Suffering and superheroes: fire anniversary

The 10th anniversary of the fatal Icepak Tamahere fire has prompted another publication to look back a decade to April 5, 2008.

Raewyn Koppens describes the day she thought she’d died as an experience coloured with suffering and superheroes, reports the Waikato Times.

The light of a warm Saturday afternoon turned to darkness, and through a smokey haze, figures began to appear.

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Icepak fire 10 years on

As the 10th anniversary of the fatal Icepak Tamahere fire draws near news publications are looking back on the April 5, 2008 event.

In a feature story, the NZ Herald has checked on the surviving firefighters to find their memories of the day and where they are now.

Merv Neil says the blast felt like a big kick up the backside. As he struggled to his feet he was engulfed in an orange ball of flame. Shielding himself, he briefly looked up to see an enormous cloud of smoke in the sky.

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Appeal over Icepak site

An appeal has been lodged on the decision to decline a precedent-setting residential subdivision on the the former Icepak Coolstores site.

The site owner, former Icepak director Wayne Grattan, is appealing the resource consent decision by an independent commissioner on grounds including that undue weight was put on the precedent-setting nature of the subdivision.

Waikato District Council Hearing Commissioner David Hill said in January that the application to subdivide the 2.1ha Devine Rd block into six lots could not be justified.

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Icepak subdivision declined

A bid to subdivide the former Icepak Coolstores site into a precedent setting number of residential blocks has been declined.

In a decision released yesterday, Waikato District Council Hearing Commissioner David Hill said the application to subdivide the 2.1ha block into six lots, all less than the 5,000 square metres provided in the district plan, could not be justified.

The application, which came almost 10 years after the Devine Rd site was razed by an explosion and fire that killed a fireman, was made by former Icepak managing director Wayne Grattan.

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Hole scores golf course

The Narrows golf course has scored a giant hole in one … on one of it’s fairways.

Normally, it’s golfers who go for the rarity but thanks to a late November deluge it was the course itself that sunk the big time.

The giant crater (pictured) appeared at the Narrows Course‚Äôs 11th fairway on Wednesday, November 29 after a huge amount of rain, Riverside’s administration manager Kat Grinter told Tamahere Forum.

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Dig finds kumara gardens

Archaeologists working on the Hamilton Section of the Waikato Expressway have uncovered further evidence of Maori settlement at Tamahere.

In 2015, before excavations began for the Southern Interchange at Tamahere, archaeologists investigated large areas of known archaeological sites on the deer farm opposite Cherry Lane and found evidence of large scale pre-European kumara gardening.

In pre-European times, tangata whenua located deposits of course sand to mix with topsoil to improve the drainage and growing conditions for kumara.

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High cost in Te Awa Hilton repossession

A finance company found out the hard way that repossessing a Tamahere mansion isn’t as simple as it sounds.

The large home, nicknamed the Te Awa Hilton, was repossessed by FM Custodians Ltd in August 2015, while the occupiers – Robert (Rocky) Hoani Clifford Cribb and Karen Lynne Stevens – were in Europe.

Cribb and Stevens failed to give FM Custodians an address to shift their house full of furniture to, so FM Custodians packed it up into five containers and stored it with a local removal company.

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Matangi poppy tree blossoms

A poppy tree has blossomed in Matangi in time for Anzac Day thanks to a local team of enthusiastic knitters.

One tree in a Waikato-wide project to decorate trees throughout the district, Matangi’s poppy tree provides a place to remember the devastation of war and all those affected by it.

Locals are welcome to attach a poppy or message of their own.

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Icepak site sale disappoints

The sale this week of the former Icepak site has failed to sever links with its tragic past.

The derelict site in central Tamahere was bought by one of the architects of the tragedy that cost the life of a firefighter in 2008, former Icepak director Wayne Grattan.

Grattan, who was personally fined $30,000 for his part in the death of firefighter Derek Lovell and injury to seven others, paid $865,000 for the former coolstore site where the disaster played out eight years ago.

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