Best of Tauranga Newsletter - March 2008

Kia ora from the BoTCom team. In this newsletter we point you at some pretty varied stuff – from jazz to hiking (alright, tramping, if you want the Kiwi-ism) to a new dolphin-watching operation.

The Tauranga National Jazz Festival is now in sight, and heading towards a 50-year milestone. For all its longevity, the Jazz Fest has never been predictable - always coming up with an intriguing mix of talent and styles.          
The jazz extravaganza, in its 46th year, is now only days away. Whether you’re a hardcore jazz fan, or simply want to hear someone tootle a good old standard you can recognise... it’s a case of satisfaction guaranteed. The five-day Fest runs from Thursday 20th March to Monday 24th of March. For you time-poor workaholic souls who haven’t yet caught details - we have a quick rundown in Spotlight, of new features this year, and some tips on who’s playing.

Also in Spotlight, come aboard Commander 1 – Tauranga’s latest dolphin watching venture that takes the ‘fleet’ up to four. Paul and Alison Aitken, the owners of Dolphin Blue assisted by their daughters, are aiming to stay small-scale in their family-run operation, ensuring that customers enjoy what Paul describes as a ‘sit-back, more relaxed type experience.’  We went on board for a look-see and liked what we found. Read our report, and visit their website

And discover what's on our back doorstep with the ECHO Walking Festival in April. This annual series of guided walks promises to be bigger than ever in 2008, showcasing walks in and around local towns of Katikati, Waihi, Paeroa, along with Te Aroha and Thames. Check out write-up and surf for more information. 

On the wine-making scene, local wine makers have scooped up gold and silver at the 55th Royal Easter Show Wine Awards judged in Auckland. Our local vintners were up against a huge field - total entries were 1334, down slightly from last year’s record of 1375. Morton Estate took gold for its Morton Estate Private Reserve 07 and silver for a 2007 viognier.  Mills Reef also grabbed gold for its Mills Reef Elspeth Malbec 06, and silver for another red, Mills Reef Elspeth 2006.

The way we were... The Tauranga Art Gallery is hosting one of New Zealand’s most significant documentary photography exhibitions, Handboek: Ans Westra Photographs. The exhibition runs until 6 April. Two new exhibitions beginning 15 March are Ko Tawa: Maori Ancestors of New Zealand and Like Mother, Like Daughter: Katherine Sperrey and K. Airini Vane. For more visit:  


We said you’d need to be a bit of a daredevil to get the most out of this... Caroline from Katikati is the  lucky winner of a trial aerobatics flight courtesy of Adventure Aviation valued at $110.  If you are really, really wimpy, maybe you can talk them into a swap for one of their other more sedate flights.

More fine weather is still on the way, say the forecasters, but the weather doesn’t matter   when it comes to a dip at Baywave. We have two family passes to Baywave, Mount Maunganui’s aquatic and leisure centre, for Louise from Mt Maunganui and Tim from Tauranga. Happy dipping.

New Prizes
As we’ve noted, Tauranga’s dolphin-watching fleet has risen to four with the Department of Conservation granting a Marine Mammal Permit to Paul and Alison Aitken, the owners of Dolphin Blue. To help spread the word on their new family-run operation (with daughters Kimberley and Chantelle helping) they’ve offered a trip for two aboard their stately 54 foot launch Commander 1. Passenger numbers are limited to just 12, to maximise customers’ interaction with the marine mammals, so the winners will get something pretty special. 

We are also throwing in as additional prizes another two copies of The Best of Tauranga, our ‘insider’s guide’ book to the Western Bay of Plenty.

Posted: Sat 01 Mar 2008






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