Paula Hulburt

Paula Hulburt

Victim hits out at assault

Trapped on his mobility scooter, pensioner Doug Woolf watched in horror as the Ute raced towards him.

As his scooter crashed to the ground, the 67-year-old Blenheim man says he thought he was going to die.

He has now hit out at the court system after the man who attacked him escaped jail.

The frail pensioner has been left bewildered and angry by the court’s decision.

“What’s to put him off doing this to someone else? It’s hardly much of a deterrent.

“I would like to have seen him charged with attempted murder as it was a deliberate act and I could have died.

“I wasn’t able to defend myself properly but if it had been someone in their 90s, I believe he would have killed them,” Doug says.

The man was sentenced to nine months suspended sentence and community service last week in Taupo District Court.

He was also ordered to pay reparation in $25-dollar instalments.

He says he had been heading home when he was punched several times around the head by the offender.

“He tried to pull me off my scooter. I could have looked after myself a few years ago but not now.

“I drove up the road and dialled 111 and while I was talking, I heard the car coming and then it hit.

“There was glass all over the road, my hearing aids fell out and my stuff was everywhere.

“People came running over to help and stayed with me until the police and ambulance arrived.

“I find it almost impossible to believe that this happened in Blenheim. I keep seeing the Ute driving straight for me and am quite traumatised by it all,” he says.

The man had been visiting relatives in Blenheim for a 21st birthday party and he had been drinking.

Doug says he has been left in a great deal of pain and is still shaken by what happened.

“I haven’t been in great health anyway, but this has made it much worse.

“I’m very wary of going out on my scooter now. I thought he would get jail time, that’s what the police told me.

“It’s gutting.”

Appeal for help as family face cancer ordeal

Alivia McGhie was excitedly trying on her clothes ready for her first day at school.

The bubbly youngster was also looking forward to a joint birthday with brother George. The balloons had been bought and friends invited.

But a shock diagnosis means the youngster is in hospital instead. Diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Family and friends are now rallying around to help the family in a bid to ensure they can be together while Alivia undergoes treatment.

Rebecca says the diagnosis of Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma (AFH) was devastating.

“We couldn’t comprehend telling Alivia that she is sick and that she won’t be starting school yet.

“This was hard because she was excited to be dressing up for her first week of school, playing, learning and building new friendships,” she says.

Rebecca says she found a lump under Alivia’s arm in December. A scan followed and Alivia was sent to Christchurch for a biopsy.

“Finally came the day Friday 15 March 2019, the worst day we could ask for, finding out our baby girl Alivia has a rare cancer.

“It’s been a big shock to everyone in the family, as we were only going down to Christchurch for three days to get a lump removed and now, we have been here nearly five weeks

While curable, the five-year-old will have to undergo two rounds of chemotherapy for around eight months.

Alivia and her mum stay in either Christchurch Hospital’s Child Haematology Oncology Centre (CHOC) or at Ronald MacDonald House.

Dad Russell is at home in Blenheim with George.

Any money raised would help raised will help reduce financial stress on the family.

“It enables me to not have to worry about work, so I can give 100 per cent to our daughter’s recovery, but also for Russell to reduce his work hours so he can keep George in some sort of routine.

“We are truly overwhelmed with the support and want to thank our employers for being so supportive and understanding during this time.

“Russell and I are so grateful to everyone and want to say a big thank you, for all the support we have behind us.

“I would be here on my own if it wasn’t for Ronald McDonald House, it takes away the stress of being on your own.

“The staff here are truly amazing and so supportive. If ever there is a cause to get behind its Ronald McDonald House,” she says.

To help out the family visit

Historic pub to be bowled?

An historic hotel could be demolished to make way for a 24-hour petrol station.

The Junction Hotel in Spring Creek faces demolition to make way for a new self-serve NPD fuel station. An 8-pump, self-service fuel and caravan dump station could open later this year.

But hotel lease holder Mike Pink, who signed an agreement with the petrol company last year, vowed to stay put unless the fuel giants honour their end of the bargain.

“I’ve had a gut full of the whole fiasco. I signed an agreement last March and we were supposed to move out on July 23 last year.

“There’s been all sorts of rumours flying around and the whole thing’s been a complete disaster.

“I can’t do any repairs, any decoration and have lost a couple of staff who are worried they might not have a job in a few months,” he says.

“While Marlborough District Council may give their approval, I doubt it as they’re too scared they’ll land in the kak”, he says.

Nelson Petroleum Distributors (NPD) lodged plans with council in February to expand their premises next door to the hotel. A decision is expected to be made by Easter as NPD addresses concerns raised by the New Zealand Transport Agency regarding traffic volumes and road width.

Mike says he would need to be paid “mega bucks” to make up for the loss of the 11 years still left to run on his lease. “I have 11 years left to run on my lease so they’ll need pots of money.

“I’ve written to NPD to tell them that if they don’t complete part of it then I’m pulling out”, he says.

Mike and wife Hazel purchased the lease in October 2016.

They only just managed to keep the business afloat when the building of a new roundabout on SH1 caused sales to plummet by around 75 per cent.

But with the roundabout now in action, business has been brisk.

“The hotel owners don’t seem to really care if it sells or if it doesn’t”, Mike says.

The hotel is owned by Carol and Roger Rose through their company Stokesay Holdings Ltd.

Architects employed by NPD asked for consent to “construct, operate and maintain” a self-serve station.

They also want to remove the fuel tanks that are there and replace them with two $80,000 underground storage tanks.

“My customers have even started a petition to keep the pub. This is their last chance or I won’t be selling”, he says.

A spokeswoman from NPD says she could not comment while resource consent was waiting to be granted.

Replica guns blanked from Classic Fighters show

A world-renowned air show has banned historic reenactor groups from using some blank-firing guns.

The upcoming Yealands Classic Fighters show has a proud history of ground theatre, with groups attending from across New Zealand.

Organisers issued a blanket ban on all blank-firing semi and automatic weapons in the wake of the tragedy in Christchurch.

The move comes as new gun reform laws which ban military style semi-automatics and assault rifles go before parliament later today (Tuesday).

Re-enactment groups planning to attend were also asked by show bosses to be cautious with their “rate of fire”.

But disappointed groups believe they have fallen foul of the new laws.

All artillery field guns are still allowed.

One New Zealand military re-enactor, who asked not to be named, says the ban means any ground theatre would look like “something from the Napoleonic wars.”

He says while he understands the need for caution, banning replicas is a “step too far”.

“All of the guns fire blanks. Some are replicas which are not firearms at all but can shoot blanks; should they even be classed as weapons?

“The ground theatre will look and sound like something from the Napoleonic wars”, he says

Army Group Centre (AGC) members from Nelson are deciding whether to still attend.

Marlborough historical re-enactment group Delta 06 Inc has been a regular at the air show for more than a decade.

President Dale Hulburt says military collectors and re-enactors are being “unfairly punished.

However, he says the group will be supporting the show.

“There is much vagary around what these laws will entail, or whether re-enactment groups will be able to continue theatrical demonstrations for the NZ public in the future.

“The re-enactment community in general is extremely concerned about the roll-on effect to all public events such as air shows, military ceremonies, ANZAC and Armistice Day remembrances.

“This is an “unintended consequence” military collectors and reenactors are being unfairly punished for the actions of one despicable madman terrorist,” he says.

Dale says such groups help educate and entertain, with many having devoted thousands of dollars to their collections.

“It is their passion,” he says.

The Garrison Society Incorporated confirmed they would also be attending.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed reforms to the gun laws two days after the Christchurch attacks.

The changes make it illegal to own a military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) and accessories which could convert a standard semi-automatic into a MSSA.

The move means there can be no weapons on display at the Yealands Classic Fighters Omaka show which takes place from 19-21 April over Easter weekend.

No one was available from Omaka to comment.

Relishing their win as pickles take gold

A local Maori relish inspired by family of a bygone era has picked up gold at the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards.

Manaaki’s Kamokamo Pickle is one of just 40 products to win a coveted gold medal from more than 180 products entered.

Inspired by the ‘Aunties of old – the Queens of Manaakitanga – the team take a ‘seed to jar’ approach.

The special pickle is now in the running to win the Supreme Champion Award, to be announced at a gala dinner in Auckland on 17 April.

Head judge, New Zealand food writer Lauraine Jacobs, says it was great to see the innovative approach many food producers had taken.

“Medal winners deserve the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Award they have earned.

“Consumers are well advised to seek out the delicious and exciting foods such as ice-creams, drinks and juices, honey, pâtés, meats, pickles, bread and so much more which will be carrying 2019 medals”, she says.

Manaaki is a Blenheim-based social enterprise set up almost two years ago by the new generation of ‘Aunties’

The move is part of the Omaka Marae’s Pā Ora, Pā Wānanga strategy vision, centres on whānau transformation through the creation of a thriving and sustainable marae.

As much produce as possible grown in the marae gardens.

Next month, the Aunties will be showcasing their culinary talents with a special event being held as part of Feast Marlborough.

Feast Marlborough kicks off on Thursday 9 May with the WK Gala Feast and Arbour’s Starlight Sessions; dubbed by organisers as a multi-sensory dining experience.

The celebration continues the following night at the Bayleys Friday Night Feast street party in central Blenheim.

‘Hakari with the Aunties’, on May 11, will take guests on a culinary journey, with each course telling its own unique – and local – story.

Live music and cultural performances will make for a rare and special night. For more information and tickets, see

Friends of missing man pay tribute

Friends of a man missing for 17 months hope a coroner can give them the closure they desperately need.

Colin Ross, 53, from the Waihopai Valley disappeared on 25 October 2017.

His case is now before a coroner who will look at the circumstances surrounding Colin’s disappearance.

Close friends Jason and Wendy Tillman from Rarangi say they miss their friend.

“His family and friends in New Zealand and Australia are needing closure, hoping for an official end of the case.

“We have been slowly coming to terms with accepting his passing,” says Jason.

Colin worked in the wine industry for more than 20 years in both Australia and New Zealand. Born in Malaysia, he moved to New Zealand in 2006. Jason says Colin was passionate about Organic and Biodynamic Agriculture, and was a leader in the field.

A member of the Biodynamic Council of New Zealand, he was considered an expert in his field and travelled to China to represent biodynamics in New Zealand.

“He had a deep love for nature and the Earth. He saw biodynamics as a way to help heal the Earth. He loved the ocean and was a keen surfer. He loved to cook, garden and dance.

“He was incredibly intelligent and generous, a dear friend and an inspiration to many, and a loving husband and father”, says Jason.

A police spokeswoman says while Colin is still considered missing the file has been referred to the coroner recently.

Before his disappearance Colin had his own successful business – Inspired Eyes. He used a drone to film and create promotional clips for companies.

Good friend Wendy Tillman says Colin was an inspiration. “Colin was an inspired human being who was one of my dearest friends. I see him in the moon, the stars and in every bit of soil”, she says.

Jumping for joy as pogo world record set

Paula Hulburt

One man, one pogo stick, a mountain and a new world record.

Lee Griggs from Seddon is set to spring into the record books after reaching the summit of Mount Fyffe by pogo stick in 23 hours and 15 minutes.

The father-of-three is waiting to have the record verified by officials in America but is confident it will be confirmed.

And he says the blisters and swollen hands have all been worth it to help raise awareness for mental health.

Lee, who previously cycled across Molesworth station on a unicycle, says the challenges he sets himself are meant to replicate challenges faced by those with mental illness.

“The challenges are meant to replicate life in real form. I pick a seemingly impossible task and show it can be done.

“There are a lot of pressures band expectations for people today, especially young people and I want to show that by chipping away at something, you can get there”, he says.

The support of friends and family on the day was crucial says Lee Griggs. Photo: Supplied.

From the Esplanade in Kaikoura town centre to the mountain’s peak Lee says he had to concentrate hard throughout.

But the jubilant dad achieved his goal of reaching the top in under 24 hours.

“I nailed it, with 45 minutes to spare. It’s been hard on the hands and I have tender ligaments and swollen knuckles.

“It looks like I’ve set a new record. I had to film every minute of it using a Go-Pro for verification.

“Every time I stopped I had to stay in exactly the same spot. I couldn’t just wander around and go back to where I got off”, he says.

With the support of hid family who trekked alongside while he bounced his way to history, Lee says he is “hugely grateful” for the support he has.

“It was a real team effort,” he says.

Lee, who himself has suffered from depression in the past, says physical exercise is vital to helping keep the condition under control.

But having only ever used his sister’s second-hand stick more than a decade ago, he was dubious about how the challenge would go.

“I’m doing this because nearly 50 per cent of New Zealanders will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime, and I don’t want them to face it on their own”, he says.

The America-based head of a stunt pogo team called Xpogo is helping Lee verify his record.

Once all the information has been substantiated it will then be passed onto Guinness Book of Records for the final stamp of approval.

“I’m confident we’ll get a new record out of it”, Lee says.

To donate to the Mental Health Foundation and mark Lee’s mammoth achievement, visit events

Plea to vaccinate children as measles outbreak continues

Health bosses in Marlborough are urging parents who chose not to have their children vaccinated to “reconsider their choice.”

An advisory notice from Nelson Marlborough Health has gone out to all school-aged children as the number of confirmed measle cases in Canterbury rose to 35.

And medical officer of Health for Nelson Marlborough Public Health Service, Dr Andrew Lindsay has pressed for parents of children not already vaccinated to reconsider.

“Measles is on the rise in NZ and overseas making it even more important to vaccinate your children.

“Those who have previously declined vaccination of their babies and children are strongly urged to reconsider their choice.

“Vaccination is the only sure way of preventing serious and in some cases life threatening illnesses such as measles”, he says.

Nelson Marlborough Health recorded its highest level of vaccinated children last year.

Ministry of Health figures showed the percentage of 5-year-olds who were not fully immunised fell from 15.9 per cent between 2016 and 2017 to 13.5 per cent from 2017 to 2018.

Two doses of the MMR vaccination are needed for “maximum protection”, Andrew says.

“With the ongoing measles outbreak in Canterbury, and with further cases in Auckland, now is the time to make sure your child is immunised against measles.

“Two doses of the MMR vaccine are needed for maximum protection. If you are not sure if your child is fully immunised, check in your Well Child book, or talk to the Practice Nurse at your usual General Practice”, says Andrew.

The vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella is recommended at 15 months and again at 4-years-old.

In the event of an outbreak, the Ministry of Education states that an unimmunised child can be kept away from school and quarantined for two weeks.

There have been no confirmed cases of measles in either Nelson or Marlborough.

Early symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, sore red eyes and cough. See the Ministry of Health website for further information.

Police search for missing Jess suspended

By Paula Hulburt

The official search for missing Marlborough woman Jessica Boyce has been suspended by police today.

Area Commander, Marlborough District Inspector Simon Feltham, says that despite intensive searching, no trace of the missing 27-year-old has been found.

Officials searches have been called off, but family and friends are continuing their efforts.

Inspector Fetham says the investigation will “remain active”.

“After receiving the missing person report, an intensive eight days of searching was completed but despite all search efforts no signs of Jessica have been found.

“There has been continued visible searching by Police and Search and Rescue teams over the weekend, but we have been unable to locate Jessica.

“A review of the search efforts has been undertaken today to identify areas for further investigation.

“Police would like to thank LandSAR, Jessica’s family and friends, and everyone else who volunteered in the search for their support, time and effort.

The missing person investigation will remain active and if any further lines of inquiry come to light, or areas to search, and police will continue to follow up any further information that
comes to hand”, he says.

LandSAR (Search and Rescue) teams from Marlborough were focusing their search around the Lake Chalice area where Jessica’s red Holden Rodeo was discovered.

Anyone who has any information should contact Blenheim Police on (03) 578 5279.

Slippery pavers to be made safer

Paula Hulburt

A $2 million slippery predicament is set to be solved – by steam cleaning.

Slippery-when-wet pavers in Blenheim and Picton have posed a safety threat for unwary pedestrians.

Rather than replace the perilous pavers, Marlborough District Council bosses have agreed to put forward a re-sanding plan.

All glazed clay stones will also be re-sanded and daubed with a more slip-resistant coat

People have slipped when the pavers become wet. Photo: Supplied.

The move follows complaints from pedestrians who have reported fall related injuries.

Council’s Assets and Services Committee today agreed, subject to council approval next month, to take the proposal to the next stage.

Assets and services manager Richard Coningham says the pavers needed to be more “slip resistant”.

Installed in many towns and cities during the 1990’s and 2000’s, the walkways had been treated in the past.

But improved methods mean the pavers are ripe for a makeover.

“ … we now have access to improved treatments which will provide longer term resistance.

“While the treatment option is not a permanent fix and is likely to need reapplying every four to six years; it is the most cost effective”, Richard says.

The clay footpaths will need replacing in 20 years at a replacement cost of about $2 million, Richard says.

Treating the problem now and replacing later was a more “cost effective” option, he says.

“As most of the clay footpath paving in Blenheim and Picton’s CBDs is more than 20 years old, it’s likely that it will be replaced within the next 20 years, making treating now and replacing in the future the most cost-effective option.

“We know a number of people in Blenheim and Picton have suffered injuries after slipping over on the pavers, especially when it is wet.

“It’s great that we have a solution to reduce this from occurring in future”, he says.