Best of TAURANGA

Best of Tauranga Newsletter - May 2007

G’day and welcome to our third newsletter, scribbled in the merry month of May, as winter starts to shove a bit more of the chilly stuff our way (but skifields remain rock-fields).

This month, we’ve begun to give local innovators some of the kudos they deserve, with the first additions to our Local Products & People page. We aim to showcase enterprising locals, their products and inventions. Read up on the out-of-this-world Zajon people and their virtual reality machines. And Lynley Dodd, whether you knew it or not, is huge in a niche export sector – children’s books by the million.


Bionic Tonics…

The spotlight this month is on Comvita. Whether or not you’re a devotee of ‘natural health’ and aligning your yin and yang, it doesn’t really matter: we strongly urge a pilgrimage to the town of Paengaroa, home of Comvita. This local company with a global reputation for the finest of bee-related healthcare products, has re-invented the modern medi-buzz-word  ‘wellness.’ Comvita has given its visitor centre a complete facelift and created a stylish store and café combined, where preventative good health is tasty and fun. The café can serve you up a range of fruit or vegetable juices and smoothies, all aimed at giving your saggy immune system a tune-up.

No visitor to Paengaroa should miss the Funky Lizard café and shop. The secret is well out over Roger’s corrugated iron birds. We understand a certain garden chain wanted him to go into big-time production. A man of principle, he turned ‘em down.

We’ve covered Te Puke’s stately Capitol Cinema in Spotlight as well, to make the point that Te Puke is about more than just zillions of fuzzy fruit. Where else can you get a feel for cinema-going in the 1920’s? This magnificent cinema was built during the rise of “talking pictures” in 1929. The Capitol is now included as one of the cinemas in Things to Do.

Café in ‘Top 10 Breakfast Spots’

It’s always nice to see local cafes and restaurants get national recognition from the restaurant reviewers and critics. Alimento in 1st Ave has been rated by Cuisine magazine among the country’s top 10 breakfast places: “A chic café with superb coffee, a great menu, easy parking and a large back room for power breakfast meetings.” Legendary Somerset Cottage at Bethlehem – approaching its 21st anniversary - made it into the Sunday magazine’s (Sunday Star Times) Going Up column for its lamb shanks, described as “even better now the weather’s turning.”


Visitor Centres Open Longer

The Western Bay’s two local i-SITE visitor centres have cranked up their operations to open seven days a week, 364 days a year. The Tauranga i-SITE on Willow Street is open from 8:30am-5:30 pm during the week, and 9am-5pm on weekends. This centre not only has a well-stocked gift shop, but its own Internet terminals. The Mount Maunganui i-SITE, located in Salisbury Avenue beside Coronation Park, is also open seven days a week from 9am-5pm year-long. The i-SITEs provide locals and visitors to the region with information on things to do and places to stay in the Bay of Plenty. Booking services for transport, accommodation and activities are also available, both in the region and around New Zealand.

Local Marae’s ‘Green First’

A local pioneer in giving tourists an insight into Maori culture, the Paparoa Marae at Te Puna has become the first facility of its kind in the world to achieve Green Globe Benchmark status as a Visitors Centre. Tourism Bay of Plenty general manager Tim Burgess says the achievement is exceptional, and draws attention to both the depth of cultural tourism in the region - and the growth in sustainable tourism. He says we're lucky to have so many operators “walking the walk” in regards to sustainability in this region both through Green Globe and the Bay of Plenty Sustainable Tourism Charter. The Marae provides Maori cultural demonstrations, tours, and experiences for visitors.


Winners!

In our continuing quest to plug people into terrific local things to do…
Our monthly prize draw has come around again. The prizes were drawn by Classic Hits 95 BOP FM’s Breakfast Co- Host, Louise Dean, and we are pleased to announce the winners:

Brooke from Mount Maunganui won the Family Fun Day pass for Waimarino Adventure Park. And Chloe from Tauranga snapped up two adult passes to Baywave’s superb aquatic and leisure centre opposite Bayfair at Mount Maunganui. Congratulations!

New Prizes…

More fun than you can possibly imagine having on three wheels… vouchers from blokart Heaven – where the locally-made land yachts blast around a purpose-built track. This sealed track, angled to make the most of the prevailing westerly winds, is located in Parton Ave at Papamoa. We have vouchers to provide two people with half an hour each on the track. Please note that the vouchers cover full tuition and safety gear.

In the ‘health and beauty’ line, Comvita have come up with, dare we say, a honey of a prize - two prize packs combining hand and body lotion and manuka honey.

Don’t Miss…

Strike
Coming in July, a high energy drumming group made up of leading Kiwi percussionists, in a powerful stage show billed as unique in the world. Strike specialises in quick-fire percussion in motion, they also call ‘choreographed percussion.' The five members bang away (my words not theirs – Ed.) on all sorts of instruments from cymbals and drums, to hubcaps, all hung from a huge scaffold setup. They cite a mix of musical influences, Pacific, classical and contemporary, and usually get a ‘crossover’ audience. Catch them on July 18th at 7.30pm, Baycourt.

Offbeat…

Russell Orr spotted this delightful ‘no big names’ plaque at the Park St Eye Clinic in Tauranga. (Source: Sideswipe, NZ Herald ) A local firm’s vision of the future ….nirvana or nightmare? You choose.

If the owner of this classic VW can come forward and tell us what he or she loves about Tauranga, and what they miss about the U.K. – they will win a prize.

Posted: Tue 01 May 2007

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