Getting tuned up for all that Easter jazz
– The festival gets going at Rangihoua Estate on Friday with the Good Friday Groove, featuring The Phoenix Foundation, Five Mile Town, BlackSandDiva, Jan Hellriegel Band, Kevin Mark Trail and Sharlene Hector.
Saturday and Sunday feature a range of acts at The Bay, The Waiheke Island Resort and The Festival Club as part of the Daytime Jazzabout series, Friday and Saturday evening concerts and a ‘Stars of the Festival’ event on Sunday. For more information see What’s On on page 42 and for festival highlights and interviews, see our sister publication, Waiheke Weekender, free on the ferries and around Waiheke.
To book tickets, go to www.waihekejazzfestival.co.nz.
Board takes action on Wharf Road’s ‘suboptimal’ roading design
– Frustration over lack of local input on roading design prompted a stand-off between Waiheke Local Board representatives and Auckland Transport (AT) contractors on site at Wharf Road last week.
Back on Metro’s menu
– Five Waiheke restaurants have made it onto this year’s Metro Magazine Top 50 Restaurants of the Year, including the reinstatement of The Shed at Te Motu.
More inside this week's issue, available on the ferries, at island retailers and online
Property CCO considering service centre land for disposal
The future of three pieces of council-owned land around Waiheke’s Ostend service centre – including former Waiheke Roads Board land bought in the 1950s – will be reviewed by Auckland Council Properties Ltd (ACPL) with a view to possible disposal.
They include the adjacent 4-6 Belgium Street land – the former power board building and site – that the council property CCO says was acquired by the former Auckland City Council for use as a service centre, which was to include a future library.
The others are the former council depot at 7 Waitai Road that was purchased in the 1950s (the Waiheke Roads Board was founded in 1955) and the site at 15 Waitai Road that includes waste water disposal beds.
Ongoing sales of surplus city assets were set to raise $80 million in the year to June 2013 and a further $58 million in the current year.
The CCO’s six-monthly summary to the Waiheke Local Board, authorised by chief executive (and former Auckland City CEO) David Rankin, says that “property disposals are undertaken in a commercially robust manner” and ACPL provides commercial expertise in property management, buying and selling of properties and by strategically developing council assets to achieve “social, economic, cultural and environmental outcomes for Auckland”.
Optimising “net returns” and bringing a commercial perspective to planning and development initiatives were among the objectives.
Read more in this week's issue, available at local retailers, on the ferries and online.
Also this week . . .
– CCO considers Ostend land for disposal
– Plunge in ferry numbers attracts investigation
– Venomous sea snake found on Onetangi Beach
– New snapper bag and size limits now apply
– ‘Terrifying’ encounter as dinghy rocked by playful orca
Island shoppers embrace Plastic-Free Friday
Most retailers in Oneroa say they gave away no plastic bags at all on Waiheke’s first Plastic-Free Friday last week and Countdown manager Wiebe van der Veen said the Ostend supermarket had a 96 percent reduction in plastic bag usage.
He said nine out of ten customers arrived at Countdown with a reusable bag in hand. “Some were even carrying the old Woolworths’ bags - the very first ones made. Everyone obviously has reusable bags. They just need to bring them all the time.”
Normally, Countdown gives out between 2.2 and three plastic bags per customer but on Friday numbers dropped significantly and 800 of the store’s ecobags were given away.
BYO BAG Waiheke Island’s Deb Lyttle says more than 2000 reusable shopping bags were distributed across the island to help shoppers go plastic-free on the day but most supermarket shoppers had brought their own reusable bags.
“It proves that people just need a bit of help to remember to go plastic bag free,” she said. “The campaign for Plastic-Free Friday really helped people to make the effort.”
Most of Oneroa’s retailers got involved in the initiative. Butcher Steve Hill gave his customers bright red bags matching the shop’s storefront and emblazoned with the Humble Pie Village Butchery logo.
Ann McDonald at Take Note said the lack of plastic bags (removed from the till area for the whole weekend) didn’t attract any customer comment. People were even turning down paper bags, she said. At Shop the Rock, Sue McCann also managed to go the whole day without giving out a single plastic bag. When one person became intent on having one, she wrapped the package in a recycled delivery bag.
She found herself in conversations with visitors from Tasmania, India and England, where plastic bags have been banned or a fee charged for them.
At Waiheke Fruit and Veg, Jill Watson said there were no hiccups going plastic bag free. Plastic bags were taken away from the counter and replaced with cardboard boxes. Paper bags were available for 20 cents. The whole team, she said, was really into it, with their own artwork poster in the window and a sign on the chalkboards.
Keith Johnston, standing in line at Countdown, said he received a free reusable bag there, having spent $50. The man in front of him who bought over $300 worth of groceries was thrilled when he received six reusable bags. One shopper said he got a free bag when someone else who already had enough reusable bags “paid it forward” at the cash register.
Donations of reusable bags were met with enthusiasm by Waiheke shoppers. The compact strong red bags supplied by Mike Pero Real Estate were welcomed for bottles and smaller goods while bags from New Generation featuring the logos of Maxwell Williams and Casa Domani were popular because of their enormous capacity.
At Four Square, one reusable bag with the iconic ‘Charlie’ image was given to every shopper, with 400 in total going out the door. “Hopefully they are reused,” said owner Tim Baker. Over the past six weeks, Four Square had also given away 500 of the fashionable jute summer bags with Charlie and his caravan which are seen as symbolic of New Zealand.
While retailers were addressing plastic bag usage, the cafés and schools were also into reducing their plastic footprint. Students at Te Huruhi brought plastic-free lunches and made the effort to avoid disposable plastic drink bottles. They also created an artwork exploring the plastic bag’s disastrous effect on marine life.
Liz and Pilar of Spice Café have been systematically addressing plastic, ordering in paper bags for takeaway food and bio-cups and compostable lids for their takeaway coffee. They also offer a 50c discount to those who bring their own coffee mug. At Double Shot Espresso, the baristas gave away bent stainless steel straws with their iced coffees and milkshakes. Upstairs at the Oyster Inn, paper drinking straws were introduced and stainless steel ones were also put to use.
Lyndal Jefferies’ Revolution juice cart now offers stainless steel straws and cornstarch drinking cups and food containers, with discounts given when customers bring their own jars and containers.
Deb Lyttle said she and fellow organiser Jennifer Fountain from BYO BAG Waiheke Island were very pleased with public support for the event. “We hope people have discovered it’s easy to do without a plastic bag. Plastic drink bottles, cups, takeaway containers, and drinking straws are all options we can do without.”
Next step? “There have been suggestions that Waiheke be plastic-free every Friday. We certainly support that,” said Deb Lyttle. “But why not a plastic-free week, plastic-free month, or plastic-free forever?” •
Also this week . . .
• A couple are lucky to be alive thrown into the water off Park Point after their fishing dinghy was struck by a 45-foot launch last weekend
• Plea to put historic Wharetana site in public ownership
• Dolphins delight at Onetangi - Photo Carol Pearce
Beach clean up nets 1.5 tons of rubbish
The equivalent of more than half a shipping container’s worth of rubbish was collected from Waiheke beaches during Seaweek.
A total of 607 keen volunteers were involved in the Love your Coast Waiheke Island clean up events, working together to remove 1580 kilograms (1.58 tons) of litter from the coastline.
Charity group Sustainable Coastlines gave colourful presentations to local schools on the dangers of allowing rubbish into the sea and coordinated the large-scale beach clean-up project which involved nine separate events throughout the week.
Volunteers from Waiheke High School, Waiheke Playcentre and schools in South Auckland – some whose students had not previously left South Auckland or been to a beach – got busy with rubbish sacks and gloves in the sunny weather that prevailed all week. The project wrapped up with a huge community clean-up day on Saturday with more than 200 volunteers and 16 boats turning up.
The first 50 people who signed up at the Ostend meeting point were rewarded with a free lunch of salad and fruit, as well as pamphlets about shore and sea creatures.
Organisers said most of the volunteers on Saturday were residents, although one group of three women from Auckland who filled a huge bag full of rubbish at Palm Beach said they had been going all over Auckland for the Seaweek clean ups.
Compared to some beaches, particularly in the south and west, Waiheke was relatively clean, they said.
Many of the sacks were full of the usual culprits: plastic bottle tops, plastic drink bottles and caps, food wrappers and plastic cups.
Following the event on Saturday, all the rubbish collected during the week was transported to Westhaven by Watercare Harbour Clean-up Trust, in their purpose-built vessel the Phil Warren 2.
It was later taken to the Concourse Transfer Station in Henderson, where it will be sorted through and categorised to collect important data on the worst offending products.
Some materials will also be put aside to create an artwork that will be unveiled at the Waiheke Island International Jazz Festival in April.
Sustainable Coastlines co-founder Sam Judd says the week has been a huge success and the charity is committed to returning next year. “What’s really pleasing is we have seen quite a few of the island school kids who saw our presentation turn up for the clean up.
It’s been a great effort and we are really pleased with how many islanders have got on board, but we can always do with more; many hands make light work.” • Julianne Evans