What a busy weekend we had. The weather was positively summer-like (on Friday)….but deteriorated as the weekend progressed – although it didn’t manage to dampen anyone’s spirits!.

Fortunately, the Orchard Club had a fine morning on Saturday (Arbour Day NZ) for the tree planting at Karaka Green. There was a large turnout of volunteers who showed up with their forks and spades to plant the 350 natives kindly donated by Otamatea HarbourCare – as well as a tray of daffodil bulbs donated by Bulbs Direct. A delicious morning tea – provided by many Whakapirau home-bakers bringing various plates – was enjoyed by all.

Karaka Green was gifted to the Department of Conservation (DoC) some years ago by a local landowner for use by the Whakapirau Community. Kaipara District Council has an agreement with DoC to maintain the area and they cut the grass regularly. The Orchard Club is an informal group of local residents who have voluntarily undertaken a huge amount of work to develop and maintain the land by planting natives and fruit trees – and, importantly, by watering them during the summer months. Everyone can assist the Orchard Club’s efforts by volunteering to help with weeding / watering / taking part in working bees and generally keeping an eye out for – and reporting – any rubbish that is dumped there. Yes, amazingly, some folk think it’s OK to do that…

WRRA acknowledges and supports the work of the Orchard Club – and helps out by circulating news and information about the group’s various projects and working bees via the WRRA database. Make sure we have your details so you don’t miss out!

The one WRRA event that took place at the weekend was, of course, the Annual Queen’s Birthday Swim at 9.00am on Sunday ….and it was a pretty chilly occasion! The weather could perhaps be best described as “bleak” – but at least it was far better than on the following day/s when it was absolutely appalling! The turnout was not as large as in previous years and not so many people chose to swim – or should I say not many chose to run into the water, scream and run straight out again. A notable exception was Jason Smith, Kaipara District Mayor, who actually did fully immerse and swim…….well done and thank you for supporting our event!

In spite of the weather, there was no shortage of laughter and good spirits – especially when it came to eating the very scrumptious bacon and egg rolls at the BBQ and drinking mulled wine or hot chocolate and marshmallows. A very big “thank you” to Margaret Tier for once again hosting our BBQ station in front of her house and providing oven space for our trays of warm rolls; to Margaret Bailey for buying all the food and ensuring the BBQ ran like clockwork; to all the BBQ chefs and to everyone who helped with the set up and clearing away (and what would we do without the generosity of Anne and Steve Goodmon for allowing WRRA storage in their big shed???!!!)

Congratulations to the Fancy Dress Competition winners and thank you to everyone who participated and helped make this another splendid Whakapirau occasion: