Cardinal John Dew. Photo: Supplied.

Churches to close as costs spiral

Rising costs are forcing two Marlborough churches to close.

Catholic churches at Renwick and Havelock are to shut permanently it has been revealed today.

The move comes after a cost-cutting review by the Pastoral Council into church properties. The congregation was informed over the weekend.

Churches at Blenheim, Picton, Kaikoura and Seddon will remain open.

Star of the Sea Marlborough Te Whetu O Te Moana Catholic Parish Pastoral Council chairman Greg Stretch say it was a difficult for all involved.

“Parishioners have been kept informed all the way; they’re upset but that’s completely understandable.

“It was not an easy decision.”

Renwick’s Catholic Church of St Francis de Sales was opened by the son of one of Marlborough’s early settlers, Archbishop Francis Redwood

The Sacred Heart Church on Lawrence Street is also to shut.

Both hold mass about once a month, Greg says.

“We will still make sure that the pastoral needs of their community are looked after.

“Now we need to work on the next steps and what happens now.”

The Archbishop of Wellington, Cardinal John Dew, last year asked all parishes in the archdiocese to review their properties.

Spiralling maintenance costs, high earthquake-related insurance levies and calls by Pope Francis for Catholics to look beyond their physical churches sparked the review.

“I am very grateful and appreciate the hard and difficult work done by the Star of the Sea Pastoral Council in conducting this review,” Cardinal Dew says.

Cardinal Dew says it has not been a simple task choosing which churches to close.

“I know it has not been a simple task to balance the requirements of local parishioners across such a geographically wide parish with the need to keep church finances in order in these difficult times.”

The proposals have been approved by the Pastoral Council of the region’s Star of the Sea Te Whetu O Te Moana Parish.

“Most smaller churches were built in an era when people had no cars and walked to Mass. “Today, with fewer priests, rising costs and parishioners more likely to drive to Mass, parishes have been asked to reorganise how they engage with their communities.”

Cardinal John said a further reason was the continuing call by Pope Francis for Catholics to go out into their communities on a mission to engage with those who are marginalised and disadvantaged.

“Nobody can be a member of the Church and be a ‘passive recipient,’ expecting everything to be done for them,” he says.

“We are all called to make our contribution to the Church and to the world.”

James Galloway, Alina Joe, Lucy Bridgen, Maisie Davison and Dave Pauling, with Elijah Galloway and Andrew Kubis, front, take delivery of new technology. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Top up for local schools

A Marlborough based fuel company is helping keep hundreds of school children topped up with technology & sports equipment.

Southfuels a New Zealand wide bulk fuel distribution company has donated $80,000 to schools across the Marlborough region through their Fuel for Schools sponsorship programme.

The nationwide initiative has helped put more than $1 million dollars of resources into more than 350 rural schools in the last twelve years.

Pupils at Richmond View School in Blenheim are the latest to benefit, with a special technology package worth over $5000 delivered on Thursday, this package included 11 Chromebooks, an iPad and other technology for the classroom.

Southfuels Marlborough account manager Maisie Davison says customers nominate a school to receive 50 cents for every 100 litres of bulk fuel they have delivered.

“I’d like to give a big shout out and massive thank you to all our customers throughout the Marlborough region who contribute and all the schools who take part.”

Southfuels customers and programme supporters, O’Donnell Park Barging and Kenny Barging manager James Galloway and Amber-Lousie Connor from Waikawa Fishing Company were at Richmond View School to hand deliver the children get their new technology packages.

“One of our values is betterment for all and we do that in a number of different ways; we have a community van and of course, donate through Fuels for Schools’ says James.

“Being able to see just how much there is and how excited the children are is great. It’s like Christmas.”

When a participating school reaches a $1000 in donations they can pick between a technology or sports package.

Richmond School principal Dave Pauling says the donation makes a big difference to students.

“It helps enormously. We know what we need, and we get to choose.

“Some of these things go to children who might not have them otherwise.”

There are a number of schools in the region whom have benefited from the Fuel for Schools programme in recent times, including Mayfield School, Seddon School, Witherlea School, Linkwater Primary, Ward School, Spring Creek School, Fairhall School, Wairau Valley School and Riverlands School.

To get involved or find out more call Maisie Davison on 0275936229, and start supporting your local school today.

Valve Corporation chief executive Gabe Newell. Photo: Supplied.

Billionaire boss backs charity gamers

A billionaire businessman invited to Blenheim for a gaming tournament sent his apologies – and $500 for a good cause.

Stranded in New Zealand after borders closed due to Coronavirus, American gaming tycoon Gabe Newell, 57, was asked to a LAN party in Blenheim.

And while the president of video game developer and digital distribution company Valve couldn’t make it, he gifted the community organisation money instead.

Marlborough Media reporter Matt Brown helped organise Saturday’s successful MAG LAN gaming event to raise money for Crossroads Marlborough Charitable Trust.

He says he saw the gaming giant on TV One’s Breakfast show last week and decided to invite him along.

“I heard he was quite responsive to emails,” he says.

Gabe is helping to put on a concert to thank New Zealand for having him during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He was on holiday from Seattle when the virus struck and opted to stay in Auckland and work remotely.

Matt says he thought Gabe might fancy a day out.

“I just thought I would try it on and see what happened,” Matt says.

“He got back to me really quickly; I didn’t expect an answer at all.

“I woke up to the reply email and was blown away – it really made my day.”

MAG LAN organiser Nathan Cross says it was a great opportunity to meet face-to-face with people you would otherwise only chat to over the internet.

“It was great to see everyone there having a good time,” he says.

About 12 people attended the LAN party which raised nearly $700.

Crossroads kitchen supervisor Richard McDonald was delighted with how the day went, and the unexpected windfall for the charity.

“I was really happy to see people in here having fun and seeing people connect over a hobby that doesn’t get a lot of support,” he says.

“We’re looking forward to building on that and getting more people in next time.”

Acting principal Nicky Cameron-Dunn, left, with outgoing Bohally School principal Shane Campbell. Photo: Matt Brown.

Principal hangs up his captain hat

A much-loved school principal has relinquished his captaincy as new challenges overseas beckon.

Bohally School principal Shane Campbell was farewelled at a schoolwide assembly on Friday as he looks forward to a new job at an international school in Kuala Lumpar.

And a ship captains’ hat – a symbol of Shane’s leadership given to him when he first joined the school – was handed over to deputy principal Nicky Cameron-Dunn, who will take the role of acting principal until next year.

Shane says he leaves the school in the hands of a “dedicated” group of teachers and specially acknowledged the school’s deputy principals.

“There’s a real strong sense of support from the community,” he says.

The farewell, led by two year eight students, featured songs, dancing, and heartfelt messages of thanks to the principal of five years, with one student saying Shane put them, and learning, above all else.

Bohally board of trustee’s chair Suzie Glover says Shane’s kindness and integrity has always been clear from his actions.

“He builds learning partnerships with parents and whanau.

“He’s focused on the kids first and easy to talk to.”

Suzie says Shane has had a positive effect on the culture at Bohally and wished him “every success” in his new leadership role.

Originally from Golden Bay, Shane took the top job at Bohally in 2015 following a stint as principal at a primary school in Northland.

He joked he had worn through eight pairs of shoes pacing the halls of Bohally.

Under his watch, the school roll has grown from 392 in 2015 to 529 this year and more than 550 students expected next year.

Shane says it’s a privilege to be able to focus funding on just year 7 and 8 students.

“We’re lucky to have an intermediate school in Marlborough,” Shane says.

“What I’ve enjoyed the most is we can spend all the money on two year groups.”

The one thing he says he won’t miss at his new role in Malaysia – the cold, frosty mornings.

Marlborough Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom Heritage Education Programme has been taught by historian John Orchard. Photo: Supplied.

Heritage heroes

A teaching role geared to helping bring local history alive for Marlborough students is set to benefit from a $100,000 sponsorship boost.

Bosses at Marlborough Lines have signed off on a $20,000 a year sponsorship deal with Marlborough Heritage Trust in Blenheim.

The announcement means the trust can employ a senior teacher to run the Marlborough Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom Heritage Education Programme.

The move comes as current senior teacher and renowned John Orchard retires.

John has played an integral role in teacher Marlborough children about the region’s past.

Marlborough Lines chief executive Tim Cosgrove says there is a renewed interest in teaching New Zealand history in all schools and the firm is keen to support this.

Sponsorship will help ensure that Marlborough students have the best opportunities to learn about our local history and area, he says.

Trust executive director Steve Austin says more than 6000 students benefit from the initiative each year.

Funding has been earmarked for the next five years.

Steve says the trust is delighted Marlborough Lines has agreed to support the programme, which will now be known as the Marlborough Lines Heritage Education Programme.

The heritage education initiative is largely funded by the Ministry of Education, but government funding has not been increased for many years.

It also falls short of the full cost of remuneration in today’s employment context, Steve says.

“The Ministry are not in a position to increase funding, but we know that Marlborough schools rely on our programmes to enhance their work in history, geography, social studies, science and technology.

“We have been very fortunate in John Orchard’s outstanding leadership of the heritage education programme, but he has retired now, and we have to be realistic about the new salaries offered by schools in the coming years.

“We need to do our best to match these expectations.”

The Quays in Blenheim are award-winning. Photo: Supplied/New Zealand Institute of Architects’

The Quays make key impression at top architect comp

A bid to brighten central Blenheim has taken out top honours in a prestigious architectural awards competition.

The Quays has scooped first place in the Public Architecture category at this year’s New Zealand Institute of Architects Awards for the Nelson/Marlborough area.

Held recently in Nelson, the local awards honours best new architecture in each of the NZIA’s eight regional branches.

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett says the award recognises the work by Studio of Pacific Architecture who made a real effort to understand the community’s requirements for this space.

“The Quays is a space that supports a series of formal and informal functions.

“This landscape-led development re-establishes the river edge’s historical use as a cultural, social, and economic hub, and also provides a key focus for the new library and gallery,” he says.

Winners at the Local Architecture Awards level can also be considered for further honours at a national level.

The Quays was designed by Studio of Pacific Architecture Limited and has helped to re-establish the connection of the Taylor River to Blenheim’s town centre.

Council’s Property and Community Facilities Manager Jamie Lyall says he and his staff were thrilled with the result.

“We are proud of this space and it is great to see the area being used more often by members of our community.

“We look forward to watching the use of The Quays increase and evolve as the new library and art gallery takes shape.”

Flaxbourne farmer John Hickman at the edge of Lake Elterwater. Photo: Matt Brown.

Flaxbourne farmer’s protester challenge

A Marlborough farmer fed up with a lack of action from climate change protesters has challenged them to walk the walk.

Fourth-generation Flaxbourne farmer John Hickman is looking for people to help pioneer change in a practical way.

The forward-thinking farmer wants to give people the chance to help – by getting their hands dirty.

“What got me going was the climate change protests,” he says.

“People were protesting to council and government – and I don’t think that’s the right way to get things done.”

To get the ball rolling, the Taimate Angus co-owner has fenced wetland on his 750-hectare farm and ordered 2000 native plants.

All he needs now is people power to help get the project underway.

He says people should take responsibility for the environment, but that many don’t know where to start.

“I want to give people who are anxious, who are worried about the future, an outlet – something to do that will make a difference to the environment for both habitat restoration and potential climate mitigation”.

“It’s up to each person but a lot of people simply don’t have the means.

“We have the land and the plants, but we struggle with the time,” John says.

Several years ago, John a neighbour and another worker spent weeks planting 6000 natives around Lake Elterwater – which his farm borders.

He says a flood in the first year buried the plants in debris, then it got so dry he and the neighbour had to pump water via a fire pump from the lake to keep them watered.

“It’s a hard environment to get things going, southerlies and northerlies roar through here.

“But we’re now building on a strong base.”

The lake, now boasting healthy lowland totara, kanuka, manuka, Carex, Oleria, Hoheria, cabbage trees, kowhai and flax attracts birdlife that people travel from throughout New Zealand to see.

“The lake’s a showcase area but there are other areas around the farm, other habitats that can be restored,” he says.

The programme has inspired John to replicate the success in other areas in the farm – with hopes to take it even further.

“So, I’m getting the ball rolling and getting things going from here.”

“I wanted somewhere that could link farmers and people that want to help.

“It’s also a way for farmers to do a larger area of planting and brings their cost down.

“At the same time, it helps the urban people that are feeling helpless.”

John says it will also help to break down the rural/urban divide.

“I’m a farmer.

“I don’t consider myself a massive environmentalist, but I do consider myself a protector of the land.”

The first planting day is organised for 9 August.

To get involved email [email protected]

“People, instead of protesting, can come help us out.”

Cuddon Engineering. Photo: Matt Brown.

Retirement beckons for Cuddon boss

After almost 14 years at the helm of one of Blenheim’s oldest companies, a well-known businessman is ready to make some life changes.

Cuddon Limited Blenheim chief executive Andy Rowe has announced he is standing down from September.

Spending time with his wife Marion, his grandchildren and helping others in the community are top on his list of priorities, he says.

“Let’s call it semi-retirement as I will be looking for projects and or short-term work, so I don’t drive Marion mad.

“I think we had come to the realisation as a family through a number of events across our wider family members that we need to start to think about what our next steps were,” he says.

With other community commitments and Cuddon in a strong position, the time feels right to make a move, Andy says.

Terry Duff has been appointed as the new chief executive of the firm which is in its 87th year of operations.

Andy Rowe. Photo: Supplied.
Andy Rowe. Photo: Supplied.

The engineering manufacture business is in a strong position, making it a good time for change, Andy says.

“Cuddon Ltd is in a strong position and as such this is a good time for a shift in leadership, I think it is also very healthy for an organisation to have fresh eyes every so often.”

But bidding the business farewell will not be easy, he says.

“There are two really key areas that I will miss and the first of these are the people, particularly those that work within the business but also those that we do work for.

“The second thing is the huge range that we are able to do as an organisation at Cuddon Ltd across both national and international markets.”

Andy says he will spend time with the incoming CEO handing over the reins.

He the hopes to spend more time at the family’s Kenepuru Sound property.

“I will also be looking for some project-based pieces of work or using my skills to help others in business and or community.

It’ll be great to have time for the grandkids and their adventures as they progress.”

Making the announcement, principal shareholder and director John Cuddon says the firm was delighted to have attracted a new chief executive of Terry’s calibre.

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett gave Mike Tahere and his wife a lift from the airport. Photo: Supplied.

Uber Mayor steers couple in right direction

Marlborough’s mayor stepped into rescue a couple stranded at the airport – by turning taxi driver.

With no taxis available, retired senior constable Mike Tahere and his wife were delighted to be offered a lift by a kind-hearted stranger.

It was only when they got chatting that they realised it was Marlborough Mayor John Leggett who had helped them out.

The grateful visitors posted to Facebook to say thank you and to the people of Marlborough who made them so welcome.

“I just wanted to thank his worship the Mayor John Leggett that gave my wife and I a lift into Blenheim from the airport last Friday afternoon as there were no taxis available.

“It was a great start to our weekend in Marlborough.”

In town for a 60th birthday celebration, Mike and his wife were part of a group of 30 people from Paraparaumu.

John says he had been in Wellington for a local government meeting when he passed the couple by the empty taxi rank outside the terminal.

“I heard the word Uber so I explained we didn’t have that but asked where they were going, and I was going straight passed Chateau Marlborough so offered to take them.

“They were a genuinely, lovely, nice couple and we got chatting and had a few laughs along the way.

“They were here to have a great time and I’m delighted that they did,”

Mike was full of praise for the region, complimenting Chateau Marlborough where they stayed and the Clubs of Marlborough where the party was held.

“We enjoyed our stay at the Chateau Marlborough, great accommodation, service and meals.

“The ladies enjoyed shopping therapy on Saturday morning. In the afternoon we went on a wine tasting tour at Bladen winery.

“Thanks to the Marlborough people for your hospitality, we enjoyed ourselves and we will be back.”

Corey Hebberd. Photo: Supplied.

Rangitāne supports iwi business

Rangitāne o Wairau has launched a special fund to help support people and businesses suffering hardship in the wake of COVID-19.

After delivery more than 300 emergency food and hygiene packs during lockdown, iwi are now helping with the recovery process.

Rangitāne Investments Limited commercial property manager Corey Hebberd says times are tough for everyone.

“We know that doing business is tough right now.

“Our commercial arm, like all businesses, is feeling the effects of COVID-19.

“Now more than ever, we need to focus on supporting local – and, where we can, supporting our own whānau enterprises.”

New oranga fund Te Kura Ora has been set up to help support whānau who need one-off financial support.

Plans for a directory of whānau businesses have also been bought forward in a bid to help.

The Directory, Rārangi Pakihi o Rangitāne, was published on Thursday on the Rangitāne o Wairau website.

It’s about helping, says Corey.

“This message is about the next steps that we are taking to support whānau, particularly those who own a small business.

“Both the Iwi Trust and our Iwi Investment Company contract and employ services via small businesses in our community to deliver our work programme.

“Not only are we sharing details with our wider whānau and iwi on their services, but we’ll also be engaging and contracting them where we’re able to.”

Email [email protected] to register on the Rangitāne Business Directory.

If you need support contact the office on (03) 578 6180.