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Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chairman Rex Graham has announced he is standing down.

Mr Graham made the surprise announcement yesterday, saying he needed to focus on his health and spend time with family.

He said discussions were underway on an orderly transition to the end of the month.

Rick Barker will stand in as Chair until a permanent appointment is made.

In a media statement yesterday, Mr Graham said he had greatly enjoyed his involvement with tangata whenua, and his involvement with the region’s four Mayors.

One of his proudest moments he said was the decision to stop drilling oil and gas near the region’s waterways, something he had achieved in his first term as Regional Council Chairman.

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Central Hawke’s Bay Police are seeking information on the theft of power tools from an address in McCarthy Terrace Waipukurau last Friday.

Senior Constable Andy Walker said the tools are the deWalt brand, and is asking anyone who may be offered cheap power tools to contact Police……VOX

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Matariki celebrations begin around the region tonight.

A free whanau event is being held at the Dannevirke A & P Showgrounds to welcome the appearance of the Matariki star cluster in the early morning sky at this time of the year.

Tonight’s event will feature kai, DJ dance music, and finish off with a fireworks display.

The event runs between 5pm and 8pm.

A full week of Matariki celebrations is planned in Central Hawke’s Bay next week, including a Ki o Rahi tournament, a Matariki Theatre Performance, and a family festival.

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Sports Draws

Netball : Otane Thirsty Whale play NGHS Senior a; and Central Sports Vet Services play Outkast.  Both games are at 7.30 tonight at Pettigrew Green Arena.

Rugby 

Bush : Puketoi are away playing Masterton Red Star

Manawatu : Dannevirke Colts plat Wanganui at Rugby Part 12.45pm.  Bulls have defaulted to the Dannevirke Seniors.

Hawke’s Bay Competition :

Waipawa Country United Mens Rugby and Aotea have their respective Club Days tomorrow.