Five most popular stories of 2016


It has been a massive year in news so we thought we’d mark the occasion with five of the most popular stories of 2016.


Violence erupts at protest

A group of protestors gathered at the top of Trafalgar St today for what they were saying would be a peaceful protest however, the events that unfolded were anything but peaceful.

Around twenty people marched towards Lewis Stanton’s campsite outside Farmers, protesting his occupancy of the area.

When the group reached Stanton, they were met by his shouting supporters and three people positioned on an overlooking building, throwing water balloons.

Several of the ‘If it’s okay for Hone, It’s okay for me’ protestors engaged in a heated argument with Stanton and his supporters before the situation escalated.

The police arrived shortly after the violence started and people were dispersed.


Cannabis cake served to diners

A Nelson restaurant is alleged to have mistakenly served a cake laced with synthetic cannabis to a group of diners, leaving six of them in hospital.

But police won’t be pressing charges against the restaurant because of “insufficient evidence”.

A dinner reservation was made for nine people at The Waka Restaurant and Bar  in early July to celebrate the birthday of one of the diners.

The woman who reserved the table was told when making the booking that they were entitled to a complimentary birthday cake.

When she enquired about the cake offer after their meal, the waitress said she wasn’t sure but went to the kitchen and came back to confirm there was a cake for them.

It was promptly delivered, with candles, before being cut and served up to the guests.

Diner Nicola Nish says the cake “tasted weird”.

“It was like a carrot cake with chocolate icing, but everyone said it tasted weird and most didn’t finish their piece.”

After the dinner, and about two hours after eating the cake, the group’s sober driver began to feel numbness down the side of his arm and that his heart was beating a lot faster than normal. Fearing a major health problem, his wife Nicola called an ambulance.

Tests at Nelson Hospital confirmed that he wasn’t having a heart attack but that he tested positive for synthetic cannabis. By the end of the night another five members of the group were hospitalised with the same symptoms.

All tested positive for the drug that was made illegal in 2014.

The other three diners either didn’t eat the cake or simply thought they were drunk.

The positive urine tests were handed to the Ministry of Primary Industries by Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, which passed it on to Nelson Police to investigate.

But police say they won’t be pressing charges.

“While police believe it is highly likely that these people were served a cake that was laced with cannabis, there is insufficient evidence to prove this. The people involved underwent tests, which confirmed the presence of cannabis. Unfortunately, at the time of reporting no cake was seized for examination.”

Nicola says she is disgusted with what happened. “One of the other sober drivers was on her way home and had to pull over because she was getting blurred vision while driving. It was really dangerous and could have been much worse.”

The Waka Restaurant and Bar owner Francis Monopoli was approached for comment but could not be reached.


A mother’s worst nightmare

This morning a young girl was grabbed by a stranger on her way to school in Stoke.

The incident happened in Norwich Street this morning, the Broadgreen Intermediate student was grabbed and spoken to but she was not harmed.

The girl’s sister went to Facebook, posting the following statement.

“Anyone who has children or has friends with children that go to birchwood or nayland primary school or broadgreen intermediate please don’t let them walk by them self to school or home.”

“My sister got grabbed going to school this mrn she is very shaken and police are involved…Plz spread the word. Thanks. Don’t want anymore incidents.”

Nayland Primary School’s principal Janice Gulbransen says police are advising students to avoid the Norwich Street area and if students feel in danger in any way, they should immediately dial 111.


Power out after quake

A massive 6.6 earthquake centered in North Canterbury has shaken Nelson from its sleep and left power out to the majority of the city.

The earthquake struck in the first few minutes of Monday, November 14, and was felt widely across the country, including the top-of-the-South.

Geonet reported that the quake was 16km deep and centered 20 km south-east of Hanmer Springs, which is in North Canterbury. It was rated “severe” by the government-sponsored earthquake agency and struck at 12.02am.

The quake knocked out power to large parts of the region, including Stoke, Tahunanui, Victory and Atawhai. On social media people reported power lines in Tahunanui sparking “like fireworks” after the quake.

Network Tasman said on its website shortly after 1am: “We have had multiple power outages at present as a result of the earthquake. We are working to restore supply.”

People were quick to take to social media after the shake.

“OMG, that was a goodie, rocking for ages the water in the swimming pool was rushing up over the sides in waves,” wrote Grace Clark.

Others asked if people in Christchurch were ok saying “it went forever”.

Tasman District Council has tweeted: “Use torches, not candles, boil the jug if you have power – have a cuppa, and stay calm. Use texts not phone call. Support each other.”

Fresh Choice Nelson owner Mark A’Court posted photos to social media showing damage at the supermarket, including smashed wine bottles.

Civil Defence has also issued a tsunami warning for all southern coastal areas of New Zealand and urged residents of the South Island’s east coast to move inland or to higher ground.


New speed limits in force on Friday

Tasman District Council Transportation Manager Gary Clark reminds motorists the Council’s Speed Limits Bylaw made changes to the speed limits on 26 local roads throughout the District.

Gary warns drivers to keep an eye on the signs and be prepared to slow down.

“Police will be enforcing the new limits from Friday, April 1. The new signs should be up several days beforehand so people have a chance to adjust their driving habits. We’re urging people to be aware of the new speed limits and keep an eye on the signs.”

The speed limit changes were made in response to community concerns about traffic speeds on local roads and to meet best practice safety guidelines.


New Speed Limits by Area


  • Lower Queen Street, 50kmh zone extended, part of 70kmh zone lowered to 60kmh, part of 100kmh zone reduced to 80kmh
  • Swamp Rd, 80kmh reduced from 100kmh


  • Bartlett Rd, 80kmh reduced from 100kmh
  • Cotterell Rd, 80kmh reduced from 100kmh
  • Edens Rd, 80kmh reduced from 100kmh
  • Part of Higgins Rd, 80kmh reduced from 100kmh
  • Pugh Rd, 80kmh reduced from 100kmh
  • Ranzau Rd, 60kmh reduced from70kmh
  • Ranzau Rd West, 80kmh reduced from 100kmh

Tasman/Upper Moutere

  • Cliff Road, 60kmh reduced from 70kmh
  • Dee Rd, 60kmh reduced from 70kmh
  • Kina Beach Rd, 60kmh reduced from 70kmh
  • Kina Peninsula Rd, 60kmh reduced from 70kmh
  • Oceanview Lane, 60kmh reduced from 70kmh
  • School Road, Mahana, 60kmh for the entire length

Golden Bay:

  • Central Takaka Road, 60kmh reduced from 70kmh
  • Part of Collingwood-Puponga Main Road, 50kmh 20 Dec – 31 Jan, 60kmh 1 Feb – 19 Dec
  • Duncan Street, 50kmh 20 Dec – 31 Jan, 60kmh rest of year, reduced from 100kmh
  • Mills Street, 50kmh 20 Dec – 31 Jan, 60kmh rest of year, reduced from 100kmh
  • Pitt Street, 50kmh 20 Dec – 31 Jan, 60kmh 1 Feb – 19 Dec, reduced from 100kmh
  • Rototai Rd, 50kmh Meihana Street to 300m north of Arapeta Pl (reduced from 70kmh), 80kmh 300m north of Arapeta Pl to Abel Tasman Dr, (reduced from 100kmh)
  • Seddon Street, 50kmh 20 Dec – 31 Jan, 60kmh rest of year, reduced from 100kmh
  • Part of Wharariki Road, 50kmh 20 Dec – 31 Jan, 60kmh rest of year, reduced from 100kmh
  • Ward Place, 50kmh 20 Dec – 31 Jan, 60kmh rest of year, reduced from 100kmh


  • High Street South, 60kmh reduced from 70kmh
  • Part of Wildman Road, 60kmh reduced from 70kmh