Paula Hulburt

Bohally Intermediate School acting principal Nicky Cameron-Dunn. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Warning over online abuse

A Marlborough principal is warning parents to be on their guard when it comes to social media as staff grapple with increasing fallout.

Bohally Intermediate School staff have sent out an email to parents highlighting the harm social media can cause.

Acting principal Nicky Cameron-Dunn says she has seen a rise in the number of social media related issues students are dealing with.

Nicky says her personal advice is for no students to use social media platforms until they are 14 years old.

“It’s much more of an issue now than ever before and it’s only going to get worse.

“My personal advice would be for no students to use social media platforms at this age but ultimately it is up to parents to decide that for their own child.”

Using social media outside of school is having a flow on effect at school, says Nicky.

All mobile phones must be handed in to the school office at the start of the school day.

The school also uses blocking devices to help keep pupils safe.

But what they are accessing at home is spilling over at school, Nicky warns.

“They come into school and are emotionally upset, have anxiety and do not feel valued.

“Using these platforms to destroy others and spread rumours is inappropriate and they’re too young to understand the ramifications and reflect on what they’ve done.”

The school also sent out a link to parents to go to for advice.

But social media savvy children are going to great lengths to keep their online activities off the parental radar.

“We know that students often have numerous accounts yet may only show one to their parents which looks okay,” Nicky says.

Monitoring social media use is key to ensuring it is only used positively, she says.

The minimum signup age for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube is 13.

Net safe NZ say a child’s social and emotional capability is still developing and they will find it difficult to identify and deal with challenges.

“If your child is under 13 and keen to use social media, consider their capability to manage potential online challenges before setting up a profile.

For more advice about staying safe online visit

  • A third of New Zealand teens (33%) spend 4 or more hours online in an average day.
  • 4 in 10 currently use 5 or more social media platforms. • 1 in 4 would be devastated if they had no access to digital technologies for a month.
  • Nearly 8 in 10 agree “there are a lot of things on the internet that are good for people my age”.
  • There are gender differences in teens’ use of digital devices, the activities they carry out online, and their preferences for specific social media platforms.
  • Teens regard themselves as confident technology users. Over 4 in 10 rarely or never seek support regarding an online or technical problem
  • Overall, teens highly rate their knowledge of online safety, but over 1 in 10 (13%) do not know much about it.
  • Just over half (56%) agree it is helpful to set age restrictions and block access to content.
Nurses, receptionists and administration staff picketed in Blenheim. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Health staff warn over pay gap consequences

Disgruntled medical staff are warning doctors’ surgeries could lose seasoned staff over an ongoing pay battle.

Primary Health Care Nurses (PHC) across Marlborough joined colleagues across the country in strike action on Thursday.

Staff warn the problem is set to get worse and recruitment will become a problem if pay disparity problems are not solved soon.

Gathering at Seymour Square to picket for equal pay in line with District Health Board nurses, staff say they are being paid 10.6 per cent less.

Civic Family Health practice nurse Allison Griggs says while she has the support of practice bosses, their hands are tied.

“We’re losing good nurses with lots of experience because of it.

“They’d rather work for the DHB where they get paid more.”

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) says failed mediation meant the strike was inevitable.

NZNO issued a strike notice covering about 3200 Primary Health Care (PHC) nurses and receptionist/administration staff across more than 500 practices and accident/medical centres nationwide on 19 August.

NZNO union representative Daniel Marshall was at the strike.

He covers the whole of the Top of the South and says the pay gap is set to widen even further.

“There have been long standing issues over pay disparity and it’s about to be amplified as the government considers another pay rise for DHB nurses.

“It’s becoming harder to retain experienced staff and to attract new staff as the gap widens.”

Lister Court Medical reception lead Jo Ball says she had never walked off the job before.

She says she chose to strike as staff were not being fairly recognised for the work they do, especially during the pandemic.

“When we hear about front line services, reception staff are being forgotten about.

“People don’t see us as health care workers, as a nurse or a doctor, but we deal with the fallout from Covid every day.

“We want to feel valued as front line workers,” she says.

NZNO Industrial Advisor Chris Wilson says staff are not being shown how valuable their efforts are, especially during the pandemic.

“We have had enough of constantly hearing how valuable they are when absolutely no effort is being made to show that value in any tangible way.

“We need the Government to urgently do the right thing for the people who help save lives during the perilous time of a pandemic.

“That would be in the interests of everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand right now.”

Marlborough is one of the driest places in New Zealand. Photo: File.

Water shortages loom as rainfall levels disappoint

Water shortages are looming as latest rainfall totals are revealed with not much respite in sight.

August will fall short of normal rainfall totals it was revealed today, making Marlborough one of the driest regions in the country

Speaking to Marlborough District Council’s Environment Committee on Thursday, environmental scientist – Hydrology Val Wadsworth says soil moisture levels are suffering.

“Marlborough is one of the driest regions in New Zealand – we are only ever six to eight dry weeks away from water shortage issues.”

It’s a big difference from just two months ago, she says.

“Only two months in 2020 – May and June – recorded above average rainfall across the district.

“Annual totals for the year to date are generally about 60 percent to 75 per cent for most of Marlborough.

“A few sites in the Sounds and Te Hoiere/Pelorus areas are up to 90 per cent of the year-to-date (YTD) total.”

Val says in some areas the July and August totals are less than half of the normal rate.

Eastern and Southern Marlborough are sitting at between 45 per cent and 65 percent with Northern and Western Marlborough coming in at between 65 per cent to 75 per cent.

“NIWA is predicting the next two months rainfall to be about normal. There is still time for some good spring rainfall and nature does sometimes tend to balance itself out, but it is not a given.”

“The rainfall over the last few days will be very beneficial for early spring pasture growth,” says Val.

“Despite this, more rainfall is needed in spring to further replenish soil moisture and river base flows for the coming summer.”

The steadily declining Wairau Aquifer will get a much needed boost from the snowfall earlier in the week.

Snow cover in the Marlborough high country is a significant contributor to summer flows, Val says.

“Good Wairau River flows are a key part of the recharge mechanism for the steadily declining Wairau aquifer.

“Pastoral farmers will be the first to feel the pinch if moisture levels don’t produce sufficient spring growth to carry into summer. Irrigators will also be affected if river flows fall to below cut-off levels early or for prolonged periods,” she says.

The Wairau River is flowing below average for this time of year, with flows at between 60 per cent and 70 per cent of normal and the Awatere is at 75 per cent.

Amy Cragg, Marianne Govaerts, Anne Goodyear, and Emily Gidlow are supporting Breast Cancer Foundation New Zealand. Photo: Supplied.

Picton Pink Ribbon Fundraiser takes glam to the next level

A Pink Ribbon Breakfast in Picton is taking glam to the next level in a bid to raise money for the Breast Cancer Foundation of New Zealand.

Oxley’s Bar & Kitchen is hosting their first annual Pink Ribbon Breakfast Event on Sunday 6 September 6 from 10am to 1pm.

Organisers hope guest host and popular Sydney-based drag queen Miss Felicity Frockaccino will help get ticket sales soaring for a cause that is close to their hearts.

One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Breast Cancer Foundation of New Zealand.

Business owner, Amy Cragg is contributing the venue, staff, and entertainment and says local support has been overwhelming.

“Every business we have approached to contribute has said yes, without hesitation.

“Ticket sales alone will raise $5,000, and we have some fantastic auction items which could double that figure.

“The highest valued item so far is an original artwork by Liz Kempton, which usually goes for around $1,400,” she says.

Oncologist nurse Karen Little-John from Wairau Hospital is one of two guest speakers.

She will share her perspective on treating cancer patients.  What to look out for and what support is available locally.

Second guest speaker is Waikawa Marae manager Allanah Burgess, who will outline their services, including community support.

Funds raised for the Breast Cancer Foundation go towards educating the public about breast cancer (which is New Zealand’s most common cancer in women), support those diagnosed with the disease, medical grants, and distributing money for breast cancer research.

The breakfast will be held on Sunday, 6th August 10am – 1pm.

Tickets are $50 each (100 max) and can purchase at Oxley’s Bar & Kitchen.

Planting work done by Taimate farmer John Hickman to restore native ecosystems may be eligible for future help. Photo: Matt Brown.

New fund to help nurture nature

A new $70,000 dollar a year fund has been set up to help keep Marlborough’s habitat happy.

Marlborough District council have set up the new Working for Nature/Mahi mō te Taiao in a bid to make the environmental grant process easier.

The new initiative will soon be on offer to landowners, businesses and community groups who meet the guidelines.

Deputy Chair of the Environment Committee Gerald Hope says the move puts the process on a par with council’s sports, arts, heritage and youth funding practice.

“Council has successful community grant schemes for sports, the arts and culture, heritage and youth but our environmental grant process has been less well coordinated.

Working for Nature will bring a much better structure to our process for granting funds for environmental protection and enhancement,” he says.

Funding has been reallocated from the Tui to Town programme and the Greening Marlborough fund.

More money could be made available from other sources, depending on demand, Gerald says.

Initiatives geared towards restoring native ecosystems, protecting native habitat and planting stream banks will be first in line.

The proposed $70,000 annual budget would be split between Habitat Marlborough to help restore native habitat and improve biodiversity and fresh water quality.

Protecting Marlborough is set to benefit from a $45,000 funds boost for animal control projects.

Councillor David Oddie says projects can take place on public, private or Māori-owned land.

“This fund will be welcome news for the many groups and individuals in Marlborough who are striving to improve natural habitats and control pests.”

Projects can take place on public, private or Māori-owned land.

“Successful applicants will be required to sign a funding agreement and provide an accountability report once the money is spent.”

The first round of applications will open on 1 October 2020 and close on 31 October 2020.

The decision is subject to ratification by the full Council on Thursday 17 September.

Children at Blenheim’s Montessori Preschool spread sunshine and smiles as they helped celebrate Daffodil Day. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Flower power

Staff and children donned yellow for the day to help raise funds for the Cancer Society on Friday.

School across Blenheim joined in the national appeal as the annual street appeal was postponed because of Alert Level 2.

“We spent a lot of time discussing how the daffodil is a symbol of hope and what it stands for, says teacher Rachel Roundhill.

Career Navigation days are helping Marlborough students secure jobs locally. Photo: Steve Hussey Photography.

Smooth sailing for students’ career initiative

It was a case of third time lucky for students taking part in a career’s day to learn more about Marlborough’s aquaculture sector.

The visit offered as part of the Career Navigation programme had to be called off twice, once because of Covid-19 and then because of bad weather.

But it was finally all smooth sailing for the students who got the chance to learn about different aspects of the industry from the team at Sanford.

Career Navigator is currently offered to Year 12 and 13 students at Marlborough Boys’ College, Marlborough Girls’ College and Queen Charlotte College.

It pairs students with businesspeople from a range of industries across the region serving as mentors – coupled with the support of over 120 local businesses and organisations.

Programme coordinator Tania Smith says the programme has been very successful.

“Some students have discovered new pathways they had never considered before.

“Other students have had their career pathways confirmed and now they know more about the reality of the industry they were contemplating.”

From sustainability to naval architecture and design, students were given an insight into the seafood industry.

Tania says the initiative has helped students find jobs in Marlborough.

“We’re also really delighted that some of our previous students have found jobs in their chosen field with employers right here in Marlborough.

“It all goes really well with our vision for all young people to have a purposeful pathway into their future,” she says.

“Enormous thanks to Grant Boyd, Rebekah Anderson, Dave Herbert and Les McClung from Sanford for making it such a cool learning experience for us all – and to Springlands Lifestyle Village for the transport.”

Olivia Doonan and Niamh Doherty are hoping people will donate money to help Osgood family. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Great lengths for charity

Going for the chop for a good cause has seen two long-haired ladies lose their lengthy locks.

Niamh Doherty and Olivia Doonan have donated their hair to Freedom Wigs help make wigs for cancer patients.

And the pair are hoping the move will also raise money for Blenheim girl Zoe Osgood who is undergoing treatment for bone cancer in Christchurch.

Both have links to the Osgood family and wanted to help.

Niamh, 12, met Zoe at a school camp and Olivia turned to Zoe’s mum Michelle for advice when she started The Station in Seddon.

Michelle is the manager at the Wine Station in Blenheim but was happy to help.

“She’s always been amazing. She gave me as much information as possible and was totally welcoming,” Olivia says.

Hair by Kardos owner Donna Tupouto’a and manager Debbie Jensen cut 14 inches of hair off before getting it ready to send off by courier.

This is the second time that Niamh has cut her hair off to donate to Freedom Wigs.

She first did it at 8 years old and decided straight away she would grow it again to donate.

“It’s a bit nerve wracking, but exciting,” she says.

Olivia says she only trimmed her hair and had not had a cut properly in 9 years when she decided to help.

“It kept moulting and I was like, no, I need as much on as possible. I want to raise as much as I can for #Zoestrong.”

Zoe has been undergoing chemotherapy which has so far failed to shrink the tumour and she is now scheduled for surgery.

Donations can be made through ASB account: 12-3126-0707216-00, with all money going to the Osgood family.

Members of the Marlborough Amateur Radio Club, Bill Cousins Stuart Watchman, Graeme McKay and Ian Conway. Photo: Supplied.

Radio group make waves at local lighthouse

Amateur radio fans in Marlborough have been making new connections across the world while shining a light on a famous local landmark.

Members of the Marlborough Amateur Radio Club spent the night at the base of Cape Campbell Lighthouse last weekend as part of International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend.

The team took all their ham radio gear with their them and set up in a historic cottage at the foot of the lighthouse which featured in the 2016 hit movie Light Between Oceans.

Former New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters president Stuart Watchman from Blenheim says they were the only group to take part this year.

“Normally there would be other groups around NZ doing the same thing.

“There are about five light houses in total, many are hard to get to, but due to COVID we were the only group that participated this year.”

The annual event is held on the third full weekend in August where radio groups operate from lighthouses across the world.

“We enjoy talking to other people via radio in all sorts of ways during this weekend, direct to radio amateurs around the world using short wave. Direct meaning no internet or cell towers, wireless all the way,” Stuart says.

“It’s also fun to go to interesting places and play with radios.”

The group set up temporary aerials on the beach and contacted other amateurs in Australia, United States, New Zealand, Japan Belgium.

The Marlborough group hold a general meeting on the second Thursday of the month at EOC 4 Wither Road at 7.30pm and a social group meeting on the third Thursday of each month.

Email [email protected] for further information.

Fairhall Cemetery is one of several which will see the cost of burial plots double over the next five years. Photo: Chloe Ranford/LDR.

Burial law revamp could prove costly

Paula Hulburt and Chloe Ranford


A revamp to burial laws could see council bosses forced to hike up fees if forced to take on extra responsibilities.

Marlborough Council could be let counting the cost of any changes to the 56-year-old Burial and Cremation Act, costs which would be passed to the public.

But council are pushing back against extra responsibilities which could see costs climb again.

The move comes just 15-months after a price increase which came into effect on July 1 this year.

Council manages eight cemeteries across Marlborough at Ward (Flaxbourne), Seddon (Awatere), Omaka, Fairhall, Tua Marina, Picton, Havelock and Rai Valley.

Burial fees range from $2145 for a natural burial at Fairhall Cemetery to $981 for an adult burial interment and $193 for ashes to be interred

A Law Commission report says the Burial and Cremation Act is outdated and recommended a raft of changes.

It put forward 127 recommendations to modernise the law that governs death, burial, cremation and funerals in New Zealand.

Changes could see council take on the responsibility for maintaining headstones and monuments which could also raise legal questions about who owned what.

This would come at a “significant cost” to the council, with the “only option” being to increase cemetery fees or rates.

“The council already deals with a number of family conflict issues with cemetery plots and while on the one hand it can be said, ‘we are used to it,’ the reality is that every case is distressing where this occurs,” its submission says.

The council also opposed a suggestion that councils should be the ones to decide whether a family could dig up a body or ashes from a burial place for the same reasons.

It also did not want to become tangled in family disputes.

This was also the case for a new rule which, if approved, could see the council expand its eight cemeteries to include separate burial sections for military personnel or groups of people with common requirements, it said.

Submissions on the act close on 31 October at 5pm.