Marlborough Mayor John Leggett has been elected again Photo: Matt Brown.

Mayor wants communication to be key

Marlborough’s newly elected mayor has pledged to make public communication key as he gets set to start his second term.

John Leggett has emerged victorious by a landslide victory of about 3000 votes.

And he has been quick to make assurances that concerns raised by the public throughout the election process will be addressed.

Speaking from his Blenheim home shortly after his win was announced, mayor Leggett says he is “very happy” to have been chosen again.

He also paid credit to his opponent and re-elected councilor, Jamie Arbuckle.

“Jamie came out of the starting blocks very well and campaigned well. I always knew it was going to be a battle to get out there.

“It’s been a bit of a nervous wait, especially when it got to 2pm and there was no phone call. I began to think no news was bad news,” he says.

It was down to the wire today as last-minute voters cast their ballot just before the cutoff point of 12 noon.

Mayor Leggett celebrated on Saturday night with partner Anne Best at Biddy Kate’s Irish Bar, owned by friend and former deputy mayor Terry Sloan.

He was also joined by some council colleagues.

“She’s been a fantastic support, far and away the best supporter I have,” says John.

He also revealed the election has shown him the importance of public engagement.

“The election process always brings out good public engagement as people put down issues they want us to address- a lot of which we are.

“One thing we need to do better is communicate and let people know what we’ve got on the agenda,” he says.

Jamie Arbuckle missed out on his third try at taking out the top spot.

He says he was “really disappointed” not to take the council’s top spot and ruled out a future bid.

“We put a lot of effort into the mayoralty this time. I’m personally disappointed; I thought we had the numbers.

“It was our third attempt and last attempt – we tried our best,” he says.

Candidates Thelma Sowman, wife of former mayor Alistair Sowman, and David Croad have been successful in their bid to take up councillor posts.

They will be a welcome addition, says mayor Leggett.

“There have to be vacancies to keep the way clear for new people coming in, that’s a good thing we need new, blood and good people.”

From left, Mistletoe Bay Trust vice-patron John Stace, Mistletoe Bay Charitable Foundation chairman Simon Heath and patron Sir Stephen Tindall. Photo: Supplied.

Dinner serves up school camp funds boost

A special fundraising dinner has raised $115,000 to help ensure that no Marlborough children miss out on a trip to Mistletoe Bay.

It’s a classic Kiwi rite of passage- a childhood trip to school camp but for some families, it’s out of reach financially.

But the Mistletoe Foundation has raised funds to ensure no youngsters will miss out.

The foundation held a dinner last week at the bay, in Queen Charlotte Sound near Onahau Bay.

Foundation chairman and Renwick School principal Simon Heath says help will be on offer for students who might not be able to afford to go.

“Principals of schools sending students to camps at Mistletoe Bay are now assured of being able to access help for students who might not otherwise be able to afford to go to camp and have the Mistletoe Bay experience,” he says.

The Foundation has raised $300,000 which will now be invested, and scholarships will be granted to students each year.

The dinner was created by the team at Arbour restaurant, and hosted by the Mistletoe Charitable Foundation’s patron Dame Lowell Goddard QC along with the Mistletoe Bay Trust’s patrons Sir Stephen and Lady Tindall.

About 40 people took part in the “Magic at Mistletoe” event, taking a Marlborough Tour Company bus to Picton, and then the Marlborough Tour Company vessel Odyssea to Mistletoe Bay.

Sir Stephen spoke to guests about his experience as patron of the Mistletoe Bay Trust for the last ten years.

“This truly is an example for sustainability that we need to continue to nurture,” he says.

Simon says that spending time at the camp was “life-changing.”

“As a school principal myself, I know that the time spent at the bay on camp, doing activities with classmates and learning valuable lessons, can be life-changing for our young people, and they need that experience now more than ever,” he says.

Age Concern community welfare coordinator Catherine Donnelly. Photo: Matt Brown.

Testing for older drivers

An advocate for older drivers has warned more stringent measures are needed to help keep senior drivers safe on the road.

As the population in the region ages, the number of elderly drivers is expected to increase.

And industry expert Age Concern community welfare coordinator Catherine Donnelly believes driver testing is not rigorous enough for older motorists.

New Zealand Transport Agency figures show more than 1500 people over the age of 80 have a current license in Marlborough. One hundred and twenty nine of those are over the age of 90.

At 75 years of age, motorists are required to provide a medical certificate from their GP  in order to keep their driver’s licences.

But Catherine says cognitive testing should be performed alongside the sight and hearing tests.

“Some GPs already do it,” she says.

“As people age, [testing] should get more rigorous.”

An NZTA spokeswoman says older drivers are not involved in “a large number” of serious crashes.

But due to increasing physical frailty, if involved in a crash, are more at risk of being seriously injured or killed, she says.

“For many older people driving is a key to their independence,” the spokeswoman says.

“Many seniors rely on their car to get around. For shopping, appointments or visiting friends and family.

“These concerns must be balanced with the recognition that the ageing process can affect a range of skills essential to driving – including eyesight, memory, decision-making and reaction times.

“It’s important for all drivers, regardless of age, to regularly and honestly assess their own driving capabilities to keep themselves and others safe.

Catherine says at the end of last year, there was a “horrific” death toll for older drivers.

“As you get older, your reflex time is slower,” she says. She added one in four medications can also affect driving.

She would like to see more people take advantage of an initiative to improve their driving.

In conjunction with NZTA, Age Concern offers a confidence driving course that will fit anyone, “even teenagers,” as well as a course aimed at providing information on how to get by without a driver’s license.

Age Concern provides walkability maps, half price taxi fares and has advice on mobility scooters, e bikes and trikes.

“It costs $4000 to $6000 to run a car per year, that’s a lot of taxi fares,” Catherine says.

“There are a lot of options.”

The free courses run 12 times a year, from 10am to 2pm at the Clubs of Marlborough.

The next course is November 11 and December 9.

Tasman 14s player Lily Parkinson in action. Photo: Peter Jones.

Tough going for tennis youngsters

Tasman’s rising tennis stars put up a strong showing against a formidable Canterbury representative selection at Pollard Park over the weekend.

The fixture was contested across 10s, 12s and 14s age groups.

A few injuries, other sporting commitments and timing meant Tasman were not at full strength but those that played represented the province with pride.

Canterbury boast plenty of depth in the junior levels, this year was no exception and the team, coached by Matt Meredith, made a strong start with Tasman picking up only two wins in the doubles to Rocket Richards and Liam Howes in the 10s boys, plus Lily Parkinson and Ashley Welsh in the 14s girls.

Tasman, coached by John Gardiner and Ashleigh Calder, tried to regroup before the singles matches but again Canterbury were very strong with only Ashley Welsh and Poppy Eradus picking up wins in the 14s girls and Rocket Richards in the 10s boys. The mixed doubles also went the way of Canterbury although Tasman put up a strong fight.

On Sunday the reverse singles were contested. Wins were recorded by Sid Yank in the 12s boys and Liam Howes in the 10s boys.

Marlborough player Joe Bushell came in at the last minute and helped out Canterbury, who had a sick player He had four wins in the 10s competition.

Tasman players from Marlborough: Jay Geris, Brandon Brooker, William Poff, Joe Yank, Dan Clarke, Ryo Kimura, Elijah O’Donnell, Sid Yank, Oliver Clarke, Josh Harris, Lily Parkinson, Poppy Eradus, Lilly Walkenhorst, Jemimah O’Donnell, Poppy Parkinson.

Back row, from left, Alastair Keay (Head Coach), Katie Parkinson (Tauranga), Georgia Morrison, Siobhan Keay, Charlotte Brown, Molly Norton, Emma Flanagan, Glen Morrison (Assistant Coach). Front row: Meg Flanagan, Abbey Moody, Leilani Horan (Tauranga). Photo: Supplied.

Silver medal time for local water polo team

Marlborough’s under-16 girls water polo team claimed a silver medal at the national U16 girls division two tournament in Auckland recently.

The team, which comprised seven Marlborough players and two loan players from Tauranga, played superbly throughout the four-day tournament.

First up was Waikato with the Marlborough side’s fitness showing through, allowing them to win 21-2.

Next day they faced a tougher assignment, beating North Harbour (White) 5-4, slowing down the oppositions’ attack with tight defence.

Later that evening they played Canterbury B, tight defence and quick breaks taking them to a 14-2 win which propelled them to the top of their pool.

In the ensuing quarter finals they met North Harbour (Black) and came away with a 9-1 win. Next stop was a semi-final against Tauranga, which was won 9-6, setting up a final against the similarly unbeaten Rotorua team.

In a tight tussle, the sides were locked 3-3 at half time and Marlborough led by one at the end of the third quarter. Rotorua stepped up in the final stanza, scoring twice to come away with a 7-6 win, meaning Marlborough had to settle for silver, a top effort given it was their first U16 national tournament.

Abbey Moody, from the Marlborough Water Polo Club, took out the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award.

Coach Alastair Keay described it as a “great tournament”.

“The girls had a great time and would like to thank the coaches, manager and supporters who travelled to Auckland as well as all those who were supporting from back home, much appreciated.

“Thanks also to everyone who bought sheep manure for our fundraiser, Meaters of Marlborough for a great array of meat, Subway for providing lunch vouchers and Stadium 2000 for providing a great training facility.”

Jess Drummond was in fine form for the Mako when they overcame North Harbour on Saturday. Photo: Shuttersport.

Tasman women’s season goes on

The Tasman women’s rugby team have earned themselves at least another week of Farah Palmer Cup championship play after getting the better of North Harbour during their quarterfinal in Auckland on Saturday.

The Mako women underlined their improvement this campaign by getting up for a 25-19 win against a side they had lost to first-up in the round-robin series.

Tasman started well, dominating the early exchanges and being reward through an early penalty to first five Hayley Hutana.

However a defensive misread quickly opened the door for the home side, who scored to take a 5-3 lead.

Fullback Bethan Manners replied with a try of her own, Hutana’s conversion opening up a 10-5 advantage before Harbour added a second try and conversion just before halftime to head into the sheds with a 12-10 lead.

The visitors were on the board first in the second spell, winger Rebecca Kersten dotting down. A conversion and penalty to Hutana shot the Mako out to a 20-12 advantage, then Sydnee Wilkins added their third touchdown to push them 13 points ahead.

Harbour weren’t about to lie down though and mounted a late comeback, scoring a converted try with six minutes to go. However, Tasman managed to hang on, despite what head coach Chris Binns described as “a few hair-raising moments”, when the home side threw everything into attack in the final minutes.

Best of the Mako crew were outstanding midfielder Jess Drummond, hard-working lock Courtney Clarke and halfback Jamie Paenga, a late call-up for Pippa Andrews who suffered an eye injury at training and had to withdraw.

Binns said the side had travelled north confident they could get the job done.

“After week one North Harbour were never a team that was going to scare us too much … we felt we had let ourselves down a wee bit when we played them in Blenheim.

“There has been so many learnings for the team between then and now. But until you walk away with the result you are never too sure.”

Their gritty victory means they will play Otago in Dunedin on Saturday in a FPC championship semifinal at Napier. In their previous meeting they lost 58-15 to the southerners.

Binns said that despite the lop-sided scoreline last time they met he was happy to be heading to Dunedin.

“If we can bring some of the physicality we had today then anything is possible – especially in a semi-final. Pressure does funny things to teams.”

Tasman 25 (Bethan Manners, Sydnee Wilkins, Rebecca Kersten tries, Hayley Hutana 2 pen, 2 con) North Harbour 19. HT: 12-10 Harbour.

Leicester Fainga’anuku was a handful for the Hawke’s Bay defence in Napier, bagging two tries on Saturday. Photo: Shuttersport.

Mako make history with round-robin clean sweep

A combination of attacking brilliance and set piece dominance saw the Tasman Mako create their own slice of history in Napier on Saturday.

The Mako downed Hawke’s Bay 47-28 to clinch an unbeaten run through Mitre 10 Cup round robin play, a first for the fledgling union and the first time that has been achieved by any NPC side since Auckland did so in 2007.

Historical significance aside, the Magpies’ match also provided Tasman with an ideal dress rehearsal for this week’s Mitre 10 Cup premiership semifinal at Lansdowne Park.

The match was evenly poised at the break, Tasman ahead 19-14, but the first 20 minutes after halftime produced four Mako tries and quickly took the game out of the home side’s reach.

Within two minutes of oranges Leicester Fainga’anuku scored his second try as the forwards and back combined to produce some irresistible attack. Ten minutes later Mitch Hunt was over, again the result of some sparking team work, then Alex Nankivell, arguably man of the match for Tasman, produced some individual brilliance to bag their sixth. Hooker Hugh Roach added the Mako’s final try in the 60th minute, underlining the impact of the “Sparkies” off the bench.

The home side picked up a couple of late tries to earn a bonus point, but the match was well and truly decided by then, underlying the difference in class between a top premiership side and a top championship outfit.

The first half was a see-sawing affair, with five tries scored.

The home side struck first, after just five minutes, when Marino Mikaele Tu’u scored, Tiaan Falcon’s conversion giving the Magpies an early 7-0 lead.

However the Mako bounced back quickly, No 8 Sione Havili benefitting from some determined work by Nankivell to bag the visitor’s first five-pointer. Hunt’s conversion levelled the scores.

The Magpies again claimed the lead midway through the half, No 8 Devan Flanders breaking a tackle from a five-metre scrum to score, with Falcon adding his second conversion.

Again Tasman drew level, this time through a try to winger Leicester Fainga’anuku from a well-worked lineout move after their scrum had given them dominance, along with a yellow card to Hawke’s Bay lock Geoff Cridge for a high tackle.

From then it was all Tasman, utilising the one-man advantage to produce quality set pieces and threaten the home side’s line.

However, it took until referee’s time in the first spell for them to bag their third, scored by Tima Fainga’anuku who dotted down in the corner from a Hunt cross kick after the forwards found the Magpies’ defence too hard to penetrate close to the posts.

Mako co-head coach Andrew Goodman was particularly impressed with his side’s efforts either side of the halftime break. “That middle patch won us the game. We played some really good rugby then, right up there.

“We probably started a bit slowly again … a few errors and penalties built up against us to put us under pressure, and we got a bit loose at the end.

“But the boys certainly got what they needed out of the game.

“It was a great challenge … our defence got tested and there are some things we need to work on there, plus some of our work with the ball in hand.”

Another pleasing factor was the fact the side appeared to come through with no serious injuries, making the selectors’ job to pick a semi-final side that much harder.

“It’s good isn’t it?” said Goodman. “Better that way than the other way. We have already started debating [selections] as a coaching group so there will be some tough calls to make.

“The great thing about this squad is that fact they are all really supportive of each other.

“They were really excited today because they knew they had a chance to make a bit of history. It was nice to tick that off.”

Scores: Tasman 47 (Sione Havili, Leicester Fainga’anuku 2, Tima Fainga’anuku, Alex Nankivell, Hugh Roach, Mitch Hunt tries, Hunt 4 con, David Havili 2 con) Hawke’s Bay 28 (Marino Mikaele Tu’u, Devan Flanders, Jason Long, Caleb Makene tries, Tiaan Falcon 4 con). HT 19-14 Mako

Marlborough-based players competed with distinction at the recent national table tennis championships. Photo: Supplied.

Table tennis players show skills at nationals

Marlborough-based players competed with distinction at the recent national table tennis championships in Christchurch, claiming several medals.

In the senior section, Alex Kennedy took part in the B grade men’s teams competition with two players from Sri Lanka. They won four out of five matches, Alex beating current NZ under-18 champion Jason Sivilay in a team win against Waitemata 2. In the individual events he qualified for post section play, losing to team-mate and eventual B grade winner Helitha Hendawitharana. In C grade, Alex was seeded eighth but made his way to the final losing to the top seed.

Alex and Matt Pigou played well in the C grade doubles, beating the top seeds in the quarter-final before bowing out in the semis.

Nathan Watson was part of the Manawatu 2 team that finished third in B grade. He was seeded second in the B grade doubles with Nelson’s Daniel Astle, and they reached the semi-final, losing to an unseeded pair who went on to beat the top seeds in the final. Nathan beat the well-performed David Walle of Canterbury in qualifying for A Grade, making the main draw.

Jacqui Wood was drafted into the Manawatu women’s team, who finished sixth in a quality field. In the individual events, she reached the final of the over-30 singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. In B grade qualifying she lost to top seed and eventual winner Kris Alisch of Canterbury  in five close sets.

Jacqui paired with her daughter Vanessa in the open women’s doubles, taking a set from the top seeds who went on to win the title. In the open mixed doubles she paired with Hasitha Samaraweera and they won a round before bowing out to Dean Shu and Kiwi table tennis legend Li Chunli.

Matt Pigou played only in the individual events but had a superb tournament. In addition to a bronze medal in the C grade men’s doubles with Alex, he reached the quarter-finals of the C grade singles, losing to eventual winner Jay Zhu.

In the D grade singles, Matt beat both the third and second seeds before losing in the semi-final to the fourth seed, bagging another bronze medal.

Youngster Vanessa Wood-Lin played for Canterbury 3 in the women’s teams and won both her singles matches against Australia in a 4-3 win.

Rob Honour, playing in his first nationals, teamed up with Matt and they were just pipped 16-14 in the fifth set against the fourth seeds who later claimed the title.

Megan Stratford, a former NZ title-holder, played in the open mixed doubles  with Rob.

Malcolm Honour, also playing his first nationals, came up against top seeds in the over-45, over-55 and D grades.


Vanessa reached the final of the girls’ under-15 doubles with her regular partner Lydia Mercer-Beumelburg of Canterbury.

The girls, who were seeded fourth, beat the number one seeds in the semi-final before losing to the second seeded pair of Annie Chen and Takaimaania Ngata-Henare in a close five-set decider.

Vanessa excelled in the singles, reaching the last 16 in both the under-18 girls’ singles and under-15 girls’ singles. In the last event, she lost to Joanna Yang, who went on to win the title.

In the teams event, playing for Canterbury 1 in the girls under-18 grade, Vanessa won seven matches from nine starts.

The Marlborough under-15 boys’ Team of Rory Osborne, Joseph Ruwhiu and Peyton Ritchie competed in the B grade with their closest match coming against Canterbury 2, losing 4-3.

In earlier matches , the boys lost 6-1 to Bay of Plenty, Southland 5-2, and to Counties-Manukau who won the grade.

Hannah Smit was a draft player who played for Presidents 1 in the girls’ under-18 grade. She won a single and a double against Presidents 2 in a 7-0 win and was part of the team that lost to Australia 4-3.

Twelve-year-old Ben Sziranyi from Bohally registered the top individual placing among the Marlborough contingent, being named overall male under-14 champion. Photo: Supplied.

MBC are top mountain biking school

Consistently-strong performances across several grades saw Marlborough Boys’ College take the title of the country’s top mountain biking school at the national secondary schools championships last weekend.

At the conclusion of the three-day event, staged at Dunedin’s Signal Hill, the youthful MBC combination took out the overall teams title with 1152 points, ahead of second-placed Wakatipu High School (1064) and Shirley High School (1016).

Also competing in Dunedin were riders from Bohally Intermediate and Fairhall School. Twelve-year-old Ben Sziranyi from Bohally registered the top individual placing, being named under-14 male overall champion. He took out the enduro title, was second in downhill and third in cross country.

Liam Nicholls produced the top overall standing among the MBC team, picking up third overall in the under-15 grade.

As with his MBC team mates, it was consistency that saw him recognised, with points awarded according to placings and going towards the overall school total.

Among the leading performances from the 16-strong MBC contingent were a win in the under-14 cross country by Cam Anderson, a third in the under-14 enduro and fourth in the downhill to Owen Bradley, who was fourth overall, plus a fourth in the under-14 enduro and fifth in downhill by Tom Morrison, who ended up sixth overall.

Nate Washer claimed a sixth placing in the under-15 enduro and fifth in the downhill, placing fifth overall, while under-16 rider Cam Clemett placed fourth in the downhill and sixth in the enduro, for seventh overall.

Team manager Paul Molyneux said they were just a few among plenty of stand-out performances among the squad, with all the students going the extra mile to claim points for the team.

He cited the example of senior [under-17] rider Jack Sheridan, one of the most experienced MBC competitors. Sheridan was going well in his race when his rear derailleur snapped. Instead of letting mechanical failure end his race he picked up his bike, took it back to the finish line, repaired the problem and rejoined the race in order to add some valuable points to his team’s tally.

“That was a massive effort, especially in such a large and high-class field,” said Molyneux.

“This was the first time we have taken out the [teams] title under the current format. We had a young team and they all contributed. We have got really good numbers at the school at the moment.”

He was quick to praise the input of former professional rider Justin Leov, a Marlborough Sportsperson of the Year winner in 2003, who has been helping students at his former school prepare for the event.

Other Bohally students to pick up top placings were Finn McKenzie, who placed second in the under-14 cross country, and Lachlan McNabb, seventh overall with a second in cross country, 10th in endure and 12th in downhill.

Fletcher Kopua from Fairhall placed ninth in the under-13 cross country.

Waitohi's Jimmy Giles was named Tasman club rugby personality of the year. Photo: Shuttersport. 

Rugby awards handed out

The Tasman Rugby Union honoured members of their representative teams during a ceremony at the Turf Hotel in Nelson on Tuesday.

A series of awards were presented for community rugby, the Tasman under-19 team plus the Mako men’s and women’s teams.

On the club scene, three awards were presented.

Waitohi’s Fetuli Paea was named male club Player of the Year (male and female), awarded to the best club player of the season week in week out. The other nominees were Taina Fox-Matamua (Marist) and Campbell Morgan-Parata (Waimea Old Boys). Anna Bradley, from Waimea Old Boys, was named female club Player of the Year. Also in contention were Leah Miles (Waimea Old Boys) and Courtney Clarke (Motueka High School).

Waitohi stalwart Jimmy Giles was named Club Personality of the Year. A true all-rounder, Jimmy was the club’s President, Secretary, Treasurer, Club Captain, CoD Delegate, Coach and Captain. Under his leadership the Waitohi club won the Marlborough Sub-Union trophy and were semi-finalists in the E’stel Tasman Trophy.

Campbell Morgan-Parata was voted the Tasman Under 19 Player of the Year.

Several Tasman Mako awards were also handed out. Tamara Silcock was named the Mako Women’s Defender of the Year, while Ethan Blackadder took out the corresponding man’s award.

The Mako women’s Rookie of the Year award went to livewire loosie Leah Miles while outside back Fetuli Paea claimed the Mako Men Rookie of the Year prize.

Winger Rebecca Kersten’s efforts, week-in, week-out, earned her the Mako women’s Player of the Year trophy while the Jordan Taufua picked up the Mako men’s Player of the Year trophy, effectively the team’s MVP for the season as voted on by the coaching team.

In addition to those awards, the Mako Woman of the Year and Mako Man of the Year were also announced, after being voted on by the whole squad and management.

This year, Jessica Foster-Lawrence and David Havili, respective captains of the Mako flagship teams, took out those coveted awards.

Also honoured at the prizegiving was retiring Mako No 81 Vernon Fredericks, who played 56 games for the union. The popular loose forward’s contribution in helping bring the Mako from the lower reaches of the NPC to the top level was recognised.