Paula Hulburt

Paula Hulburt

The missing rugby ball bought in South Africa was a gift from Dylan North's godmother. Photo: Supplied.

Plea for special rugby ball to be returned

A young rugby fan is hoping to be reunited with a very special gift that’s vanished during lockdown.

Eight-year-old Dylan North, who moved from South Africa to Blenheim four years ago, was given a Springboks rugby ball from his godmother.

But the precious ball, which features the final quarter scores on it, has disappeared from outside his home near Alana and Milford Streets in Witherlea.

His mother Delicia North is imploring for anyone who may have seen the ball to get in touch.

“This ball is very special to my son and was kicked over our fence into the street. Someone must have picked it up.

“The ball has special meaning to him as it’s his home country ball and they are the World Cup Champs.

“He loves that ball and hardly every plays with it as it’s a keepsake,” she says.

A devoted Springboks and All Black supporter, Dylan was playing outside with his mum and 4-year-old brother who kicked it over the fence on 10 April.

But it wasn’t until later that night that they realised the ball, worth around $36 Kiwi dollars, had gone.

“We always throw ball and love the outdoors.

“The ball was kicked over by my 4-year-old and he forgot to tell us straight away to go fetch it.

“When we started looking for it later the night, we realised it’s missing and my 4-year-old said his sorry he didn’t come tell us sooner.

“Dylan absolutely loves rugby and he equally loves the Springboks and All Blacks.

“As he is from South Africa, having them win the world cup meant the world to him,” Delicia says.

It was Delcia who brought the ball to Blenheim after she visited South Africa in January.

Dylan’s godmother gave it to her as a gift to take home for her oldest son.

Delicia says the ball can only be bought in South Africa and is hoping someone may have found the Gilbert World Cup Champions ball.

It would mean the world to him to have it back,” she says.

If you have found the ball and would like to help get it back to Dylan, please email [email protected]

A Covid-19 sign at Wairau Hospital. Photo: Matt Brown.

Five days without more Marlborough Covid-19 cases

For the fifth day in a row, there are no new cases of Covid-19.

The number of new and probable cases in New Zealand rose by 17 to a total of 1,366.

But numbers in Marlborough have stayed static at 48.

Speaking a few minutes ago, Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield say he believes the peak number of cases has passed.

But as the number of Covid-19 deaths rises to a total of nine he has asked for District Health Boards across the country to work with aged care facilities where vulnerable residents are at particular risk.

A low threshold is also in place to ensure maximum testing for the contagious virus.

“We want to be sure we are not missing cases. We would rather overtest than under test at this stage quite frankly,” he says.

More to follow

Shearer Angus Moore checks out his new lease Hyundai as part of his prize. Photo: Supplied.

Shearer’s tribute to community who helped him take top title

A shearer who became hooked on the craft after showing up late for his first competition has taken out one of New Zealand’s top shearing titles.

Angus Moore from Seddon won the PGG Wrightson Wool National Shearing Circuit Championship earlier this month, just before lockdown.

The father of five says it’s the people he’s met along the way who helped him on the path to success.

Angus has come out on top of the National Shearing Circuit, a series of regional shearing competitions that culminated at the Golden Shears Championships.

There are many people he wants to thank for helping him take out the top spot, he says.

“Big thanks to all who have helped me along the way and who work hard to make our industry possible.

“The experience of travel is a draw card, so I have met and worked with farm owners, shepherds, presses, wool handlers, shearers, cooks and runabouts from all over NZ.

“At The Paki station in the far north and Invercargill, and around the Catlins in the south, I have learned a little from you even if you never meant to teach.

“You are fantastic and there always seems to be fun, laughter and keenness to learn.”

Angus and wife Ratapu are expecting their sixth child in May. Together, the pair who met on the circuit, run Moore Sheep Shearing Ltd.

Brought up on a family farm in Kekerengu then Ward. Angus was Head Boy at Marlborough Boys’ College in 2002 and spent his teenage years wool handling in the holidays.

He went on to complete a shearing course run by Meat and Wool New Zealand under the tuition of instructor and later MP Colin King.

But it wasn’t until he took part in his first shearing competition that he really caught the bug, he says.

“My first show was November 2003 in Blenheim. I hadn’t done a full day’s work and arrived late due to playing in the pipe band. I made the final, came 3rd and I was hooked.

“My first experience of the Golden shears was with Nathan Stratford in 2005 where I managed to make intermediate final and came 3rd.

“It was a week that I won’t forget. I had heard about the Golden Shears but the experience was much more than I could have imagined.

“Everyone loved and breathed the wool Industry and we’re so amazingly passionate about it,” Angus says.

But without the support of his sponsors, none of his achievements would be possible, he says.

“Big thanks to PGG Wrightson and Hyundai for their massive sponsorship and recognition of the commitment we all make to compete.

“It will be an honour to compete for my country and I look forward to all the opportunity this prize offers.”

Covid-19 precautions have seen some shoppers have to queue. Photo: File

Supermarket bosses bid to cut queues as weather cools

Countdown stores in Marlborough will open for longer from tomorrow in a bid to help combat queues as the weather cools down.

Stores across the country will be changing their opening hours from tomorrow and will open from 8am to 8pm.

And priority shopping for emergency service staff and medical workers will now move to 7am.

Countdown’s general manager health and safety Kiri Hannifin says the change in hours will hopefully help cut down customer queuing.

“We’ve extended the opening hours of our stores to give our customers more time to do their shopping, especially as the weather starts to cool and the evenings are darker,” she says.

Safer measures put in place during lockdown to protect staff and customers from the threat of Covid-19 means customers have had to wait longer outside some stores.

“This has in some instances led to queues but we’re hoping extended trading hours will help ease this a little.,” says Kiri.

“We also hope the earlier start time of our priority shopping hour will work better for those emergency workers and medical personnel working shifts.

The priority shopping hour is available to NZ Police, Fire Service, ambulance paramedics, DHBs, hospital and medical personnel with proper ID.

Dr Nick Baker is appealing for people with existing or new medical issues to seek help if they need it. Photo: File

No new Covid-19 cases in Marlborough

There are no new cases of Covid-19 in Marlborough for the fourth day in a row.

The number of cases across Nelson Marlborough DHB is 48 with 12 confirmed cases and nine probable cases in Marlborough.

There are 19 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, taking the total number to 1349.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says 546 people across the country who had Covid-19 have now recovered, 75 more people than yesterday.

The news as comes as Nelson Marlborough Health officials appeal to people not to delay seeking help for other new or existing health conditions.

A delay in getting help could see little problems develop into major issues, warns Nelson Marlborough Health Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Baker.

“We have seen cases recently where people have put off getting health care and illnesses have got worse.

“What may start as a minor issue could become serious if you leave it too long,” he says.

“Please don’t wait until the end of weekends, public holidays, or until the end of the lockdown period, to seek medical attention,” he says.

For more information about where to get healthcare in the Nelson Marlborough region, go to: www.nmdhb.govt.nz/healthcare/

People with new or existing health worries should not delay in getting medical help and advice, doctors warn. Photo: File

Get medical help if needed implore health bosses

People with health problems are leaving it too late to get help, putting themselves at risk during lockdown medical bosses warn.

Health care professionals are urging people not to put off seeking medical help for problems that could become a bigger risk if not treated.

Nelson Marlborough healthcare professionals say people should call their doctor or practice nurse if they are sick in a bid to stop medical problems becoming more serious.

A delay in getting help because of fears about leaving isolation could see little problems develop into major issues, warns Nelson Marlborough Health Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Baker.

“We have seen cases recently where people have put off getting health care and illnesses have got worse.

“What may start as a minor issue could become serious if you leave it too long,” he says.

“Please don’t wait until the end of weekends, public holidays, or until the end of the lockdown period, to seek medical attention.”

GP clinics, health centres, Healthline, urgent care centres, pharmacies and emergency departments are open during lockdown.

“People can contact their local urgent care clinic or call the general Healthline number for advice.

“For emergencies, people shouldn’t hesitate to call 111 or go to a hospital emergency department.

“Our teams are there to provide care and that hasn’t changed during the Covid-19 response or lockdown period,” says Dr Baker.

Acting Chief Executive of Nelson Bays Primary Health Karen Winton encourages anyone to call their GP clinic for advice.

She says older people should be especially vigilant and reach out for help if they need it. Help is at hand, she says.

“These are extraordinary times and require extraordinary measures. But the message is clear, general practice (your family doctor) and urgent care centres are open for business, even if that business is delivered in a slightly different way.

“If you are over 70 and not meant to be leaving your home during the lockdown period, please call your GP first for a phone assessment.

“If you need to be seen, come in and they will make sure you are safe when you visit.

“Using a car to seek essential health care is allowed, and the sooner you are assessed, the better your health outcome will usually be.”

During lockdown, patients are being offered consultations over the phone, email or video call.

But people should not be afraid to leave their bubble for help if needed, with medical staff on hand to help. Patients will be seen in person if they need to be.

Dr Baker emphasises people should not delay seeking help for urgent needs due to fear of leaving their bubble and being at risk of being infected with COVID-19.

“New Zealand hospitals follow international best practice for infection prevention.

“Things will look different when you go to an after-hours clinic or ED. You may be screened – asked questions about your symptoms – at the door for example, given a mask to wear, or assessed in a cabin outside of the main building.

“These are all precautions to keep you and others safe from infection,” he says.

For more information about where to get healthcare in the Nelson Marlborough region, go to: www.nmdhb.govt.nz/healthcare/

A Covid-19 sign at Wairau Hospital. Photo: Matt Brown.

One more Marlborough patient likely to have Covid-19

A woman in her 40s is the latest person to become ill with Covid-19 in Marlborough, the Ministry of Health has revealed.

Today’s announcement takes the total numer of confirmed and probable cases of the virus to 48 across Nelson and Marlborough Dustricy Health Board. Twenty one of these cases are in Marlborough.

A Nelson Marlborough Health spokeswoman says there is still no evidence of community transmisson with all cases connected to travel.

No cases are in hospital and patients are isolating at home.

The news comes as the total number of cases nationwide sits at 1239, with 29 new cases today; the lowest daily number since before lockdiwn started.

Addressing the country earlier this afternoon, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Kiwis have played a vital role in keeping the number of cases down.

Drivers caught breaking lockdown may face arrest. Photo: File

Drivers caught out breaking lockdown for an Easter break

A plea by police for people not to breach self-solation over Easter is falling on deaf ears for some.

Nelson Marlborough and Tasman Police have caught the drivers of eight campervans and house buses at a checkpoint on SH6 this morning.

All have been trying to head north from Murchison for Easter, say police.

This comes as police revealed they would be ramping up efforts on the roads to catch out those flouting lockdown rules.

“We are checking to see why people are travelling.

So far eight camper vans and house buses have been turned around and ordered back to their Christchurch homes where they were supposed to be rather than trying to get to an Easter Holiday destination,” says a social media post.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster is urging people to stay stay and stay at home.

“We know many New Zealanders may have been planning to catch up with friends and family this weekend, or travel to traditional holiday destinations but we urge anyone who was planning to do this – please change your plans and stay home.

“Officers will be visible in our communities and on the roads, including around popular holiday spots, and on the arterial roads to them, to make sure people are aware of the requirement that everyone in New Zealand need to stay at their current place of residence while the Level 4 restrictions are in place,” he says.

Police will also be deploying checkpoints at a number of Marlborough locations, working with local authorities and Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups.

Police Commissioner Coster warns people face arrest if they continue to ignore warnings.

Travelling to the bach for a holiday is not essential travel and it is not permitted, he says.

“It’s simple – travelling to and from different towns and cities risks spreading Covid-19 and puts lives at risk.

“The first step will be to educate, but if people continue to break the rules, police will use their discretion to warn people, or if necessary, they could be arrested.

“We’re asking everyone to play their part this Easter, stick to the rules and stay home within their bubble – and keep themselves and their communities safe.”

Some freedom campers using supermarkets during lockdown have been abused. Photo: Supplied.

Freedom campers face lockdown abuse

Freedom campers given emergency accommodation are coming under fire from the public.

The covid-19 crisis spurred council to take swift action to protect the region’s homeless and freedom campers in the area.

But people using their vans to get to and from the supermarket are being accused by some of flouting the rules.

Council’s Marlborough Civil Defence emergency manager Brian Paton says there is not a freedom camper in the region they are not aware of.

“They are in campgrounds all over the region and when they’re going to the supermarket and need to take their campers or vans, they are being abused like nobody’s business.

“People need to lay off and be kind; think about the impression they’re giving of New Zealand,” he says.

Emergency accommodation has been found for all known people sleeping rough or freedom campers trapped in Marlborough as the lockdown came into effect.

Marlborough District Council are picking up the bill for both groups, but all costs will be recouped.

Forty freedom campers have been found accommodation elsewhere in campsites across Marlborough.

“Emergency accommodation for people who’re sleeping on the streets has been found and we don’t know of any freedom campers who have not been directed elsewhere.

“Because we’ve directed them to going there [to lodgings] we’ll pay bills initially and will recover 100 per cent from central Government coffers,” Brian says.

He also wants to reassure members of the public that no money raised from rates was being spent on people from out with the region.

“We’re making sure of it by having a really robust system that everyone gets and can keep track of so it can all be reconciled at the end,” he says.

Brian also paid tribute to campground owners and hoteliers for their support during a tough time.

“They’ve been phenomenal.

“I can’t emphasise enough how brilliant the majority have been who’ve just taken people on when we’ve asked.

“We’re seeing a lot of the best in people, occasionally the worst, but mainly the best.”

Marlborough Civil Defence emergency manager Brian Paton says he is concerned some people are not reaching out for help. Photo: Chloe Ranford/LDR

Fears over low food stocks for stricken elderly

Marlborough’s elderly may be missing out on vital food supplies.

Emergency civil defence staff and volunteers have been working hard to provide support to at risk people in the community.

But a lower than expected number in food parcels going out means some vulnerable older people may be doing without.

Marlborough Civil Defence emergency manager Brian Paton says he is concerned some people are not reaching out for help.

“I’m a little bit concerned that some older people at home may have next to nothing.

“They really do need to stay at home but online delivery if you don’t have a computer or you can’t pay for it makes it really difficult,” he says.

Response team volunteers have been dropping off food parcels to those who have contacted Marlborough District Council.

Marlborough has about 7500 people aged over 70-years-old.

Many have been helped by their own churches and community groups, says Brian.

But with just 37 parcels delivered so far, he is worried some people are slipping through the cracks.

“Our response team are delivering food and keeping up where we need to but at the moment, we are only supplying 37 food parcels and that strikes me as a little bit too low,” he says.

Across New Zealand, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) are ringing up 150,000 people over 70 who do not have a cell phone or email.

Brian says anyone who needs help in Marlborough can contact the council 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“I understand that non-government agencies have been helping male phone calls to these people and visiting if they don’t get a response.

“A lot of our community groups are really stepping-up and looking after people but please contact council if you need help.”

Food is being provided to vulnerable sectors in the community by the council.

If people are struggling to pay, council will pick up the cost in the first instance, Brian says.

To contact council for help, ring the 24-hour number on 520 7400 or email [email protected]