Urgent NZAF mission to Three Kings
After reports from Cape Reinga that the new unattended marine light on the Great King Island was extinguished, two R.N.Z.A.F. Iroquois helicopters flew an urgent mission from Whenuapai on Sunday, landing nearly half a ton of new batteries on the 900ft. peak in spite of thick cloud and severe turbulence.
The light shone again on Sunday night, warning shipping for more than 25 miles of the presence of the dangerous Three Kings group.
“The weather was really marginal and the pilots (Wing Commander Dallison and Squadron-Leader D.F. Patterson) did a remarkable job,” said the Auckland district electrical engineer for the Ministry of Works, Mr. J.K. Gladwell, who was one of the party of 11 who went to the islands.
“The helicopters had to let down through cloud at Cape Reinga to pick up the 12 80lb batteries, and then find the 100ft. landing pad on the Great King where the cloud cover was at 700 feet, 200 feet below the crest of the island where the light is situated,” said Mr. Gladwell.
It was found that the light had failed because the batteries were completely flat and that the windcharger had not worked sufficiently well to keep them charged.
This had always been a possibility, said Mr. Gladwell, because, though the windcharger is on an exposed site, the configuration of the island with its high cliffs apparently does not give a sufficient air flow there.
The new batteries give 500 amp hours each and will last for a month, and in that time it is intended to add solar cells (as used in satellites) and a small diesel engine. The engine will start automatically if the batteries drop, and with the windcharger, this should solve the problem.
Mr. Gladwell said it would be desirable to make regular visits to the islands, and he expected that his would be done in cooperation with the Air Force as a training exercise.
Because of the difficult conditions the trip took much longer than expected, and the party of eight Airforce men, two Marine department representatives and Mr. Gladwell spent the night at the Awanui Hotel, leaving the helicopters at Kaitaia Aerodrome, where they had refueled coming and going.
Mr. Gladwell said he had been astonished at the amount of new growth of small plants since the teatree and other scrub was cleared in April and earlier this year.
When the light site and the landing pad were prepared, an officer of the Wild Life branch was present to see that the rare plants on the island were not damaged, and Mr. Gladwell said it appeared that the work had actually been beneficial for there was now a profuse growth of several plants, notably a lily, which may be the Reinga lily. Parakeets and bellbirds were also seen, and it appeared that the new installation had caused little disturbance to any wild life.
— June 17, 1969
“Registration is obviously too slow as we have so far only handled 796 vehicles,” he said. “I do appeal to people to come in this afternoon or early next week to avoid the congestion that is likely as the period ends.” — June 20, 1969 A black albatross was found at Waiharara yesterday, unable to fly. Messrs Mate Yelavich and three other persons discovered the bird on Mr. Yelavich’s property, where it was walking around. The bird, which appears to be quite young, was measured, and its wing span reached seven feet. It was left to its own ways and means of getting off the ground.
— June 24, 1969 We are sorry to hear that Mr. Tyrone Chauval is a patient in the Kaitaia Hospital following an accident to his hand, and we hope that he will soon be home again.
Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Foster returned home from their holiday on Sunday afternoon.
Mr. Cedric Parker returned home on Friday after attending the Star sale at Claudelands. He also attended the Ayrshire breeders’ conference and the dinner and social evening, this being the golden jubilee of the Ayrshire breeders in New Zealand. We congratulate Mr. Parker on being placed on the junior judges list.
Mr. Les Foster attended Mr. W. Risi’s sale of Mountley pigs at Ngaruawahia on Monday. Family Dance Another very successful family dance was held in the Fairburn Hall on Saturday night, with mum, dad and the family having an enjoyable evening.
Mr. Rex Dawson was the m.c. and Mr. W. Greaves played the music for the dancing. Extras were played by Mr. Peter Wilkinson on the piano accordion and Mr. Greaves on the piano. A Monte Carlo was won by Mr. and Mrs. John Garton and a spot waltz by Mr. T. Trigg and Mrs. S Julian.
The uncooked dinner was won by Brett Coulter and the cake by Stephen Berghan.
Some much appreciated musical items were given by Mr. Bruce Greaves. The usual very nice home cooked supper was served and dancing continued until midnight.
— June 24, 1969