The week kicked off with an impressive working bee at the Barrier Social Club

From Whales to Work Bees: Aotea’s Collective Heart Beats Strong

This past week the island has been a testament to the power of community and the magic that happens when people come together to support one another, celebrate their environment, and foster (pun, yes) a sense of unity.

The week kicked off with an impressive working bee at the Barrier Social Club, showcasing our collaborative spirit. With the generous support of Gulf Fuels NZ, Peter Ganley, and Malcolm & Kyle from Fulton Hogan, the community came together to begin sealing the club’s driveway. The initiative not only enhances the club’s facilities but also preps the club for some very high-profile guests. There’ll be a full sealing by Fulton Hogan in March. A demonstration of what can be achieved when businesses, community members and the local board unite for a common goal.

Mid-week, the island rallied around Pa Beach Cafe, who faced an issue when the gas oven broke down. Yes, on an off-grid island like Aotea, that can be daunting. Yet, the community’s response was swift and supportive, dozens offering practical advice and solutions to help Rochelle get things sorted. The willingness was heartwarming, and things are very much back up and running. Stop by Pah Beach, for some mind-blowing kai, next time you’re in Tryphena!

The environmental consciousness of the island was highlighted by the donation of a Starline Steriliser to Anamata, Tuesday – enhancing the cup-cycling programme and pushing forward the island’s commitment to eliminate single-use coffee cups. The generosity from Cam Crawford and Heidi Kubler not only supports sustainable practices but also reinforces the community’s dedication to preserving our pristine environment.

Cam Crawford and Heidi Kubler donated a Starline Steriliser to Anamata, enhancing the cup-cycling programme and pushing forward the island's commitment to eliminate single-use coffee cups.
Cam Crawford and Heidi Kubler donated a Starline Steriliser to Anamata, enhancing the cup-cycling programme and pushing forward the island’s commitment to eliminate single-use coffee cups.

The week was also marked by an extraordinary natural spectacle – the sighting of what was believed to be a blue whale near the island. The event, captured in stunning photographs by Blair Herbert, served as a reminder of the majestic and fragile beauty that surrounds our motu.

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Pa Beach Cafe, 82 Blackwell Drive, Tryphena, Great Barrier Island (Aotea)

The launch of the Aotea Advocate on Thursday, a new community newsletter focused on positive news and notices, signifies a step forward in celebrating the island’s achievements, stories, and spirit. The initiative is a beacon of positivity, aiming to uplift and unite the community through shared stories and information.

The launch of the Aotea Advocate, a new community newsletter focused on positive news and notices, signifies a step forward in celebrating the island's achievements, stories, and spirit.
The launch of the Aotea Advocate, a new community newsletter focused on positive news and notices, signifies a step forward in celebrating the island’s achievements, stories, and spirit.

Frocks on Friday where our Tāne transform into dazzling dames for a day, stopped by Aotea Brewing. Both light-hearted and uproarious, it raises spirits and eyebrows alike, demonstrating our community’s flair for turning norms upside down. It’s a vibrant nudge reminding us that life is too short to follow the script. As if you needed another reason to stop by Aotea Brewing for top-notch home-grown beverages and Friday frivolity.

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Pa Beach Cafe, 82 Blackwell Drive, Tryphena, Great Barrier Island (Aotea)
We boasted a high-profile mammalian visitor this week – though not everyone is convinced exactly what it is.

And there was no rest on Sunday, either. The island’s unwavering spirit of camaraderie and altruism was further ignited when Leon Foster took to social media to announce the launch of the “Aotea Army,” a volunteer initiative aimed at supporting the elderly and whānau in need through building work, cleaning, gardens, and more. The community’s response was immediate and enthusiastic, with dozens offering their support within minutes. Comments flooded in, praising the initiative’s name and purpose, with comparisons to the altruism of the Salvation Army, and acknowledgments of Leon’s leadership and the community’s generosity.

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)

And as if those heartwarming tales weren’t enough. Don’t miss the insightful session on AoteaFM featuring mana whenua representative, esteemed academic, and passionate activist Kelly Klink. Dive deep into the island’s rich history through Kelly’s groundbreaking research, a narrative that promises to enlighten and inspire.

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Pa Beach Cafe, 82 Blackwell Drive, Tryphena, Great Barrier Island (Aotea)

In culinary news, the Claris Sports Club is about to get a gastronomic upgrade with Michelle Hartley Scott stepping in as the new chef. Michelle, is set to be cooking up a storm every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday starting from March 6th. It’s the perfect opportunity to experience divine flavours and community warmth under one roof.

And hold onto your hats because the island is about to rock like never before! Six60, the chart-topping sensation, is headed to our very own Barrier Social Club. This is an event you won’t want to miss – a chance to see one of New Zealand’s most beloved bands right in our backyard.

The ovens are back up and running and Rochelle Winger and co. are cooking up a storm, after some community spirit to help out at Pah Beach Cafe.

In conclusion, this week – like so many others, Aotea continued to be a beacon of community, resilience, and environmental stewardship. Through challenges and celebrations, our island whānau demonstrates an unwavering commitment to supporting one another, protecting natural heritage, and fostering a culture of inclusivity and sustainability. This past week’s events are a testament to the island’s spirit, proving it’s not just a place to live, but a community to belong to, and a paradise to protect and cherish.

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