Paula Hulburt

Paula Hulburt

There is an increasing need for interpreters to help foreign patients navigate their health-care journey. Photo: Supplied.

Language barrier health warning

Demand for interpreters at Wairau Hospital is set to escalate as more migrants settle in Marlborough.

Health bosses are set to train extra staff over the next year to help combat potential language problems with patients.

And they are calling for people who speak a second language to consider offering their help.

Strategy, primary and community general manager Cathy O’Malley says Nelson Marlborough health expects interpreter costs to rise.

“The cost will increase over time as the non-English speaking community increases.

“Even as people develop English language skills, they may still need interpreters for healthcare consultations.

“We fully support ongoing use of interpreters for important healthcare conversations,” she says.

Nelson Marlborough Health have a duty of care to communicate with all patients in a way they understand.

Money has been set aside in the budget to cope with the increase in demand.

Figures from the Office of Ethnic Communities show 93 per cent of people living in Marlborough speak English, 2 per cent Māori and 8 per cent other languages.

The expected arrival of up to 100 Columbian refugees in April will not stretch current interpretation services, Cathy says.

“We are confident we will be able to manage the need for Spanish speaking interpreters.”

Patients have access to interpreters, on the phone, for more than 120 languages.

Face to face interpreters are available for several languages already but cost around $120 per hour.

But Cathy says additional language speakers will need to be trained over the next year.

“We have face to face interpreters for several languages, such as Spanish, available and will train additional language speakers as interpreters over the year.

“The demand for interpreter services will change over the next few years, so we aim to respond to demand as it changes.

“Any patient who requires an interpreter can ask for one,” Cathy says

Fully bilingual or multilingual hospital staff are used in some scenarios to help patients.

Cathy says it is better to bring in trained and skilled interpreters so current staff aren’t pulled away from their other jobs.

“Having an interpreter service on hand is also preferable to asking multilingual staff members to stop what they are doing to assist with another job.”

If there are people in the community who speak a second language and would like to offer their skills, they can contact Interpreting NZ on 0508 468 377.

Elgee Leung and Simon Clark are mixing music with wine at a special concert. Photo: Jessica Jones.

Wine and music a match for concert

Two Marlburians have teamed up to combine their talents with a special concert mixing music and wine.

Cellist Elgee Leung and Simon Clark from Clark Estate are hosting a chamber music concert with a difference.

A selection of wines has been matched to compliment the melodies

The pair hope both the music and the wines, from the Clericus range, will spark conversation.

“These wines offer purity, harmony and structure that will complement the quality of music being played.

“The audience will have the opportunity to taste wines that have a story behind them that will provoke thought, emotion and conversation, much like what classical music does,” Simon says.

Internationally acclaimed and award-winning pianist, Dr Michael Tsalka will also perform in the programme which features works by Beethoven, Schumann, and Brahms.

Simon, who has played the trumpet since he was a child says most of his family play classical music.

“A dream would be to play a horn-cello duet with Elgee but I believe our true duet is combining the elegance of the wines with the beauty of the cello.

“For me, the cello is the most beautiful and soulful instrument in the orchestra. Cello concertos speak directly to the heart and can be very powerful if you let yourself be taken on that journey.”

Celebrated Hong-Kong cellist Elgee moved to Marlborough in 2018 and has been making his mark on the music scene ever since.

For him the concert combines two of his favourite things – music and wine.

“Sometimes a great bottle of wine reminds me of a particular piece of music, or vice versa. I then think it’d be interesting to try to combine the two mediums of art.

“It’s very personal, and of course requires lots of imagination. A good fit would enhance the taster/audience’s feeling in both, he says.

The concert takes place on Saturday 7 March at St Andrews Presbyterian Church. Tickets are available at the door ($40 Adults, $20 Students). Door opens at 6:30pm

Maegen Blom is a finalist in the Seafood Sustainability Awards. Photo: Supplied.

Mussel makeover wins young entrepreneur awards top spot

A young entrepreneur has been recognised for her part in helping give mussels a reputation makeover.

Maegan Blom, 19, is part of a small, passionate, team working at her family business, Mills Bay Mussels in Havelock.

And her bid to shine the spotlight on NZ Greenshell mussels has seen her take a top spot in the Seafood Sustainability Awards as a finalist.

The creative lead behind the rebrand of her family’s business, hopes to get people looking at the humble mussel in a more positive light.

“There is a perception around mussels in NZ and they are often viewed as a cheap form of protein or a food to indulge in.

“We believe that mussels are a delicious, healthy, sustainable superfood that with the right treatment can shine amongst all other top-quality NZ produce,” she says.

Maegen completed her first year of a commerce degree at Victoria University in Wellington last year.

She plans to head overseas this year and take a year out before returning to her studies next year.

There are a lot of people who are yet to discover how great mussels can be, she says.

“Setting up Our Tasting Room & Eatery in Havelock was one of the projects I was highly involved in – this is where we educate our customers about the exciting and delicious ways mussels can be enjoyed.

“Instead of growing our business through increasing volume we are finding ways for people to see mussels as a higher value food.”

Maegen, who grew up in Southland on a dairy farm came to Marlborough four years ago when her family.

Her parents, originally from the Netherlands, bought a small lodge in Nydia Bay, On the Track Lodge, and then diversified into the mussel business.

She has been trusted put some of her business ideas into practice, she says.

“There are a lot of people who want to help and support me. I am still pretty young, so I am quite honoured to be recognised among the other finalists.

“My dad is also a big motivator for me. He challenges me constantly to get out of my comfort zone and try new things.

“He has also given me a lot of freedom within the business to try things and carry out projects.”

Introducing new product offerings, using promotional marketing including ‘the best way to eat mussels’, and creating a website to increase market reach caught the judges’ attention.

“The finalists are shining examples of communities who contribute to the long-term sustainability of New Zealand’s seafood sector and ensure that our oceans are resilient, healthy and bountiful for future generations,” says deputy director-general of Fisheries New Zealand, Dan Bolger.

Plucky parachutists take to the skies

They came back down to earth with a bump and big smiles as they completed their jump for the Graeme Dingle Foundation Marlborough. All 26 of The Drop for Youth fundraisers successfully completed a parachute jump on Saturday. The team headed over to Able Tasman Skydive in Motueka for the big moment.

Blenheim’s Ernest Berry, the oldest to take the plunge at 91-years old, says he enjoyed the occasion–his second parachute jump to date. “There’s nothing too it really it’s like falling of a log,” he says.

While the final amount raised is still to be counted, the team look likely to have raised about $70,000.

Broadway beckons for young ballet star

A young boy with a talent for ballet is heading for the bright lights of Broadway.

James Dight, 10, from Blenheim has been chosen to join the Kiwi Allstars team.

He will travel to New York for a week of workshops and rehearsals with Broadway stars before heading to Disneyland for some hints and tips from their entertainers.

For the dance-mad youngster the chance is a dream come true.

“I’d like to keep doing ballet when I’m bigger as I really enjoy the stretches. I also like the pirouettes, they used to make me a bit dizzy, but not anymore

“I was really surprised to be chosen and can’t wait to do the actual performances,” he says.

The Dance on Grove student and Blenheim Musical Theatre (BMT) member has performing in his blood.

He is the fourth generation of his family to join the performing institution.

Mum Alison Dight says James enjoyed dancing from when he was just two years old.

“I was a member of BMT, so were his grandparents and great-grandparents so I wasn’t terribly surprised; it’s a bit of a generational thing.

“I have a video of James walking down a street when he was two, past restaurants and starting to dance to the music. He got his groove on,” she says.

James faced an anxious wait after submitting his video audition to join the group of 30 picked to perform at the Music Theatre International (MTI) Junior Festival in January 2021.

Technically too young to audition, he was just shy of his tenth birthday when he sent his tape off.

“You had to be ten, but he was a month off his birthday, and they said to send it [the tape] in anyway.

“I got an email telling us he had been successful, but he was just heading to ballet class, so I didn’t tell him straight away.

“We wanted to make a big thing about it, so I rushed home and printed out photos of New York and we told him when he came home.

“It was just amazing,” Alison says.

The group will spend a week in New York putting together a short sample of a show.

They will then travel to Atlanta to join 7000 other young people for the MTI Junior Festival and perform their show before adjudicators and receive feedback.

“It’s an amazing opportunity,” says Alison who will travel with him as he’s under 16-years old.

The family have been fundraising hard to try and raise $8,000 towards the trip.

“Even if people just donate the price of a cup of coffee, it could make all the difference,” Alison says.

To donate visit

Manaia Huntly, left with sister Tui and brother Taika, is celebrating being disease free. Photo: Supplied.

Manaia’s bravery saluted

The parents of a young boy who has beaten cancer have held a celebration with the community who supported them when their son was so sick.

Manaia Huntley, 8, from Seddon, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in February 2019.

So, when doctors revealed the brave youngster was disease free his delighted family threw a party as thank you- a year to the day after the dreadful diagnosis.

Mum Laura Huntley says the event on Sunday was a way to mark the good news and to thank the community.

She says although the family have only lived in the village for three years, they were welcomed with open arms.

“They were absolutely awesome and with us all the way through. People just rallied around us as if we’d lived here for generations.

“This was a celebration for him [Manaia] now he’s feeling better and for all who helped us” she says.

About 50 people joined the Seddon School pupil alongside dad Tahu and siblings Tui,7, and Taika,4, at the neighbourhood barbecue which included bouncy castles.

Laura says it was great to have something to celebrate after such a tough year.

Manaia was diagnosed with a malignant tumour in the centre of his brain several weeks after he first complained of feeling ill.

He has since undergone surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain, endured four rounds of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiation.

‘He wasn’t quite right for months but nothing I could put my finger on,” Laura says.

“Then one Saturday he just went downhill so fast. I kept trying to wake him and he slumped to one side on the couch. I took him to Accident and Emergency at Wairau Hospital, and they knew then it was brain related.”

The night the tumour was found, dad Tahu was at a work event at Furneux Lodge. He got to the hospital just in time to see Manaia before he was flown to Starship Hospital in Auckland.

Laura spent months with her oldest son at Christchurch Hospital and at  Ronald McDonald House. The separation took its toll on the whole family.

“Tahu was at home trying to juggle working full time and arranging Tui to be picked up from school.

“There’s a real community feel to the town and we just knew people would be there and they were.”

Manaia has now returned to Seddon School four days a week. Laura says that even when he lost his hair, she knew he would never be teased.

“When he lost his hair, some of the children, about 20, shaved their hair off and so did some of the dads.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed, but hopefully there are better days ahead.

“People always turned up for us, dropping off meals, petrol vouchers and offering to help.

“We are just so grateful.”

Sawmill staff working wonders

Sawmill staff have been clocking up qualifications in a bid to move into new roles.

Kaituna Sawmill has seen many of its employees move through the ranks to take on new trades.

And now sawmill bosses hope to encourage others to join the 60-strong team.

Jamie Howieson says he heard about jobs at Kaituna Sawmill after talking to a friend’s brother at a party 16 years ago.

He started stacking timber, then became a forklift driver coordinator, before completing a three-and-a-half-year apprenticeship to become a saw doctor.

Despite his trade apprenticeship being quite specialised, he’s also had the opportunity to try out working in other areas of the sawmill.

“There are quite a few different jobs at the mill. You can move around,” he says.

Ryan Williamson qualified as a maintenance engineer six years ago, having done his apprenticeship at the sawmill.

“I started here just before I turned 17. I’ve been here coming up 11 years now.

Students from local high schools looking at their career options can experience working at Kaituna through the Gateway programme.

Processing around 115,000 tonnes of logs a year, the Marlborough sawmill has started many locals on the career path.

Ricky McKnight began his apprenticeship at the sawmill, and Kane Sullivan, Ryan Williamson, and Jamie all completed apprenticeships.

Kane is a maintenance engineer, who has stepped up to share a departmental manager role.

He says he started at the sawmill in 2011 on the production line, feeding timber into a machine to be wrapped.

He was on night shift and had moved from the food industry.

“It was a big change, but I adapted.

“My biggest regret was that I didn’t do some sort of apprenticeship when I was 20,” says Kane.

Kaituna Sawmill general manager Tracy Goss is encouraging people to get in touch and make the most of opportunities for trade training at the mill.

“If you or someone you know might be interested in a career at Kaituna Sawmill, the time to make an enquiry is right now. Get in touch with me and we can talk to you about where an apprenticeship can lead.”

Rivers rapidly heading to cut off point

The hot, dry weather is putting the region’s water supply under threat.

Residents are being urged to save water as warm weather looks set to continue.

With little rain forecast in the next week, Marlborough District Council staff are recommending residents reduce their water use.

The move comes as several rivers edge closer to cut off levels,

Council’s operations and maintenance engineer Stephen Rooney says rural irrigators could be especially affected.

“Everyone, including Blenheim residents, should avoid watering their gardens or crops during the heat of the day.”

People in Renwick, Picton and Havelock responded well to calls earlier in the month to voluntarily reduce their water usage.

“People in Renwick, Picton and Havelock are doing a great job of voluntarily reducing their water use.

“If this continues, we may be able to avoid water restrictions this summer,” Stephen says.

In Renwick, aquifer levels at the water supply bore continue to drop.

Council has reduced the output from the pumps, reducing the flow into the reservoirs from 55 to 45 litres per second – an almost 20 per cent cutback.

“Renwick conservation-minded residents have done a great job in reducing their water use voluntarily and we ask them to continue with this approach.

“In Picton and Havelock demand is currently matching capacity. Council is using water from the Essons Valley Dam in Picton, and keeping a close eye on water levels.

“Residents in Picton and Havelock are also encouraged to conserve water – every little bit helps,” Stephen says.

Council has advised river water irrigation users to monitor their usage and river levels closely.

All of Marlborough’s rivers have minimum flow levels at which consent holders are required to shut them off – several rivers are rapidly approaching those thresholds.

The Rai River fell below the 1 cubic metre per second shutoff threshold last Friday, with the Wairau River and Waihopai Rivers very close.

Viticulture cadet Jessica Marston features in a documentary about harvest at Villa Maria. Photo: Supplied.

Film first for vintage

A fly-on-the wall film giving viewers a behind the scenes look at vintage is set to make its screen debut.

Villa Maria has teamed up with an American filmmaker to create a feature length documentary, set to be released as the region gears up for its busiest time of year.

Titled Vintage, the movie followed staff from the Fairhall-based winery throughout vintage last year.

First timer Jessica Marston says she not only had her first harvest to cope with but a camera crew to contend with too.

“I didn’t want to do anything wrong; make a wrong move with harvest and I was more worried about that,” she says

The viticulturist, who graduated from Washington State University, says she was fortunate with her first harvest.

“I think I got quite lucky. Previous harvests sound like they were quite rough weather-wise. We also have a cool crew of people.”

Originally from Auckland, Jessica who graduated with a degree in viticulture and oenology has made Blenheim her home.

When she first heard about filmmaker Colin West’s concept for the film, she was keen to be included.

‘I like to talk,” she says.

The film also follows chief winemaker Nick Picone, viticulturist Stuart Dudley, chief viticulturist and Ollie Powrie.

It reveals how the team cope with unforeseen challenges, vastly varying climates, frost-filled early mornings and 24-hour-days.

Nick says it is the first time the vintage process has been captured on film

“For the first time ever in New Zealand, a winery is capturing the vintage process, peeking behind the curtain of the all-consuming harvest period known as vintage.

“You’ll see the passion and hard work that goes into every bottle.”

Director and producer Colin West says the film tells a uniquely Kiwi story.

“It captures the incredible highs and heart-breaking lows of making world class wine in New Zealand.”

“We hoped that everything would go well but we didn’t really know how vintage was going to unfold.  It’s so different from one year to the next,” He says.

Vintage will show on free-to-air television in a partnership with Three on Saturday 15 February at 10:30 PM.

Leicester Rainey gives the newest addition a whirl. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Piano the key to music therapy

A secondhand piano has been given a new lease of life after it found a home with some talented would-be players.

Staff at Care Marlborough and the Mental Health Advocacy Service have been on the look-out for a piano to use as part of a new music therapy programme.

While the initiative is still in the planning stages, the upright piano has taken pride of place at the support group’s drop-in centre on Percy Street in Blenheim.

Visitors have been quick to try out the latest addition which staff hope will benefit both beginners and more experienced players.

The centre’s activities co-ordinator says that some of their regular visitors had played in the past.

“The piano had only been here for 30 seconds when someone started playing it.

“It’s a way for people to change their focus and enjoy something different, she says.

Marlborough Moving & Storage staff collected and delivered the piano for free, much to the relief of grateful staff.

Care Marlborough and the Mental Health Advocacy Service is a community based mental health agency providing both a free advocacy service and a day activity programme for those living with mental illness.

For more information contact Care Marlborough on 578 0302 and MHAS on 579 5304