Matt Brown

Matt Brown

Chateau Marlborough chief executive officer Brent Marshall and general manager Lynley McKinnon. Photo: Matt Brown.

Double win celebrations for hotel

A Marlborough hotel has been awarded back-to-back wins at a prestigious Australasian hotel competition.

Chateau Marlborough won the HM Australasian Hotel of the Year for Best NZ Regional Hotel for the second year running, one of only two hotels to achieve the award twice and in their second year of attending the ceremony.

General manager Lynley McKinnon says winning the award was very much a team effort.

“We’ve got a dedicated team of staff that is striving for excellence, which makes the success fantastic for the hotel,” she says.

The 2019 HM Awards for Hotel and Accommodation Excellence, now in their 17th year, are the leading industry in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

More than 900 people attended the awards dinner at the Sydney’s International Convention Centre last Friday and over 60 awards were handed out across 48 categories.

Chief executive officer Brent Marshall says to be the second hotel in 17 years to win the award in consecutive years was a “very pleasing surprise”.

“We were up against 15 others of an exceedingly high standard, to be announced as the winner was satisfying and humbling at the same time,” Brent says.

“There has been a lot of continual work to wh? And improve.

“It’s great for the Marlborough region to be acknowledged as a province that offers a quality experience.

“The awards are a reflection of the staff, from the manager down.”

Lynley was a finalist in the NZ General Manager of the Year category and executive chef James Sievewright was a finalist for the Australasian Hotel Chef of the Year.

The judging panel was made up of industry leaders and travel writers from the Australasian region.

HM editor-in-chief and chief judge of the HM Awards James Wilkinson says the calibre of this year’s entries were the best in the event’s history.

“The quality of entries in the HM Awards this year was unlike anything we have seen before. It was a challenge to even choose the finalists from up to 80 entries in some cases, let alone decide on a winner and highly commended,” James says.

“To even be a finalist this year was a massive effort and many of our winners have also been employee of the year or hotel of the year in their own organisations, so it was an incredibly strong field of entries in 2019.”

Rose Built Homes office in the Blenheim CBD. Photo: Matt Brown.

Hope after company collapse

A young Blenheim couple who faced losing their first home after the collapse of a building business has been thrown a lifeline.

Anastasia Brown and Caleb Mischeski faced losing $50,000 after a now-defunct Blenheim building company was placed into liquidation.

But other businesses have since stepped up to help those burnt by the collapse of Marlborough company Rose Built Homes last week.

Peter Ray Homes have taken on Anastasia Brown’s build on Blenheim’s Taylor Pass Road, which has languished for more than three months.

Rose Built Homes office in the Blenheim CBD. Photo: Matt Brown.
Rose Built Homes office in the Blenheim CBD. Photo: Matt Brown.

Peter Ray Homes director Donna Lee says their builders are working at a reduced margin to get her into the house.

“We really want to help Anastasia out,” Donna says.

RBH Limited, trading as Rose Built Homes, was placed into liquidation on 5 September.

It has since come to light the company’s two directors, Kyle Payne and Ryan Butler operated a web of interconnected companies.

Peter Ray Homes has come to the rescue of the young couple after the now-defunct building company Rose Built Homes went under. Photo: Matt Brown.
Peter Ray Homes has come to the rescue of the young couple after the now-defunct building company Rose Built Homes went under. Photo: Matt Brown.

The pair, who are no longer in contact with each other, have since fled town, leaving some Marlborough businesses out of pocket by at least $1.4million.

More than 40 businesses and subcontractors have come forward to date are worried staff and family members.

A source says the company’s troubles were clear to those in the building industry.

For Anastasia, who put money given to her by her grandparents towards the $338,000 home, says the first sign of trouble was when scaffolding was pulled down.

The house, on Taylor Pass Road, has sat for months with no roofs and no activity. Photo: Matt Brown.
The house, on Taylor Pass Road, has sat for months with no roof and no activity. Photo: Matt Brown.

A skip on-site was then emptied on where the couple’s front lawn was going as bills weren’t paid.

“Every week I asked when the roof was coming on, and every week they would say Friday.

“I found out from the plumber, they just vanished, I got incredibly stressed about it so my parents took over,” she says.

“The liquidator cancelled their contract with us. It’s pretty shitty, but I was lucky to find Donna from Peter Ray Homes.”

In January, Butler and Payne transferred 90 per cent of the shares of RBH to a holding company, NOA Development Group Limited.

NOA was removed from the companies register in July.

One unsecured creditor, who didn’t want to be named, says alarm bells for him started ringing in June.

“RBH was charging $2-300sqm cheaper than everyone else but were $16,700 a week in the red.

“It’s bad management.”

Anderson Architectural Design owner Jason Anderson says Ryan and Kyle were not “cut out to run a business.”

“They’re the type of guys you could have a beer with,” he says. “They just weren’t cut out to run a business.”

Jason says there were seven Rose Built Homes houses under construction and another person who had paid a deposit when the company folded.

Former project manager Graeme Andrews resigned from the company six weeks ago after a year with the company.

He says while he is not owned any money, he was “a little bit uncomfortable.”

“I was concerned I maybe wasn’t getting the right information. I had suspicions, but I had no idea.

“All I can say is I don’t have the full picture or the full information.

“Everyone in town knew there were issues.

The reason I did stick around was for the tradies…and for the clients, a lot of which were young couples. I felt for them.”

 

Butler and Payne affiliated companies:

 

Maddison Group Limited – Trading name: Tru Cut Property services

Industry Classification(s): N731340 Property maintenance service (own account)

Registered from 2 May 2017 to 22 Aug 2019

Kyle Payne owns 100% of 2 shares

Directors: Ryan Butler and Kyle Payne. Ashleigh Broughton was a director until 3 April 2019.

 

3rd Gen Homes Limited

Industry Classification(s): E301120 Building, house construction

Registered from 18 August 2016 – in process of being removed from register for being overdue in its obligation to file an annual return.

Ryan Butler owns 100% of 100 shares.

Carl Ross Butler ceased being a director: 01/12/2016 – but the paperwork to remove him as a director was filed July 2019

Directors: Ryan Butler.

 

RBH Limited

Industry Classification(s):

In Liquidation

Registered from 18 July 2017 to 05 September 2019

NOA Development Group Limited owns 90% of 100 shares (90).

Ross Stuart Butler (Ryan’s dad) owns 10% of 100 shares (10).

Directors: Ryan Butler and Kyle Payne.

 

Rose Built Limited

Industry Classification(s): E301120 Building, house construction

Registered on 16 January 2019 – current

NOA Development Group Limited owns 100% of 200 shares.

Directors: Ryan Butler and Kyle Payne.

 

NOA Development Group Limited

Industry Classification(s): E321120 Land development or subdivision (excluding construction)

Registered from 3 August 2018 to 17 July 2019.

Ryan Butler owns 50% of 100 shares.

Kyle Payne owns 50% of 100 shares.

A cheque was presented by Organiser Bob O’Malley to Cancer Society Marlborough centre manager Felicity Spencer at a morning tea ceremony at the Vintage Car Clubs clubroom at Brayshaw Park on Wednesday. Photo: Supplied.

Sun shines for charity car show

The organiser of a vintage car show prayed for good weather and his efforts paid off, especially for the charity they support.

Marlborough’s Cancer Society received a massive windfall after the well-attended car show raised several thousands of dollars.

The popular Vintage Car Club Daffodil Day Vehicle Display smashed previous records, making nearly double the amount of last year’s show.

$17,500 was raised for the charity, with about 4000 Marlburians attending the show.

Organiser Kelly Landon-Lane says he got corns on his knees praying for fine weather for the third annual display.

And it worked, the day was one of the warmest and sunniest of the month.

“The weather leading up wasn’t great, but on the day – they [weather forecasters] got it a bit wrong,” Kelly says.

A cheque was presented by Organiser Bob O’Malley to Cancer Society Marlborough centre manager Felicity Spencer at a morning tea ceremony at the Vintage Car Clubs clubroom at Brayshaw Park on Wednesday.

Felicity says they were “overwhelmed” by the amount the Vintage Car Club made for the charity.

“It’s such an awesome effort, and they took all the initiative to run the event,” she says.

More than 50 generous local businesses contributed to the successful show.

“The support has been absolutely superb,” Kelly says.

“We had a figure in our mind when we started, around $15,000, and we made more than that.

“It’s progressed from $8000, to $9000 to more than $17,000 this year.

“You got to thank the people that turned up on the day.”

Bob says most families are affected “in one way or another” by cancer.

The money raised will go towards a new supportive care nurse hired by the society and to establish support groups for people affected by cancer in the region.

“The public really get behind us, it’s just incredible,” Bob says.

Kelly says the support from the community has been overwhelming.

“Hopefully we can keep the ball rolling and build on the event for next year,” he says.

Bottles, human excrement and other detritus mar a popular hut at Marfells Beach. Photo: Supplied.

Marfell Beach’s family hut trashed

It’s survived an earthquake, but a small structure on Marfells beach near Seddon could be taken down by tanked teens.

The hut, built by a local family for shelter from the notorious east coast wind, has become a dumping ground for raucous revellers.

Human faeces, piles of rubbish, including empty bottles and cans, are turning the hut into a tip – the “childish” antics wrecking the shelter for everyone else.

A local Seddon resident, who asked to not be named, says he erected the hut for his family as a respite when walking the popular beach.

“It’s a good place to kick back and get out of the sun and wind,” he says.

“I haven’t been there for a long time, but it was always kept pretty good.”

Constructed prior to the  7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2016, halfway between Marfells Beach Road and the wharf, the shelter was intended to be used by fishermen and families walking the shore.

But a four-wheel-drive track adjacent to the structure has proven to be its downfall.

The Seddon local thought it was local teens wrecking the structure for everyone else.

“It’s absolute childish stuff,” he says.

“I’ve sent a few people down there to clean up glass and faeces.

“I’ve yet to deal with the people that did it.

“They’re ruining it for everybody else,” he says.

Council has been approached for comment.

Vita Vaka and Nicole Pereira. Photo: Matt Brown.

Pacific theater debut

A dynamic duo hopes to start a new appreciation for Pasifika culture in the community.

The region’s first ever Pacific theatre is set to make its debut in Blenheim this weekend.

Written and directed by 30-year-old kiwi-born Tongan Vita Vaka, and producer and partner Nicole Pereira, Mafana highlights issues faced by Pacific youth in New Zealand.

Vita says the show uses a variety of Pacific performing arts to get the show’s message across.

Performers rehearsing for this weekends debut show. Photo: Matt Brown.
Performers rehearsing for this weekends debut show. Photo: Matt Brown.

“We’re telling the story through dance and music but also acting as well.”

Twelve young Pasifika actors from the boys’ and girls’ colleges as well as the wider community will perform in the show.

“Mafana – what it means is heart warmth – something that is heart-warming or uplifting,” Vita says.

“With Pacific people, they get excited or this emotional feeling that they get when they see something expressed further than they can.”

“I’m hoping that with this show it can ignite and start the Mafana within people to pursue and fulfil their destiny.

“If you’re trying to achieve your goals or dreams, it’s not an easy thing to do,” he says.

“Having the Mafana ignite them will help carry them through beyond their fear, beyond something that you can articulate.”

Along with directing, writing and performing, Vita composed the final song, the Mafana Anthem, for the play.

“The other music is from Pacific artists or using musical instruments that we do in the Pacific,” he says.

Vita secured funding for the show through Creative New Zealand’s Moana grant and additional funding has come from various local organisations.

“[The grant] was all about using heritage arts for communities to experience and explore who they are and their Pacific cultural identity through the arts,” Nicole says.

“When we were writing for funding, we had to rationalise why money should go into a project like this with a small Pacific community and a small Pacific audience.

“In the bigger areas, [Pacific Islanders are] a majority group so this stuff is really well developed and supported.

“This is a way to ignite that cultural identity and be really proud of it,” she says.

Mafana actors Monu Moli and Joshua Leota. Photo: Matt Brown.
Mafana actors Monu Moli and Joshua Leota. Photo: Matt Brown.

17-year-old Marlborough Boys’ College student Joshua Leota plays the lead character, Simon, a Kiwi-born half-Tongan half-Samoan.

“[Simon] is kind of out of touch with his culture so he disregards it,” Joshua says.

“Through the play, he is taught the island ways.”

Joshua says he relates personally with the character.

“I’m Tongan-Samoan as well, I wouldn’t say I’m the most in touch with my culture, so this is a learning experience for me.”

Vita hopes Marlborough’s first Pacific theatre will ignite a passion in the community for more performing arts.

“My dream and my hope is that I can instil this in someone else and they carry on, that releases me to create more projects,” Vita says.

See Mafana at the Marlborough Boys’ College 7pm, Saturday 7 September.

Tickets are available online at http://bit.ly/mafanashow and cost $15 for adults and $7 for children.

Daffodil Day Vehicle Display organisers Bob O’Malley and Kelly Landon-Lane. Photo: Matt Brown.

Classic cars for cancer

Organisers behind a successful charity car show hope to beat their previous record when it comes to raising vital funds.

Now in its third year, the Daffodil Day Vehicle Display raised nearly $10,000 for the local Cancer Society branch at each of the last two events, and this year organisers hope to raise more.

Last year, the show displayed 248 vintage, classic and new cars and trucks and close to 30 vintage motorcycles.

Organiser Kelly Landon-Lane, whose first job was as a “grease-monkey” at Mayfield Motors, says the support they’ve received for the show has been quite humbling.

“The selling point of the whole thing is all the money stays local,” Kelly says.

“Raised local, stays local.”

Last year, close to 30 vintage motorcycles were displayed at the Brayshaw Park vehicle display. Photo: Matt Brown.
Last year, close to 30 vintage motorcycles were displayed at the Brayshaw Park vehicle display. Photo: Matt Brown.

Organiser Bob O’Malley says the display was coined from a national Vintage Car Club push to fundraise money for the Cancer Society.

Initially, the national branch intended to organise a rally, but the Marlborough branch had a better idea.

“There’s a lot of work for a rally and hardly any return,” Bob says.

Blenheim’s Brayshaw Park, the home of the Vintage Car Club clubrooms, will this year open more of its displays during the show.

“We’re doing it with the whole park,” Bob says.

“Dealers give us a good donation and bring their new cars,” Kelly says.

“New Zealanders have a fascination with cars, I’ve been hooked from a young age.”

Bob says the classic cars take him back to his youth.

“The first car I ever had was a Model A, and I have a couple of them now,” Bob says.

Members of the public can display their vehicle on the day for $5.

A gold coin donation on entry is appreciated.

The vehicle display is from 9am to 4pm on 25 August.

Kelly says the display is a “bloody good day”.

Signs to educate the public are clearly seen at Cape Campbell peninsula. Photo: Matt Brown.

Beach access threatens cape

Vehicles are being blamed for the destruction of a pristine Marlborough beach by residents who want to see tighter controls.

The 2016 Kaikoura earthquake uplifted land around the Cape Campbell peninsula and the beach became a popular destination for four-wheel drive vehicles.

But Cape Campbell Experience manager Thomas Peter says the hike in numbers is putting the area at risk.

He says while people have been driving along the beach for years, since the earthquake it’s gone from “casual usage” to upwards of 50 vehicles on a busy day.

“With the Kaikoura quake, the area has had a real spotlight on it,” Thomas says.

The cape, well known for its lighthouse that guided ships around the dangerous reefs since 1870, is the native habitat for several native species including the banded dotterel.

Vehicles driving along the beach leave deep furrows and prevent the ecosystem from regenerating. Photo: Supplied.
Vehicles driving along the beach leave deep furrows and prevent the ecosystem from regenerating. Photo: Supplied.

“Being a peninsula, it’s a nesting site for quite a few birds and it has a seal colony on it,” Thomas says.

“You can see the tyre tracks going right through the middle of where the seals are.

“I know down the Kaikoura coast if a vehicle is within 20 metres, it must be stationary with seals.”

Thomas says to protect the area; the answer is to look nationally – to other councils around New Zealand.

“They’ve effectively put a lot of bans and controls over timing and allowances of vehicles and speeds,” he says.

“Look to Wellington, they’ve put bans over huge proportions of the beach now.

“Auckland, even 90-mile beach now, I understand you can’t drive on it like you once could.

But Marlborough 4WD Club captain Tony Ashworth says no area should be closed off to Kiwis.

“The locals are trying to get everything banned down there,” Tony says.

He says the beach has always been driveable and claims landowners have only started complaining about access since they haven’t been able to charge.

“We do everything with a tread lightly mindset. You can use the area without destroying things.

“I know there are people that go out on their own, but we don’t condone that.”

The club has organised an annual Cape Campbell 4WD trip for about 27 years, Tony says.

“The older members of the club always talk about it.”

A community group formed to protect and enhance biodiversity of the area wants to work with the community to find a solution.

Marlborough East Coast Protection Group secretary Heather Davies says they are working closely with DOC and MDC to educate the public.

Information signs and temporary fencing to protect particularly sensitive areas are in place.

“People are going further along and disturbing native birds and the formation of dunes,” Heather says.

She wants the region’s residents to share a sense of responsibility.

“That what they are doing, they have an impact. That people understand that these are Marlborough’s unique species.

“Those animals live there,” she says.

A council spokeswoman says the council is aware of the broad nature of ecological, economic, and social values that are central to the community that require a balanced approach to management.

Kea Energy's Naomi and Campbell McMath. Photo: Supplied.

Solar farm project powers-up

A Christchurch company is making the most of Marlborough’s sunny reputation with plans to install a two-megawatt solar farm.

The family-owned power generation company Kea Energy is currently in talks with local energy distributor Marlborough Lines to deliver renewable electricity.

Consents have been granted by Marlborough District Council for the solar farm up the Wairau Valley.

Kea Energy managing director Campbell McMath says the solar farm project is slowly coming together.

“We’ve done the initial application [with Marlborough Lines] and they’ve requested some information about the effects that the solar will have on the system”.

The proposed plan for the two megawatt solar farm. Photo: Supplied.
The proposed plan for the two megawatt solar farm. Photo: Supplied.

An engineering company is analysing the effects on the power network with a report due within the fortnight, Campbell says.

“We’re trying for two megawatts but it’s all negotiated with Marlborough Lines.”

“If the power lines can’t handle that, we’ll have to reduce it or find clever ways to store it or send it out at non-peak generation time.”

Campbell says two mega-watts is enough energy to power up to 500 homes.

“During the peak times, it would be powering the Wairau Valley.

“Wairau Valley would be fed from solar,” he says.

Kea Energy own and operate hydro and solar plants in Christchurch, generating around 2.2GWH of electricity every year – close to 30 per cent of Christchurch’s locally generated energy.

Wairau Valley would be fed from solar if the proposed solar generation plant goes ahead. Photo: Supplied.
Wairau Valley would be fed from solar if the proposed plant goes ahead. Photo: Supplied.

“If it was a dirty energy, we wouldn’t be doing it,” Campbell says.

“It’s economical and green which attracts us to it.”

He says Kea Energy take control of all aspects of the production of the powerplant, which allows them to build the solar farm for cheaper.

“We do all the importing of the panels, the importing of all the equipment, we do all the installation ourselves and we do all the engineering ourselves,” Campbell says.

“Once this goes ahead, we’re going to do some analysis and if that’s all promising we’re going to start looking at a much larger one.

“We’re still determining the area, whether it would be in Tasman or Marlborough or up in the Hawkes Bay area.”

Lee Griggs after pogoing up Mount Fyffe in Kaikoura. Photo: Supplied.

Adventures abound for mental health advocate

Staying silent about mental health is one of New Zealand’s biggest problems, says 31-year-old father of three, Lee Griggs.

But rocking the pram holding his sleeping son, Lee defys that trope; choosing instead to speak candidly about how mental illness impacted his life, and how he is fighting back.

Originally from Suffolk in the south east of England, Lee says how has struggled with mental illness his entire life.

Highs and lows, anxiety and depression have ebbed and flowed throughout his life at different times, he says.

“I was a very shy child,” Lee says.

“That sort of progressed into not being able to make friends.”

Lee with wife Ally and his three sons, Harry, Isaac and George. Photo: Supplied.
Lee with wife Ally and his three sons, Harry, Isaac and George. Photo: Supplied.

Now a vineyard machinery operator in the Awatere Valley, Lee says he has always felt uncomfortable and awkward in social situations.

“I isolated myself, away from people and social interactions, all the way through high school,” he says.

Only in the last few years at his UK high school did Lee manage to build a group of friends, and then, his family moved to New Zealand.

Aged 19, in a new country with no friends Lee once again found himself isolated.

“When I left high-school, I had quite good mental health and a hold on that social anxiety. I had confidence in myself,” he says.

“Coming here, you leave all that support network, all those friends you’ve built up, all your family and just the familiarity of day to day life.

“You start again at square one and it set if back off, basically.”

But Lee discovered hope and while by no means does he consider himself ‘cured’, he is proud of how far he has come.

Lee's Guinness World Record for the greatest vertical distance ascended on a pogo stick in 24 hours - 1,602 metres. Photo: Supplied.
Lee’s Guinness World Record for the greatest vertical distance ascended on a pogo stick in 24 hours – 1,602 metres. Photo: Supplied.

As he talks about how defeated the illness, his passion is clear in his voice.

“I always think the most important thing with mental health is getting people opening up and talking about they’re everyday feelings.

“Stopping people at the top of the cliff rather than being the ambulance at the bottom.

“We’re a developed country, we’ve got a lot of intelligent people but for some reason we’ve got the highest suicide rate in the OECD.

“It’s sort of that toughen up, give yourself a concrete pill mentality.

“Whereas it actually needs to be a reverse of that,” Lee says.

Lee says getting people to talk about their everyday problems, as they happen, rather than bottling them up is key.

“If people are more willing to open up when they’re having a bad day, and us as humans were a little bit more skilled in how to help people in their lives, if we could do that as a nation, the culture in New Zealand could be a lot different.

He says his social anxiety, the fear of being around people and knowing what to say and how to interact, caused him to isolate himself.

“If you’re not around people, you’re not scared of it…But then you’re alone.

“And it’s a pretty lonely world, and that brings on depression.

“Luckily, I did have my family.

“They were my support network and I ended up coming out the other side of it.”

Lee says a decision to travel was the turning point in his illness.

“It was pure escapism really.

“As soon as I lifted that and said bugger it, I’m going travel, the whole thing lifted off me.”

But Lee never went travelling.

While saving for his trip, Lee met his wife, Ally and stayed in Marlborough.

“I just wanted to run away from it all, be on the road where I could have fleeting conversations with people.

“I think that was what initially lifted the focus on the social anxiety which enabled me to go out and focus on moving,” he says.

Lee says he never took medication or attended counselling for his mental illness.

“That makes me think it probably wasn’t that bad… but it felt bad enough,” he says.

“That gave me the empathy to go, if I felt that bad, how do other people feel that have gone further, getting medication or even worse, taking their own life?”

Then, in 2016, the 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake rocked the rural town of Seddon.

“It made me realise it wasn’t just me,” Lee says.

“I saw quite a lot of people, especially the children, have anxiety issues as well.

“There’s a lot of people out there that suffer, and it needed to be spoken about.

Lee decided then he wanted to do something to raise awareness for mental health issues.

With a background in competitive road cycling and a passion for running, he knew he had the ability to do a physical challenge to raise funds and awareness.

Lee's family are his biggest supporters. Here they are pictured at the top of Mount Fyffe, in Kaikoura, after Lee's pogo ascent in March. Photo: Supplied.
Lee’s family are his biggest supporters. Here they are pictured at the top of Mount Fyffe, in Kaikoura, after Lee’s pogo ascent in March. Photo: Supplied.

But with a newborn baby, Lee didn’t have time to run the length of New Zealand or cycle to the moon, he knew he would have to do something completely off the wall to get attention for his chosen cause.

“I was driving tractors up and down the rows bored out of my mind and I was looking up the valley and I thought the Molesworth would be a really neat place to ride a bike through,” Lee says.

“I’ve always wanted to do it, but I knew that it wasn’t long enough or out there enough just by riding the bike.”

In a flash of inspiration, a unicycle popped into Lee’s head. “I thought if I can learn to ride it 20 metres up the road, then I should be able to ride it through the Molesworth.”

After 9 months of planning and training, Lee completed the one-wheeled 182km journey through New Zealand’s largest farm.

“That was the first fundraiser and awareness thing that we did.

“It just sparks that conversation.”

While training for the Molesworth trip, Lee learnt about the five ways to wellbeing – exercise, learn, connect, give and take notice.

“Although there wasn’t anything specific that got me through my depression and social anxiety, since I’ve been doing these challenges, I’ve learnt more about myself and how to deal with my mental health than I ever did.”

Earlier this year, Lee bounced his way up Mt Fyffe, in Kaikoura, on a pogo stick.

He completed the 1600 metre ascent in just under 24 hours, earning a Guiness World Record for most uphill distance covered on a pogo stick in a 24-hour period.

“Every challenge that I now take on I have to learn something new,” he says.

And Lee has dedicated the next decade to completing “seemingly impossible” challenges.

“The message with the Mental Adventure Series, the tagline, is a decade of seemingly impossible adventures to promote positive mental wellbeing.

“To do that through physical illustrations of our mental struggles we see in life and how we cope.

“It’s drawing a parallel that when you’re depressed, even the most simple things can seem impossible.

“Getting out of that depression can seem quite impossible, seeing that light at the end of the tunnel.

Lee’s next challenge will be taking things backwards, to the basics of riding a bicycle

The idea, “if you’re going to keep moving forward, you’re going to stay balanced.”

Keep up with Lee’s Mental Adventure series on Facebook and Instagram.

facebook.com/thementaladventureseries/

instagram.com/mentaladventureseries/

thementaladventureseries.com

Marlborough Netball development officer Raramai Nicklin has chocolate rewards for positive supporters at Saturday netball. Photo: Matt Brown.

Sweet deal for netball supporters

An effort to cut bad side-line behaviour has seen Marlborough Netball sweeten the deal for supporters.

To encourage positivity on court, chocolate bars will be handed out to well-behaved sports-fans with the hope the sugary treats will encourage others to mimic their good behaviour.

Marlborough Netball development officer Raramai Nicklin says the reward programme is a bid to support umpires and deal with sideline misconduct.

“You tend to only hear the bad stuff, which is unfortunate”.

Signs at the netball court remind parents and supporters to not take the games too seriously. Photo: Matt Brown.
Signs at the netball court remind parents and supporters to not take the games too seriously. Photo: Matt Brown.

She says bad behaviour is rare, but when it happens it is something that affects both players and umpires.

“It might just be an overzealous parent getting carried away supporting, but it can be aggressive or off-putting to the other players.

“It could just be people criticizing the refs, not necessarily meaning to offend or hurt them, but it’s about educating them too.

“It’s an incentive, an idea, I guess,” she says.

Signs reminding parents and supporters of the fun and relaxed nature of the game can already be seen along the court’s chain link fences.

But Raramai says they want to do more to encourage positive behaviour.

A netball supporter showing the right attitude is rewarded with a block of chocolate. Photo: Matt Brown.
A netball supporter showing the right attitude is rewarded with a block of chocolate. Photo: Matt Brown.

“You can go on and be grumpy about it, focus on the negative side of it, but we want to focus on the positive side and get people to encourage each other.

“It’s actually not that common, but you do hear about it every now and then.

“Every time you hear about it, it’s no less disappointing,” she says.

“Sometimes umpires get a bit of stick, sometimes players get a bit of stick.

“Some people don’t know the rules and think they do.

“People need to realise, especially with the umpires, they’re not perfect, they are all human, they are all volunteers, they are all doing it because it’s part of the game.

“Rather than going around and having to police anyone, we thought let’s really push the positive and get around and reward these people.

“Hopefully, it will pull people in line and reward the people that do the positive stuff every week that doesn’t get mentioned,” she says.

“It’s trying to develop that positive culture within the community.”