Our Blog: News

Channel change for Whangarei harbour radio

Whangarei Harbour Radio will change its radio frequency this weekend (from midnight on Friday 23 September) to VHF channel 11. A listening watch will be maintained on the existing channel 19 for a week but this will be switched over to Coastguard New Zealand on Saturday 1 October. Northport, which manages the harbour’s shipping operations […]

Out of school care franchise sets sights on Victoria

Out of school care provider Sherpa Kids Australia has signalled expansion plans for Victoria. It has appointed an area development manager to grow the franchise business and expand its presence in schools across the state.

Michael Rasmussen has taken on the master franchise for Victoria following the success of his own Sherpa Kids local franchise. He aims to grow the number of Sherpa Kids franchises in Victoria from five to more than 25.

Mr Rasmussen was formerly a teacher at St Paul’s Catholic Primary School in Camden, New South Wales,

Sherpa Kids has operated in Victoria for four years and competes with both Camp Australia and YMCA to offer out of school care services.

Mr Rasmussen says Sherpa Kids will differentiate its offering through a community-focused service, with local owners engaging with local schools and parents.

“I think the fact that local people provide and manage Sherpa Kids services is important. These are people with a significant stake in both the business and the community in which it operates. They have an incentive to make sure it’s being done right and being done well,” he said.

“From my experience, local ownership and involvement in the service has always resulted in a higher quality of care being offered to families.”

Sherpa Kids delivers out of school care in a highly structured environment. It engages children with a wide range of activities tailored to fit in with the individual requirements of schools and their curriculums, Mr Rasmussen said. These include arts and crafts, music and drama, sport and games, and cooking and technology. Many are based on specific themes, such as the circus, recycling, sporting events and space exploration.

There are more than 80 such themes, equating to more than two and half years of activity. The range is expanded each month as franchise owners around the world develop new ones.

Vicki Prout, managing director of Sherpa Kids Australia, said she wanted to give the business of out of school care in Australia “a really good dusting.”

“This is a stale sector of the child care market,” she said. “Some of the more established providers have been around for decades. The rut they’re in is both deep and long. In many cases they’ve degenerated into little more than a corporate baby-sitting service.

“Children and their hard-working parents deserve way, way better. We’ve been around long enough to earn our stripes but we’re still the new kids on the block. The way we do things is gaining traction with both teachers and parents. I’m confident that Mick’s remit to build our brand in Victoria is going to change significantly the out of school care landscape here.”

Sherpa Kids franchises cost $35,500 for a five-year agreement with the option of a further two five-year terms.

Mr Rasmussen is looking for potential franchisees with a passion for children and their communities, who can build and manage strong relationships, and who can multitask.

“We tend to look for people with a background in business or people management of some description, and a work history of delivery and success within a team environment,” he said.

“A marketing or sales background is helpful, but not essential. This is a people business and our most successful partners care about helping others achieve success. They are willing and able to put in the hours and the legwork. They are dedicated to the delivery of results rather than just effort. And they have the personality and stamina to build a formidable franchise network.”

The ideal franchisee would also need to be empathetic and people-focused, and a good communicator.

– ends –

About Sherpa Kids

Sherpa Kids is an international company headquartered in Australia. It runs before and after school clubs and holidays activities in schools and other community facilities. It has some 100 franchises worldwide and looks after around 5,400 primary school-aged children every day.

Sherpa Kids Australia is currently in 25 schools across the country. It provides Out of School Care each month for more than 5,000 children from 3,000 families. The fact that Sherpa Kids services are delivered by the business owners is important; the service is being provided by someone with a significant investment in the business and the incentive to make sure it’s being done right and being done well.

We deliver a highly structured, engaging environment designed to achieve a positive social and educational outcome. We believe this differentiates us clearly from our competitors. Activities include arts and crafts, music and drama, sport and games, cooking and technology. Many are based on specific themes and tailored to fit in with the individual requirements of schools and their curriculums. More than 80 themes have been prepared, equating to more than two and half years of fun and educationally-engaging activities.

Snow hampers start of kiwi egg collection season

Conservation experts are nervous about what heavy snow in North Island conservation areas will mean for the start of this season’s kiwi egg collection and incubation programme. This year the annual kiwi conservation milestone was met with significant snowfalls in the central North Island, hampering collection efforts and making foraging difficult for younger birds. Staff […]

War on predators: capture collective wisdom, Trust says

Hawke’s Bay-based conservation group Forest Lifeforce Restoration (FLR) Trust has welcomed the Predator Free by 2050 initiative announced by the government earlier this week. It says the target is achievable but that success will rely on collaboration and information-sharing on a scale not yet seen in New Zealand conservation circles and that few have dared […]

Refinery gantries to get new lease of life

Work starts next week on a three year project to restore jetty gantries at Refining NZ’s Marsden Point refinery to pristine condition. Last refurbished in 2000 the two gantries which are used for unloading crude ships and uploading fuel product ships bound for New Zealand ports, have been subject to ‘fair wear and tear’ and […]

More talks needed on Auckland port study: Northport

Northport Limited has welcomed the Auckland Development Committee’s decision to refer to the incoming Auckland Council the conclusions and recommendations of its Port Future Study, released earlier this week. It is calling for further discussions in the interim to look at alternative solutions to growth issues faced by Ports of Auckland. The company believes the […]

Bankwest signs off on comms strategy

Western Australian banking icon Bankwest today signed off on a comprehensive stakeholder engagement plan developed for them by Due North PR managing director Peter Heath. The plan is integrated with Bankwest’s community engagement and corporate responsibility programmes. It is also part of a fully-measurable external communication strategy developed by Heath to help Bankwest meet the […]

Sherpa Kids picks Due North to support Aussie growth

International out of school care franchise business Sherpa Kids has appointed New Zealand public relations firm Due North to support the firm’s growth plans in Australia. Sherpa Kids is an international company which has its roots in New Zealand. It was set up 20 years ago when two Auckland mothers recognised the need for structured […]

Power station consents granted

Expansion of Top Energy’s geothermal power generation at Ngawha has been given the go-ahead following the withdrawal of challenges to the Environment Court. Top Energy chief executive Russell Shaw said concerns raised by Parahirahi C1 Trust, the kaitiaki of the geothermal field and pools at Ngawha, have been addressed and a joint Consent Order was […]

Beverage industry supports plan to cut obesity

New Zealand Beverage Council members are broadly supportive of a wide-ranging plan unveiled by the Ministry of Health today to reduce childhood obesity levels in New Zealand. “The Ministry has clearly recognised that there is no single solution that will fix the obesity issue plaguing societies across the globe,” said NZBC President Olly Munro. The […]

Airline in last-ditch attempt to save service

Barrier Air has advised Far North Holdings and the Far North District Council that it intends to withdraw its daily flight between Kaitaia and Auckland at the end of January unless it can boost the number of people using the service. The airline has introduced a raft of new flexible fares from $99 each way […]

From the CEO: Changing a “fact of life”

I cringe when I hear people describe power outages as “part of life in the Far North”. Because it’s one of the aspects of life up here that we at Top Energy have been working solidly to change since we put into place our TE2020 network investment programme back in 2009. Last week’s three-hour, region-wide […]

Testing continues on Far North electricity fault

Far North power generator and electricity network operator Top Energy has confirmed that it has identified the most likely cause of the fault on its power system last Friday. Damaged insulators within the Kaikohe substation have been identified, tested and replaced today. But the company’s team of electrical engineers and specialist contractors have been unable […]

Search continues for cause of outage

Senior electrical engineering staff from Top Energy worked over the weekend to identify the cause of Friday’s power outage but do not have any answers yet. Together with engineers from Transpower they have analysed the sequence of protection mechanisms which operated on Friday. This has narrowed down the location of the cause to within 1,000 […]

Ngawha Spa: specialist report received

A specialist report about the asbestos discovered at Ngawha Spa near Kaikohe has confirmed that material containing the substance was used in all but one of the seven buildings on the spa site and that some soil around the buildings has been contaminated with asbestos fibres. Technical professional and construction services provider Jacobs New Zealand […]

Health Star Ratings to appear on drinks packaging

Non-alcoholic beverages sold at retail level in New Zealand will carry new Health Star ratings (HSR) on their labels as soon as practicable following a decision by members of the New Zealand Beverage Council (NZBC). Adding the HSR system to new labels has already started and it will be applied to all relevant products as […]

Marina expansion kicks off

The Bay of Islands Marina expansion project at Opua was blessed today in a formal ceremony conducted by Reverends Hirini Parata of Moerewa and Glenys Davis of Kawakawa. Construction started today and is expected to take 15 months to complete. Far North Holdings chief executive officer Andy Nock expects to achieve an occupancy level of […]

Ngawha Spa future uncertain

Contractors employed to assess the degree of work involved to renovate the Top Energy Ngawha Spa have found significant amounts of asbestos on the site. New owner Top Energy was notified on Wednesday last week (16 September) and has since taken steps to secure the site, including closing the camping ground and the spa. Far […]

Pine clearance boosts record-setting native bush recovery

Contractors have hand-cleared more than 1.5 million wilding pines from 750 hectares of regenerating native bush in inland Hawke’s Bay. The work took place between August 2014 and July this year as part of New Zealand’s largest single indigenous re-forestation initiative. Hawke’s Bay-based Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust (FLRT) is taking control of parts of the […]

Major boost for Bay of Islands marine services ‘hub’

Bay of Islands custom boat-builder Bluefix Boatworks is to merge with Ashby’s Boatyard in Opua and move its operation from Kerikeri to new, state-of-the art boat-building and paint shop facilities to be erected on Ashby’s premises. The company will shift its 10 employees to Opua, take on the five boat-builders who currently work there and […]

Statement: New Zealand Beverage Council

The issue of young children with rotten teeth raised in New Zealand media today by Dr Rob Beaglehole is one of poor parenting. No more and no less. Parents are, or should be, in complete control of what children of that age eat and drink. It’s a complete evasion of parental responsibility to shift the […]

Rachel Hunter welcomes budget cash for kiwi; spotlights other species

Kiwi icon Rachel Hunter has welcomed the government’s decision to allocate more than $11 million for kiwi conservation efforts in this year’s budget. Ms Hunter, who is Patron of Hawke’s Bay-based Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust (FLRT), said the funding was likely to bolster the successes already being delivered by a wide variety of kiwi conservation […]

Kaitaia medical pioneer wins $30k business development grant

Navilluso Medical Ltd (NML) of Kaitaia is the recipient of the first $30,000 grant of 2015 from the Top Energy Business Development Fund. The money will help the company to develop a remote diagnosis and treatment facility for rural communities across Northland and beyond.  NML employs 21 doctors, nurses, health promoters and community health workers, […]

New owner, new look for Ngawha Spa

Far North lines network operator and electricity generator Top Energy has acquired the Ngawha Ginn Spa baths and farm as part of a land acquisition deal. The company intends to keep operating the facility and has closed it temporarily while it undertakes extensive renovations.  The sale was completed two weeks ago. Details remain confidential.  Top […]

Cash grant for Hawke’s Bay whio initiative

A successful Hawke’s Bay whio, or blue duck, conservation project has received a $10,000 maintenance grant from Whio Forever, a species recovery programme launched jointly by Genesis Energy and the Department of Conservation (DOC).   The grant will enable the Forest Lifeforce Restoration (FLR) Trust to maintain the extensive network of predator traps funded by […]

Whangarei harbour channel profiled in full 3D

A high resolution, continuous sounding of Whangarei Harbour’s deep-water navigation channel has been conducted for the first time. It gives harbour pilots, ships’ masters and others using the harbour entrance a picture of the channel bed that is far more detailed than the sounding sheets that have been used to date.  A multibeam channel profile […]

Top Energy to Electricity Authority: don’t disadvantage the North

The Electricity Authority (EA) is consulting on changes to the way electricity transmission is charged by Transpower. These changes could mean significant increases to the electricity bills of people in the Far North.   The proposed increases are from $4.76m/yr currently, to $12.95m/yr, $12.85m/yr or $12.77m/yr depending on the option. The EA says this will increase […]

Due North helps Rotary net Web award

The Rotary Club of Kerikeri has won an award for a website and social media communication programme developed for the organisation by local public relations consultancy Due North with website developer Greenweb. The New Zealand club was presented with an award for the most effective website and social media presence by Rotary District 9910 at […]

Kaitaia urged to make full use of new air service

Kaitaia residents have been urged to use their new air service to Auckland or risk losing it either partially or completely. The stark warning was issued today by Far North mayor John Carter at a ceremony at Kaitaia airport to mark the final Air New Zealand departure to Auckland. Great Barrier Airlines is picking up […]

May maintenance for Refining NZ

Process units at Refining NZ will begin shutting down for three weeks of planned maintenance starting Saturday 2 May. The shutdown for regeneration of catalyst on the Platformer unit and other essential maintenance has required detailed planning and extra resources, including an additional 250 people on site, the majority from local contracting companies working at […]

Early delivery expected for Te Mahi Hou

Refining NZ has confirmed that the Te Mahi Hou project which was due to ‘go live’ in late December 2015 has made excellent progress in recent months, and is now expected to complete early to mid-November. The $365 million project which began in April 2012 replaces the aging petrol manufacturing unit with a modern CCR […]

Researchers stumble across find with a bite

Teeth from a nasty marine predator with a bad attitude from around 80 million years ago are the latest find to come from the fossil-rich Maungataniwha Native Forest in inland Hawkes Bay. Scientists from Wellington-based GNS Science have identified the beast as a mosasaur but the exact species has yet to be determined. Mosasaurs were […]

Feedback will help refine crude proposal

Public feedback on Refining NZ’s proposal to bring bigger crude oil cargoes to Marsden Point has set the stage for a series of expert studies of the harbour and any potential impacts of the proposal. The refinery is proposing that around half of all crude oil be transported on ships capable of carrying around a […]

Refining NZ seeks public views on bigger crude shipments

Refining NZ is holding public information sessions next week about the Company’s proposal to bring bigger cargoes of crude oil to Marsden Point. The proposal could see up to half of all crude oil (around 20 million barrels a year) transported on ships carrying around a million barrels at a time, a move that could […]

Oil-spill response at Marsden Point

Oil that had spilled into Whangarei Harbour yesterday afternoon from the crude oil tanker HS Alcina has been confirmed as coming from her bunker (fuel) tanks. The spill was discovered at approximately 4pm yesterday and triggered a full incident response. An oil spill response team comprising refinery and regional council staff used sorbent booms to […]

New Northport work-boat a boost for local boat-builder

Boaties and boat-watchers on and around Whangarei Harbour will notice a new and unusual addition to regular marine traffic. Northport has a new work-boat, an 8.5m aluminium catamaran called Manaia, built to the port’s specifications by Whangarei aluminium pontoon boat builder Blackdog Cat Boats. She was launched on 31 July at Marsden Cove Marina where […]

New name for Northland Port Corporation

Northland Port Corporation (NZ) Ltd (NZX:NTH) has today advised of the Board of Directors’ decision to change the  company’s registered  name to Marsden Maritime Holdings Limited with effect from 4 August 2014. The company’s three-letter New Zealand Stock Exchange ticker will be MMH.  The change will reduce ongoing confusion between the operations and interests of […]

Waitangi upgrades to bring visitors north

The Waitangi National Trust will lock the gates in a 930 metre perimeter fence around the historic Treaty Grounds on Friday (12 July). But Bay of Islands residents who want to continue using the coastal path through the site can apply for a key to the gates on the track. The Trust’s Board has recently […]

Northport prepares for the worst

Northport, the only deep-water port in the North Island and a key part of New Zealand’s transport and commercial infrastructure, has adopted a crisis communication plan to help its small operations team liaise effectively with the local community and other important groups in the event of a major incident there.  The plan has been developed […]

PRINZ taps Due North team for best corporate PR

A community relations project undertaken by Due North for Far North power company and lines network operator Top Energy was judged the best corporate PR programme at this year’s Annual PRINZ (Public Relations Institute of New Zealand) Awards. The project, called ‘Good Guys or the Grinch?’, revolved around communicating a change to the way Top Energy […]

Trust emerges from the forest

12-month PR programme seeks to find partners, create opportunities The Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust, a conservation and forest rehabilitation group headed by Auckland businessman Simon Hall, is looking for new relationships and opportunities with public and private-sector organisations involved in New Zealand wildlife management. It has appointed PR consultancy Due North to develop and run a […]

Global crisis response firm extends comms cover to NZ

AIM-listed global security company red24 has appointed a multinational crisis communication team, represented in New Zealand by PR consultancy Due North. London-based red24 helps international companies manage crisis situations ranging from product recalls and adverse weather conditions, through to rescuing staff involved in hostage and terrorist attacks.

Search and Rescue sticks its hand up

Far North Search and Rescue (FN SAR) has appointed Due North for public relations consultancy and support. The pro bono brief involves building community appreciation for what the organisation does, boosting membership, enhancing relationships with existing sponsors and engaging with potential supporters. Due North will also produce the organisation’s monthly newsletter. FN SAR’s 25 skilled volunteers provide […]

Dow business picks Northland team for change challenge

Dow Wolff Cellulosics (DWC), a leading supplier of manufacturing and formulation solutions to global health and nutrition businesses, has retained Due North for public relations consultancy and editorial support. The brief involves assisting DWC in its transition from a single-offering business servicing a plethora of industries, to a multi-product business focusing predominantly on food, pharmaceutical […]