Video: 'That's a whale!' – fancy catching a 12kg snapper? Then get yourself to 90 Mile beach

The biggest snapper fishing competition in the world kicks off this morning at Ninety Mile Beach in the Far North with fishers from all over the globe competing.

Hundreds of people have positioned themselves along 90 Mile Beach for the contest. Source: 1 NEWS

This year's Snapper Bonanza will see 826 surf casters scattered along the coastline over the next five days all hoping to catch the big one.

It's the 35th annual event and this year has a record number of participants, 70 per cent of them are from out of town.

Ninety Mile Beach Snapper Bonanza.
Ninety Mile Beach Snapper Bonanza. Source: 1 NEWS

Forty contestants have travelled from Australia, there's a team from South Africa and other international visitors include Germans, Austrians, Canadians and fishermen from the United Kingdom.

The event pumps upwards of $8 million into the local community.

The heaviest fish earns the winner $30,000, last year that was an 8.2kg snapper caught by a man in Napier but the heaviest on record was caught in 2012 and weighed more than 12kg.

Over 800 people are trying their luck at Snapper Bonanza Surf Casting Competition in the Far North. Source: Breakfast



'Giving away liquid gold' - protester fights plan to send Mt Aspiring water overseas

A West Coast company's plan to pipe water sourced from Mount Aspiring National Park into waiting tankers to ship abroad is being fought by the woman who led the successful campaign against a water bottling plant in Ashburton.

The company plans what would be the largest bulk water export in New Zealand's history and it has ticked all the consent boxes so far, Seven Sharp reported.

But there is a wider issue that's unresolved, that private companies can own a public resource.

"I'm against fact that New Zealand is stupid enough to be giving away liquid gold and not asking for anything in return for it," said protester Jen Branje.

Helen Rasmussen, who plans to sell the Mt Aspiring water overseas, said she doesn't understand the opponents' argument.

"If you look at our other industries, dairy for example, every industry has a component of water in it," she said.

This to me is a way to provide not only for your family but for your community - Helen Rasmussen who plans to export Mt Aspiring water

The company hopes its first order for the water will be placed soon.

But protesters will be doing all they can to stop it.

Kevin Wall and his granddaughter Olivia Kingi protest in Christchurch
Kevin Wall and his granddaughter Olivia Kingi protest in Christchurch Source: 1 NEWS

"Water is fast becoming really sparse around the world, and we don't want to be the go to place to be giving it away," Ms Branje said.

She said she wants the authorities to "stop granting consents, take a really good look at the legislation around this and have a look at putting a value on our valuable resource".

Ms Rasmussen, who owns the dairy at Haast, said opportunities within the area are very limited, "so have to look at the resources you can access to provide something long-term and sustainable".

"There were 120 pupils at the local school, now now there are 11 because of our loss of industry," she said.

Ms Rasmussen says the water project will help the area.

"This to me is a way to provide not only for your family but for your community."

But Ms Branje said the water project is "going to line the pockets of about 10 people and supply perhaps seven jobs at best".

Seven Sharp investigates a new twist in the issue of our most precious resource. Source: Seven Sharp

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Video: The name you don't know but should - the Maori All Black who became a Wallaby

Bob "Tommo" Thompson's "whole world died" when doctors told him in 1969 he would never play rugby again.

"Tommo", as he's known to those close to him, has told us how a specialist's advice that he'd never play rugby again, helped him become a Wallaby. Source: 1 NEWS

He wasn't having a bar of that, so he packed up, moved to Australia and subsequently rose through the ranks to become a well-known player for the Wallabies.

The born and bred Rotorua man became the first Maori All Black to cross the ditch to play for the opposition.

In a sit-down chat with Te Karere, he shared several great yarns about overcoming a leg injury he sustained during a stint for the Maori All Blacks.

But it's when he proved he was a force to be reckoned with in Australia he got the opportunity to play against greats like Sir Colin "Pinetree" Meads and cousin and former Maori All Black Michael Parkinson.

"I just lived for the game"

Thompson's mind is filled with fond memories of the first time he fell in love with rugby.

He was about eight years old at the time.

"As a kid, I can remember in 1956 the Springboks were playing the All Blacks... so mum and I and the family started getting ready to listen to it on the radio," he said.

"When my mum was alive, I started wearing black boots with white laces and she would always wash my boots and shorts on a Friday night so I had nice clean gears the next day.

"I just lived for the game."

'It was the buzz of my life' - Thompson picked for Maori All Blacks

Fast-forward to 1967.

It was the year Thompson was chosen as a reserve hooker to a bloke named Ronnie Walker for the Bay of Plenty rep team.

The last of their six games for the season was against Auckland.

"Ronnie had an injured knee so I was picked for the game against Auckland."

A Maori All Blacks selector was there and asked the Bay of Plenty coach whether or not Thompson had any Maori blood in him.

Thompson's mother was of Ngati Kahungunu (Hawke's Bay iwi) descent.

His father got a call the following week saying Thompson had been picked for the northern Maori squad to face the southern Maori team in Palmerston North.

"We beat the southern Maori team convincingly, it was the buzz of my life."

In 1969, when he played for Rotorua's Kahukura Rugby Club against local side Ngongotaha, Thompson got into a rough tackle.

He suffered a compound fracture in his leg. Doctors then delivered Thompson a second blow.

"I told my wife (then-girlfriend), who was a radiographer at the time, let's get married and get as far away from New Zealand as possible.

"I wanted to leave because I was told I would never play rugby again... they said my ankle was too badly dislocated."

The only Kiwi to be picked for junior Wallabies side

Fast-forward to Perth in 1971.

During South Africa's tour of Australia, Thompson proved he was a diamond in the rough when he scored all of Western Australia's 18 points in their 44-18 loss to the visiting Springboks.

After this game he got a call up to play in the second match for the junior Wallabies against South Africa.

Although he said he played a fairly rough game, it was after this that he got a call from a journalist in Sydney to say he had made it into the national team for the third test.

"He rang me and asked how I was feeling, I told him that I was heading back to Perth, because the game we had just played was in Brisbane.

"I was a bit shocked, because it was this journalist who told me I had made the Wallabies... I ended up going for a run."

His commitment to playing for Australia took him on rugby tours to New York, France, South Africa and of course his motherland.

"When we played against the All Blacks, I would fly in and get calls from old mates who were having parties just up the road from where we were staying, so I still had those old connections," he said.

"I had such a great time whenever I came home from Australia, I loved it."

He told 1 NEWS he held Sir Colin Meads in high esteem, and was the player he looked up to the most.

"Everyone these days goes on about the likes of Richie McCaw, but Colin Meads is my idol."