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The Hawke’s Bay District Health Board is encouraging locals who haven’t booked, but want to get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of its two drive-in clinics, to simply turn up.

The clinics are being run at the CHB Rugby & Sports Club in Waipukurau between 9.30am and 4pm today and tomorrow.

On the ‘bookmyvaccine’ website, there are no appointments showing as being available for tomorrow, however DHB spokesperson Andrea Jopling says there is capacity for about 600 vaccines each day.

She says people often feel more comfortable having the vaccine done from the comfort of their vehicle, and encourages people to bring their families and children over the age of 12 along to get vaccinated at the same time.

Medical advice is people need to remain on-site for 15 to 20 minutes after the vaccine is administered.

Currently 61% of Central Hawke’s Bay residents have had at least one COVID vaccine.

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There is a strong wind warning in place for Tararua today.

The Metservice says northwest gales are forecast to be severe at times, with gusts reaching 130km/hr in exposed areas of the district.

The warning is in place until around nine o’clock tonight.

Forecasters say the strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures, and that driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles.

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A restoration wetland project in Central Hawke’s Bay is already showing improvements to the health of centuries old kahikatea trees and endangered tadpole shrimp.

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has been working in partnership with The Conservation Company, landowners, Omakere School and the Department of Conservation to restore two wetlands – Amblethorn and Orea in the Omakere and  Elsthorpe areas.

HBRC spokesman Mark Mitchell says the wetlands were formed in basins and are tiny remnants of what once were extensive mosaics of swamp and alluvial forests that blanketed the area.  

He says it is vital to protect these small remaining remnants as they are lifelines for the endemic species that live within them.

Mr Mitchell says a good example of this was discovering the New Zealand tadpole shrimp which has survived in the Orea wetland.

He says the small, slightly weird looking creature is a throwback to ancient times 190 million years ago and is considered a living fossil.

The species is continuing to decline nationally due to loss of habitat and is now listed as nationally endangered.

Kay Griffiths, from The Conservation Company, says it’s great to see the results.

She says natural regeneration is starting to occur along with the return of native birds and invertebrates, and says recent surveys have also shown both areas to be foraging grounds for our native long tailed bat.

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Central Hawke’s Bay Police are investigating a burglary at the Waipukurau Transfer Station earlier this week.

Senior Constable Andy Walker says in the early hours of Monday morning two men got in through the fence, and stole items such as scrap metal and batteries.

He says even though it is a transfer station, it is still classed as a burglary.