Mobile dental clinic Seddon patients, from left, Hadley, Maisie and Brodie MacDonald. Photo: Summa MacDonald.

Dental clinic smiles over miles

Tooth savvy children in rural Marlborough towns are giving dental therapists plenty to smile about.

Nelson Marlborough Mobile Dental Clinic has proven a popular draw for children in Renwick, Seddon and Ward, with almost 100 per cent up-to-date with appointments.

This has helped free-up dental therapists to focus their attentions in town clinics to help alleviate a backlog.

The Nelson Marlborough Mobile Dental Clinic was due to visit Renwick, Seddon and Ward one more time this year for annual check-ups.

But youngsters have been so good at showing-up for appointments it won’t need to return until next year, health bosses say.

Nelson Marlborough Health Community Oral Health Service clinical director Phil Sussex says Marlborough mobile clinic users keep most appointments.

“Across our whole service only 9 per cent of appointments are not kept.

“We consistently find this is much lower for the Marlborough mobile clinic users and we think this reflects how much our rural communities value the service.

“Parents understand how important it is to make sure children get their annual check-up”.

The Ministry of Health wants district health boards to aim for less then ten per cent of children to be overdue for an appointment at any one time.

In Marlborough the percentage has dropped from 11 per cent in 2017 to just 2 percent so far this year.

Phil says 1856 children are seen through the two-chair Marlborough mobile service each year.

He credits both parents and staff for helping children keep their appointments.

“It also takes the co-operation of parents and the support of schools who host the mobile clinic on specially-built parking bays with connections for internet, electricity and water.

“Our friendly, experienced dental therapists are very much part of the success of the clinics – they go to great lengths to make sure a child has a positive experience at their appointment,” he says.

The clinic usually makes regular 6-monthly visits to each area. The mobile unit can do the same treatments and preventative measures that can be done at the community hub in Blenheim.

Phil says there continues to be a gradual improvement in the children’s oral health and enrolment rates across the NMH service.

“Different populations do have different rates of tooth decay and it is still sugar, particularly sugary drinks that drive this.

“Our preventative messages about kids drinking only water and milk to keep teeth healthy are up against some fairly difficult competition from advertising.

“Hopefully the kids will be passing this advice on to the adults who could benefit as well,” Phil says.

The mobile clinic will return to Renwick, Seddon and Ward in January next year.

June Maslin was successfully treated for bowel cancer after an at-home test kit detected it early. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Bowel cancer kit saving lives

A Blenheim woman is urging others to take at an at-home test which helped save her life.

When June Maslin got a bowel testing kit in the post, she put it aside; with no family history and no symptoms, at first it seemed like a waste of time.

But she was persuaded by friends to do the test and within a month was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour.

The keen golfer, who has since been given the all clear, is warning others not to ignore the free test kits.

“I nearly didn’t do it but it’s so simple to do and it’s given me a second chance at life,” she says.

The grandmother of one had surgery at Wairau Hospital in April this year and will not need chemotherapy.

She says the 5-minute test detected signs of the cancer before she developed any symptoms.

In the year since it was launched in Marlborough, the bowel cancer screening initiative has seen 15,223 kits sent out.

Sixty-six per cent were returned. The Ministry of Health’s target for return rate is 60 per cent.

“I felt fine, I didn’t have any symptoms, June says. “I really didn’t think there was anything wrong.

“Please do it now, the sooner it’s done, the better peace of mind you’ll have.

“Everybody during this was absolutely marvelous, the hospital staff were fabulous.”

A total of 415 tests have proven positive with 11 of these proving to be cancer.

Nelson Marlborough Health Bowel Screening Programme manager Claudia Teunissen has been helping spread the word at information stalls at festivals, A&P shows and community meetings.

She says the most satisfying part of her role is getting positive feedback from the public.

“People telling me that they have completed the kit and had a negative result.

“Also, when people tell me that I had convinced them to do the test after we had spoken together at another event.

“I also feel I’ve done a good job when people from our priority population want to talk to me individually and even request for a kit to be sent to them,” she says.

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Change manager Sue Lawrence, project manager Grant Pownall and clinical support staff member Lisa Naeyaert with ‘Florence’. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Hi-tech help for hospital helping lighten the load

Sitting in a corridor at Wairau Hospital, Florence is dedicated to helping patients.

Since she started two months ago, the slim new addition has been widely praised for her help and assistance.

Popular with her clerical support colleagues in the hospital’s outpatient’s department, Florence the check-in kiosk has helped cut their workload.

Affectionately dubbed Florence by hospital staff, the new hi-tech kiosk has been brought in by hospital bosses as part of a three-month pilot.

Clinical support staff member Lisa Naeyaert using 'Florence' with project manager Grant Pownall. Photo: Paula Hulburt.
Clinical support staff member Lisa Naeyaert using ‘Florence’ with project manager Grant Pownall. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Project manager Grant Pownell says patient-feedback prompted the move.

“Patients keep saying to us that they would like to interact with us in different ways like emails and patient portals like they might see at their GP

“This is something that we can do right now that might suit better,” he says.

Each patient attending an outpatient appointment is sent a confirmation letter which now includes a scannable barcode.

Florence then checks the patient details are correct before checking someone into the system.

Patients can also enter their National Health Index (NHI) number manually.

“There are security measures in place to make sure that people are who they say they are,” says Grant.

“It’s about seeing if we can keep the flow going by giving staff and patients more information about their journey,” he says.

Developed by Florence Health, the kiosk has been used by around 40 percent of patients.

“There’s always been a bit of rivalry between Nelson and Marlborough and Marlborough is leading the way in the Top of the South with uptake levels,” Grant says.

A receptionist is always available should help be needed.

Change manager Sue Lawrence says Florence is the “way forward.”

“Patients are giving it a go, they may not get it quite right first time but the more times they come in, the better they’ll get.

“The feedback we’re getting from charge nurse managers about what patients think which has driven the change.”

Around 100 people a day visit the outpatient department and for staff, a time-consuming part of their duties is checking people in.

Clerical support’s Lisa Naeyaert says Florence has helped free them-up for other work.

“Florence isn’t taking our jobs, she’s helping.”

Daffodil Day Vehicle Display organisers Bob O’Malley and Kelly Landon-Lane. Photo: Matt Brown.

Classic cars for cancer

Organisers behind a successful charity car show hope to beat their previous record when it comes to raising vital funds.

Now in its third year, the Daffodil Day Vehicle Display raised nearly $10,000 for the local Cancer Society branch at each of the last two events, and this year organisers hope to raise more.

Last year, the show displayed 248 vintage, classic and new cars and trucks and close to 30 vintage motorcycles.

Organiser Kelly Landon-Lane, whose first job was as a “grease-monkey” at Mayfield Motors, says the support they’ve received for the show has been quite humbling.

“The selling point of the whole thing is all the money stays local,” Kelly says.

“Raised local, stays local.”

Last year, close to 30 vintage motorcycles were displayed at the Brayshaw Park vehicle display. Photo: Matt Brown.
Last year, close to 30 vintage motorcycles were displayed at the Brayshaw Park vehicle display. Photo: Matt Brown.

Organiser Bob O’Malley says the display was coined from a national Vintage Car Club push to fundraise money for the Cancer Society.

Initially, the national branch intended to organise a rally, but the Marlborough branch had a better idea.

“There’s a lot of work for a rally and hardly any return,” Bob says.

Blenheim’s Brayshaw Park, the home of the Vintage Car Club clubrooms, will this year open more of its displays during the show.

“We’re doing it with the whole park,” Bob says.

“Dealers give us a good donation and bring their new cars,” Kelly says.

“New Zealanders have a fascination with cars, I’ve been hooked from a young age.”

Bob says the classic cars take him back to his youth.

“The first car I ever had was a Model A, and I have a couple of them now,” Bob says.

Members of the public can display their vehicle on the day for $5.

A gold coin donation on entry is appreciated.

The vehicle display is from 9am to 4pm on 25 August.

Kelly says the display is a “bloody good day”.

Renwick School pupil Hugo Foote, 8, is excited for the imminent arrival of several chicks. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Raising chicken champions

Brother and sister Hugo and Greta Foote are getting ready for some new arrivals.

Renwick School pupils Hugo, 8, and Greta, 6, are getting ready for Pet Day as orders open to buy potential champions.

And the imminent arrival of eight new, fluffy additions to the household has the pair very excited.

“They’re very fluffy and very yellow and like to keep warm in front of the fire,” says Greta.

It will be Greta’s second time helping rear day-old Brown Shaver chicks in preparation to show them at the school’s annual Pet Day.

Outside on the family’s half-acre section, the clucking of past competitors can be heard.

Greta Foote, 6, holds one of her feathered friends which she helped raise from a chick last year. Photo: Paula Hulburt.
Greta Foote, 6, holds one of her feathered friends which she helped raise from a chick last year. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

The family keep all the chicks that make it to adulthood.

Every year schools across Marlborough get the chance to buy 4 chicks for $26.

The goal is to teach children care, compassion and the dedication needed to keep an animal alive.

For Hugo, this year will be his fourth time taking part.

“I’ll take them to Pet Day and hopefully get a place to go on and show them again.

“They love to eat chick crumble,” he says.

Due to hatch in early September, the chicks spend their first few days in a cage near the fire with an all-important heat lamp to keep them warm.

The children complete a daily diary and log the chicks’ weight regularly.

As the chicks grow, they get plenty of room to roam says mum Renee Foote.

“It’s great for the children to have the responsibility and realise that a lot of effort goes in to making sure they survive,” she says.

Dad, David Foote, who grew up on a farm, says he clips the hen’s wings before they get to enjoy their new home in the great outdoors.

“It’s a great learning curve for the kids,” he says.

After Pet Day at individual schools, children can enter their chicks at regional events before going on to show them at Marlborough’s A & P show.

St Andrews Church parishioners, from left Marion Rowe, Kay Ayson and Raewyn Buchanan. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Celebration planned for church’s half-century birthday

The pews shine with a honeyed lustre, worn smooth by generations of churchgoers; well-thumbed hymn books tucked neatly away.

St Andrews Presbyterian Church in Blenheim has a proud history and has played a key role in the lives of many Marlburians.

Now parishioners are set to celebrate its 50th birthday at its Henry St site and are looking for those with links to the church to help mark the special milestone.

Lay preacher Marion Rowe is proud of her connections with the church.

“I was married in this church, two of my children were baptised here and both my sisters married here.

“It has been a hub for celebrations, sharing both sad and happy times together and a place where friendships for life have been made,” she says.

While the church’s history dates back more than a century, fire, flood and the passing of time saw previous buildings disappear.

Marion says the support of the church has been a big part of her life, no matter where it has been situated.

“The church community have believed in me and that’s how I have a leadership role. They’ve all nurtured me and it’s the equivalent of my marae, my spiritual home”.

The celebrations will be held on 12 and 13 October by invitation to all friends, families and supporters of the church.

Celebration committee members Raewyn Buchanan and Kay Ayson have also forged strong connections to St Andrews.

Kay’s watched two daughters marry at the church and three of her children were baptized there and four of her grandchildren.

Raewyn’s godmother was a regular attendee.

“As a child, I always thought it was so dark but then when I came back, I thought how it wraps itself around you,” says Raewyn.

Festivities will include a tour of the church, high tea with entertainment, a dinner and presentation and worship followed by a shared lunch.

Co-organiser Kay says she is looking forward to the special day.

“The ministers were my friends and because I was a regular attendee, Sunday after Sunday, it was a big part of my life,” she says.

The trio hope to encourage younger people to take part in the occasion.

“It’s not just an older congregation. Young people can make memories like we did.

“I hope that the next generation will be sitting where we are in 40 or 50 years,” says Marion.

Anyone who has photographs they can contribute to the event can hand them in at the church office at Henry St.

Contact 03 5797119 and email [email protected]

The old Picton fire engine, which is on display at Brayshaw Park, made a special journey in honour of Peter Tester. Photo: Matt Brown.

Vintage send-off for fireman

A former firefighter has taken his final journey – on a vintage fire engine that takes pride of place in a museum he helped start.

Peter Tester, 71, died suddenly on 2 August.

The proud grandfather dedicated many years of service to Blenheim Volunteer Fire Brigade and was a popular member of the Vintage Farm Machinery Club at Brayshaw Park.

At his funeral service at Cloudy Bay funeral home last week a trio of older-type vehicles were there in honour of the man who helped restore them to their former glory.

Peter Tester will be sorely missed. Photo: Supplied.
Peter Tester will be sorely missed. Photo: Supplied.

As one of the founding members of the fire museum at Brayshaw Park, Peter devoted a lot of time to ensuring items on display were in good order.

Funeral director David Buckley says given Peter’s passion for vintage vehicles it was a fitting tribute.

“When we talk to families, we really try and help them celebrate the life of that person by personalizing a service as much as they need too.

“In Peter’s case he was a fireman and it was practical it [the engine] was involved in some way,” he says.

A steam roller nicknamed Kate that he also worked on was parked outside the Boyce St funeral home while family and friends bid farewell to Peter inside.

Kate the steam roller appeared at Peter's funeral. Photo: Matt Brown.
Kate the steam roller appeared at Peter’s funeral. Photo: Matt Brown.

Once owned by Blenheim Borough Council, Kate was given a new lease of life after 50 years being hidden away by a team of five volunteers, Peter included.

And in a fitting acknowledgement of his commitment, Peter’s family arranged for him to take a last ride on the bright red fire engine.

“The fire engine was driven around the perimeter of the funeral home and as it came level with the steamroller, it stopped and blew its whistle,” says David.

Peter was also a valued member of the Marlborough Historical Society and Brayshaw Heritage Park.

David says that many families chose to personalise services.

“It’s one of those situations that once you start talking about and offering suggestions, it takes off,” he says.

“All I have to do is make sure the funeral service is what they want. Anytime someone sees the steam roller, or the fire engine, they’ll think of Pete.”

Marlborough mayor John Leggett is please Government is taking a closer look at water quality. Photo: Matt Brown.

Water watchdog plan welcomed

Plans for a national water watchdog have been welcomed by the mayor – but with a warning.

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett has embraced government plans to approve a dedicated watchdog and new water regulations.

But he cautioned costs could be an issue for council trying to reach “new benchmarks”.

“The devil could be in the detail … “There is still a long way to go on this issue.

“Council will need to ensure the standards and timeframes are set appropriately so that Marlborough can afford the investment required to meet the new benchmarks,” he says.

Around 34,000 people across the country become ill from their drinking water every year.

Many thousands must boil their water to drink it safely, including Seddon where a boil water notice is still in place.

Marlborough District Council staff are working with officials from the Ministry of Health to ensure water from the new multi-million-dollar water treatment plant meets stringent safety requirements.

Mayor Leggett says the council supports a move from central government to “strengthen its leadership role.”

“It’s great to see that this step change, initially at the regulatory end, is finally occurring,” he says.

Minister of Health David Clark says public safety is a non-negotiable priority.

“Access to safe, clean drinking water is a birth-right for New Zealanders and a key concern for communities up and down the country. Wherever they live, consumers and communities expect to be able to turn on the tap and drink the water without fear of getting ill.”

Volunteers, from left, Breanna Holt, Michelle Dawson, Olivia Cooke and Sophia Wills have started a thrift shop. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Students shift to thrift

It used to display books, but shopping savvy students have set up a thrift shop in an old library to encourage browsers of a different kind.

Inside the former library at Marlborough Girls’ College, student volunteers have set up a clothes and accessories store.

They hope the move will help their peers save money as well as encouraging recycling.

Year 12 student Breanna Holt says the idea for the small store, named Hidden Treasures, was sparked after a visit to Nelson College for Girls.

“We looked at what they had done and thought we could do it too.

“It’s much easier to get to than say Savemart where students have to drive to and most of our items are more affordable,” she says.

Clothes sell for under five dollars or $15 for well-known labels.

After getting the idea okayed by principal Mary-Jeanne Lynch, a subcommittee of the college’s Enviroschools group swung into action.

Volunteers, from left, Olivia Cooke, Michelle Dawson, Breanna Holt and Sophia Wills have started a thrift shop. Photo: Paula Hulburt.
Volunteers, from left, Olivia Cooke, Michelle Dawson, Breanna Holt and Sophia Wills have started a thrift shop. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

A competition to see which class could donate the most saw clothes come flooding in says English teacher Michelle Dawson.

“We held a competition to see what form class could get the most donations with the prize being a pizza-lunch.

“I’ve taught most of the girls at some point and it’s a real pleasure to be working with them again.”

The college is working towards gaining its gold Enviroschools award.

Student Olivia Cooke says the recycling aspect is an important part of the decision to set up the shop.

The store also stocks a range of clothes in the school’s house colours to make it easier for students to find the right coloured clothes at the right price.

Volunteers join a six-week roster and take it in turns to oversee sales.

Student Sophie Ellis says with both the girls’ and boys’ colleges preparing to collocate, a future thrift store would have to expand its range.

“There’ll be opportunity to grow and one day it will have to cater for boys too.

“When we’ve all moved on, it’ll be our legacy”.

Funds raised through sales will be put towards bettering the college environment.

Ben Preece and grandfather James Wilson who has written a book about becoming a vegan. Photo: Supplied.

New chapter for vegan farmer

Fear of suffering a fatal bleed has compelled a fourth-generation Picton farmer to ditch meat for good.

Dawn Chorus chairman James Wilson, 78, suffered two embolisms and believed he was at risk of an internal bleed.

Scared he might die, the conservationist made a nerve-wracking decision, to stop his blood thinning medication.

Once a confirmed “anti-vegan” the father of four adopted a whole-food plant-based lifestyle (WFPB).

“I suffered a pulmonary embolism after an operation for a snapped Achilles tendon.

“Twenty years later I suffered a second, more minor embolism, and due to my history, I was put on warfarin “for life”.

“My health and well-being were less than adequate on this medicine and I worried that I might well suffer a fatal internal bleed.

“Despite medical warnings to the contrary, due to the damage of blood vessels around my heart, I resolved to go off Warfarin, he says.

James, who says he has lost 20kg, has written a book, Plant Paradigm, about his efforts in a bid to encourage others to follow in his footsteps.

“Plant Paradigm, while forcibly putting the case for a whole-food plant-based lifestyle, includes practical answers to many of the frequently asked questions expressed by people considering a change to their way of living,” James says.

A radio interview was the catalyst for his new eating regime.

James says he heard an interview where a doctor spoke of damaged blood vessels being repaired in people following a whole plant food-based diet.

It took him six weeks to settle into the new regime and says he has noticed a dramatic cut in the number of viral illnesses he gets.

“As soon as the interview was over, I made an immediate switch, I was lucky that I was driven by the fear of death.

Subsequently, I feel something like ten years younger than I did, I have suffered almost no colds, no flu and no other similar ailments that I had previously suffered from and considerably less than are normal for a man of my age,” he says.

James says while most of his friends have stuck to their non-vegan ways, some are “closet” vegans.

“I also was upset by many people who were super critical of me in the early days and wanted them to read my reasons for going vegan.

“Then as I aged and became interested in the ecology and finally recognised the cruelty imposed on all farm animals by all farmers.

“So, I guess I started writing it with anger, but by the time I published it the world had moved on

“Ultimately I published it to simply encourage people to go vegan for the pragmatic reasons of health, environmental relief and the avoidance of animal cruelty.”

Marlborough Media has two copies of James Wilson’s new book, Pant Paradigm, to give away.

To be entered in the draw, email [email protected]