Run-up to a Far North Christmas

kids running in Santa Suits

Teen to audition at UK performing arts school

‘Get your Santa cheer on and get out there and run”. That’s the message from the Whangaroa (Far North) Kiwi Can Charitable Trust who are hosting the Great New Zealand Santa Run in Kerikeri this year. Trust Regional Manager Tracy Walker said tomorrow’s event, which sees Santas of all shapes, sizes and ages run or walk around the Kerikeri Domain from 6.30pm, is heaps of fun. Everyone that enters gets a Santa suit as part of the entry fee.

The events are held around the country in support of the Graeme Dingle Foundation, a charity which aims to build resilience and self-belief in young New Zealanders. Last year’s inaugural Kerikeri event attracted 150 entrants.

“It was awesome, there were lots of kids there and they tore around it really quickly,” Walker said.

“We had lots of prizes donated by the Kaeo Annes and they’ve given us money again this year so we can buy more prizes.” Barfoot and Thompson has sponsored the event and profits go to the Whangaroa (Far North) Kiwi Can Charitable Trust to continue its work delivering the Kiwi Can programme in nine Far North schools.

It costs $25 for adults to enter, or $30 on the day, and $5 for kids.

Visit for full entry details.

Toy drive The Bald Angels Charitable Trust is seeking gifts galore for its annual Christmas Toy Drive.

The goal is getting 3000 gifts donated this year, which will be handed out to vulnerable children and youth aged up to 17 years.

New or quality pre-loved gifts such as games, art supplies, books, toiletries, sunblock, underwear packs, beach towels, drinking bottles and jandals would all be greatly appreciated.

Residents can drop the items off to numerous places around the Far North including Caf Cinema, the Procter Library, Kerikeri Primary school, Riverview School and the community gym in Kerikeri, Whitelaw Weber Accountants in Kaikohe and Paihia School.

To donate directly to the Bald Angels Charitable Trust Account: 03-0351-0240110-00 or visit for more locations.

Food festival The Indigenous Food Festival in Kaitaia tomorrow promises to be a mouth-watering event.

Held at Te Ahu, the festival is an opportunity to taste delicious kai from handpicked gourmet stalls including fresh oysters, raw fish, fried bread and mussels.

The event is run in conjunction with the IO Festival which is funded by Te Hiku Community Board.

“Our festival embodies the flavours of the Far North’s street food wrapped in a unique, diverse cultural experience that will not only tantalise taste buds but showcase who we are,” vendor co-ordinator Sky Gillett said.

Entry is free and it is cash only at the stalls.

Check out Facebook or visit for more information.

Star performer A Bay of Islands teenager will be partway to fulfilling a dream when she heads to the UK in the New Year to audition at a prestigious performing arts school.

Bella Mason, from Waipapa, has been accepted for an audition at the London School of Musical Theatre on February 23.

She will be required to sing one ballad and one up-tempo musical theatre song, followed by – if she makes it through to the next round – a test of her acting and dancing skills.

To get an audition the 18-year-old had to complete an application process which included writing an essay and detailing her theatre experience.

If she gets in the year-long course will put her on track to a career in London’s West End.

The UK-born Bella said she had wanted to study at the school since she first heard about it at the age of 11. Of the roughly 300 people who apply each year, 150 make it through to the auditions and just 40 are accepted.

Regular readers of these continued on A15

continued from A12 pages will know Bella already.

She has performed in a number of bands with the Be Free music mentoring programme and was the teenage Fiona in Shrek the Musical when it was staged in Kerikeri earlier this year.

She will also star as Princess Aurora in the upcoming Stage Door pantomime Sleeping Beauty, which will be performed at Kerikeri’s Turner Centre on December 13-15.

Bella has just finished Year 13 at Kerikeri High School.

Christmas trees A new Christmas tree farm has opened in Puketona just in time for Christmas.

The Puketona Christmas Tree Farm is located at 888b State Highway 10 and is owned by Andrew Thorne and Deirdre MacInnes who wanted to create a special place for the community to visit, share some Christmas spirit and select their own tree.

They planted their first seedlings in 2014 and, after a few practice runs, have now mastered the art of Christmas tree pruning to create big, bushy trees perfect for Northland families.

The trees start at $40 with a portion of the proceeds going to the Cancer Society of New Zealand.

Opening hours are Thursday and Friday 3.30pm-6pm and Saturday and Sunday 8.30am-6pm.

Check out for more information.

Art sale The annual Artcraft Society Annual Exhibition and Sale is being held at the Kerikeri Baptist Church on Hobson Ave from December 11 to 14.

Spokesperson Les Rockel said it’s an event which all Artcraft members look forward to.

“Members from the painting and pottery sections have spent the year producing some interesting new artwork, which we are confident will be enjoyed by all who attend,” Rockel said.

There are a variety of creative works for sale, including paintings, water colours, acrylics, oils, pottery pieces including, small tabletop decorations and larger items. There are also cards for all occasions and a popular Christmas raffle.

Entry is free and a portion of the proceeds go towards providing a defibrillator at Cherry Park House in Kerikeri.

Exhibition hours are 10am4pm.

Visit for details.

Gymnastics prize giving The Bay of Islands Gymnastics 11.30am.

After the display, the certificates and trophies for the year will be awarded and there will be a shared lunch.

“The club has been growing extremely quickly, especially in the competition arena,” spokeswoman Julie Kidman said.

“We came home with three trophies from our latest competition and we attended 12 competitions this year.” Email for details.

Club is holding its end of year display, prizegiving and celebration on December 8.

Anyone interested in finding out about the club, its volunteers or gymnasts is welcome to attend the event at Kane St in Opua from 10am with an informal meet and greet followed by a display by If you have an i upcoming event or a snippet of news you’d like to share, email along with your contact details.

After a few practice runs, Andrew Thorne and Deirdre MacInnes have now mastered the art of Christmas tree pruning to create big, bushy trees perfect for Northland families.

The Great New Zealand Santa Run is being held at the Kerikeri Domain tomorrow, December 5.

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