dunn.

Thirty stallholders from Auckland decided to cancel because of flooding issues. “At midnight the night before we had about two inches of rain in Cambridge and I wondered ‘oh no’,” said Dunn. But by daybreak, the rain had stopped, and the fair went ahead. “I’ve gone back to them all and thanked them for coming.” Stallholders reported sales were steady while one jewellery retailer reported record sales over previous years.

Tractor trek

More than a dozen tractors are leaving the farm and heading out on the roads in the Waikato for a two-week trek, starting in Cambridge next week, to support a children’s mental health programme. The trek, which is strongly supported by Rotary clubs, is the brainchild of Phil Aish, an ex-farmer himself. His daughter Cat is a Mental Wellbeing educator who tackles the issue of mental health with children through the use of teacher training, education, awareness, resources and presentations. The trek will be officially launched at Cambridge Middle School from 8.30am on Monday February 13. She will visit Te Awamutu the following day and Roto-o-Rangi on Thursday.

Rain a bonus

Heavy rain will have been a help for Lake Ngā Roto where cyanobacterial bloom was reported last week. At this time last year the lake was a graveyard for wildlife during a long hot dry period. Waipā District Council is advising against people using the lake for water activities while the bloom is present.

Hearing set

Independent commissioner Alan Withy has ordered all submissions on a retrospective resource consent application for kiwifruit shelters and shelterbelts within the permitted setback regulations at 582 Parallel Road be with him by February 10 for a February 22 hearing. Withy can decide then whether the application is granted or declined. The News has received several emails from readers about the issue and will follow the story closely both online and in print. Do you know anything?

Meanwhile our Getting a taste of kiwi  story from last week dominated our online page views with 43 per cent of the hits. Our home page was second, this News in Brief third, Remembering the days fourth and news the Cambridge transfer station is reopening creeped in at fifth just narrowly edging out Jo Davies-Colley’s Community Board column A focus on planning.

Step up

Susan O’Regan

Waipā mayor Susan O’Regan is on the hunt for smart, inspiring young people to join a national leadership programme. The Tuia Leadership programme is aimed at outstanding rangitahi Māori who have the potential to be leaders and contribute to their community. It involves a young person working alongside their local mayor to gain insights, receive one-on-one mentoring plus share their views and insights into what is important for youth. Applications close February 6.

Read more.

Festival canned

Festival One organisers cancelled the Christian event on Saturday morning after rain made the Whitehall site a quagmire of mud. Bands played on Friday night to half the ticketholders and through Saturday as the site was unpacked. Organisers will refund funds on ticketholders wristbands if received by February 27. Weather permitting, the 2024 event will be held from January 26-29.

School roll growth

Several Waipā schools are experiencing strong roll growth and numbers at all schools across the district are expected to be up when the first term begins this week, says the Education ministry. New classrooms are at Te Awamutu College, Te Awamutu Primary, Goodwood, Cambridge East and Cambridge Middle School. A new contributing primary school will open in Cambridge West early in 2025.

Another Chin victory

Luk Chin

Octogenarian Luk Chin watched from the back of the field again as Safrakova and Alana finished one-two in the Cambridge Gold Cup handicap trot on Monday at Cambridge Raceway. The previous week in the final heat, it had been the other way around. Chin was driving Jasinova, the third of his horses in the race, which finished seventh.

Cambridge driver Matthew White had to use all his skills to get around a galloping Kimkar Dash to win the Group 3 Waikato Trotting Breeders’ Stakes guiding Resolve in the feature at Cambridge Raceway last week.

Matthew White guides Resolve to victory in the Gr.3 Waikato Trotting Breeders’ Stakes (2700m)

26 January 2023

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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