Paula Hulburt

Paula Hulburt

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.

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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.

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

The view from the top

With council elections less than two months away, Paula Hulburt catches up with current mayor John Leggett.

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett is a man on a mission.

Three years in office and there is much he wants to achieve; a legacy still being shaped.

On his intention to stand again for the top job John says it was not a difficult decision.

“I think about am I going to be useful or are there others who should step up instead? There are still things I want to do, I want to keep the momentum going,” he says.

The Blenheim lawyer won a landslide victory in 2016 and alongside Rick Ireland and Jamie Arbuckle is one of three confirmed mayoral candidates for the upcoming elections in October.

After a baptism of fire in the wake of the Kaikōura earthquake, John, a two-term councillor, has his eye very much on the future.

But he is quick to point out that none of what he has achieved to date would not have been possible without the support of his council colleagues or his partner, Anne Best,

“Anne has been a big supporter in the last three years, and I couldn’t do this without her. I still have things I want to do, and she gets that.”

Under John’s savvy quietude, a cohesive council has thrived. He is proud of what they [council] have achieved, even if he hasn’t always agreed with the decisions made.

“As mayor, I get just vote. I’m a great believer that if you make an informed decision, it’s a good decision.

‘Strong debate and collective buy-in means we don’t have the bickering you might see elsewhere.

“I’m very conscious about the way I want something to go but you accept it [the decisions] and get on with it”.

Getting the Marlborough Environment Plan (MEP) over the finishing line is a top priority should he be elected again.

A single-source document to replace the Marlborough Regional Policy Statement, the Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan and the Wairau/Awatere Resource Management Plan, MEP is a project John feels strongly about.

“Hopefully we can come up with something as a council that not only meets our statutory obligations but a plan that allows the people that are affected by it to live their lives and do what they need to do,” he says.

Moving forward is a key message for the current mayor.

Nine years after he was first elected to council, John is proud to tick-off some of his to-do list.

“Almost three years to the day since we went down the Awatere Hall project route it’s opening.

“I’m really keen to keep the momentum going.

“I’ve spent nine years in council and one of the things I was really hoping to see happen was the lifting of the boil water notice in Seddon.

“We’re really close to that.

Infrastructure upgrades in the next 10 years will see a half a billion-dollar investment by council.

The next Marlborough mayor will have some big decisions to make, says John.

“As a councillor you’re open to public scrutiny and have to be prepared for the attention you get over a decision you make.

“If the community are aware of your decision process it helps. They may not like a rate rise but if they understand why it helps,” he says.

A successful campaign will also see John work alongside a new deputy mayor as Terry Sloan will not be standing.

While wholly appreciative of the work Terry has done, indeed John is quick to praise all his colleagues, he is not opposed to change.

“I’m completely open-minded; see who steps up. It’s important to have fresh ideas and fresh people.

“It’s important to have new people coming in, it brings freshness to any organisation,” he says.

But while he still feels he has work to achieve on behalf of the community, John is happy to put his name forward.

“You’re privy to some pretty ground-breaking decisions for the community and that’s a privilege”.

Nominations for council close on 16 August 2019.

Jamie Arbuckle has revealed his intention to stand for Marlborough Mayor. Photo: Matt Brown.

Arbuckle up for mayor

A Blenheim councillor has revealed his plans to become Marlborough’s youngest-ever mayor.

Just days before the cut off date for nominations, Jamie Arbuckle, 37, has announced his intent to take the top spot from Marlborough Mayor John Leggett.

The move follows an announcement by his wife Sally to run for a seat on council.

Jamie, who has run for the mayoralty three times previously, says he believes his nine years of experience will count in his favour this time.

“It is time for decisive leadership on key regional issues. I will deliver action on the issues that need addressing,” he says.

The councillor of nine years is calling for a Blenheim bypass and a reduction in rates.

He says financial hardship will be a problem faced by some constituents if rate rises continue.

“Rates are not sustainable or affordable. Marlborough has an ageing demographic of 65-plus, and many are on fixed incomes.

“With interest rates dropping near nil returns on savings, financial hardship and cashflow will be a real issue for some ratepayers.

“Plenty of reports come though council on the impact of increasing council rates but there’s never any action. I will change that.”

Jamie says plans for larger ferries will put more of a strain on Blenheim’s already congested main streets.

He believes the community needs to be consulted on all options before a decision is made.

“We need a bypass for Blenheim.

“Larger ferries mean more traffic heading our way. It is not a central government problem. It is ours.

“Removing all the carparks on Grove Road, Main Street and Nelson Street is not a long-term solution. With a government-funded business case we can consult with the community on all the options, with all the costs and facts,” he says.

Jamie says he has been considering running for mayor for a while.

Should he and his wife be successful in their election bids, it would be the first time a husband and wife have both served on council.

“Nothing can be taken for granted and in the next six weeks we will find out what is going to happen but we’ve both been very busy already.

“It won’t be a conflict of interest to me. Sally will represent Wairau-Awatere and I firmly believe that her attentions are the right ones.

“That’s what constituents should be voting on.

“There is a sense of urgency in the community on a number of issues.

“I feel the time is right for me to lead the region”.

Jamie joins current mayor John Leggett and first-time mayoral candidate Rick Ireland in the running for the mayoralty.

Renwick School pupil Hugo Foote, 8, is excited for the imminent arrival of several chicks. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Raising chicken champions

Brother and sister Hugo and Greta Foote are getting ready for some new arrivals.

Renwick School pupils Hugo, 8, and Greta, 6, are getting ready for Pet Day as orders open to buy potential champions.

And the imminent arrival of eight new, fluffy additions to the household has the pair very excited.

“They’re very fluffy and very yellow and like to keep warm in front of the fire,” says Greta.

It will be Greta’s second time helping rear day-old Brown Shaver chicks in preparation to show them at the school’s annual Pet Day.

Outside on the family’s half-acre section, the clucking of past competitors can be heard.

Greta Foote, 6, holds one of her feathered friends which she helped raise from a chick last year. Photo: Paula Hulburt.
Greta Foote, 6, holds one of her feathered friends which she helped raise from a chick last year. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

The family keep all the chicks that make it to adulthood.

Every year schools across Marlborough get the chance to buy 4 chicks for $26.

The goal is to teach children care, compassion and the dedication needed to keep an animal alive.

For Hugo, this year will be his fourth time taking part.

“I’ll take them to Pet Day and hopefully get a place to go on and show them again.

“They love to eat chick crumble,” he says.

Due to hatch in early September, the chicks spend their first few days in a cage near the fire with an all-important heat lamp to keep them warm.

The children complete a daily diary and log the chicks’ weight regularly.

As the chicks grow, they get plenty of room to roam says mum Renee Foote.

“It’s great for the children to have the responsibility and realise that a lot of effort goes in to making sure they survive,” she says.

Dad, David Foote, who grew up on a farm, says he clips the hen’s wings before they get to enjoy their new home in the great outdoors.

“It’s a great learning curve for the kids,” he says.

After Pet Day at individual schools, children can enter their chicks at regional events before going on to show them at Marlborough’s A & P show.

St Andrews Church parishioners, from left Marion Rowe, Kay Ayson and Raewyn Buchanan. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Celebration planned for church’s half-century birthday

The pews shine with a honeyed lustre, worn smooth by generations of churchgoers; well-thumbed hymn books tucked neatly away.

St Andrews Presbyterian Church in Blenheim has a proud history and has played a key role in the lives of many Marlburians.

Now parishioners are set to celebrate its 50th birthday at its Henry St site and are looking for those with links to the church to help mark the special milestone.

Lay preacher Marion Rowe is proud of her connections with the church.

“I was married in this church, two of my children were baptised here and both my sisters married here.

“It has been a hub for celebrations, sharing both sad and happy times together and a place where friendships for life have been made,” she says.

While the church’s history dates back more than a century, fire, flood and the passing of time saw previous buildings disappear.

Marion says the support of the church has been a big part of her life, no matter where it has been situated.

“The church community have believed in me and that’s how I have a leadership role. They’ve all nurtured me and it’s the equivalent of my marae, my spiritual home”.

The celebrations will be held on 12 and 13 October by invitation to all friends, families and supporters of the church.

Celebration committee members Raewyn Buchanan and Kay Ayson have also forged strong connections to St Andrews.

Kay’s watched two daughters marry at the church and three of her children were baptized there and four of her grandchildren.

Raewyn’s godmother was a regular attendee.

“As a child, I always thought it was so dark but then when I came back, I thought how it wraps itself around you,” says Raewyn.

Festivities will include a tour of the church, high tea with entertainment, a dinner and presentation and worship followed by a shared lunch.

Co-organiser Kay says she is looking forward to the special day.

“The ministers were my friends and because I was a regular attendee, Sunday after Sunday, it was a big part of my life,” she says.

The trio hope to encourage younger people to take part in the occasion.

“It’s not just an older congregation. Young people can make memories like we did.

“I hope that the next generation will be sitting where we are in 40 or 50 years,” says Marion.

Anyone who has photographs they can contribute to the event can hand them in at the church office at Henry St.

Contact 03 5797119 and email [email protected]

The old Picton fire engine, which is on display at Brayshaw Park, made a special journey in honour of Peter Tester. Photo: Matt Brown.

Vintage send-off for fireman

A former firefighter has taken his final journey – on a vintage fire engine that takes pride of place in a museum he helped start.

Peter Tester, 71, died suddenly on 2 August.

The proud grandfather dedicated many years of service to Blenheim Volunteer Fire Brigade and was a popular member of the Vintage Farm Machinery Club at Brayshaw Park.

At his funeral service at Cloudy Bay funeral home last week a trio of older-type vehicles were there in honour of the man who helped restore them to their former glory.

Peter Tester will be sorely missed. Photo: Supplied.
Peter Tester will be sorely missed. Photo: Supplied.

As one of the founding members of the fire museum at Brayshaw Park, Peter devoted a lot of time to ensuring items on display were in good order.

Funeral director David Buckley says given Peter’s passion for vintage vehicles it was a fitting tribute.

“When we talk to families, we really try and help them celebrate the life of that person by personalizing a service as much as they need too.

“In Peter’s case he was a fireman and it was practical it [the engine] was involved in some way,” he says.

A steam roller nicknamed Kate that he also worked on was parked outside the Boyce St funeral home while family and friends bid farewell to Peter inside.

Kate the steam roller appeared at Peter's funeral. Photo: Matt Brown.
Kate the steam roller appeared at Peter’s funeral. Photo: Matt Brown.

Once owned by Blenheim Borough Council, Kate was given a new lease of life after 50 years being hidden away by a team of five volunteers, Peter included.

And in a fitting acknowledgement of his commitment, Peter’s family arranged for him to take a last ride on the bright red fire engine.

“The fire engine was driven around the perimeter of the funeral home and as it came level with the steamroller, it stopped and blew its whistle,” says David.

Peter was also a valued member of the Marlborough Historical Society and Brayshaw Heritage Park.

David says that many families chose to personalise services.

“It’s one of those situations that once you start talking about and offering suggestions, it takes off,” he says.

“All I have to do is make sure the funeral service is what they want. Anytime someone sees the steam roller, or the fire engine, they’ll think of Pete.”