Greetings from the BoTCom team, and to hell with the noughties – pleased to see the back of them. So far, so good for the ‘tens’ weather-wise, with a more than reasonable quota of sunshine. The word sweltering has applied on quite a few days. You may’ve caught the news that Weather Watch has ranked Bay of Plenty's weather as the country's best this summer. Head analyst Phillip Duncan says he was looking for areas which had long, hot, sunny days and warm nights. Auckland's weather ranked second, followed closely by Waikato. Let’s hope the heavy rains of Anniversary Weekend was a tiny aberration.
In Spotlight, we’re out and about at Mount Maunganui looking at the Brazil Factor, the flow of thousands of South American migrants into the district. We’ve noticed it in our web stats, with Brazil climbing up the list of countries viewing BotCom (which now stands at well over 100). All this in-migration has meant a welcome injection of South American culture, from great food and music, to colourful imports, including clothes and shoes.
Ah, the sea...it’s never been warmer and more inviting. We’ve been investigating the latest in stand up paddle boards – the blow up, highly portable and family-friendly, Red Air boards. Don’t confuse these with the crummy quality, toy-like inflatables that can be bought in certain chain stores. Reds are designed by a British SUP champ and manufactured in Taiwan. They are made of a material similar to the rugged synthetic rubber used in inflatable boats (IRB’s). They cost nearly half a normal stand up board, and roll up into a kit bag.
Beachgoers, remember - don’t eat the shellfish! Pipi, tuatua and other shellfish remain off limits with a toxic shellfish warning still in place. A number of people have already been hospitalised with classic poisoning symptoms.
Also in Spotlight, details of a major new development at Fantail Lodge near Katikati, a boutique lodge near Katikati. New villas are under construction at the lodge known as a romantic hideaway and great escape from city rat races - with fine food prepared by owner and top chef, Harrie Geraerts, known for his game dishes.
And if you’re heading into the New Year jobless or skint...take heart. We have a feature on free or budget things to do.
Bay of Plenty travellers heading over the Tasman are being offered a nice little ‘use us’ carrot by Rotorua International Airport. You get free parking while you’re away, when you fly to Sydney from Rotorua. A week’s parking would normally cost $45. The free parking is on offer at least until the end of June, and may be extended. Just retain your boarding pass and exchange it for the free parking ticket as you leave the airport.
Meanwhile, Tauranga will be showcased to thousands of international air travellers. Tourism Bay of Plenty has secured the main editorial feature in the autumn issue of Air New Zealand's Destinations Magazine. The magazine is on board all international flights and Tourism Bay of Plenty says the mag is read by a huge number of people.
On the local art scene, BLACK CARNIVAL by Christine Webster at Tauranga Art Gallery, is at the edgy end of things. It’s described as a thought- provoking work full of drama, that questions an individual's identity. The imagery relates to masquerade, fantasy and eroticism, gender exchange, ambiguity, darkness and the various veneers, or guises, that each of us wear, or perhaps aspire to. Black comes with the warning ‘contains some nudity.’ It runs until February 28.
The gallery is also staging NGA KAKAHU by Jo Torr. The central theme of Torr's works is that of mutual cultural exchange between Polynesian and European peoples. Torr explores the interrelation of Mäori cloaks and European blankets. The exhibition runs until February 21.
Exhibitions on the way include contemporary Iranian photography, and the work of potter Len Castle and artist Doreen McNeill. Anyone interested in art as an investment should catch Ben Plumbly, from Art+Object auctioneers. The talk is at 6pm, Wednesday February 10. Entry by gold coin donation, bookings essential, on 578 - 7933.
Three double tickets for the KiwiFestival Bay of Plenty are going out to Diane, Ingrid and Linda .The tickets are for the festival’s Carnival at the Wharepai Domain, on March 6.
Three more copies of our Tauranga 2010 calendar are also on their way to Kelly, Sandra and Charlie.
To celebrate the very welcome Brazilian invasion at Mount Maunganui, we have two pairs of Haivaianas – ‘the world’s best flip flops’ - to give away. These are courtesy of B Original, the superb new Brazilian store in downtown the Mount.
Greerton Village, with its village green ambience, is one pleasant place to shop...even more so with a $50 shopping voucher in hand! Thanks GV...
James Moore-morial Canoe race
Catch the great sight of many paddlers doing battle on the water. The Waitangi Day race features male and female paddlers, single outrigger canoes and surf skis. Venue: Pilot Bay Mount Maunganui, Saturday February 6, 7 am to 4.30 pm.
93.4 MORE FM Birdman with Mount New World
Crazy people with mad flying contraptions...Create one and fly off the wharf to be in to win $1,000 cash or hundreds of dollars in prizes. Venue: Salisbury Wharf, Sunday February 7, 1.30 pm to 3 pm. Information: tel 571 0444
Tauranga City Airshow
Tauranga Airport will be buzzing at Waitangi Weekend! It’s the inaugural Tauranga City Air Show – spectacular aerobatics, skydivers and loads of family fun from balloon rides, live music, and more. The conference of the Sport Aircraft Association of NZ over the weekend will bring more than 100 aircraft from round the country. Venue: Tauranga Airport, 5 & 6 February. Further information: www.taurangaairshow.co.nz, www.classicflyersnz.com or tel Classic Flyers on 572 4000.
Operaunity Presents - From Broadway to Westend
The best of music theatre from Show Boat to Phantom of the Opera and lots in between. Old favourites and a new gem or two. 12 Venue: Holy Trinity Church, 215 Devonport Road, Friday February 12. General admission $27 (includes light lunch), group discounts. Tel 0508 266 237
2010 Lion Foundation Surf League
Surf Lifesaving's premier annual event. Current world champs feature in 8 regional teams battling the surf and sand to be the best in the country! Venue: Main Beach, Mount Maunganui, February 13, 8 am to 4 pm. Further information: www.surflifesaving.org.nz
Valentines Cruise for Singles
A fun Valentines boat cruise for singles. ‘Dress to impress and have a blast.’ For ages 30 and over. Venue: Kewpie Boat, Tauranga Pier beside Kestrel, Tauranga City, February 13, 7.30 pm. Tickets $45, tel 027-439 3267
Mount Pacific Downwind
New Zealand’s answer to the great Molokai Challenge in Hawaii. In a new totally innovative approach to ocean racing, this radical event involves barging paddlers and their craft (single Surf Ski’s and waka ama (canoes) 25km offshore and then setting them off on a exhilarating downwind race back to shore. The competitors finish in front of the summer crowds on Main Beach, Mount Maunganui. Venue: Main Beach, Mount, Saturday February 20, 6 am to 6 pm. Further information: Neil Gellatly, tel 07-349 6554
The More FM Winery Tour 2010
Kiwi music legends Tim Finn, Bic Runga and Dave Dobbyn take the stage again to play a selection of all of their famous hits. Also joining Winery Tour 2010 line-up is Boh Runga, who’ll be joined on stage by Supergroove front man and solo star Che Fu. Venue: Wharepai Domain, Sunday 28 February, general admission $75. Further information: www.winerytour.co.nz.
The Elms Twilight Concert
Featuring ‘Off Broadway’ with music from ‘Best Broadway Musicals, Pop Opera, and Swing Jazz. Tickets available on the day, at the gate. Raincheck date is the 28 February 2010. Venue: The Elms, Sunday February 21, 6 pm to 8 pm. Gates open at 4.30pm. $15 adults and $5 school age children, under 5’s free.
SPCA Pet Expo at The Village
See, touch and appreciate a wide range of animals from all over the Bay of Plenty. A vast range of pet products and services, animal displays, dog agility and canine demonstrations, pony and donkey rides, competitions for the kids and their pets, prizes, give-a ways and much more. Venue: Village on 17th, Saturday 27 February, 10 am to 4 pm.
Opera on the Rocks
Dame Malvina Major along with up and coming young Opera singers perform in the Te Puna Quarry Park. Venue: Te Puna Quarry Park, Saturday February 27, 7 pm. Tickets $100 (including bus ride). Park and ride only from Te Puna School from 4 pm to 7 pm. Further information: tel 552 5715.
Poisonous whitetail's happy home in parking machine