Pensioner under police investigation

A Picton pensioner is being investigated for alleged inappropriate sexual behavior with two young boys he befriended.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is being investigated by police after a complaint was made from a worried member of the public.

He has denied any wrongdoing, saying the incident was a misunderstanding.

The boys, both members of a community group the man was involved with, are both under16-years-old.

The man is alleged to have asked to sleep in the same hotel room as the pair, but not the same bedroom, in his capacity as self-appointed youth liaison leader.

Yesterday, the mother of one of the boys, says their family had trusted the man.

She says the matter has affected the whole family.

“He’s a groomer. We put our trust in him and all the he was grooming our son behind closed doors.

“I had no understanding what a groomer was before this and now I know, that’s what he is,” she says.

A spokesman from the community group, who asked not to be named to protect the identity of the children involved, says police have been investigating the claims for six months.

“The parents and the children are both getting counselling, but all we keep hearing from the police are excuses,” he says.

Asked by the Marlborough Weekly about the claims, the man vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

“I told a boy who had a body odour problem that he had to pull back his foreskin to clean it properly,” he says.

The alleged offender, who says he was in the army for 8 years, claims he was told “not to come back” to the group where he had been a long-time member.

When the allegations first came to light, the group member was told he was no longer welcome.

A trespass notice means he cannot get in contact with the alleged victims.

“I hope I get a big apology, but I’m not sure I’d go back,” he said when approached about the claims.

The spokesman says the group had no choice but to remove the man from the group.

“When something like this happens, you either remove the children or the person who the claims are about.

“Alarm bells had been ringing for a while. Just little things that didn’t mean much on their own but when you add them all together give you something to be concerned about.

“The children and their parents have been through so much and deserve an end to this nightmare.

“They are the important ones in all this,” he says.

Mobile dental clinic Seddon patients, from left, Hadley, Maisie and Brodie MacDonald. Photo: Summa MacDonald.

Dental clinic smiles over miles

Tooth savvy children in rural Marlborough towns are giving dental therapists plenty to smile about.

Nelson Marlborough Mobile Dental Clinic has proven a popular draw for children in Renwick, Seddon and Ward, with almost 100 per cent up-to-date with appointments.

This has helped free-up dental therapists to focus their attentions in town clinics to help alleviate a backlog.

The Nelson Marlborough Mobile Dental Clinic was due to visit Renwick, Seddon and Ward one more time this year for annual check-ups.

But youngsters have been so good at showing-up for appointments it won’t need to return until next year, health bosses say.

Nelson Marlborough Health Community Oral Health Service clinical director Phil Sussex says Marlborough mobile clinic users keep most appointments.

“Across our whole service only 9 per cent of appointments are not kept.

“We consistently find this is much lower for the Marlborough mobile clinic users and we think this reflects how much our rural communities value the service.

“Parents understand how important it is to make sure children get their annual check-up”.

The Ministry of Health wants district health boards to aim for less then ten per cent of children to be overdue for an appointment at any one time.

In Marlborough the percentage has dropped from 11 per cent in 2017 to just 2 percent so far this year.

Phil says 1856 children are seen through the two-chair Marlborough mobile service each year.

He credits both parents and staff for helping children keep their appointments.

“It also takes the co-operation of parents and the support of schools who host the mobile clinic on specially-built parking bays with connections for internet, electricity and water.

“Our friendly, experienced dental therapists are very much part of the success of the clinics – they go to great lengths to make sure a child has a positive experience at their appointment,” he says.

The clinic usually makes regular 6-monthly visits to each area. The mobile unit can do the same treatments and preventative measures that can be done at the community hub in Blenheim.

Phil says there continues to be a gradual improvement in the children’s oral health and enrolment rates across the NMH service.

“Different populations do have different rates of tooth decay and it is still sugar, particularly sugary drinks that drive this.

“Our preventative messages about kids drinking only water and milk to keep teeth healthy are up against some fairly difficult competition from advertising.

“Hopefully the kids will be passing this advice on to the adults who could benefit as well,” Phil says.

The mobile clinic will return to Renwick, Seddon and Ward in January next year.

June Maslin was successfully treated for bowel cancer after an at-home test kit detected it early. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Bowel cancer kit saving lives

A Blenheim woman is urging others to take at an at-home test which helped save her life.

When June Maslin got a bowel testing kit in the post, she put it aside; with no family history and no symptoms, at first it seemed like a waste of time.

But she was persuaded by friends to do the test and within a month was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour.

The keen golfer, who has since been given the all clear, is warning others not to ignore the free test kits.

“I nearly didn’t do it but it’s so simple to do and it’s given me a second chance at life,” she says.

The grandmother of one had surgery at Wairau Hospital in April this year and will not need chemotherapy.

She says the 5-minute test detected signs of the cancer before she developed any symptoms.

In the year since it was launched in Marlborough, the bowel cancer screening initiative has seen 15,223 kits sent out.

Sixty-six per cent were returned. The Ministry of Health’s target for return rate is 60 per cent.

“I felt fine, I didn’t have any symptoms, June says. “I really didn’t think there was anything wrong.

“Please do it now, the sooner it’s done, the better peace of mind you’ll have.

“Everybody during this was absolutely marvelous, the hospital staff were fabulous.”

A total of 415 tests have proven positive with 11 of these proving to be cancer.

Nelson Marlborough Health Bowel Screening Programme manager Claudia Teunissen has been helping spread the word at information stalls at festivals, A&P shows and community meetings.

She says the most satisfying part of her role is getting positive feedback from the public.

“People telling me that they have completed the kit and had a negative result.

“Also, when people tell me that I had convinced them to do the test after we had spoken together at another event.

“I also feel I’ve done a good job when people from our priority population want to talk to me individually and even request for a kit to be sent to them,” she says.

For further information visit www.timetoscreen.nz/bowel-screening/

Change manager Sue Lawrence, project manager Grant Pownall and clinical support staff member Lisa Naeyaert with ‘Florence’. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Hi-tech help for hospital helping lighten the load

Sitting in a corridor at Wairau Hospital, Florence is dedicated to helping patients.

Since she started two months ago, the slim new addition has been widely praised for her help and assistance.

Popular with her clerical support colleagues in the hospital’s outpatient’s department, Florence the check-in kiosk has helped cut their workload.

Affectionately dubbed Florence by hospital staff, the new hi-tech kiosk has been brought in by hospital bosses as part of a three-month pilot.

Clinical support staff member Lisa Naeyaert using 'Florence' with project manager Grant Pownall. Photo: Paula Hulburt.
Clinical support staff member Lisa Naeyaert using ‘Florence’ with project manager Grant Pownall. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Project manager Grant Pownell says patient-feedback prompted the move.

“Patients keep saying to us that they would like to interact with us in different ways like emails and patient portals like they might see at their GP

“This is something that we can do right now that might suit better,” he says.

Each patient attending an outpatient appointment is sent a confirmation letter which now includes a scannable barcode.

Florence then checks the patient details are correct before checking someone into the system.

Patients can also enter their National Health Index (NHI) number manually.

“There are security measures in place to make sure that people are who they say they are,” says Grant.

“It’s about seeing if we can keep the flow going by giving staff and patients more information about their journey,” he says.

Developed by Florence Health, the kiosk has been used by around 40 percent of patients.

“There’s always been a bit of rivalry between Nelson and Marlborough and Marlborough is leading the way in the Top of the South with uptake levels,” Grant says.

A receptionist is always available should help be needed.

Change manager Sue Lawrence says Florence is the “way forward.”

“Patients are giving it a go, they may not get it quite right first time but the more times they come in, the better they’ll get.

“The feedback we’re getting from charge nurse managers about what patients think which has driven the change.”

Around 100 people a day visit the outpatient department and for staff, a time-consuming part of their duties is checking people in.

Clerical support’s Lisa Naeyaert says Florence has helped free them-up for other work.

“Florence isn’t taking our jobs, she’s helping.”

Subash Raizada must pay three former staff an ERA hearing has found. Photo: Supplied.

Restaurant boss’s wage cheat costs thousands

The owner of an Indian restaurant who tried to cheat staff out of wages has been ordered to pay them nearly $60,000.

Blenheim man Subash Raizada, 57, also known as Roger Raizada, owns Maharajah India Ltd.

Staff accused him of harassment and trying to pressure them to hand over money or risk their immigration status.

The Employment Relations Authority found in favour of three former employees, Vibha Sood, Kulijeet Kaur and Akshay Dame.

The announcement come as it was revealed the business was to be struck off the Register of Companies.

In his findings, chief of the Employment Relations Authority James Crichton says the company, of which Raizada was sole director, owed the trio money.

“I am satisfied that Maharaja India Limited owes a total sum of $59,390.47 in respect to minimum wages and holiday pay for the credit of three employees, namely Ms Vibha Sood, Ms Kuljeet Kaur and Mr Akshay Dame”.

Raizada’s son bought the Seymour St restaurant in 2015, changing it to Raizada Indian Restaurant.

An Employment Relations Authority (ERA) hearing in Blenheim in May was told how a labour inspectorate began an investigation in March 2015.

Staff claimed several incidents where they had been underpaid or not paid at all.

Kaur revealed she was told by Raizada that her visa was dependant on him and that she should pay him $35,000.

Dame did a week’s work with Raizada, as a trial. In a statement Raizada told him he would need to pay $35,000 if he wanted the manager’s position. Dame turned him down.

Raizada responded by saying the staff had never worked for him and accused them of fraud.

“But those stories simply are not credible,” Crighton says.

“Mr Raizada’s position appeared to be that none of these folk actually worked for the company and that the documents were simply structured to suggest that they had worked there.

“Ms Sood gave evidence that she had to pay back wages to the employer after she had been paid them.

“The evidence from Ms Sood’s bank account quite clearly supports her testimony that she was paid wages and then was required to rebate some of that payment either back to Mr Raizada or to another employee who then provided that sum to Mr Raizada,” he wrote.

Raizada was convicted in the Blenheim District Court on representative charges following guilty pleas to offences under the Immigration Act 2009 and the Crimes Act 1961 in February 2019.

He was ordered to pay $5000 to Kaur in part recompense of her managerial services and complete 80 hours of community service.

Harrison Somerville, right, will contest the lightweight men’s double at the world champs. Photo: Rowing NZ.

Rowers ready to take on world

Marlborough-based rowers will be primed and ready when the World Rowing Championships begin in Linz, Austria next week.

The champs run from August 25 until September 1 and provide the opportunity for international rowers to not only pick up world titles, but also to qualify their country’s crews for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

Rowers allied to Marlborough clubs Wairau and Blenheim include single sculler Robbie Manson; Tom Murray, who races the men’s pair alongside Michael Brake; Harrison Somerville, in the men’s lightweight double with Matt Dunham; Ian Seymour, part of the men’s four; Ella Greenslade, a member of the women’s eight; and Kirstyn Goodger who will crew the women’s quad.

Also in contention to taste the action in Linz is Angus McFarlane, a late call-up to the men’s reserves for the world champs.

Wairau’s Sophie Mackenzie, previously selected in the women’s lightweight single scull for the 2019 season, will not compete due to injury.

Somerville is excited about the forthcoming challenge.

“Our build-up has been going really well,” he said. “We have been seeing a lot of promising speed.”

“Emotions for now are pretty calm. We still have some time to train so I am mainly trying to stay calm and focussed on being as well prepared as I can be for the regatta.”

Marion Horwell, from the Central Rowing Performance Centre, based in Marlborough, will coach the women’s four, while Mark Stallard, Central RPC head coach, takes care of the men’s quad.

The NZ team will comprise 53 athletes and 17 support staff, joining nearly 1200 athletes from 80 nations.

Members of the BV Bullets side (some absent): Back, from left, Maggie Lane, Destiny Aires, Ruby Smith, Erin Mustey, Rebecca Stuart, Shanz Aires, Lucy Martin, Lauren Sloan, Freya Thompson, Ruby Wybourne and Jordyn McKay. Front, from left, Hannah Martin, Lea Poletti, Abby Owen and Tessa Hyland. Photo: Supplied.

Bullets conclude strong debut season

The Blenheim Valley Bullets football team wrapped up what was described as “an excellent debut season” in the Nelson women’s first division league at a rain-swept A and P Park on Saturday.

In their final hit-out, against FC Nelson on a muddy, unpredictable pitch, they turned in another gutsy effort before going down 2-1, the result decided by a very late and rather fortunate goal.

The home side came out firing, and within 10 minutes had the lead through Tessa Hyland.

In the second half, the balance of play was even before, with 15 minutes to play, Nelson FC forced a corner and their striker Grace Roche equalized.

Both sides had clear-cut chances to bag the winner, but it was the visitors who had the final say, when they scrambled the ball over the line almost on fulltime to take the spoils.

The BV midfield, particularly Ruby Smith, Hyland and Lauren Sloan, were outstanding while the backs worked hard as a defensive unit throughout. Freya Thompson and Lea Poletti contributed some sparking attacking runs. Player of the day was Abby Owen who was solid on defence and also countered with some great attacking play.

The previous week Bullets scored a notable 3-2 win over Nelson Suburbs at Saxton Fields.

Down 2-1 at halftime, Bullets showed their character with a confident passing game, which led to mounting and sustained attacks on goal. Rebecca Stuart and Abby Owen added the final two decisive goals while BV’s back three and sweeper excelled, holding out a series of strong Suburbs’ attacks.

BV players to standout were Ruby Wybourne, for her great crosses and incisive runs, plus Hyland and Sloan who combined well in the midfield to stymie Suburbs’ attack and create opportunities up front.

Player of match was defensive midfielder Smith who shut down lots of Suburbs attacks on goal and provided quality ball when BV went forward.

The Bullets finished fourth on the six-team Nelson women’s div one table, picking up four wins and three draws.  They were coached by Ian Thomas and Alan Elvy.

The Red Devils team and supporters celebrate victory over their Tasman Griffins rivals on the Lansdowne Park No 6 ground on Saturday. Photo: Peter Jones.

Devils lock Seddon Shield away for summer

Rugby’s prized Seddon Shield will spend a second summer in Marlborough after the Tasman Red Devils produced a compelling display of wet-weather rugby to beat the Tasman Griffins 21-7 at Lansdowne Park on Saturday.

The Griffins shot out to an early 7-0 lead, courtesy of a Devils’ mistake, but that was the extent of their scoring as the shield holders produced a hungrier display, applying pressure at the breakdown and forcing the visitors into regular errors.

By halftime the Devils led 8-7, courtesy of a try to hooker Billy Collins who was on the back of a lineout drive.

The hosts raised the stakes in the second spell, early pressure resulting in a Corey Bovey penalty and an 11-7 advantage.

Midway through the half he repeated the dose, widening the Devils’ lead to seven points.

The Griffins responded, but were met with enthusiastic defence before the hosts regained field position, replacement midfielder Mike Vaeno bursting through the middle of a scrappy breakdown and dotting down between the uprights.

Bovey’s conversion meant the Griffins needed to score three times to claim the shield, a draw being of no use to the challengers. But by then all the momentum was with their opponents, who continued to harass their rivals at every opportunity and were well on top when the final whistle blew.

Outstanding for the inspired holders were Collins, skipper Seymour Lambert, hard-carrying lock Isaiah Miller, No 8 Jesse MacDonald, flankers Braden Stewart and Taine Cragg-Love, halfback Ben Finau, Bovey, midfielders Jake Cresswell and Ben Filipo, plus Vaeno latterly.

The Griffins were well led by loosie Tim Sail, while fellow flanker Jacob Norris was busy. Locks Tim Dallison and Hopo Taufa, prop Sosefo Vaka, first five Sam Briggs, who kicked accurately in the first spell, plus winger Jamie Spowart stood out for the challengers.

Devils’ coach Mark Stewart said he felt his side were in control for much of the match.

“We made a couple of silly mistakes at the start, maybe a few little nerves there … but the boys stuck to what we wanted to do and they played for the full 80 … Marlborough has always played with pride and passion in the jersey, it means a lot to those guys.

“The boys were just up for the challenge. We had trained well through the week … it’s always a test match between Marlborough and Nelson and our boys were hungrier today which was really pleasing. I’m really proud of them and we’ve got the shield for another season.”

The home side’s skipper, the veteran Lambert, described it as one of the best rep performances he had been involved with, especially after their loss the previous weekend.

“After getting such a pizzling from Buller last weekend, then coming back, regrouping and putting on a performance like that today … it just goes to show that the shield still means a lot to the players and the people round here.

“Since I have been involved with Marlborough rugby that was probably the best, most complete performance from a Marlborough team. And it certainly came at a good time … against a good Nelson team full of players who could really bring some venom.

“To come back from that Buller game, just seven days later and put up a performance like this makes me really proud of the guys.”

Griffins’ coach Billy Guyton was quick to take defeat on the chin, agreeing that the Devils were the better side on the day.

“Definitely, they put big pressure on the breakdown and it was great how they were able to change their game. They adapted better than we did … we put ourselves under pressure and they thrived in that situation.

“It was a reasonably good challenge … but they played in the right areas and once we were under scoreboard pressure little mistakes began to build into bigger errors.”

Red Devils 21 (Billy Collins, Mike Vaeno tries, Corey Bovey 3 pens, con) Griffins 7 (Rahiri Witehira try, Sam Briggs con). HT: 8-7.

Liam Duncan’s kicking game was instrumental as MBC downed St Andrew’s College in Christchurch on Saturday. Photo: Shuttersport.

Falcons fly into rugby final

The Marlborough Boys’ College First XV booked a place in the University of Canterbury Plate final with a decisive 30-13 win over St Andrew’s College in Christchurch on Saturday.

In a continuation of MBC’s late season revival, the Falcons built a 22-8 halftime lead playing into the wind, then restricted their rivals to a single second half try.

MBC’s five tries were scored by Keelan Murrell, who bagged two, Monu Moli, Lotu Solomona and Ollie Lawson, while Murrell landed a conversion and Dylan McManaway booted a late penalty.

MBC head coach Matt MacDougall said he was “really pleased with the boys”, especially in inclement weather conditions.

“”They executed the game plan perfectly. Just played good wet weather rugby. The pack just took on a big STAC pack up front and beat them up really.”

MacDougall said forwards Ollie Lawson and Bayley O’Hagan had shown the way up front, providing momentum and freeing up space for others. He also praised the work of halfback Ryan McLeod and first five Liam Duncan whose “kicking game was just superb”.

A blight on the day’s celebrations was a serious cheekbone injury to Te Ariki Peipi, the in-form hooker expected to be out for the rest of the season.

MBC have now strung five consecutive wins together since thrashing Waimea 73-7, the confidence beginning to flow through the team.

MacDougall said they had struggled against some of the bigger sides in the middle of the competition, “which knocked us a bit, and it just took that big win against Waimea before the break to get trust in what we were trying to do”.

“We also had a couple of key guys come back and now the whole side is playing with confidence, believing in everything they are doing. You can feel it throughout the whole group.”

The Falcons will meet Rangiora High School in the final this weekend, also away from home. Rangiora downed St Thomas 24-17 on Saturday to claim a place in what is effectively the fifth/sixth play-off.

A win over Rangiora would be satisfying for the MBC camp, MacDougall admitting the side’s round-robin losses to them and St Andrew’s had hurt the most.

“Rangiora are a team we would love to have another crack at, so it’s quite fitting that we play them in the final.

“I’m rapt with how we have finished the season, regardless of the result next week, but I am 100 percent confident we can get the job done, although we are on the road again next week.”

Meanwhile, Nelson College will host the UC Championship final after battling past Christ’s College 16-10 in the semi played at Nelson College on Saturday. They will meet Christchurch BHS, also in Nelson, next week after they accounted for St Bede’s College 42-32.

The UC Bowl final, for ninth and 10th, will be between Lincoln Combined and Shirley BHS.

Livewire halfback Finlay Christie superbly guided the Mako around Christchurch’s Orangetheory Stadium on Sunday. Photo: Shuttersport.

OPINION: Canterbury given a taste of their own medicine

If Tasman rugby fans were wondering if their side is the real deal in 2019 – they can begin to believe.

Sometimes fond early impressions flatter to deceive, with subsequent outings bringing supporters quickly back to earth. However, on the basis of the Mako’s showing in Christchurch on Sunday, there is more than enough cause for optimism.

Their efforts, at probably the toughest NPC venue in the country to leave with a positive outcome, will warm the hearts of the top of the south fraternity who, too often in recent times have had to bow the knee to the Red and Blacks.

Sure, one swallow (or even two) does not make a summer, but the 23-7 result, coupled with the positive style and creativity the Mako brought to the table, suggest a feast of rugby is about to be set before the Tasman faithful.

Against Canterbury, surely still the yardstick for provincial excellence despite losing the NPC final to Auckland last year, Tasman turned the tables.

They were more clinical than their hosts, more aggressive and effective at the breakdown, kicked more accurately and chased better, applied massive pressure at set piece and subsequently “bossed” the game. In other words, “they did a Canterbury on Canterbury”.

The familiarity between the sides, through the Crusaders connection, means there are few secrets any more. Players talk of “nailing the one percenters”, and there was no doubt who dominated those small margins on Sunday.

The advantages created by the fact Tasman won so many of the “little battles” meant they were able to play with creativity and express themselves. A couple of wide, quick passes gave boom winger Leicester Faingaanuku enough time to make the most of an opportunity on the left, scoring the try of the match. Hard yards in front of the ball enabled Shannon Frizell to score at the tail of a rolling maul.

The Mako players’ work in the air chasing halfback Finlay Christie’s pinpoint box kicks offered a point of difference, making the Canterbury defence retreat and creating momentum.

Mako co-coach Clarke Dermody said Blenheim-based skills coach Gray Cornelius had been putting in a lot of work with the halfbacks to ensure their box kicking was on point and it had certainly paid dividends.

While acknowledging the fact that winning in Christchurch is never easy, Dermody suggested his side had “left a few points out there as well”.

The tough task-master found it hard to compare Sunday’s outing with his side’s opening round 45-8 win over Wellington, given the more favourable weather conditions.

“We were able to play a bit faster today. The game opened up a lot more than last week, but we still need to nail some of our execution under pressure.”

He was pleased with the way the Mako set pieces went, plus the goal line defence which limited Canterbury to a single long-range breakout try.

“They were some big moments. If we had let them in there the game could have changed. I’m happy with how the boys got stuck into it.”

A feature of the Mako game this season has been an ability to adapt their game plan to suit the situation, something Dermody puts down to a growing level of experience within the group.

“Whilst a lot of them are still young men, some of them have been with the team for four or five years now. That means they have been in some pressure situations and we can rely on them to make very good decisions on the field.”

A slight hiccup in today’s display was the teams’ inability to nail a fourth try and a bonus point, especially given the chances they created, something Dermody described as a ”work-on”.

“We’ll look at that during the week and try to rectify that for Manawatu”, he warned ominously.

The Turbos are next on the Mako radar, with that match scheduled for Blenheim at 2.35pm on Saturday.

Manawatu will be desperately looking at ways to derail the Tasman train, but will have their work cut out against a confident, motivated outfit who can smell blood in the water.

Scorers from Sunday: Tasman 23 (Levi Aumua, Leicester Faingaanuku, Andrew Makalio tries, Mitch Hunt con, 2 pen) Canterbury 8 (Josh McKay try, Brett Cameron pen). HT: 18-3.

Mitre 10 premiership standings (as at August 20): Tasman 9, Auckland 8, Counties Manukau 7, Waikato 5, North Harbour 4, Wellington 3, Canterbury 2.

Championship standings: Bay of Plenty 10, Taranaki 9, Hawke’s Bay 8, Otago 5, Northland 4, Manawatu 1, Southland 0.