Paula Hulburt

Paula Hulburt

Ernest Berry wanted a new challenge to look forward to. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Parachute jump a joy for pensioner

A Blenheim nonagenarian looking for a new challenge has opted to help charity at the same time- with a sponsored parachute jump.

At 91 years old, Blenheim poet Ernest Berry started to worry he wasn’t active enough.

He is now set to become one of 24 Marlburians preparing for the Drop for Youth charity jump for the Graeme Dingle Foundation.

The well-travelled poet has already taken to the skies once before, completing a 3000ft parachute jump to mark his 60th birthday.

“I’m not really scared of heights, well not much,” he says.

“I don’t write much anymore, and I don’t like standing still.”

Born in Christchurch in 1929, Ernest spent ten years living in Mexico after selling his Auckland-based sewing machine company.

He lived in Picton from 1993 to 2012, establishing the Picton Poets group and running a series of haiku workshops.

Ernest has twice judged the annual NZ Poetry Society contests and is Life Member of both the British Haiku Society and the NZ Poetry Society.

He lives in Blenheim with his partner, celebrated artist Triska Blumenfeld.

“I’ve yet to hear much about the training side of things for the jump but I’m looking forward to it,” he says.

The Drop for Youth fundraiser asked for volunteers from across the region to “leap into the unknown” in support of the Graeme Dingle

Foundation programmes Kiwi Can and Career Navigator.

$36,550 has been raised so far by participants that include business leaders, schoolteachers and teenagers.

Almost half of the young people in Marlborough, aged from 5 to 18 years old, benefit from the initiative, with almost 2500 children taking part every week.

Regional manager Kelvin Watts says it’s great to see so many local people stepping forward to help.

“The majority of our funding comes from Marlborough and it’s wonderful to see so many people wanting to help.

“This is a community-based initiative and it’s extra special when local people, from all walks of life, chose to step out of their comfort zone to help.

“We are very grateful.”

The event is scheduled for February. To find out more or to donate visit the Drop for Youth Givealittle page.

David and Leonora McKelvey can now stay together after a four-year battle with Immigration NZ. Photo: Supplied.

Wife wins battle for residency

A wife caring for her dementia-stricken husband has won a four-year battle for permanent residency.

Leonora McKelvey, 69, from Blenheim, married husband David in 2015.

Threatened several times with deportation, Leonora fought to stay and care for her ailing husband.

Leonora was finally granted NZ residence by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) last Monday.

A spokesman for the company representing the couple has welcomed the decision but blasted officials previously dealing with their case, accusing them of a “a total absence” of fairness.

“The manner in which Leonora has been treated by all INZ officials over the four previous years … displayed a total absence of any semblance of fairness or natural justice,” he says.

Originally from the Philippines, Leonora came to New Zealand in 2014 on a visitor visa to see her son.

She met and married David, who was diagnosed with dementia a year after their wedding.

The spokesman says by caring for David at home, Leonora has proven her genuine commitment to her husband.

“He has been cared for by Leonora 24/7 for more than 1000 days. Her love, care and Christian ethics have ensured David could remain at home and have some measure of quality and life enjoyment.”

He added that Leonora wanted to thank all those who gave their support, particularly the previous and current Associate Ministers of Immigration, the Hon Kris Faafoi and then Hon Poto Williams.

He also paid tribute to Immigration Advisor Sam Yoon for his “outstanding” work.

“Over the last six months, Sam’s interaction with the final documentation within INZ has been crucial to an excellent and final result,” he says.

He credited immigration officer Isabella Stern, praising her for her “steadfastness and principled approach.”

“Her fortitude in arriving at the correct decision displayed fairness and natural justice and was in adherence to the best principals that all immigration officers must strive to reach,” he says.

The couple have struggled on the poverty line for four years, surviving on one pension, growing their own vegetables and trying to keep costs to a minimum.

The spokesman says Leonora would now like to maintain a “quiet life” and care for David.

‘They would also like to thank all their church members and friends.

“Leonora’s overall situation will in time be carefully examined to determine the facts and accountability to the fate of this remarkable, humble woman.

“Her faith, courage and love for all have carried her through her last 20 years of a journey that most of us would find unbelievable and very difficult to endure.”

Boaties in Marlborough will be under the watchful gaze of automatic speed cameras. Photo: Supplied.

Speeding boaties caught on camera

Automatic speed cameras are catching out speeding boaties in marinas across Marlborough.

Hi tech cameras in Picton, Waikawa and Havelock Marinas are recording every vessel as it arrives and leaves.

Around ten people have been slapped with $200 infringement notices since the cameras were installed.

Acting Harbourmaster Jan Eveleens revealed the cameras have been calibrated to a high standard, like those used by police officers.

He says the Marlborough District Council funded cameras came after an idea to install signs like those that flash up speeds for motorists.

Acting Harbourmaster Jan Eveleens. Photo: Supplied.
Acting Harbourmaster Jan Eveleens. Photo: Supplied.

“I thought we should have them in the marinas, but they were not accurate enough.

“It’s been a bit of an experiment as they [the new cameras] were picking up waves and seabirds but they’re much better now, very accurate.”

The camera at Havelock was installed last winter while the Picton and Waikawa cameras were put up in December.

They record every vessels’ speed as they arrive and leave in the marina.

Boats going above the limit are instantly recorded and an alert goes to the Harbour Master.

Infringement notices are sent to boat owners by the council for breaking local bylaws.

Jan says people flouting the 8-knot speed limit as they arrive at Havelock Marina and the 5-knot limit in place at Picton and Waikawa will face fines.

“There have been some serial offenders but what we are seeing is that once word gets out is that people are slowing down.

“We had one boat coming into Havelock that drove straight into one of the beacons and the boatie hurt himself.

“People can hurt themselves if they are going too fast.”

The Harbourmaster will also monitor speed limits on the lower Wairau River from the State Highway 1 Bridge to below the Blenheim Rowing Club.

Jan says there have been reports of jet skiers on this stretch of the river going too fast.

The maximum speed in this section of the river is 5 knots.

“We want people to slow down and be safe,” he says.

Jessica Boyce has been missing since March 19. Photo: Supplied.

Birthday tribute for missing Jess

It was her 28th birthday, a day she should have spent with those who loved her, but instead those gathered remembered a girl conspicuous by her absence.

A vigil to mark missing Renwick woman Jessica Boyce’s birthday was held in Seymour Square in Blenheim on Sunday evening.

People gathered to remember the young woman they all know as Jess, to share stories about the “bright and bubbly” girl they all loved.

And as the chime of the last bell rang out from the clock tower at 7pm, a rendition of Happy Birthday filled the air, followed by a minute silence.

People gathered at Seymour Square to mark what would have been Jessica Boyce’s 28th birthday. Photo: Paula Hulburt.
People gathered at Seymour Square to mark what would have been Jessica Boyce’s 28th birthday. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Her close friend and cousin, Aaron Goodwin, says the event was a chance for people to reflect and share.

The family wanted members of the public to be able to attend as they have been “so helpful and supportive”, since Jessica’s disappearance in March last year.

Jessica went missing on March 19 last year. Her disappearance was upgraded to a homicide investigation in October.

Her case is now being treated as a homicide by Blenheim detectives in charge of the investigation.

Detective Senior Sergeant Ciaran Sloan says those responsible were likely acquaintances of Jessica’s.

Aaron, who grew up alongside Jessica, returned to live in Blenheim on Friday, moving back to the town he grew up in from Dunedin.

It’s been a “confronting” few days, with memories everywhere he looks, he says.

It was her friends who came up with the idea of marking her birthday.

Amid the stories shared and fond memories of the bright-eyed blonde, were tales of parties past.

Speaking to the Marlborough Weekly last year, Aaron described Jess as very sociable and easy to get on with.

The Help Find Jess website started by her family is now named Remembering Jessica Boyce.

She always believed the best in people, says Aaron.

“She was so innocently naïve and genuinely did not understand about consequences, but she was not the hard woman that some people seem to think she was.

“We’re talking about an almost 30-year-old woman whose favourite movies were old Disney ones.”

Her friends spoke of her fun-loving nature, her kindness and willingness to help. Her absence is felt by all who know her, Aaron says.

Marlborough District Council solid waste manager Alex McNeil at Blenheim’s recycling centre. Photo: Matt Brown.

Bigger bunker a boom for festive season

A giant new bunker used for recycled glass is open for empties – just in time for the busy festive season.

The Blenheim Resource Recovery Centre has nearly doubled its glass recycling capabilities thanks to a funds boost.

A $15,000 grant from the Glass Packaging Forum (GPF) plus $50,000 from Marlborough District Council paid for the new bunker.

Council solid waste manager Alec McNeil says that at this time of year the old bunkers would quickly full up.

However, by increasing the bunker size by 80 per cent, this should no longer be an issue, he says.

“The additional storage capacity for glass will ensure that the quality of cullet (recycled glass) being returned to O-I New Zealand (in Auckland) for processing is not compromised,” he says.

O-I New Zealand is the country’s only container glass manufacturer and uses recycled glass to make new bottles.

Glass must be sorted into clear, green and brown before it can be used to make new glass bottles.

Glass Packaging Forum Scheme Manager Dominic Salmon says the centre plays an important role in getting cullet from the South Island to Auckland.

“Funding projects like this, which result in improving the quality and quantity of glass available for recycling is a main objective of the GPF,” he says.

The GPF has help fund other projects in Marlborough, including rural recycling containers in Seddon, Okiwi Bay, Awatere Valley and Oyster Bay, as well as the new recycling hub at Havelock Marina.

Marlborough Tramping Club will be heading to Cape Campbell in the new year. Photo: Matt Brown.

Summer explorers wanted

Department of conservation staff are looking for local explorers with a sense of adventure.

The annual summer explorer programme kicks off early next year and staff hope Marlborough residents will take up the challenge and join in.

Ranger Wendy Sullivan says it gives people the chance to uncover parts of the region they may not know.

“The Summer Explorer Programme is a great way to visit areas you haven’t been and take time to appreciate all that nature offers,” she says.

From an open day on Maud Island, and a boat trip to Pelorus Sound to a free nature treasure hunt at a range of walks, there will be plenty for people of all ages to see and do.

Staff will be on hand to help guide people through some of the best attractions on offer throughout the summer months.

Wendy says the fun starts with four open day on Te Pakeka/Maud Island, as well as a boat trip around Pelorus Sound.

“It’s renowned for its endangered insects and reptiles as well as home to the endangered Maud Island frog, so if you wanted a wildlife experience with a difference, it is well worth booking in,” she says.

Trips will be held on 5, 12, 25 and 26 January, and the boat trip is $135 adults/$65 children

A free nature treasure hunt at Momorangi campground will be held on Thursday 9 January. Rangers will help participants identify their finds with ID apps and books. Suitable for all ages.

Conservation Kids, Kids Conservation Club and East Coast Protection Group are combining forces to offer a three-part holiday series investigating through fun activities the wildlife of Marlborough’s east coast.

A huge range of other activities on offer at Envirohub Marlborough in Picton and Marlborough Tramping Camp will hold two walks, one to the Emerald Pools along the Pelorus River on Wednesday 12 January and Marfells Beach to Cape Campbell lighthouse on Sunday 22 January.

“Heading out with the tramping club on an organised walk is a great way to try out tramping or visit new places in a supportive group, Wendy says.

A full programme and all event details can be found at www.facebook.com/marlboroughconservationevents/events/.

Items belonging to Arthur Wooding have been stolen. Photo: Supplied.

War time memories stolen in heritage heist

Precious war time memories, including a soldier’s medals and postcards home have been stolen by callous thieves.

A haul of heritage items has been taken from a padlocked storage container in Ward used by trustees from Flaxbourne Heritage Museum.

Items belonging to Private Arthur Wooding were among a cache of historical items swiped.

Arthur Wooding. Photo: Supplied.
Arthur Wooding. Photo: Supplied.

Flaxbourne Heritage trustee Sally Peter says she is struggling to put into words how upsetting the theft is.

“It’s a real violation. He served for future generations of the community to be here; they’ve taken something sacred away.

“We were looking after then for the future and I can’t help but blame myself for this,” she says.

The theft is believed to have happened between 23-24 November.

Items belonging to Arthur Wooding have been stolen. Photo: Supplied.
Items belonging to Arthur Wooding have been stolen. Photo: Supplied.

A book commemorating Arthur’s first communion at St Peter’s Church in Ward on 3 February 1929, four medals, a small uniform repair kit and a pair of binoculars are among items taken.

Sally says she had been going to pick items up from the container when she discovered the padlocks had been cut open.

The museum’s ANZAC collection had been near the doors as it is used every year to commemorate the special day.

“I don’t think they knew what they were looking for and think maybe they got a fright and ran off as there was heavy stuff left outside.

“The ANZAC boxes were close to the door as I use them every year for a display at Ward Hall.

Items belonging to Arthur Wooding have been stolen. Photo: Supplied.
Items belonging to Arthur Wooding have been stolen. Photo: Supplied.

“I feel I could have done better,” she says.

The Flaxbourne Museum collection has been stored in two shipping containers in Ward following the magnitude 7.8-magnitude earthquake in 2016.

Other items, not part of the Wooding Collection, were also stolen, including an intricately engraved cornet, once part of the popular Ward Band.

A lantern off the shipwreck Wakatu was taken in the break in and an old inkwell from Ward School.

Items belonging to Arthur Wooding have been stolen. Photo: Supplied.
Items belonging to Arthur Wooding have been stolen. Photo: Supplied.

Sally says telling Arthur’s family about the theft was “awful.”

“This was a box containing precious memories from a man’s time away fighting for our country, including his medals, photos, postcards, his sewing kit for quick mends, his binoculars, buttons, badges and other things pertaining to his years spent away.

“How low can you get and how dare someone violate this privacy and his memory.”

Police are investigating the theft and anyone with any information can contact police via 105.

Holly Ewens-Smith is grateful to the people who helped after she was involved in a car accident. Photo: Supplied.

Car crash casualty searches for mystery Samaritans

A woman left dazed by the side of the road after a car smash is trying to trace the good Samaritans who helped her.

Holly Ewens-Smith from Blenheim was driving towards Blenheim last Monday when she collided with another car.

The 26-year-old gym manager went into shock and was left with bruising and a sprained spine.

People who witnessed the crash at the intersection of Old Renwick and Murphy Roads in Blenheim were quick to help and now she’d like to find the mystery rescuers.

“I was really taken aback by the group of people that dropped everything to help on the scene and even to just sit with me and help me to catch my breath and calm down.

“It would be great to be able to say thank you and even if they don’t want to come forward, I hope they read this and know how thankful I am,” she says.

Holly says in the moments immediately after the crash she tried to open the driver’s door but found herself stuck.

An unknown man came to help and prised the door open, she says.

“I was quite panicked and tried to get out, but the door was jammed. This fella came from another car and he got the door open, got me out and sat me down.

“There was a lovely lady who sat with her arm around me and got me talking about other unrelated things until the ambulance arrived.

“My mum’s a paramedic but she was away on a course otherwise she would have heard it over the radio.

“I was very well looked after, there was also a young man who helped while we waited for the ambulance, I think he’s a rugby medic,” she says.

Holly, who moved to Blenheim from Auckland three years ago, says her car was written off in the accident.

She has had to take a week off work but hopes to be fit enough to return this week.

“The adrenaline stopped me feeling any pain for ages but when it wore off it was pretty painful and I’m still on pain killers, though not as many as I was.

“I really want to say thank you to these kind people who helped and let them know they made a big difference,” Holly says.

No charges have been laid in connection with the crash.

If you were one of the people who helped Holly and would like to get in touch with her, please email [email protected]

Villa Maria Estate are recalling a 2018 batch of sparkling rosé. Photo: Supplied.

Fizz loses sparkle amid safety recall

Glass damage to a 2018 batch of Villa Maria wine has seen bottles of the popular festive fizz recalled for safety reasons.

Company bosses at Villa Maria Estate are recalling a 2018 batch of sparkling rosé after glass damage on the lip of the bottles.

While the damage is thought to be limited to just some bottles, the entire batch is being recalled.

Villa Maria CEO Justin Liddell says no other products have been impacted.

“Although this issue only impacts a very small proportion of the unique bottles we use for our Villa Maria New Zealand Lightly Sparkling rosé 2018, customer safety and wellbeing are paramount so we are recalling the entire batch,” he says.

The damage has been discovered under the screw cap on some bottles of the 750mL Villa Maria New Zealand Lightly Sparkling 2018 rosé product.

The damage is on rosé batch number: VM101L9238.

“If you have purchased a 750mL bottle of Villa Maria New Zealand Lightly Sparkling 2018 Rosé since August 2019 we ask that you please refrain from opening the bottle and return the product to the retailer for a full refund,” Villa Maria says in a statement.

“You can locate the batch number at the bottom of the bottle which has been stamped onto the glass.”

“Villa Maria’s reputation as New Zealand’s most awarded winery is founded on the highest quality standards from the vines to the bottle,” says Justin.

The product was available from supermarket chains, various liquor outlets, Villa Maria Cellar Doors in Marlborough, Auckland and the Hawke’s Bay.

The wine was also sold at the Villa Maria wine sale which took place at the Auckland and Hawke’s Bay cellar doors. A small quantity was sent to Tonga and Fiji.

Villa Maria said they expect to launch our 2019 vintage of Villa Maria New Zealand Lightly Sparkling rosé early in December, and apologised for any inconvenience to consumers in the meantime.

For more information on the recall the public can contact the Villa Maria Customer Service team directly on 0800 900 013 or [email protected]

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett presents Nan Kahu Chadwick with her award. Photo: Toni Gillan.

Marlborough’s Living Culture Treasure sparkles

Her distinctive voice rings out clear, each note dropping into the silence of a spellbound audience.

Nan Kahu Chadwick is an inspiration to generations of people, her life devoted to the practice and preservation of te ao Māori.

Now the talented te reo Māori speaker, kapa haka teacher, composer and choreographer has just been appointed as a Marlborough Living Cultural Treasure.

Nan says everything she has done has been to honour her tupuna.

“I like to help people, help their journey be a good journey.”

Nan joins eight other Living Cultural Treasures.

Marlborough Museum ambassador Toni Gillan says a panel decided her contribution to the community deserved the recognition.

“It has always been my personal pleasure to contact the recipient of the award and tell them the news in person,” Toni says.

“This year was no different, and to see the surprise and delight on Nan’s face was very humbling.

“The Marlborough Living Treasure award is a wonderful way to acknowledge the extremely creative people in our community.”

Born Kahumarianatakutaioomoana Chadwick in Otukopiri (Koroniti) on the Whanganui River, Nan grew up speaking te reo.

Nan came to Blenheim in 1979, taking on a variety of teaching roles before joining Bohally Intermediate School’s bilingual unit as a kaiarahi i te reo Maori teacher in 1987.

For the first time, manystudents under Nan’s tuition began to discover for the first time who they were as she supported them to research and recite their pepeha, their personal introduction.

Thousands of Marlborough students lucky enough to attend Bohally in the 30 years Nan taught there were exposed to te reo and regular kapa haka performances.

“It wasn’t just the students – their parents and grandparents became involved in discovering who they are and what they did in their time. So many magic moments,” she says.

As a tutor and composer for Te Rerenga o Te Ra Flight Across the Heavens kapa haka group, Nan has led the group at performances on many civic occasions in Marlborough.

Te Rerenga o Te Ra has also represented Marlborough and New Zealand overseas, travelling to Germany in 2011, Norfolk Island 2013, to France and Malaysia in 2015, and Britain in 2017.

Nan continues to inspire future generations to speak te reo and learn about their place in te ao Maori.