Council and Government
Reporter with Fairfax Media, writing and photographing for the Kapiti Observer, Horowhenua Mail, The Dominion Post and the Stuff website. You do a bit of everything in the communities - whether scrutinising Government, taking in the action on the sports field or tracking the movements of a missing celebrity cat, chances are I've had a crack at it.
Council and Government
No further action will be taken against Kapiti councillor Michael Scott after he was found to have breached the council's code of conduct last week. The decision was made after about 2½ hours of tense debate in the full Kapiti Coast District Council meeting on June 23.
A group email relating to the Waikanae town centre upgrade has resulted in a code of conduct complaint being made against Kapiti councillor Michael Scott. Scott's conduct was challenged by members of the public at last Thursday's Kapiti Coast District Council environment and community development meeting.
A Wellington woman says she was "intimidated" by a phone call from police after she became an online supporter of Horowhenua's under-fire mayor Michael Feyen. Bernadette Casey, who owns property in Horowhenua, said she got the call from police on her cellphone on Monday morning.
Donald Trump's pick to be the next United States ambassador to New Zealand has been labelled an "insult". Scott Brown, a former US Senator, is being vetted to become Trump's representative in New Zealand, according to reports in the Boston Globe. And like his boss in the White House, Brown has a controversial history.
Deputy mayors come, deputy mayors go. Some go very quickly. Councillors with Horowhenua District Council, north of Wellington, have sought to remove deputy mayor Ross Campbell barely a fortnight after he was appointed by new mayor Michael Feyen.
A council plan to get cars off one of its busiest beaches has come under fire for killing a popular tradition - and even police say fines for breaking the rules could be too steep. Kapiti Coast District Council, north of Wellington, has ramped up efforts to cut traffic on Paraparaumu Beach after a spike in community complaints.
The takeover of library services by Horowhenua District Council will see about $150,000 pumped into Foxton's Dutch museum. Foxton's new museum and community facility Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom stands to benefit the most from recent changes at Te Takere, Levin's library and community centre, and other libraries.
An art studio owner's attempt at humour - by renaming the Kapiti town of Otaki 'Brotaki' - doesn't have everyone laughing. Hohepa Thompson and Mia Brennan, who co-own studio gallery Hori, put a message on the their changeable rooftop billboard.
A Kapiti Coast campground has banned visitors from calling in to see friends staying there, saying up to 100 extra people are turning up on busy days, using the toilets, showers, and barbecue without paying, and leaving their rubbish and recycling behind.
Two Australian women have married in Kapiti, in a ceremony illegal in their home country and boycotted by some family members. Charity Turner and Phoebe Cox married at Sudbury in Peka Peka, north of Wellington, which marked the first same-sex marriage for the venue.
Otaki is being considered for official recognition as New Zealand's first bilingual town. But what would such a town look like? Adam Poulopoulos investigates. Andy Davies, a Wellington-based doctor, grew up in Wales and attended the equivalent of a Maori immersion school, sitting his school exams in Welsh.
Otaki, where the Maori language was almost dead among young people 40 years ago, could become New Zealand's first officially bilingual town. The town on the Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington, is leading the running to be given bilingual status, in a move being pushed by the Maori Party.
The reopening of Otaki Gorge Rd after seven months is welcome news for trampers - and even better news for cut-off residents David and Kathleen Campbell. The couple live about a kilometre past the slip at Blue Bluff that closed the road to Otaki Forks in December.
An application to Heritage New Zealand to build a new park and ride carpark for rail commuters in Waikanae relates to the historic homestead of Wi Parata. The carpark's construction has been delayed by a cultural assessment, commissioned by the Te Ati Awa ki Whakarongotai Charitable Trust and paid for by Greater Wellington Regional Council.
Kapiti businessowners are split on the effect the expressway opening has had on their turnover. Mac's Fish, on the corner of Ihakara St and the old State Highway 1 in Paraparaumu, has been down about 50 per cent on takings since the Mackays to Peka Peka expressway opened a month ago.
Asbestos has been found embedded in concrete at the site of Waikanae's troubled $1.7 million park and ride facility. Greater Wellington Regional Council construction of the planned 240-park facility, on the old Waikanae Hotel site, has been delayed by the discovery.
The average morning commute from Paekakariki into Wellington has increased by 10 minutes since the Kapiti Expressway opened to traffic, according to new data. But while the morning grind into the capital is now worse for some travelling on State Highway 1 south of Paekakariki, those using the new $630 million expressway further north, between Paekakariki and Peka Peka, are shaving a good five minutes off their travel times, the New Zealand Transport Agency says.
As the first section of the Kapiti expressway opens, a businessman is headed to court over land he says the government bought for a steal for the $630 million project. Murray Livingstone and his mother Marian Livingstone owned Livingstone Gardens, on the corner of Poplar Ave and State Highway 1 at Raumati, north of Wellington.
A Kapiti secondary school principal says they are using a gym and marae to hold classes, as the school grapples with overcrowding. Hundreds of New Zealand schools are over capacity or at risk of becoming overcrowded, including nearly a quarter of all schools in the Wellington region, Ministry of Education documents show.
Police are investigating after a plastic toilet paper holder in the Kapiti College gym was set on fire in a suspected arson. Six fire crews attended the incident, which occurred shortly after a basketball game at the gym, at about 9pm on Tuesday.
A Kapiti school is ready to move into a new era, but not without a nod to its heritage and the local community. Our Lady of Kapiti School in Paraparaumu, is set to open for the new school year. The state-integrated Catholic school, on the newly-formed Presentation Way off Milne Dr, opens on February 7.
The new, redesigned library building at Otaki's Te Wananga o Raukawa will not be complete for at least another 12 months. The library building was being upgraded when it was destroyed by fire on January 25. It was due to open on Monday.
A group of Kapiti College students have attracted international support for a petition to allow year 13s at the school to grow tidy facial hair. Anthony McEwen and four other students started the petition as a social studies assignment, expecting it to attract only 20 or 30 signatures from family and friends.
One Kapiti school is considering changing its staffroom into teaching space as the district's schools and the Ministry of Education struggle to deal with a student population explosion. Schools in Paraparaumu and Waikanae, north of Wellington, have been building new classrooms to deal with what one principal says is unprecedented growth.
A group of Kapiti students are working to restore a boat to its former glory, a year after it sunk in a Wellington storm. Kapiti College purchased Rakino, a nine-metre wooden ketch, for $1200 after it blew off its mooring near Evans Bay last April.
The international cyber community has been blamed for a nasty surprise that left a school empty and parents rushing to retrieve their children. Waikanae School on the Kapiti Coast, with a roll of almost 500 students, was evacuated on Tuesday morning after a bomb threat was emailed in.
As a child, Petra Kotrotsos channelled the warrior fairy in her continuing battle against cancer. Now the 20-year-old's alter-ego is helping other children to fight the same fight. Kotrotsos, from Wellington, is the author of I'd Rather be a Fairy Princess, a book aimed at helping children cope with cancer, operations, treatment, hospital stays and more.
A Foxton resident has taken aim at medical support for the town after facing up to three weeks' wait for his autistic son to see a general practitioner. Resident Gary Wiley said the problem had existed since he moved to the area two years ago.
An 81-year-old virtually deaf man faces up to five years on a waiting list for a hearing implant that will allow him to hear if his wife calls out in pain or for help. Bob Tennant, of Levin, in Horowhenua, has a whisper of hearing in his right ear - 1.5 per cent - and none in his left, and wears a hearing aid.
After almost five years of undiagnosed pain Laura Mabey is changing her life, and hoping to change others. Mabey, 22, who lives in Te Horo north of Wellington, was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in June, abou 4½ years after her first symptoms. There is no cure for the disorder, which is especially characterised by widespread pain and fatigue.
A Kapiti man is among a team researching nanotechnology which could eventually be used to treat cancer. Sean Mackay is part of a team developing Squish, a treatment for strawberry birthmarks, which could be adapted to treat other conditions. Squish is a platform technology relying on nanoparticles squeezing between skin cells, delivering drugs into the tumour.
It was day 50 since diagnosis, and Tiari Barber, 11, was in a Starship Hospital isolation ward, waiting for her chance to live. Of the 28 million registered bone marrow donors in the world there were only five matches for Tiari, and they had found one: a stranger, and matching donor, willing to help.
A family of Lions supporters are appealing for help on social media after thieves broke into their vehicle, stole precious items, and left poo beside the car. The Leighton family's rental car was in a parking building on Liverpool St in Auckland.
A kiter who learned the ropes on Foxton's beaches is making a big impression on the Scandinavian snow, over 17,000 kilometres away. Eve-Ellen Skewes, 11, won the junior snowboard race at Norsk Mesterskap, the Norwegian snow kite nationals, earlier this year. The Poroutawhao School student beat competitors aged 19 and under in the junior division.
September 2, 1960 - the day Sir Peter Snell shocked the world, dashing to golden glory in the brilliant Roman sunshine in front of 90,000 people. Nearly 60 years on, the 1960 Olympic 800m gold medallist has donated some of his memorabilia to a new Te Papa exhibition, prompting a Waikanae man to reminisce on one of New Zealand sport's finest days.
Kapiti's karate kid has Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and his parents to thank for helping him get to the international stage. Jacob Waugh, 12, has been selected in the New Zealand team for the Go-Kan-Ryu Karate International World Cup on Australia's Gold Coast in August.
Fitness, togetherness and family values have fuelled an Otaki-based rugby league team's sustained success, and this year's breakout campaign in Wellington. Whiti Te Ra have won nine consecutive matches to start the season, their 30-18 win over Randwick Kingfishers at Otaki Domain their latest victory.
Whether setting horse racing records or driving cars, Bill Skelton lived life in the fast lane. Hundreds of family, friends and from the racing fraternity gathered in Levin on Friday to remember the seven-time New Zealand jockeys' premiership champion, and first New Zealander to ride 2000 winners.
After 15 years at the same club and four premier titles, Ashley Drake is still racking up club rugby milestones. The Waikanae Rugby Club legend will don his team's jersey for the 200th time in a Horowhenua-Kapiti premier match on Saturday, when table-toppers Levin College Old Boys visit Waikanae Park.
It was the day before the bombshell and John Key was playing golf, handing out lollies and admitting his wife would be happy if he retired as Prime Minister. The outgoing PM was relaxing on the Kapiti Coast with a round of golf on the Sunday, less than a day before he dropped his resignation bombshell.
As he hit 300kmh along the Mugello circuit's back straight, popping a wheelie and preparing to brake, Dillon Telford was not only fulfilling a childhood dream, but breaking a long drought in New Zealand motorsport. Telford will race in the superbike class of the CIV National Trophy, the Italian national championship, in the 2017 season.
As money runs low, Otaki-raised superbike rider Dillon Telford is turning to old-fashioned Kiwi ingenuity. Telford, 25, needs about NZ$20,000 to compete in the last four meetings of the CIV National Trophy season in Italy, after a sponsor withdrew support.
For every high-profile Kiwi athlete like Steven Adams who succeeds in the American College system, there are others for whom the outcome is very different. In the second of our two-part series, we tell the "less glamorous" story of Football Fern Liz Milne.
The Kapiti woman at the centre of Ironman New Zealand's most dramatic finish can't see herself doing another one. Suzanne Stokes was helped over the finish line six seconds before the midnight finish cutoff at the multisport event in Taupo on Saturday.
The animal kingdom
A $7000 device that records blue whale songs has been retrieved off Kapiti Island, after drifting 185km from its Taranaki home. A six-day recovery mission was launched for the Marine Autonomous Recording Unit (MARU) after it became detached from the seafloor in the South Taranaki Bight.
The relocation of 20 kiwi from Kapiti Island will not only help increase genetic diversity at their new locations, but also to grow the population in their old one. The little spotted kiwi were moved to the North Island today to be re-homed at Red Mercury Island, in the Coromandel, and Hawke Bay's Cape Sanctuary.
Her journey saw her travel at least 50 kilometres and spend about two weeks away from home, but Waikanae cat Milo has been reunited with her family and is "good as gold". The chocolate-coloured burmese, known for walking through the shops in downtown Waikanae, was found by a family in Foxton this week.
There was no getting around it: Amanda Clark's pig might have had post-traumatic stress disorder. Dumbledore was so horrified he lost the urge to walk. Now Clark has called for help to rehabilitate Dumbledore, who she believes was traumatised by getting tangled in an electric fence during a storm about two years ago.
Four Kapiti College students want training for dogs and their owners made compulsory, as they aim to limit dog attacks in the district. Jack Loader, Caitlin Voyle, Samuel Cathro and Isaiah Peake want the Kapiti Coast District Council to create bylaws for the 1996 Dog Control Act.
For several months an elusive tomcat has avoided Raumati's best efforts to trap him, but his family have not given up on bringing him home. Harry, a long-haired tabby, went missing from a property on the Kapiti Coast on February 23. Despite numerous sightings he has become too feral to catch.
Adam Poulopoulos/Fairfax NZ A helicopter has flown a horse to safety after it was trapped by a rapidly rising Otaki River. The horse was on the riverbank near the intersection of Otaki Gorge and Waihoanga roads, about 1.5km east of the road bridge in the Otaki Forks area, with water levels rising quickly.