Best of Tauranga Newsletter - August 2009

Greetings from the Best of Tauranga team, as we look eagerly to spring and a few weeks darn near bursting with great arts and culture - to help shake off the horrors of that gloomy, recession-sodden winter.

Between now and the end of October, there’s everything from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, to film festival flicks, and of course, another ripping line-up of quality shows in the 2009 Tauranga Arts Festival. Get in quick, as a performance or two has already booked out. To help you choose, in Spotlight we feature an Arts Fest Preview with Pictures. Also in Spotlight, suss out Mount Maunganui’s newest eatery, Providores, that whisks together a bakery, cafe and deli for very pleasing results.

Katikati is that ‘drive through’ town on the way to Auckland, right? Wrong...there’s more to Kati than colourful murals – such as a wine shop that ranks with the best in NZ. Another surprise...Katikati’s main drag also has an eclectic store owned by one-time drag queen, Crystal Chandelier.

Air Wars – Bugger Off to Oz for Less?
Tauranga locals heading across the Tasman now have a lot more choice.  Rotorua Airport is set to go international in December, when Air New Zealand launches a trans-Tasman service.  Air New Zealand says it positions Rotorua as the gateway to the central North Island and also provides residents of Tauranga, Taupo and other areas across the region, with a more “convenient and competitive” trans-Tasman service. The move will bring more Aussie visitors straight to the Bay of Plenty. It’s good news for Aussie independent travellers who want to visit local attractions such as Spring Loaded Fun Park, Comvita Visitor Centre and Kiwi 360 – as they’re only a half hour’s drive from Rotorua.  Meanwhile, Pacific Blue has begun direct flights six times a week, from Hamilton Airport to Sydney and Brisbane – three to Sydney, three to Brisbane. With luck, all this competition will drive fares down.

New Tasting Tours....
Tauranga Tasting Tours has added two appealing new tours – great for a group outing. The Premiere Tasting Tour and Coromandel Discovery Tours are the latest offerings.  The Premiere Experience is a full day tour for the connoisseur, with visits to top wineries, including a specially prepared meal at Mills Reef, with food matched to their premium Elspeth range. The tour takes in local distillery Deinlein Liqueurs, who were placed second to Cointreau at the International Spirit Awards. Cost $230 per person.  The 3 day, two-night Coromandel Tours focus on local ‘artisan food products’ including green-lipped mussels, smoked seafood from Coromandel Smoking Company, macadamia nuts and oils, local wines. These tours are customised, so price depends on accommodation, etc.  tel 544-1383 or 0275-224 607,

Bird Tweets to Wine Lovers
Tauranga-based winemaker Steve Bird  is twittering his way around New Zealand to nearly one thousand followers - while on a roadtrip to meet the retailers of his wine. Steve Bird is one of the most followed winemakers on Twitter in the country. Twitterholic ( currently ranks Bird the 62nd most followed twitterer in New Zealand, this puts Steve ahead of Telecom and the New Zealand Herald. After signing an agreement with Cellar Select/Top Value Liquor Association to distribute his wines, Bird is on the road over the next few weeks in an effort to meet some of the 70 stores that stock his wine. Bird says he is using Twitter as part of his communications strategy because he’s interested in feedback from the wine drinking community.

‘Stars’ Tickets – Move Fast or Miss Out
We reckon you’d better be fast on your feet...the lead singer of the Little River Band Glenn Shorrock  has been confirmed as top billing for the Mills Reef Stars Under the Stars concert.  Tickets ($40) are now on sale for the annual outdoor concert, to be held on Saturday 30th January, and Sunday 31st 2010.  Promoter Craig Wilson says Glenn will be joined by a rocking five-piece band in a show with “something for everyone,” which will include some of his favourite Beatles songs. The Golden Kiwis – a line-up of well known NZ musicians - will also take the stage.  They are: Kim Willoughby (When The Cats Away), Ian Morris (Th’Dudes) – aka Tex Pistol, Rikki Morris, Tony Waine (The Narcs), Harry Lyon (Hello Sailor) and Rick Ball (Hello Sailor). 
Mount Market...Variety Name of the Game
Explore ‘flash trash,’ fresh produce, and pre-loved clothing at this new indoor market. It’s held every Saturday 10am to 2pm at the Citizens’ Hall, 345 Maunganui Road, near the Mt Maunganui Shopping Centre. Maunganui the Market has stalls with arts, crafts, plants and garden art, alongside fresh local fresh produce and artisan foods.  Weekly ‘specialist’ markets are held in conjunction with the main market.  ‘Artifax’ focuses on antiques, pre-loved art and collectables; ‘Flash trash’ on smaller high quality household items; ‘recycled desire’ on vintage pre-loved clothing and accessories; ‘uREDitHERE’ on cartoons, books stamps and paper products.  For more information: Mahia Wilson, 552 5555 or

Don’t Miss...

NZ International Film Festival
If you’re reading this at the start of September, take note you can still catch a flick or two at the New Zealand International Film Festival at Tauranga’s Rialto cinema. The NZFF runs until September 9, featuring the best in contemporary and retrospective cinema, from home and abroad. The programme includes documentaries and drama, comedies and animation – something for everyone. Check out what’s on when at or visit Programmes are available from cafes, restaurants and theatres around town.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats 
Tauranga Musical is proud to present the Bay of Plenty Times season of Cats in Tauranga. The story of Cats begins on a rooftop in a city anywhere in the world. Based on "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" by T.S. Eliot. Venue: Baycourt Community Theatre, Saturday September 5 to Friday Sept 11, 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm.

Bay of Plenty Times Home & Garden Expo
Home-makers, buyers, renovators...they call this a ‘real home show,’ featuring the region’s top kitchen, bathroom, and furniture players, with some great gardens for good measure. Venue: Baypark Stadium, Friday September 4 to Sunday 6th. Further information tel 576 0513.

NZCT AIMS Games 2009
Check out some future Olympians! The national champs are for year 7 & 8 students, competing as individuals or teams. They compete in 11 sports - basketball, cross country, football, golf, hockey, multi sport, netball, squash, swimming, tennis & waterpolo. The event’s organised by the four Western BOP Intermediate Schools, Sport BOP & Tauranga City Council. Venue: Blake Park and various locations, from Sunday September 6 – 11, 9am to 5 pm. Information: Sport Bay of Plenty 578 0016.

Tauranga Society of Artists Exhibition
Local artists work – including watercolours, acrylics, pastels, charcoal and mixed media. A raffle and Eftpos facilities will be available. Venue:  Baycourt Exhibition Space, Friday 18 September to Sat 19th (9 am to 9 pm), and Sunday 20th Sep (9 am to 3:30 pm).

The 50+ Lifestyle Expo
The only exhibition and lifestyle event aimed squarely at giving the over 50’s - to help them ‘plan for tomorrow while enjoying today.’ The focus of the expo is to provide seniors and baby boomers an opportunity to access the best products, services, health care and other information. Venue: Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre, Friday 25 September to Saturday 26th, 10 am to 4 pm. Further information: or tell 09 448 5216.

Tauranga Moana Seafood Festival
Book now or miss out ...the flavours of the coastal Bay of Plenty are stars of the annual Seafood Festival. Sample oysters, king prawn & salmon kebabs, whitebait and paua fritters, crayfish, kina, mussels, smoked fish, wild pork, venison...Live entertainment on three stages including Kiwi band – dDub. Arts and crafts in the Cargo Shed.  Venue: Dive Crescent, Tauranga waterfront, 28 November, 5.30 pm to 10.30 pm

Four Best of Tauranga 2010 Calendars will soon be on their way to Shontelle from Auckland, Scott from Rotorua, and Robyn and Dave, both from the UK. Carol from Tauranga is the lucky winner of a $50 gift basket from McGregors Wholesale Liquor - Wine and Gift Basket Specialists.

New Prizes...
Time to get out enjoy yourself, say the organisers of the 2009 Tauranga Arts Festival. Thanks to the organisers we have  2 tickets to see Belgian chanteuse Micheline Van Hautem. Her smouldering versions of fellow countryman Jacques Brel’s songs have captivated audiences around the world. The tickets are for the show 'Brel' at the TVNZ Crystal Palace, Thursday 22 October. We're also giving away four Best of Tauranga 2010 Calendars.


(Snapped outside a farm near Waihi Beach by Eamonn – Herald Sideswipe column by Anna Samways)

Posted: Sat 01 Aug 2009






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