The Nepalese Sherpa team: Nabin Shrestha, Padam Prashad Adhikari, Saphal Acharya, Rupesh Acharya, Ambika Basnet Shrestha and Rojee Khadgi. Not pictured are Sumil Shrestha and Yam Kumari Tamng. Photo: Supplied.

Ain’t no mountain high enough

A challenge of mountainous proportions is putting a team through their paces.

The Marlborough Mount Everest challenge got underway earlier this month.

And one Nepalese team are reaching new heights, taking the leader board by storm.

A group of Nepalese friends taking part under team name The Nepalese Sherpa have already clocked up 24390 metres between the eight of them.

The Marlborough Mount Everest Challenge is a run and walk event where the goal is for participants to travel the elevation of Mount Everest (8800 m) in the time that it took Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953 (7 weeks).

Padam Prashad Adhikari says some of their crew even hope to climb the equivalent of Mount Everest twice.

“We wanted to do it to represent our country and some of us are doing it for our own health.

“We’ve got to know more people in Picton and Blenheim who we meet while walking and who comment on the photos we put on Facebook – it helps encourage us on,” he says.

Organised by staff at the Port Marlborough Pavilion in Picton, the challenge is proving popular with 131 competitors currently taking part.

Port Marlborough Pavilion Project Coordinator Regan Russell says the event is going well.

“We have 131 competitors that have so far logged bang on 600 climbs. We have had some big numbers already with Iwan one of the individuals climbing to an altitude of 6396 meters in the ten days since we have started.”

“We aim to encourage local people to not only utilise the amazing local walking tracks that Marlborough has to offer, but to get fit while doing so,” Regan says.

The tracks chosen will allow participants to accomplish the goal by running or walking the Tirohanga track 36 times or the Mt Vernon Track 25 times during the seven-week period.

“We usually go out before or after work and try to do two walks back to back and we are certainly getting faster,” says Padam.

Stuart Smith MP and wife Julie were joined by Labour candidate Matt Flight and wife Dallas. Photo: Supplied.

Red tsunami fails to unseat Smith

National MP Stuart Smith has won the seat for the Kaikōura electorate.

Making it three election wins in a row, the incumbent beat closest rival and first time Labour Party candidate Matt Flight by 16,105 votes to 13,823 votes.

Celebrating with wife Julie and supporters at the ASB Theatre’s Whitehaven Room in Blenheim, Smith says he was delighted with the outcome.

Stuart comes from a Canterbury family that were fifth generation sheep and deer farmers.

He has held several local and national roles including being President of the New Zealand Grape Growers Council and Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers. He was subsequently inducted as a Fellow of the New Zealand Winegrowers Board for services to the industry.

In 2014 Stuart entered Parliament winning with a majority of around 11,000 votes and successfully held his seat in the 2017 election by a similar number.

“It is a privilege and an honour to be re-elected as the member of parliament for Kaikōura,” he says.

He was congratulated in person by closest rival Matt Flight who went to the after party to shake Smith’s hand in person.

Matt says he was “humbled and grateful” by the votes he had received

“Whilst we didn’t make it across the line here, I am so proud of our nationwide result that sees Jacinda and Labour returned for another three years.”

Guest judges, from left, Saulo Camillo Nunes, Jesse Mulligan, Fiona Fenwick and Summa MacDonald. Photo: Anthony Phelps.

Perfect pie pair

The pies have been tasted, the wines sipped, and a winner found.

After weeks of searching, the winner of the 2020 Ultimate Burleigh Pie Pairing has been announced.

Jamaican lamb pie and Spätlese Riesling 2017 took out the top spot, beating a record 47 entries from around the region.

Judge and challenge co-founder says the level of interest shows just how much the annual competitions means to people.

“We knew that The Burleigh is the go – to for most folks to satisfy their pie cravings, but this level of involvement has blown us away yet again.

“What started as a few friends getting together over a pie and deciding it was about time the perfect tipple was picked to pair alongside has grown to something really special.”

All $2350 raised through entry fees will be donated to the Marlborough Foodbank.

The winning entry will receive bragging rights, a boxed French brie and their name on the prestigious Burleigh Pairing Trophy.

The four judges – television personality Jesse Mulligan , Marlborough Media co-owner Summa MacDonald, along with Saulo Camillo Nunes, owner of Gramado’s Restaurant, and Fiona Fenwick, – carried out a blind taste test, with official adjudication to ensure fairness all round.

Summa, from Marlborough Media, who sponsored the event, says it was a tough job, but she was happy to help.

“So many delicious pies and wines didn’t make it easy for the judges, but we are a committed crew and somehow pushed through.

“I was genuinely very impressed with the high quality of the entries but not surprised as, living in Marlborough myself, I know that we consistently punch above our weight when it comes to food and wine.”

The winners:

Chicken, Leek & Mushroom – Misty Cove: Landmark Chardonnay 2019

Jerk Chicken – Churton: Natural State Field Blend 2020                        

Vegetarian – Brancott Estate: Fumé Blanc 2011

Mince and Cheddar – Lake Chalice: Lake Chalice Vineyard Selection Merlot 2015

Steak and Blue Cheese – Saint Clair: Saint Clair Rapaura Merlot 2019

Steak, Mushroom and Truffle – Rockferry: The Corners Nebbiolo 2016

Steak and Mushroom – Wither Hills: ‘The Honourable’ Pinot Noir 2016

Steak and Bacon – Novum: Pinot Noir 2019       

Pork Belly – Greywacke: Chardonnay 2013

Jamaican Lamb – Astrolabe: Astrolabe Spätlese Riesling 2017

Wildcard Beverage award:  Devon’s Lemon, Honey & Ginger cordial

The final category in the competition was the public entry, where a new Burleigh Pie flavour could be designed from local ingredients.

The winner was Myal King, 8, with a Tuscan Beef pie with rich parmesan pastry.

About 65 members of the NZ Alvis Club, including Marlburian Ashley McKenzie, pictured, will treat the region to a rally of the iconic vehicle. Photo: Matt Brown.

Alvis rally comes to town

A rally to celebrate the 100th birthday of a popular vintage car will take to the roads this weekend.

One century on from the first commercial Alvis running off the production line in Coventry, England, about 30 of the 1920-styled vehicles will be touring through the region.

Alvis aficionado Ashley McKenzie has helped organise the rally and hopes the public will turn out to admire the vintage vehicles.

“I want to show the passion and dedication that people put into their vehicles,” Ashley says.

About 65 members of the NZ Alvis Club, from Kaitaia to Invercargill, will enjoy local roads and tourist venues, including a mailboat cruise through the Marlborough Sounds.

Ashley says Covid nearly put paid to the rally, and about five participants from overseas had to pull out.

“What overseas entrants that were here have left the country.”

But New Zealand’s Alvis showing is strong, with the oldest vehicle from 1925 to one of the last 1967 models expected to be on display.

Ashley’s 1952 Alvis TA21 needs strong arms as power steering is uncommon on early British cars.

Its 3-litre 6-cylinder 100bhp engine posts a top speed of about 95 miles per hour – about 150kmph.

“It’s a very drivable car,” Ashley says, although there’s a bit of a knack to getting in the front suicide doors.

“You sort of do a half circle and get in,” he says.

Ashley came by the car by chance in the 70s.

“I went to the wreckers on Main St on a Friday. The wrecker said, this is the car you should have.

“I took it away for $50.

“I hate to think what it’s cost me since.”

The 3-litre 6-cylinder 100bhp engine.
The 3-litre 6-cylinder 100bhp engine.

The Alvis Car and Engineering Company produced racing cars, aircraft engines, armoured cars and other armoured fighting vehicles.

Ashley says cars were secondary to the company, behind their military contracts.

“The majority of them [cars] were bought for their performance; even in the 20’s they were way above the market in terms of performance.”

Alvis were ahead of their time in many ways, pioneering front-wheel-drive vehicles, independent front suspension, servo-assisted brakes and the world’s first all-synchromesh gearbox.

Ashley says there are a lot of Alvis vehicles in New Zealand, despite the factory only producing 23,000 vehicles in its lifetime.

“New Zealand was their largest market outside the UK – their biggest sales area,” he says.

“There was a strong dealer network here.”

The vehicles are still being found in barns and garages around the country.

Ashley says one recently sold in Nelson that had just one owner since the 1950s.

“They’re generally pretty well priced.

“There’s one online now for around $18,000 – you wouldn’t find a more quality car.

“They’re sought after.”

Keep your eyes peeled for a convoy of the 1930’s styled vehicle this weekend, and for a closer look head to Patchett’s

Green, just behind the Vintage Car Club rooms at Brayshaw Green, on Sunday from 9am to 1pm.

The CACTUS crew work hard delivering a programme that helps young people build on their skills. Photo: Anthony Phelps.

Sponsorship boost for youth

An initiative geared to helping build life skills and confidence in young people has been given a $90,000 boost.

Marlborough Lines will sponsor the CACTUS (Combined Adolescent Challenge Training Unit Support) programme in Blenheim and Picton.

Over the next three years, staff have pledged to fund $30,000 a year.

Marlborough Lines chief executive Tim Cosgrove says the programme is a good fit with the company’s ideals.

“It has a good spread across the region and is really youth-focused… the programme is already in place, it’s well-run and has clearly demonstrated results.

“It’s the sort of thing we’re proud to support and commit to.”

More than 650 young people have taken part in the eight-week course since 2008.

Three mornings a week, participants take part in intensive training between 6am and 7am, building up to the Longest Day, when all their skills are put together in a series of exercises.

Marlborough Youth Trust trustee and police officer Dean Buckley says the proof of CACTUS’ success is its longevity.

“If it wasn’t as successful, it wouldn’t be going still.”

He says the course helps youth in all aspects, improving their resilience and teamwork among other things.

“It’s quite powerful on the CV as well. Often young people don’t have much to put on their CV, but this is great.

“Employers see this young person has a bit of go, a bit of commitment.”

Youth mentor Reuben Molnar says CACTUS is an “awesome” programme.

“From day one, to the finish of the programme, huge improvements in self-confidence, fitness levels, and building a connection, building a tribe, and able to connect into other things we do, events and other activities.”

Marlborough Youth Trust chair Russell Smith says the course really has a long-lasting effect.

“This sponsorship will give certainty to a programme that we know has results. It means our staff time can be put into things we want to be doing like youth development rather than chasing their tails to find finance to make things work,” he says.

Year 1 girls’ winners, from left, Xadie Goodall, Caelyn Sterling and Sweetness Materoa-Mondou. Photo: Andy Facer.

Pupils’ pop of colour

Children at Redwoodtown School shone as they celebrated the start of the holidays in colourful style.

The school’s annual colour run was blessed with blue skies and sunshine as students showed off their sporting skills.

Principal Aaron Vercoe says the event was a great success, made even more special as spectators were allowed on school grounds again.

“It was a great day and our students, whanau and staff always look forward to it.

“Even more exciting this year with so many events being cancelled due to Covid.”

Aaron and Isaac Piper from Cloudy Bay Clams are helping raise money for charity with a giant paella. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

All in good taste for charity

Charity begins at home for local businesses keen to help cook up a storm for charity.

Cloudy Bay Clams will be creating a massive paella to sell at Bayley’s Friday Night Feast.

All proceeds from food sold from their stall on the night will be donated to Kids Can and the Life Education Trust.

When owners and operators Isaac and Kerry Piper put word out about what they were doing, a bevy of businesses quickly jumped on board to help.

The response has been humbling, Isaac says.

“This is about good people coming together as a collective under the Cloudy Bay Clams umbrella and giving back to the local community.

“There’s a lot going on in the world right now and we want to focus on the community, do something good.”

The giant paella will use about 40kg of clams and be created by Christchurch restaurant owner and chef Javier Garcia, who is donating his time and skills for free.

Owner of the Curator’s House, he has also lent the huge dish on which the traditional Spanish dish will be cooked.

Cloudy Bay Wines are kindly sponsoring Jack’s Raw Bar, says business development manager Aaron Piper who will be at the event to help shuck clams.

Bayley’s Friday Night gets underway this Friday in Blenheim town centre from 3.30pm until 8.30pm.

The popular family-friendly event will feature a range of local businesses and chefs as well as live music.

“Anybody Cloudy Bay Clans reached to and asked if they wanted to be involved said ‘Totally. What can we do to help?’”

“The response has been humbling,” Aaron says.

“What’s really exciting is that everyone wants to be involved.

‘It’s a great community here and the support has been amazing.

Cloudy Bay Clams and Jack’s Raw Bar will be set up in the forum on the night.

One hundred percent of all money made on the night will go to charity.

Businesses who have contributed with time, expertise and ingredients are:

  • Curators House
  • Boom Town Beer
  • Origin South
  • Boom Town Chef
  • Karaka Cuisine
  • Marlborough Tour Company
  • Imagine Signs
  • Saffron Marlborough
  • Mills Bay Mussels
  • Chateau Marlborough
  • Imagine Signs
  • Cloudy Bay Wines
  • Ora King Salmon
Petition organiser Mia Yealands with her terriers, Archie and Wolf. Photo: Matt Brown.

Petition for pooch freedom

Dog owners are biting back against a proposal which could see dogs confined to leads along parts of the Taylor River.

Marlborough District Council are set to tighten bylaws around dogs roaming free.

The move would see pets put on a lead from The Quays, near Raupo café to the Burleigh Bridge.

A group of dog lovers have started a petition against the proposed bylaw changes.

Petition organiser Mia Yealands says it would be sad to reduce the size of the central off-leash dog park.

“We come here for the run, the water and the wide-open spaces.

“If it changed it would affect so many people.

“We don’t want this to happen.”

Mia reckons tensions between cyclists and dogs (and their owners) are to blame for the potential change in rules.

“Since council increased the footpath, there have been a lot more bikes and they go too fast.

“They [cyclists] treat it like a training path,” she says.

Animal Control contract manager Jane Robertson says the area is where they see the most conflict between different users

“We have had instances of uncontrolled dogs and also owners not cleaning up after their dogs in this area,” Jane says.

Other proposed changes in the draft bylaw include allowing dogs into Blenheim’s CBD if they are on a leash and under control and increasing the restricted area around playgrounds for dogs from three to ten metres.

Prohibiting dogs from Blenheim’s Pollard Park and Ward Beach, is also proposed.

“We want input from dog owners and the general public to make sure our policy and bylaw works for everyone in our region,” she says.

Following the consultation period hearings will take place in early December when submitters will have the opportunity to speak.

Mia says moving the areas where dogs can run off lead – down the Burleigh end of the Taylor River – would make it difficult for dog owners with mobility issues to exercise their companions.

“One of the concerns we have is there are a lot of elderly who would find the terrain difficult.

“Dogs are a part of the community, too,” she says.

“They help people, they’re good for your mental health.

Consultation on the Marlborough District Council Dog Control Policy and Bylaw is underway and will run for six weeks, closing at 5.00 pm on Monday 9 November.

Gardener Kirsty Wraight. Photo: Matt Brown.

Glorious Marlborough gardens on show

A blossoming passion for plants has seen a husband and wife team open their garden up to help charity.

The St Andrews Annual Garden Tour is gearing up for another spectacular spring show.

And keen gardener Kirsty Wraight is ready to share her slice of paradise, Willows Garden, in Fairhall to help raise money for charity.

She says she still has a lot she wants to do in her three-year-old garden.

“It’s getting done slowly. It’s a real hobby for us,” she says.

Kirsty and her husband David spend a lot of their free time pottering about in the garden.

“We love it [the garden] and the fresh air.

She says after introducing David to gardening, he’s now surpassed her in skill.

“David is the number one gardener, he does all the hard work,” she laughs.

Visitors can look forward to seeing a wooded walkway complete with camelias, rhododendrons and hydrangeas.

Kirsty says their native lake-side plantings have become a priority as the couple welcome more native birds to their garden.

“We get a lot of bird life, which is nice,” Kirsty says.

“We’re getting a lot of Tui at the moment.”

“It’s something we both love and get a lot of joy from.”

Willows Garden is one of ten gardens on this year’s tour.

The St Andrew’s Church Annual Garden Tour is on the 17th and 18th of October, from 10am to 4pm.

Tickets and programmes are on sale at Roselands Pet and Plants, Devon Nursery, Selmes Trust, Islington Gardens, Morgans Road Nursery, Cresswells and the church office.

Included in the $20 ticket price is a scarecrow competition and display.

Entries for the scarecrow competition can be handed in to the church office.

Problems with the Ōpaoa River Bridge build will delay completion. File photo.

Defects discovered on multimillion-dollar bridge

Routine tests on Marlborough’s multimillion-dollar bridge have uncovered road defects that will delay completion.

A problem with the asphalt on the Ōpaoa River Bridge was discovered by road workers carrying out standard quality control tests.

The construction company will have to pay for vital repairs delaying completion on the 10-metre wide bridge until the end of the year.

Originally expected to open in mid-2020, the bridge was set to cost around $21 million but has jumped to almost $22.7 million.

Waka Kotahi senior manager for project delivery Andy Thackwray says rigorous testing is carried out to find any potential problems.

“During construction, as road surfacing work is carried out, the pavement is subjected to robust testing so we can identify and remedy any issues before a project is completed.

“In this case, the top surfacing asphalt layer on the bridge was found to have deficiencies that, if left, would have resulted in replacement being required much sooner than its expected design life.

“The cost of remedial work will be at the contractor’s expense,” he says.

Final work on the bridge is expected to continue until mid-October with road bosses hoping to celebrate completion late this year.

Waka Kotahi has kept project delays to a minimum over the Covid-19 lockdown.

While pavement works will be completed in mid-October, smaller projects, including landscaping, work on the heritage bridge, and reinstatement of the holiday camp below the new bridge will continue into November.

“With the project progressing so well we’re now starting to plan how we can properly celebrate the completion of this important regional project alongside our partners, stakeholders and community,” Andy says.

“This will be a truly spectacular asset for the community.”

Motorists are being warned to expect delays while works continue.

Drivers are asked to please plan and be patient while the essential works are completed.

In the likelihood of bad weather, these works will be postponed for the next fine day.

  • Monday 5 October – Friday 9 October: Day-time STOP/GO from 8:30am-2:30pm each day (excluding Friday and Saturday days)
  • Monday 12 October – Friday 16 October: Day-time STOP/GO will be used anytime between 8:30am-2:30pm each day (will only be in place whilst concrete is being poured)