Paula Hulburt

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

Waterway speedsters warned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Foster Hope coordinator Leonie McLachlan is grateful for all the donations the charity receives.  File photo.

Hope for Christmas

Foster Hope Marlborough’s annual Christmas present drive is under way.

This year’s collection has a “B-awesome” theme with presents beginning with that letter needed.

The Marlborough Weekly is helping as a collection centre for donations.

From books, blankets, bubbles body care, beach towels, balls and board games, there are plenty of options for gifts.

All donations should be new and unwrapped, so organisers know the best person to get the gift.

Presents for children of all ages, both boys and girls, are needed to help make Christmas special.

Foster Hope believes that every child in foster care deserves to know that their community cares about them

Throughout the year they demonstrate this by proving children in care with a backpack of essential items, they are a symbol of our love and support.

Donations can be dropped off at Marlborough Weekly on 52 Scott Street or at 7 Philip Place by 30 November.

Daughter Emma Marris, and Father Brent Marris accept the 2020 Marlborough Wine Show, Champion Wine of the Show Trophy from Hugh Morrison. Photo: Richard Briggs.

Saint Clair big wine winners at Marlborough show

The wines and the founders of Saint Clair Family Estate shone at the 2020 Marlborough Wine Show,

Saint Clair took out the Pinot Gris Trophy with Saint Clair Godfrey’s Creek Reserve Pinot Gris 2018 and the Champion Other White Varietal Trophy with their Saint Clair Pioneer Block 5 Bull Block Grüner Veltliner 2020.

The company’s Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2020 was awarded The Coterie Wine of Provenance, which recognises the best single vineyard current release wine from any class.

The Marlborough Museum Legacy Award for wines with pedigree, was awarded to Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Chardonnay for three wines produced over the last 10 years, (2007, 2013 and 2016).

Founders Neal and Judy Ibbotson were awarded the Wine Marlborough Lifetime Achievement award for their services to the Marlborough wine industry.

A truck driver was winched to safety after his vehicle rolled down a bank on a remote rural road. Photo: Blenheim Police/Supplied.

First aid training helps save trapped driver

Two mechanics used their work radios to get help to a seriously injured truck driver trapped in the crushed cab of his vehicle.

Marlborough Lines line mechanics Sam White and Kyle Marfell rushed to the rescue after the accident on Wednesday.

Using first aid training and medical kits from their work Utes, the pair got help and were on hand to help the driver.

With no mobile reception, Kyle got to higher ground and used the radio to contact staff at the Marlborough Lines building in Blenheim, Sam says.

The team there alerted the emergency services.

Sam says the workplace first aid training he had done “just kicked in.”

“It was really helpful. The guy was conscious throughout which was good, but we could see cuts on his head and arms.

“It’s lucky we were there as there’s no mobile reception. I could see blood, but he seemed to have stopped bleeding; we just tapped him up.”

A pilot vehicle was leading the truck carrying a 25-tonne digger.

The truck rolled multiple times down a steep bank on the Black Birch Observatory road, just off the Awatere Valley Road.

Sam, who has been employed with Marlborough Lines for ten years, says they were just arriving on site to set up for the day when they were alerted to the crash.

“There was a guy on the track who had been working on the vineyard down below. The pilot vehicle driver was there too.”

Dense vegetation and a steep drop made access difficult, but they hacked their way through, Sam says.

The driver suffered severe injuries and had to be stabilised by emergency services on the ground before being flown to hospital by the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter crew.

Sam, who went straight back to work after the incident, says he would like to catch up with the driver when he’s feeling better.

“He was a good bloke.”

A spokeswoman for Nelson Marlborough Health says the patient was in a stable condition in Nelson Hospital this afternoon.

The current site of Marlborough Boys’ College is planned to become the site of a new Bohally School. File photo.

College build edges closer

Education bosses are set to appoint a contractor for the new colleges by the end of the year.

Ministry of Education staff have revealed bids from interested contractors were received last week, with an appointment set to be made soon.

The move means planning and design phases on the $100 million dollar upgrade can hopefully begin early next year.

Head of Education Infrastructure Service Kim Shannon says the project will transform education in the region, providing world-class education facilities for Marlborough learners.

“The co-location of Marlborough Boys’ and Girls’ Colleges and relocation of Bohally Intermediate will be one of the biggest projects that the Ministry has ever delivered.”

“The project will transform education in Marlborough, as well as supporting the Top of the South in its post-Covid recovery.”

“This is a really exciting time for all three schools, as well as the wider Blenheim community, and we’re looking forward to working with them as the project progresses,” she says.

After three years of unsuccessfully searching for a greenfield site, the Ministry of Education announced  the colleges would be co-located at the 13.2-hectare McLauchlan Street site,

The project will co-locate Marlborough Boys’ and Marlborough Girls’ College on the site currently occupied by Marlborough Girls’ and Bohally Intermediate.

The Intermediate will be relocated and rebuilt on the current Marlborough Boys’ College site.

Kim says official responses to their Request for Proposals were received last week.

She added the start of procurement is always an important milestone for a project.

“We will now be evaluating the responses, supported by the schools, over the next few weeks. We plan to engage a contractor-led consortium before the end of the year.

“The master planning and design phases will then begin in early 2021, which will inform both the project staging (how and when the individual aspects are carried out) as well as construction and completion timeframes,” she says.

All three schools are being kept in the loop about the project.

“We are in regular contact with both Colleges and Bohally Intermediate about the project, and representatives from all three schools are part of the project’s governance structure.

“The change in Government and COVID-19 have had no impact on the project or its delivery,’ says Kim.

Blenheim court house. File photo.

Judge praises Picton stabbing victim

A 13-year-old boy had been drinking when he stabbed a Picton pensioner in her own home it has been revealed.

The boy, who admitted a charge of assault appeared in youth court after being arrested in June, has apologised to the victim for his actions.

And the 89-year-old women has been praised by the judge for her compassion and positivity.

Overseeing the hearing at Blenheim District Court last week, Judge Russell paid tribute to the victim.

“Her positivity and recovery are absolutely amazing.

“Her world was turned upside down and her physical recovery quite remarkable, but I don’t know how well she’s sleeping at night.”

The woman suffered severe stab wounds in the assault in the early hours of a Sunday morning.

She was taken to Wairau Hospital on Sunday morning and then flown to Wellington Hospital.

She has since been discharged and is home again.

Judge Russell says that at an earlier appearance in court she had been keen to ensure the attacker got the help he needed.

Accompanied in court by his mother, the boy has written letters of apology.

He is also looking at the possibility of volunteering in a bid to give back to the community.

Addressing the boy in court, Judge Russell said he was impressed with the victim’s handling of events.

“She was very compassionate and wants to make sure this never happens to anyone else ever again.

“She is just an amazing lady; a remarkable woman.”

Charged with wounding with intent and burglary, the teenager is being supported by family and Oranga Tamariki.

Following a Family Group Conference, plans have been put in place for the boy who has been remanded to home but can attend school.

A curfew is in place for the boy and there have been no breaches of bail.

The judge said he wanted to explore all avenues to understand what he [the boy] had done and mentioned the possibility of a psychiatric assessment.

Addressing the boy’s mother, Judge Russell asked her how she was feeling.

“You are living every parents’ worst nightmare. You are key in making this plan work.”

Marlborough mayor John Leggett and Niki Waitai. Photo: Supplied.

Young mum helping others overcome adversity

A Blenheim woman who returned to the region to get back to her Māori roots is helping others overcome adversity.

Growing up in Australia, Niki Waitai was determined to bring her family home to Blenheim.

Now the inspiring young mum is helping other women, some with mental health and addiction issues, to get back on their feet.

She credits Māori health provider, Te Piki Oranga, and industry training organisation, Careerforce, for supporting her while she learned on the job.

“We wanted our kids to have a sense of belonging, their identity, a sense of who they are. I missed that, being Māori in another country,” says Niki.

Although Niki says she wasn’t great at school, it was during her time at Te Piki Oranga, where she developed a thirst for learning.

She completed the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing Levels 2 and 3 in just one year and is keen to do more.

“It was an awesome way to study. I really enjoyed the journey.

“Careerforce helped me to rediscover my desire for learning,” Niki says.

Niki moved to the new role of Pūkenga Manaaki (Whānau Navigator) within the Blenheim-based organisation a year ago.

She provides an intensive service that helps support vulnerable hapu māmā and whānau with personalised intervention.

“I am privileged to support mums, many of whom have an addiction of some sort, and/or may have mental health issues, often parenting alone, and living in chaos.

“I am really grateful for this role, it’s very rewarding to play a part in the lives of whanau who need awhi support to get back on their feet,” she says.

Niki helps women and their whānau. from maternity through to antenatal and childhood up to three years old.

The goal is to encourage resilience and self-management to achieve their own aspirations and goals, she says.

Careerforce Workplace Advisor, Paula Cohen encouraged Niki to enrol in the NZ Diploma in Health and Wellbeing (Level 5) Applied Practice.

“I was learning and then actively practising the tools I had learnt with whānau.  It was very hands on,” says Niki.

“With applied practice, I was able to acknowledge and recognise what I had learnt in the case studies and apply it.

“I learnt about reflective practice and I’ve applied it on the job.   It’s so important, it’s helped with my confidence, in working with whānau.”

Niki plans in becoming a social worker and will apply for a degree course next year.

The new station will benefit the whole community. Graphic supplied.

St John reveal plans for new ambulance station

Plans for a new state-of-the-art ambulance station have been unveiled as crews look to move from their current cramped headquarters.

A new purpose-built station on Alabama Road is set to replace the Seymour Street depot.

The move will help end traffic issues and provide a community asset for years to come, planners say.

Submitting a resource consent to Marlborough District Council, architects put forward plans which include bedrooms, study rooms, meeting and crew rooms.

“A well resourced and modern St John facility is a considerable asset to the wider community.

“The present St John’s location in Seymour Street is significantly undersized, with traffic issues as ambulances are required to back into the building,” the plans state.

St John’s have been looking for new premises for a few years and a geotechnical report was carried out on the new 5977 square metre section in 2018.

The new base would be situated on land near the Redwood Tavern. The proposed site will include two road frontages.

The owner of the land, Redwood Development, has applied to subdivide the land.

In figures supplied to council, St Johns say they dealt with an average of 12 call outs in 24 hours.

The station is staffed day and night, with staff doing 12-hour shifts. Under the proposal, all emergency vehicles would return to base via Allen Street.

“St John have already proven to be excellent neighbours on their present site and take community relations extremely seriously,” the report says.

Keeping near by neighbours happy is a top priority.

While sirens are excluded from noise standards, they would not be used until ambulances were leaving.

“Sirens are not normally used until going to an emergency so that the same residential properties are not affected all the time,” the submission states.

Road access and closer proximity to Wairau Hospital were advantages to the new site, the application stays.

“Additional traffic will be minimal. It will provide valuable support to the community into the years ahead.”

St John have been approached for comment.

The application will be heard by council before a decision is made.

Blenheim court house. File photo.

Nurse escapes prison after credit card theft

A nurse convicted of stealing two credit cards from patients has been sentenced to six months of home detention.

Marvel Clavecilla, 46, was yesterday sentenced at Blenheim District Court to 180 days home detention, 180 days of curfew and 60 hours of community service.

The judge said it was the maximum sentence he could impose without sending Clavecilla to prison.

Clavecilla stole two credit cards, one from 90-year-old, Doris Follows, after she died on March 29 and the other from an 89-year-old Blenheim woman admitted to Wairau Hospital for three nights in May this year.

He used both cards to buy take away meals, fuel and groceries.

The woman’s son, Mike O’Donnell, had met with Clavecilla at a restorative justice meeting last month on behalf of his mother.

“I’ve been hugely impressed by the courage and graciousness shown by my mum throughout this terrible ordeal.”

He was in court yesterday to see the former Wairau Hospital nurse sentenced.

“It was a dreadful situation and a huge violation of trust. What Marvel did accelerated mum going into full time care, but I think it’s a just decision and one which will be enabling for her to move forward.”

In a letter to the court, the woman said she believed Clavecilla was genuinely sorry for what he had done.

She did not want to see his family suffer because of his actions she wrote.

“I’ve been here [in the rest home] two weeks now, and my move here was strongly influenced by the stress and fear that your offending had on my life.

“I was devastated to learn what happened to me at hospital – to get home and read the credit card statement was unbelievable.  I’d always felt safe here in Blenheim where I live.  Your actions changed that.

“I was rushed into X-ray after midnight urgently, at that time I spoke to my nurse and said I want to take my handbag with me please, she said to me not to worry … She was wrong.

“I am a very caring person  and have helped many people in my  years  gone by  … especially here in Blenheim over the last 18 years where I have worked with members of the Vanuatu community to help and support them.

For that reason I  hope Marvell you will think about the wrong you have done to me , with my health deteriorating since …and make a change to his life going forward  for his family and the future of them all.

“You are very fortunate Marvell to live in New Zealand where your sons will have wonderful opportunities to get a wonderful education and make their way in this world, like my own son has done.

“Take that opportunity with both hands and cherish it greatly.”

Marvel had resigned from his job at Wairau Hospital rather than face the sack after being charged with 32 counts of credit card theft.

The victim’s son, who praised both his mum and the other victim’s family for their courage throughout the case, says Marvel had been contrite and upset over his actions.

“The judge was really good, really thorough and went through similar cases for legal precedent. We are grateful for the time he spent on it.

“His starting point was a custodial sentence but because he [Marvel] pleaded guilty and showed remorse he was given home detention.

“He and his family have been ostracised on social media and his father, who holds a judicial role in the Philippines, had faced ostracising too.

“We do not want Marvel’s two sons to grow up taking the same path as their dad and that could be the case had he received a custodial sentence.”

Ted Culley won a national award in recognition of his work for the Graeme Dingle Foundation. Photo: Supplied.

Sanford boss awarded for work with students

A Marlborough boss who has helped boost confidence in thousands of students has been recognised for his dedication.

Ted Culley from Sanford Ltd has won the Graeme Dingle Foundation’s Outstanding Contribution from a Volunteer Award.

The long-term supporter, who was in Auckland to receive his award last week is a passionate community advocate.

“I have been involved in service clubs, school boards, hospice trust, wilding pines trust, and of course the Graeme Dingle Foundation.

“I started community service in the 1990s when I moved from the city to rural towns and had the desire to contribute back to the community.”

The General Manager Aquaculture for Sanford, won the award, given to the person who has contributed most to the Foundation’s aims of raising self-awareness and esteem among tamariki (young people). Sanford itself is also a long-term supporter of the Graeme Dingle Foundation.

His first exposure to the Foundation’s Kiwi Can programme came via Kaeo Primary School in the Far North.

“I saw the positive impact it had on kids.

“Then from 2002 I was based at Havelock and was keen to get the programme running at Havelock Primary School. This took some time for people to be convinced that it was needed.

“Sanford has been committed to this programme for over 20 years and it has been a team effort with support in regions right across NZ.

“When you see on a daily basis and first-hand the difference it makes to kids who have been through the programme, it is impossible not to become committed to it yourself,” he says.

Ted says that the award should be shared with others, and he is really representing the 250 sponsors who have supported him.

Earlier this year, Ted raised $30,000 through sponsors who supported him to undertake a 20,000ft skydive – which he lost 20kg to take part in.

“The programme has captured a number of my colleagues in Sanford to get involved in fundraising and mentoring which is great to see.

“Helping kids with life skills such as resilience and the ethics of ‘doing the right thing even when no one is looking’ is just gold.”