Hawke’s Bay news in brief: 10,000 native plants, $69,000 donated to East Coast Rural Support Fund

Elisha Melmin, general manager of the Hawke’s Bay A&P Association (left), Sally Charteris, teacher and farmer, with Jonathan Bell, Hawke’s Bay area coordinator for the East Coast Rural Support Fund. Photography: Paul Taylor

10,000 native plants donated to Hawke’s Bay, $69,000 donated to support the countryside

The Rural Support Fund received a donation of 10,000 plants on Monday from Restore Native in Waikato. Working with the Hawke’s Bay A&P Association, they distributed plants to schools, pastures and areas affected by the cyclone.

Rural Support and the A&P Association are partnering after the association rallied with Napier Port Hawke’s Bay Primary Sector Awards sponsors to make a $69,000 donation to the East Coast Rural Support Fund.

Adam Thompson, founder of Restore Native, said he wanted to help make a difference in Hawke’s Bay. “It could happen to any of us at any time,” he added. Thompson made contact with the National Rural Support Office and pledged a donation.


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“We are so grateful for this generosity and all the goodwill in our community,” said Jonathan Bell of the East Coast Rural Support Fund.

Elisha Melmin, General Manager of the Hawke’s Bay A&P Association, said they were delighted to be in a position to make this donation to the East Coast Rural Support Fund and this donation would enable the Fund to “continue to support all rural communities affected by recent adverse experiences”.

Melmin said the new partnership reinforces the Hawke’s Bay A&P Association’s mission of supporting the primary sector.

Rural Support Funds are staffed by local rural people who know from experience that pressures can escalate. Their networks and training can help in all kinds of situations, and help people overcome challenges. It is available on 0800 787 254.


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Forest & Bird hosts Tukituki election candidates

The Hastings and Havelock North Forest & Bird branch is hosting a candidates’ forum ahead of the general election scheduled for October 14.

Hear from candidates in the Tukituki constituency about their parties’ policies on climate change and the environment.

Each candidate will be given an opportunity to present their policies and a question and answer time will follow.

Forest & Bird members and non-members are welcome on Thursday from 7.30pm at St Marks Hall on the corner of Queen St East and Park Rd North in Hastings.

Flames gutted Flackmeyer’s home Monday morning

Firefighters were called just after 8am to put out the blaze on Ardrossan Street in Hastings.

Residents living in the home were outside when the fire broke out, and no one was injured, Hastings Fire Station Chief Mike Beachy said.

A neighboring unit was not damaged by the fire, but people living inside that home were evacuated due to smoke.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.


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Firefighters extinguished the fire within about an hour, and two fire engines arrived.

There have been an alarming number of building fires in Hawke’s Bay, including 28 recorded in the month to 28 August.

Speeding sparks anger: Police frustrated with dirt bike riders

Police are appealing to the public to share any footage of dirt bike riders driving dangerously around Hawke’s Bay.

They say staff are still receiving complaints from dirt bike riders, including multiple calls over the weekend about bikes riding on crosswalks and supermarket parking lots in Napier.

Police say they are investigating to identify and locate the people involved in this incident, and anyone who can help is encouraged to contact them.


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If you see an illegal dirt bike ride and you can do so safely, police say please try to obtain proof of the violation (video, photos, description, or known identity of the rider) which will help them during the evidence gathering phase.  Photo/NZME
If you see an illegal dirt bike ride and you can do so safely, police say please try to obtain proof of the violation (video, photos, description, or known identity of the rider) which will help them during the evidence gathering phase. Photo/NZME

Police say some riders give the rest a bad name.

“They are driving at speed through parks, tearing up fields, riding in an anti-social manner and not wearing helmets, which not only puts them at risk of serious harm, but also exposes members of the community enjoying those public spaces,” police said. He said in a statement on Monday.

Police said their message is clear: “If you ride your dirt or off-road bike where you shouldn’t and/or in an anti-social manner, you can expect that we will do everything we can to identify you first and then later.” Take appropriate enforcement action which could include confiscation/imprisonment of the bike.

It is illegal to ride a dirt bike on the road unless it is roadworthy under a current warrant and registration.

Anyone with information about the identity of participating riders or addresses of where the dirt bikes are kept can email police: HBDirtbikes@police.govt.nz or call 105.

Training opportunity for Māori in the food and agricultural technology industries


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Applications have opened for a new global STEM training program that places Māori leaders in international food and agricultural technology companies.

Te Ara Pōtiki will have 3-month placements for up to 15 promising applicants over the next three years, starting with an inaugural cohort in the first half of 2024.

Arama Kukutai (Ngati Tipa, Maniapoto, Te Aupouri), CEO of leading indoor farming company Plenty and co-founder and partner at Finistere Ventures, Dean Tiliard, founder of Sprout Accelerator and partner at Finistere Ventures Aotearoa and Francene Wineti (Te Ātihaunui- a-Pāpārangi, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Kahungunu to Wairoa) founded Te Ara Pótiki.

“Te Ara Putiki recognizes the significant impact that conscious, globally connected Māori leaders in STEM can have on Māori economic and community development, and it is about creating unique relationships and experiences for them in our network in the US and beyond,” Kukutai said.

Applications for the first batch are open and will close on 3 November 2023. The program will rely on private donations and has also received MBIE support through the Expanding Vision Mātauranga Impact initiative.

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