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]

It’s hoped more staff on the ground will also help put an end to any anti-social behaviour. Photo: Supplied.

Ranger number boost in region

Extra council staff will be out over summer, doubling the region’s rangers.

Marlborough District Council got a funding boost of $183,610 to appoint two more rangers over the busy summer period, taking the total to four.

Rangers will visit camp sites and other spots to ensure things are running smoothly.

And it’s hoped more staff on the ground will also help put an end to any anti-social behaviour as they encourage people to be responsible campers.

Council’s reserves and amenities manager Jane Tito says there has been a big increase in the number of visitors camping at Marlborough’s responsible camping sites – up from 7,000 in 2016 to 12,000 in 2018.

“On top of the funding for additional rangers, council was also successful in getting funds of $25,000 from central Government’s Tourism Infrastructure Fund for a feasibility study on a long-term, sustainable approach to the management of responsible camping sites in Marlborough,” Jane says.

The study will also include consultation with iwi, the camping and motorhome associations and other interested groups.

Council’s Freedom Camping Bylaw 2012 was last reviewed in 2016 and the new review is scheduled to commence in July 2020, following the results of the study.

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.

Salvation Army major Deane Goldsack and social worker Bridget Nolan hope Marlburians will help them spread Christmas cheer by donating gifts for children. Photo: Matt Brown.

Operation Gifts for Kids

Hundreds of children who might otherwise miss out on a gift this Christmas are set to benefit from the Salvation Army’s toy appeal.

Staff have launched a public appeal for toys in a bid to spread Christmas cheer to those less fortunate.

More than 200 families are expected to receive brand new toys for their children as a part of the Christian organisation’s Operation Gifts for Kids.

Salvation Army social worker Bridget Nolan says the gifts go to families that are “doing it tough” over the holidays.

“The concept is a relief for families from the stresses of Christmas,” Bridget says.

“Things are coming up – uniforms, school camps, and they’re expensive.”

She says the support at the “stressful” time of year enables families to pay a bill or afford food instead of shelling out for pricey presents.

“And every child deserves a brand-new toy,” she says.

Eligible families are referred to the Salvation Army from other regional social services.

Salvation Army officer Deane Goldsack says their unique token gift system gives the decision on what their children receive for Christmas back to the parents.

Though the toy appeal has been running for several years, Bridget introduced a token system.

Inspired by the Dunedin Salvation Army and modified for Marlborough three years ago, the system enables parents or care-givers to personally choose gifts for their children from a room specially decorated for the occasion.

Each family gets a free family game and a free book, then, tokens are issued to the family.

Expensive toys cost more tokens.

Bridget says last year, 109 families and about 230 kids received presents through the operation.

And the number is expected to grow this year.

“The public and business supporters have been very generous in the past,” Bridget says.

“We’d like to say thank you to the past supporters in previous years and hope they can support again.”

Donations of new toys for children can be dropped to the Salvation Army Family Store, on Redwood Street, or the Salvation Army Centre on the corner of George and Henry Streets.

Financial donations for toys are also accepted.

This year, the Salvation Army are the recipients of the Kmart Wishing Tree – toys donated to the wishing tree will also go towards Operation Gifts for Kids.

To donate or for more information, call Bridget on 035780990.

Charlie Chambers, 5, “loves” the massive Christmas tree in the Blenheim town centre, especially the “big, giant sparkly star”. Photo: Matt Brown.

Council splash out on big-budget baubles

Christmas cheer comes at a cost – as council staff reveal the price of decorations in the Blenheim CBD.

The 20-metre tall Chinese-bought Christmas tree was bought in late 2015, just in time for the yule season.

But four years on – the “faded” baubles have spurred council to sink more than $10,000 on new decorations.

Marlborough District Council reserves and amenities officer Robert Hutchinson says the region’s famously sunny weather is to blame.

“The display had lost its bite,” he says.

New baubles for the Christmas tree in the Blenheim CBD cost more than $10,000. Photo: Matt Brown.
New baubles for the Christmas tree in the Blenheim CBD cost more than $10,000. Photo: Matt Brown.

The tree, baubles and lights cost council more than $50,000 in 2015.

Robert says the red and gold baubles didn’t last as long as anticipated.

“The baubles should last five years,” he says.

“The red faded quite badly; the weather has these effects.”

Staff were hard at work last week putting the tree up in the town’s central business district where it got plenty of attention.

Blenheim man Simon Green says he liked the decorations.

“It is what it is,” he says. “[Council] weren’t going to get decorations from Kmart, were they?”

But Alicia Oliver was highly critical of what she thought was unnecessary spending.

“There are 135 homeless people sleeping rough,” she says. “Why spend money on decorations?”

“There are people without shelter or food.”

The tree itself has a 15-year lifespan, but Robert says so far, it’s standing up well to the punishing climate.

The 40 four-metre-long strings of blue and green baubles were purchased from Celebration Group, in Auckland, for $10560.

Robert says considering the length of the strands of bauble, 160 metres, the cost is “pretty small”.

“We could have put 20 strands on there, but it wouldn’t look very good,” he says.

The replacement decorations fall within the Christmas decoration budget, $20,000 per year for street decorations in Blenheim and Picton.

The budget includes an electrician and staff to wire and erect the tree.

Robert says they will watch and see the effect of weathering on the new green and blue baubles.

If they fade, he says council will look at new colours.

The 93-year-old former nurses’ home at Wairau Hospital is being demolished. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Nurses’ home gutted as demolition begins

Demolition work has begun on one of Blenheim’s oldest heritage buildings, spelling the end of an era for the local landmark.

Workers moved in on the derelict Wairau nurses’ home last week to start stripping out the interior.

Specialists will then be called in to remove a significant amount of potentially dangerous asbestos discovered inside the 93-year-old building.

The red-bricked facility in the grounds of Wairau Hospital has lain empty for almost six years, costing health bosses around $30,000 to keep the building fenced off.

Nelson Marlborough health finance performance and facilities general manager Eric Sinclair says work is expected to be finished by March next year.

The building has sat vacant for several years. Photo: Paula Hulburt.
The building has sat vacant for several years. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Around $1million has been earmarked to pay for the work.

“Demotion of the Nurses Home at Wairau will take place over the next few months.

“Initially a soft demolition will occur – which is the removal of things like carpets, doors, toilets, pipes and roofing iron. After that the bigger machines come to site to deconstruct the larger elements,” he says.

Concerns over asbestos and seismic rating issues meant the former home would cost too much to address accessibility and fire safety problems.

Nelson Marlborough District Board staff decided demolition was ultimately a better use of public health funds.

Nelson Marlborough health finance performance and facilities general manager Eric Sinclair. Photo: Supplied.
Nelson Marlborough health finance performance and facilities general manager Eric Sinclair. Photo: Supplied.

The building’s foundation stone will be kept and installed with other historic foundation stones.

There is nothing else nothing else considered salvageable, Eric says.

“There are no other features considered worth saving on the house as the building was utilitarian in its original design.

“From it’s opening in 1926 the building provided a significant home and workplace for many staff who hold fond memories and interesting stories.”

There are several options being considered for the site when it is cleared.

The land could potentially be used for expansion in the future.

“A number of options are being considered but there is no urgency to determine future use.

“It is important to note that the location of the old nurses’ home was determined as the zone where any future expansion of Wairau Hospital would occur when the site master planning work was completed prior to the rebuild of the Wairau hospital 10 years ago.

“So, any use of the location will need to be cognisant of this master planning,” Eric says.

Increased access to some east coast beaches is threatening the burgeon recovery of the quake damaged landscape. Photo: Matt Brown.

Council controversy over plan to ban drivers from beaches

A controversial bylaw which may ban drivers from beaches along a 45-kilometre stretch of coastline has been given the go ahead by council.

Marlborough District Council staff agreed earlier this week to draw up a bylaw banning drivers from the Awatere River mouth to the Ure River mouth.

The move comes after concerned residents implored council to take action to protect threatened indigenous species.

A bylaw restricting access to a 45-kilometre stretch of coastline has been given the go ahead by council. Photo: Matt Brown.
A bylaw restricting access to a 45-kilometre stretch of coastline has been given the go ahead by council. Photo: Matt Brown.

But the plan has “staggered” some of those who routinely use some of the access roads and beaches.

Council strategic planner Sarah Edmonds says increased access was hampering the recovery of the environment.

“There will be long-term damage if vehicle access continues.

In a report presented to council’s planning, finance and communities committee on Thursday, Sarah says the council has a “duty” to control vehicle access.

The report proposed cutting off beach access to vehicles, from Redwood Pass to Ward, and introducing a speed limit at Marfells Beach and Ward Beach, where boats could still be launched.

The bylaw would also restrict vehicles on unformed roads.

Marlborough Angling and Surfcasting Club president David Miller says he was “staggered” the bylaw was approved.

“I can’t believe it. They can’t close beaches off like that.”

David, who fished along the stretch at least 10 times a year, was also part of a group that cycled the coastline.

“Recently we cycled to the lighthouse and had a picnic. We were on the sand, so we were no damage to the environment.”

He had previously attended a meeting in Ward where members had discussed their concerns about quad bikes running over dotterel birds and their nests, before suggesting a vehicle ban.

“I said all beaches are legally public roads and that the council didn’t have the authority to restrict access to a beach like that.”

He would encourage the club’s 70 members to object during the bylaw’s consultation period, which had not yet been given a set date, he says.

A fisherman, who did not want to be named, said someone would end up “drowning or getting hurt” trying to access areas on their boat close to reefs, which were previously accessible on a quad.

“The new bylaw means you can only launch small boats from, say, Marfells Beach, but it’s rough there at the best of times.”

Forest and Bird top of the south regional manager Debs Martin said the news was received with excitment, but resignation.

“We know we’ll have another summer of damage along the shore in the interim, while the bylaw is being drafted.”

Councillor Cynthia Brooks says it was a “significant day” for the council.

“There’s a lot of history around vehicle use on the coastline, but it’s not the coastline it was three years ago, and it’s under threat.

“It’s one of the few wildernesses left in this country.”

LDR - Local Democracy Reporting

TJ’s Roofing staff stepped in at the last minute to help Pine Valley Outdoor Centre. Photo: Supplied.

‘Shining knights’ raise the roof and save the day

A Marlborough company has stepped in at the last minute to help a stricken charity looking to raise the roof – literally.

Dubbed ‘Knights in shining Coloursteel’ by a grateful Pine Valley Outdoors Centre Committee, staff at TJ’s Roofing quickly responded to a plea for help on social media.

The kind-hearted team turned up to put a new roof on the house destined for the popular outdoor centre after a contractor suddenly pulled out of the project.

Nicknamed Good Bones, the bungalow is set to become the new facilitator’s house.

Trust member Talia Burton-Walker says the team were left in a “bit of a bind”.

“Unfortunately, another Marlborough roofing contractor who had offered to install the roof had to pull out unexpectedly at the last minute, so, with all other aspects of the project ready to go to meet our timeline, we were in a bit of a bind.

“We put the word out on social media and TJ’s Roofing responded to our plight almost immediately.

We are incredibly grateful to them,” she says.

The relocated house, currently based at Coffey House Removals in Blenheim, will be transported to the Pine Valley Outdoor Centre next year.

Once there, it will become the home of Pine Valley camp facilitators and administrators, a position being created as part of an overall project to revitalise and future-proof the attraction.

The Pine Valley Outdoor Centre has been looked after by Pine Valley farmers Lloyd and Val Mapp for the past 35 years, who are now retiring.

“This building, and a facilitator on-site, means we can continue to keep the camp open and build on the wonderful facilities already there.

“Without this building we would have to consider closing the centre,” says Talia.

TJ’s Roofing owners Tim and Samiie Pine say they were, “very happy to help and to do something to support our community”.

Talia says the Marlborough community has been incredibly supportive of the house refurbishment, with offers of free or heavily discounted products, time and expertise.

“Roofline Marlborough supplied the roof, Marlborough Pre-Cut Ltd supplied the purlins and, Daveron Scaffolding the scaffolding.

“The team from G.K. Fyfe Painting Contractors have also generously donated 36 hours of paint prep to get the building ready for the painters.”

“This really is a project for the community, made by the community.”

To donate or assist with the refurbishment of Good Bones, email [email protected] or visit the Pine Valley Outdoor Centre Facebook page.

Hospice Marlborough’s volunteer coordinator Moerea Mustard is helping spread festive cheer for a good cause in partnership with Farmers. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Individually boxed baubles are for sale at Farmers in Blenheim for $10 each, with the option of adding a donation to Hospice Marlborough at the checkout.

This year’s design is the work of NZ artist Spencer Bellas. The ngaru, Māori for wave, represents the journey through life and the way waves moving together as whanau.

All proceeds from baubles bought at the Blenheim Farmers store go directly to Hospice Marlborough.

Robbie Parkes with his family dog has a secured a diabetic alert dog to from Australia. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Alert dog from across the ditch makes dream come true

The family of a young diabetic boy saving to buy an alert dog from Australia have secured their special pooch.

Four-year old Robbie Parkes from Linkwater and his family have been fundraising for the $20,000 dog after the youngster fell seriously ill earlier this year.

Diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes, Robbie needs the new furry friend to alert his family to any major changes in his insulin levels.

The dogs are not available in New Zealand.

After three months of frantic fundraising the relieved family have raised enough to buy the dog.

Now they have turned their attentions to getting Robbie over the ditch to train with is new canine companion.

Mum Diane Parkes says she is very grateful for the community’s support.

“There are some very special people out there who have been so supportive.

“In just over three months months, we’ve raised $20,000 for the dog which is now ordered.

“We were lucky to have so many items donated for auction we had too much, so we are having this second fundraiser.

“The funds will go towards getting Robbie to Australia at the end of training and to pay insurance for dog etc,” she says.

A quiz and auction night will be held at the Woodbourne Tavern on 29 November at 7pm.

Tickets are $20 each for tables of eight people and are available from All About You lingerie shop on Maxwell Road in Blenheim or through Diane on: 021 525 630.