Brothers Finn, left, and Billy Sloan slice through a block. Photo: Peter Jones.

Chips fly as axemen show their chops

The Blenheim Axemen’s Club are an adaptable bunch.

With the Marlborough A and P Show cancelled, they decided to relocate their annual wood cutting event from A and P Park to the Hocquard property in Riverlands.

On Saturday, competitors came from far afield to take part in a series of events, all contested in a relaxed, rural atmosphere.

The day’s premier event was the Geoff Hocquard Memorial Standing Championship contested by the top four back markers on the highest handicaps. The event was won by Joe Cox from Timaru, from Andrew Cox, also from Timaru, with Ray Biggs of Nelson third and Christchurch’s John Aitken fourth.

Championship races have all the competitors starting on a count of three seconds.  The Open and Restricted races see all the competitors starting on their marks from the woodchopping handicap system.

The four Open woodchopping events, consisting of small and large Underhand and Standing Chops, had two heats with placegetters meeting in the final.

The 300mm underhand was won by Kyle Hedley, with Chris Heath second, Steve Foster third and Marlborough chopper Finn Sloan fourth.

Hedley and Foster tied for first in the 325mm underhand, with Ross Birchfield third and Sloan fourth.

Foster won the 275mm standing from Hedley, with Picton’s Tim Abel third and Peter McEwen fourth.

Abel claimed the 3000mm standing title, Dave McEwen finishing second, Hedley third and Andrew Cox fourth.

Nelson chopper Hedley, with 15.5 points, claimed the overall points trophy from Steve Foster (Greymouth) on 12.5 pts.

The single and double sawing events had reduced numbers this year, especially with local sawyers Geoffrey Hocquard and Willie Abel unavailable to compete.

The single saw was won by John Aitken, with Andrew Cox second, local sawyer Robbie Brownlee third his grandson Finn Sloan fourth.

The double saw title was claimed by Andrew and Joe Cox, from Brownlee and John Aitken, then Finn and Billy Sloan, followed by Charlie Morgan and Martin Mason.

The three restricted underhand chops were contested by the newcomers, juniors and ladies also competing under the handicap system.

The No 1 restricted was won by Justin Carter, from Ashleigh Radford, Alex Gregg and Toby Godsiff.

The No 2 restricted was taken out by Louie Gregg, with Emma Riddell second, Justin Carter third and Alex Gregg fourth.

Carter claimed the No 3 restricted title, from Louie Gregg, Alex Gregg and Ashleigh Radford respectively.

Carter scored the most points in the restricted chops, with Louie Gregg second.

Local competitors were Tim Abel, Robbie Brownlee and his grandsons Finn Sloan, Billy Sloan, Alex Gregg and Louie Gregg.

Everyone competing at the Blenheim Axemen’s Club event also had a second day of competition with the Nelson Axemen’s Club meeting at the Wakefield Hotel on Sunday.

Tennis leaders win another close encounter

Renwick CPR continue to show the way in the Wine Brokers NZ premier tennis competition, notching up another narrow win on Wednesday.

The leaders managed a countback victory over Rapaura Wairau River Noir while Rapaura Wairau River Blanc also claimed a win on countback, beating Marlborough Forrest Wines.

Renwick CPR lead after four rounds, sitting on 42 points, with Rapaura Blanc second on 38 and Marlborough tied with Rapaura Noir on 19.

Despite their relative positions on the standings, the Renwick v Noir tie turned into a battle royal. The doubles were shared, Hamish McRae and Jared Bell giving Rapaura an early boost by recovering from a first set reversal to win the top double, 0-6, 6-2, 10-4 over brothers Oscar and Joseph Sandford-Jury.

The Renwick duo of Daniel Riordan and Mieko Kimura levelled the scores with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Blair Harvey and Ella Sowman.

The singles were also shared, both Sandford-Jury teens winning their matches, then Bell and Sowman replying for Rapaura.  On countback Renwick won seven sets to Rapaura’s six.

The other match was also extremely tight.

Hamish Morrow and Stephen Dempster best Ant Walkenhorst and Glen Cameron 7-6, 7-6 in the top double to allow Marlborough a strong start, but Hugh Robinson and Donna Clark’s 6-1, 6-1 win over Jay Geris and Amber Lyons levelled the tie.

The key match in the singles was between Geris and Robinson. Although the former prevailed, the fact it went to three sets worked in Rapaura’s favour when the tie was decided on countback.

Morrow also won his single, beating Walkenhorst 6-4, 6-2, while Cameron and Clark replied with for Rapaura, leaving the tie locked up 3-3, Rapaura getting home 7-6 on set countback.

In division two, the Marlborough Nga Hau Wha team continued on their winning way, beating Marlborough Next Gen 5-1, while Rapaura Wairau River Rose downed Renwick Rallycats by the same score.

After four rounds Nga Hau Wha sit on top of the table with 46 points, from Next Gen (31), Rapaura (27) and Renwick (17).

Eden Kavanagh is looking forward to a brighter future. Photo: Sarah Brown.

Singer hits high note

A Marlborough singer who won a legion of fans across the world with a TV audition is set to end the year on a high note.

Blenheim girl Eden Kavanagh,26, wowed audiences with her blind audition on smash-hit British show The Voice but judges were less impressed.

Now the songstress is performing full time and has been booked as part of the New Year’s Eve line up at Picton’s popular New Year’s Eve party.

She will also be one of the supporting acts performing at the Summer Sounds Music festival with Bic Runga at the Queen Charlotte Tavern in Linkwater.

Being able to perform again is a big relief, says Eden, who gave up singing for a while after appearing on the hit talent quest.

“I was heartbroken. I’d put my heart and soul into it. I just wanted my mum and to come home and here felt like home,” she explains.

“I didn’t even want to sing for a while afterwards. I couldn’t.”

Born in Rangiora, Eden has divided her time between Ireland and New Zealand.

Back in Blenheim for 18 months, her confidence has returned and requests for bookings have been keeping her busy.

She has been lucky enough to pursue her singing dream full time after giving up her day job in the hospitality industry last month, she says.

“I’m rapt to be home and delighted to be doing New Year’s Eve in Picton. I remember being on the foreshore one year in the crowds; the vibe was great, and I knew I wanted to be the one singing one day.

The self-confessed ‘super perfectionist’ reveals that after lockdown people started looking to enjoy themselves.

“People are looking to have some fun now. I knew that after level one people were going to want to go out, have a good time and be entertained,” she says.

For the Whiteria graduate who has a BA in Performing Arts, it is the realisation of a lot of hard work.

Without the support of her family and friends she knows it would have been much harder.

“They have been amazing,” she says.

“I was a little hustler from a young age and when I was a kid, I used to create whole performances and, without telling my parents, gave tickets to the neighbours and charged 50 pence at the door.

“I don’t get nervous performing, it’s kind of like I have an alter ego and can literally walk out in front of 100,000 people no problem.

“It’s crazy as I’m so comfortable. I find it calming and think that comes from being well-rehearsed.”

For bookings contact [email protected] or @edenkavanaghmusic on social.

Ben Burridge celebrates taking out first prize in Marlborough Weekly’s popular Shop & Win competition. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Shopping local pays off

It was a lucky day for Blenheim man Ben Burridge when his wife decided she needed new plants –it won him $5000 cash.

Marlborough Weekly’s popular Shop & Win competition received thousands of entries from people keen to support local businesses.

And it was Ben’s visit to Marlborough’s Mitre 10 mega store that scooped him the top cash prize.

The delighted Wither Hills vineyard manager says he had looked after the couple’s son, Luca, 4, while wife Amelia went to look at the store’s huge outdoor plant centre.

“Luca loves the helicopter in the play area. I stayed with him. We had a coffee after that and then filled in the shop & Win form, never really thinking we’d win.”

After getting an email from Marlborough Weekly asking him to call. Ben says he didn’t dare hope he had won anything.

“Amelia mentioned that maybe it was the Shop & Win and we joked about it, not really thinking we had.”

Thirty-three businesses from across Marlborough signed-up to take part in this year’s draw.

Receiving the good news on Friday, Ben revealed it had been a great day all round for him and some of his colleagues at the vineyard.

“I’m not sure what we’ll spend it on yet, I’m sure there’ll be a bit of a debate about that.”

Second place winner Gail Woolacott from Linkwater won $750 after shopping at Fabric Creations in Blenheim.

A regular customer at the store, she says she will use the money when she goes on holiday.

“I’m going on a holiday soon so it will go towards that. I’d forgotten all about it; it was a lovely surprise.”

Motor Kanix co-owner Monique McKechie scooped the third prize of $250 after Senior Community Constable Russ Smith pulled her name out of the pile of entries.

She planned to use the cash, which she won from shopping at Unichem Springlands Pharmacy, at this weekend’s garden fete in Pollard Park.

“It’ll be great to use the money to put towards some Christmas gifts.

“I never win anything, so this is a wonderful surprise.”

Now in it’s third year, the Shop & Win competition has gone from strength to strength.

Marlborough Weekly owner Summa Donald says the response is heartening, especially as people are finding their feet after lockdown.

“Locals supporting locals are what this is all about and it’s more important than ever before to support our community.

“A huge thank you to all the businesses who backed the initiative, we couldn’t have done this without you.”

About 140 people attended Salsa Groove Marlborough’s successful SBK Back to the Roots festival. Photo: Shelani De Jager.

Salsa festival finds its rhythm

A local dance group has been making all the right moves, scooping a national nomination for their contribution to salsa.

Latin dance group Salsa Groove Marlborough has been nominated in the Cultural Manager/Promoter category at this year’s New Zealand Latin Awards 2020.

The announcement comes in the wake of their successful salsa festival, SBK Back to the Roots held in Blenheim last month.

The very first of its kind in New Zealand, the festival showcased the essence of Afro, Latin and Caribbean rhythms and the dance styles that evolved.

Events Coordinator Karen Knofflock says the group are delighted to be nominated.

Salsa Groove are thrilled and honoured to be nominated for our service and contribution to the Latin dance community.

“With the huge success of the festival, we continue to improve and enhance the scene, focusing on current trends and ideas for future events,” she says.

The New Zealand Latin Awards recognise and celebrate Latin Americans and their work here in Aotearoa.

Launched three years ago in Christchurch, nominations are voted by the public and cover five categories: Art and Culture, Sports, Entertainment, Business and Latin Attitude.

Salsa Grove run weekly group classes and social dance nights, as well as hosting dance weekends.

To vote for the team at Salsa Groove Marlborough visit www.nzla.co.nz/

The team from Astrolabe joined staff at The Burleigh to pick up the coveted winner’s trophy. Photo: Supplied.

‘A prize worth savouring’

The winning pies were out in force and glasses of Riesling clinked in celebration.

Astrolabe’s Spätlese Riesling 2017 paired with The Burleigh’s Jamaican Lamb Pie is this year’s overall winner in the Great Burleigh Pie Pairing Challenge.

And delighted winners got together to mark the win and accept the sought-after trophy.

Astrolabe chief winemaker Simon Waghorn and the Astrolabe team turned out in force at The Burleigh to collect their winnings.

“Not to mince words, but this is a prize worth savouring”, he says.

Jane Waghorn-Forrest says Astrolabe organised “extensive” testing of Burleigh pies with the Astrolabe range of wines.

“We thought the sweetness of this wine would go well with spices.”

She says she is delighted the Spätlese Riesling won as it’s from her family’s home vineyard.

Judges Fiona Fenwick, Saulo Camillo, Summa Donald and Jesse Mulligan worked their way through 47 wine and pie pairings.

Marlborough Weekly owner Summa Donald says being picked as a judge was an honour.

“It was a tough gig, but somehow we managed try some of the best pies and wine Marlborough has to offer.

“Congratulations to the Astrolabe team and of course Burleigh for their fantastic selections.”

This is the fourth time the annual competition has been held.

All the entry fees go to charity, with this year’s recipient being Marlborough Foodbank.

Luke Romano wins another lineout at Lansdowne Park on Saturday night. Photo: Shuttersport.

Canterbury turn season around at Lansdowne

Tasman’s uninspiring Mitre 10 Cup premiership display against Canterbury on Saturday may not prove as costly to the Mako play-off hopes as initially thought.

Going into the 29-0 defeat at Lansdowne Park, Tasman, fresh off an away win over Wellington, lay second on the premiership points table, justifiably eying a home semifinal.

At the other end of the table languished Canterbury, an unfamiliar position for the perennial pace-setters, with the threat of relegation looming large.

Teetering above the trapdoor, the Red and Blacks responded by producing the sort of performance that has underlined their previous dominance of the provincial scene.

Their emphatic 29-0 victory at Lansdowne Park on Saturday evening appeared to have assured their participation in the top echelon next year and derailed Tasman’s chances of hosting a semi this season.

However, a combination of upset results in what is quickly turning into the closest premiership battle for many seasons has seen Tasman remain in second position at the end of the round, with Canterbury still equal bottom of the table.

Now, although they face a tricky away match against Otago on Saturday, the Mako at least have their semifinal future in their own hands.

Things were not looking so positive at the final whistle on Saturday though.

Putting their patchy form this season behind them, Canterbury took their frustrations out on a Mako side who undoubtedly knew what was coming, but were unable to match the defensive intensity and clinical finishing that came their way. Their unrelenting work without the ball quickly created hesitation in the Tasman attack, forcing them to chase the game from early stages, rather than build into it.

Given the familiarity of so many of the players through Crusaders connections, it was perhaps no wonder that, at times, it appeared as if Canterbury had read Tasman’s script.

The influence of former All Blacks Luke Romano and Mitchell Drummond cannot be underestimated. Pivotal players when Tasman lost to Canterbury in the 2018 semifinal, they repeated the dose. Romano’s disruptive lineout presence, ability to slow Tasman’s ball down and general work rate proved constant thorns in the home side’s flesh. Drummond continues to haunt his former home town team, pulling all the right strings with coolness, slick passing and clever kicking options.

The impact of the opening try, to Canterbury winger Ngatungane Punivai in the third minute, should not be underestimated.

It not only gave Canterbury the belief that they have been struggling for, it also put the Mako firmly on the back foot from the outset, a situation compounded by early injury concerns.

Mako lock Quinten Strange said while Canterbury, “with their backs to the wall”, played well, some of the damage was self-inflicted.

“We were just one or two percent off tonight, in a few areas of the game we were our own worst enemy. At set piece we weren’t executing … we were throwing those 50-50s a bit much, trying to score off first phases and they had a good plan, a good strategy.

“As we know, if you don’t turn up against Canterbury they are going to punish you.”

And that they did, Saturday’s defeat ending an 11-game winning run at Lansdowne Park, with Tasman’s last defeat in Blenheim coming against Auckland in September 2015.

However, if Tasman’s supporters have discovered anything about their team over recent years, it is their ability to rebound quickly from adversity.

In the age-old cliché, they “have plenty to work on” over the coming week.

No-one could fault their intent and effort on Saturday, but there seemed to be more spring in Canterbury’s step, perhaps a result of being pushed into a corner and facing a previously-unthinkable fate.

The Mako will be looking for the same desperation when they travel to Dunedin.

As Strange suggests, “it’s such a tight competition, whoever turns up on the day is going to win.

“That’s the beauty of this competition … we have to make sure we get the right mindset heading into next weekend.”

Mitre 10 Cup premiership table with one round remaining: Auckland 34, Tasman 29, Waikato 29, Bay of Plenty 26, North Harbour 25, Canterbury 24, Wellington 24.

Two generations of Whitney Street School pupils are looking forward to fireworks fun this Saturday night. Pictured from left are Naomi Barton and daughter Emilia, Deborah Barton, whose son Sidney is in the foreground, Huia Crosby with sons Maui and Tamiti, Andrea Craig with son Sam, and Jeff Valk with son George. Photo: Supplied.

Fireworks show sparks memories

Watching their children light up with excitement at the prospect of this weekend’s big fireworks show sparks memories for these parents.

They are all former Whitney Street School pupils and their children now attend the school too.

The fireworks event, Lights Over Marlborough 2020, is the school’s big annual fundraiser.

It’s on this Saturday night, with food carts, on-stage entertainment and lots of fun activities from 6pm, before the fireworks light up the night sky as darkness falls.

Organisers encourage people to come early and buy dinner on site, or bring a picnic, and enjoy the happy vibe.

Parent Andrea Craig says the school roll and the fireworks event had grown since her days as a pupil, but the community feeling of the gathering was just the same.

“It’s still a very relaxed evening out, there’s so much for the kids to do beforehand and the fireworks at the end are still really exciting.”

Back in the day, the event featured a massive bonfire in the school grounds.

These past pupils recall their parents bringing in their garden cuttings and piling them on the bonfire in the days leading up to the event.

Families would also make Guys at home and carrying them down the street to the school.

They recalled raiding their parent’s old clothes – ties, stockings and cardigans – and stuffing them full of scrunched up newspaper to create their “Guy”.

They also remember with amusement that attitudes toward safety were quite different in 1980’s New Zealand.

Huia Crosby says she can’t over emphasise just how big the bonfire was – one year the flames were enormous, creating a spectacle in the night sky that was as unnerving for some as it was exciting for others in the crowd.

These days Lights Over Marlborough is at a bigger venue and attracts about 5000 people depending on the weather.  KiwiPyro licences pyrotechnician Michelle Harris oversees the display.

Michelle grew up in Blenheim and remembers fondly attending the early displays at Whitney Street School grounds as a child.

Now she organizes the music play list to the rhythm of the fireworks display.

The event is organised by the school’s Parent Support Group and this year money raised will go towards an astro turf.

The postponement date in case of bad weather is Sunday 15 November.

EVENT INFO:

What: Lights Over Marlborough Fireworks display

Tickets: Free for children under five, $8 for adults, $35 for a family pass of up two adults and three children

Where: Marlborough A and P Showgrounds on corner of Maxwell Rd and Alabama Rd in Blenheim

When: Gates open 5.30pm for a 6pm start, Saturday 14 November, or if postponed Sunday 15 November

Why: Major annual fundraiser for Whitney Street School

Harbour Master Captain Luke Grogan is gearing up for what could be the busiest summer on record. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Waterway speedsters warned

A clamp-down on waterway risk takers in underway as Marlborough braces for one of its busiest summers on record.

Marlborough’s Harbour Master Captain Luke Grogan and his team are targeting speeding hot spots.

The number of speed breaches is substantial and the potential for a fatality is growing, he warns.

Speeding hotspots in Havelock Channel and Waikawa will come under extra scrutiny as speed cameras are deployed.

“There are a lot of blind corners and people go through there at 30 knots.

“This will cause a fatality if there’s an accident,” Luke says.

Activity on the water is expected to rise this summer as people holiday in New Zealand rather than overseas.

“This year will be one of the busiest summers on record and there will be   lot of activity on the water.

“It will be awesome to see people coming to the Sounds and enjoying the Sounds.

“We want to encourage people to be safer and not just think of themselves but also others on the water and have that courtesy,” Luke says.

“People underestimate the risks. They just see a nice sunny day and head out into the blue. It’s easy to forget that they’re going off into the wilderness.

“If you add alcohol into that mix, then things are only going to escalate.”

Fully calibrated speed cameras put in place last year on the Wairau River have highlighted a growing problem with ski joy riders.

“We had a hunch, but the actual numbers are higher than we thought. A lot of families use the Wairau and rowers.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” Luke says.

With about 3000 square kilometres under his care, Luke is appealing for people not to take risks.

“Speed is the biggest problem. We’re increasingly spending our time trying to manage speed risks we see arising.

“Jet skis are more accessible, the barriers to entry you might get with a boat are not there and the temptation to hoon around is quite high.

“We’ve had a number of near misses, and also some serious injuries.”

For help and advice on how to safe on the water visit www.marlborough.govt.nz/environment/harbours/safer-boating

Marie Large and Abbie Large from Large's Rose Nursery. Photo: Malinda Boniface.

Tempting fete

Wet weather failed to dampen spirits at this year’s popular Rapaura Springs Garden Marlborough a fete as hundreds turned out in support.

The annual market featuring an array of stall holders from across Marlborough and further afield was held at Blenheim’s Pollard Park on Sunday.

Umbrellas and gum boots were the order of the day for many after a bout of wet weather overnight.

Showers cleared as the day progressed, with people happy to be out and about.