Bee App good for buzz-iness

An end-to-end beekeeping app designed and incubated by Marlborough beekeepers, is set to create a buzz in the global apiculture industry.

BeeApp co-founder Dale DeLuca moved to Marlborough in 2011 to start Putake Honey with his wife Renee DeLuca.

With his background in analytical data and technology consulting, it wasn’t long before the self-taught apiarist started looking for ways to use technology to solve some of the everyday problems beekeepers have.

“After looking up apps for beekeepers, I quickly found there wasn’t anything decent around that was going to help me understand how my hives were performing, or keep track of the health of my bees, or beekeep sustainably,” Dale says.

“As a beekeeper I understand what beekeepers need and having the technology skills I thought why not have a go at developing something that we can take to the world.”

So Dale and his friends Erik Bast and Christian Stresing got straight to work developing BeeApp under their apicultural consultation company Bee Intelligence.

The Putake beekeeping team replaced paper and pencil with the app, and their feedback and insights have been key to further developing and simplifying the platform.

What started as a simple beekeeping app, has grown into a platform with a suite of functions to support virtually everyone in the apiculture industry.

Erik says BeeApp helps with everything from honey queen bee breeding, to beekeeping, sustainable apiculture, honey extraction, honey trading, inventory management and sales.

“It’s simple to use, integrates with smart hive sensors and other software to collect data from various sources and turn it into information with actionable insights,” Erik says. “These help companies manage costs, track assets and optimise their businesses,” Erik says.

BeeApp has already generated a lot of buzz in New Zealand, with a dozen commercial bee and honey companies using the platform.

The real opportunity lies in international markets, and the team will be showcasing BeeApp at industry events, including the world’s largest apiculture trade show in Montreal later this year.

New paper for our region

More coverage of local news and sport will be the result of Marlborough Weekly’s launch today, says its co-owner.

Marlborough Weekly is a free community newspaper delivered to almost 19,000 homes and businesses across the region.

It is published by the same local company that also prints Marlborough Magazine and Marlborough App.

The paper will be delivered every Tuesday, meaning it will be first in the market, a huge advantage for advertisers and readers keen to know what is happening in their communities.

Co-owner and sales manager Summa MacDonald says the paper aims to be the region’s best and she’s been delighted with the response from the local business community.

“Local business owners have been really keen to jump on board, in fact there are over 70 different businesses in our first issue, which is amazing. They understood that a strong community paper was a great place to advertise their business and along with our monthly lifestyle magazine and community smartphone app, we have all of the bases covered.”

Summa says community news is an important part of any community.

“I live in the Awatere with my husband and three children and I hear all the time that people like to feel connected with their community. We hope that this paper will help people do that.”

The paper will cover a range of community events, which will be covered by experienced Marlborough journalists Paula Hulburt and Kat Pickford with sport covered by Peter Jones.

“Currently no other media is covering sport with any great depth. This will be a huge advantage for us and everyone knows that Pete is the best sports journalist in Marlborough,” says Summa.

Rounding out the team is Lisa Erikson and Susie Williams in sales, Toni Woolf in design and publisher Andrew Board. They join Kat Duggan and Sarah Hodgett, who also work on the company’s magazine.

If you have a story you’d like told, contact the news team at [email protected] or if you’d like to advertise your business, email [email protected] or call 928 4121.

Historic pub to be bowled?

An historic hotel could be demolished to make way for a 24-hour petrol station.

The Junction Hotel in Spring Creek faces demolition to make way for a new self-serve NPD fuel station. An 8-pump, self-service fuel and caravan dump station could open later this year.

But hotel lease holder Mike Pink, who signed an agreement with the petrol company last year, vowed to stay put unless the fuel giants honour their end of the bargain.

“I’ve had a gut full of the whole fiasco. I signed an agreement last March and we were supposed to move out on July 23 last year.

“There’s been all sorts of rumours flying around and the whole thing’s been a complete disaster.

“I can’t do any repairs, any decoration and have lost a couple of staff who are worried they might not have a job in a few months,” he says.

“While Marlborough District Council may give their approval, I doubt it as they’re too scared they’ll land in the kak”, he says.

Nelson Petroleum Distributors (NPD) lodged plans with council in February to expand their premises next door to the hotel. A decision is expected to be made by Easter as NPD addresses concerns raised by the New Zealand Transport Agency regarding traffic volumes and road width.

Mike says he would need to be paid “mega bucks” to make up for the loss of the 11 years still left to run on his lease. “I have 11 years left to run on my lease so they’ll need pots of money.

“I’ve written to NPD to tell them that if they don’t complete part of it then I’m pulling out”, he says.

Mike and wife Hazel purchased the lease in October 2016.

They only just managed to keep the business afloat when the building of a new roundabout on SH1 caused sales to plummet by around 75 per cent.

But with the roundabout now in action, business has been brisk.

“The hotel owners don’t seem to really care if it sells or if it doesn’t”, Mike says.

The hotel is owned by Carol and Roger Rose through their company Stokesay Holdings Ltd.

Architects employed by NPD asked for consent to “construct, operate and maintain” a self-serve station.

They also want to remove the fuel tanks that are there and replace them with two $80,000 underground storage tanks.

“My customers have even started a petition to keep the pub. This is their last chance or I won’t be selling”, he says.

A spokeswoman from NPD says she could not comment while resource consent was waiting to be granted.

Multi-million-dollar retirement village to be biggest in Blenheim

A new $100 million retirement village and dementia unit is set to be built on the site of a former strawberry farm.

National retirement village operators Summerset have bought the six hectares of land that was once Jones Berry Fruits on Old Renwick Rd in Blenheim.

The new village will include secure one-bedroom apartments for people with dementia and more than 200 independent living homes.

Summerset CEO Julian Cook says the new development would employ more than 300 people during the build and provide 40 permanent jobs once built,” he says.

“A lot of the new Blenheim village will be independent living… but extra support is on hand if they want or need it.”

Homes will be divided into two or three bedroom villas, serviced apartments. Statistics show Blenheim’s population aged 75-years and over would increase by 26 per cent over the next four years.

Marlborough Grey Power president Brain McNamara says the move will help ease pressure on Marlborough’s housing stock.

“Marlborough is one of the top retirement destinations in New Zealand. “Any help solving our housing shortage is clearly welcome”, he says.

Alzheimers Marlborough manager Anne Tolley also welcomed the development. “ … the proposed increase in the number of specialist beds is a positive move for the wellbeing of people living with dementia …”, she says.

A timeframe for development and opening date has not yet been confirmed because the land purchase is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval.

Summerset would not say how much it had paid for the property, citing confidentiality reasons, but according to the Marlborough District Council it had a capital value of $1.885 million.

Replica guns blanked from Classic Fighters show

A world-renowned air show has banned historic reenactor groups from using some blank-firing guns.

The upcoming Yealands Classic Fighters show has a proud history of ground theatre, with groups attending from across New Zealand.

Organisers issued a blanket ban on all blank-firing semi and automatic weapons in the wake of the tragedy in Christchurch.

The move comes as new gun reform laws which ban military style semi-automatics and assault rifles go before parliament later today (Tuesday).

Re-enactment groups planning to attend were also asked by show bosses to be cautious with their “rate of fire”.

But disappointed groups believe they have fallen foul of the new laws.

All artillery field guns are still allowed.

One New Zealand military re-enactor, who asked not to be named, says the ban means any ground theatre would look like “something from the Napoleonic wars.”

He says while he understands the need for caution, banning replicas is a “step too far”.

“All of the guns fire blanks. Some are replicas which are not firearms at all but can shoot blanks; should they even be classed as weapons?

“The ground theatre will look and sound like something from the Napoleonic wars”, he says

Army Group Centre (AGC) members from Nelson are deciding whether to still attend.

Marlborough historical re-enactment group Delta 06 Inc has been a regular at the air show for more than a decade.

President Dale Hulburt says military collectors and re-enactors are being “unfairly punished.

However, he says the group will be supporting the show.

“There is much vagary around what these laws will entail, or whether re-enactment groups will be able to continue theatrical demonstrations for the NZ public in the future.

“The re-enactment community in general is extremely concerned about the roll-on effect to all public events such as air shows, military ceremonies, ANZAC and Armistice Day remembrances.

“This is an “unintended consequence” military collectors and reenactors are being unfairly punished for the actions of one despicable madman terrorist,” he says.

Dale says such groups help educate and entertain, with many having devoted thousands of dollars to their collections.

“It is their passion,” he says.

The Garrison Society Incorporated confirmed they would also be attending.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed reforms to the gun laws two days after the Christchurch attacks.

The changes make it illegal to own a military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) and accessories which could convert a standard semi-automatic into a MSSA.

The move means there can be no weapons on display at the Yealands Classic Fighters Omaka show which takes place from 19-21 April over Easter weekend.

No one was available from Omaka to comment.

Relishing their win as pickles take gold

A local Maori relish inspired by family of a bygone era has picked up gold at the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards.

Manaaki’s Kamokamo Pickle is one of just 40 products to win a coveted gold medal from more than 180 products entered.

Inspired by the ‘Aunties of old – the Queens of Manaakitanga – the team take a ‘seed to jar’ approach.

The special pickle is now in the running to win the Supreme Champion Award, to be announced at a gala dinner in Auckland on 17 April.

Head judge, New Zealand food writer Lauraine Jacobs, says it was great to see the innovative approach many food producers had taken.

“Medal winners deserve the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Award they have earned.

“Consumers are well advised to seek out the delicious and exciting foods such as ice-creams, drinks and juices, honey, pâtés, meats, pickles, bread and so much more which will be carrying 2019 medals”, she says.

Manaaki is a Blenheim-based social enterprise set up almost two years ago by the new generation of ‘Aunties’

The move is part of the Omaka Marae’s Pā Ora, Pā Wānanga strategy vision, centres on whānau transformation through the creation of a thriving and sustainable marae.

As much produce as possible grown in the marae gardens.

Next month, the Aunties will be showcasing their culinary talents with a special event being held as part of Feast Marlborough.

Feast Marlborough kicks off on Thursday 9 May with the WK Gala Feast and Arbour’s Starlight Sessions; dubbed by organisers as a multi-sensory dining experience.

The celebration continues the following night at the Bayleys Friday Night Feast street party in central Blenheim.

‘Hakari with the Aunties’, on May 11, will take guests on a culinary journey, with each course telling its own unique – and local – story.

Live music and cultural performances will make for a rare and special night. For more information and tickets, see

Friends of missing man pay tribute

Friends of a man missing for 17 months hope a coroner can give them the closure they desperately need.

Colin Ross, 53, from the Waihopai Valley disappeared on 25 October 2017.

His case is now before a coroner who will look at the circumstances surrounding Colin’s disappearance.

Close friends Jason and Wendy Tillman from Rarangi say they miss their friend.

“His family and friends in New Zealand and Australia are needing closure, hoping for an official end of the case.

“We have been slowly coming to terms with accepting his passing,” says Jason.

Colin worked in the wine industry for more than 20 years in both Australia and New Zealand. Born in Malaysia, he moved to New Zealand in 2006. Jason says Colin was passionate about Organic and Biodynamic Agriculture, and was a leader in the field.

A member of the Biodynamic Council of New Zealand, he was considered an expert in his field and travelled to China to represent biodynamics in New Zealand.

“He had a deep love for nature and the Earth. He saw biodynamics as a way to help heal the Earth. He loved the ocean and was a keen surfer. He loved to cook, garden and dance.

“He was incredibly intelligent and generous, a dear friend and an inspiration to many, and a loving husband and father”, says Jason.

A police spokeswoman says while Colin is still considered missing the file has been referred to the coroner recently.

Before his disappearance Colin had his own successful business – Inspired Eyes. He used a drone to film and create promotional clips for companies.

Good friend Wendy Tillman says Colin was an inspiration. “Colin was an inspired human being who was one of my dearest friends. I see him in the moon, the stars and in every bit of soil”, she says.

Plea to vaccinate children as measles outbreak continues

Health bosses in Marlborough are urging parents who chose not to have their children vaccinated to “reconsider their choice.”

An advisory notice from Nelson Marlborough Health has gone out to all school-aged children as the number of confirmed measle cases in Canterbury rose to 35.

And medical officer of Health for Nelson Marlborough Public Health Service, Dr Andrew Lindsay has pressed for parents of children not already vaccinated to reconsider.

“Measles is on the rise in NZ and overseas making it even more important to vaccinate your children.

“Those who have previously declined vaccination of their babies and children are strongly urged to reconsider their choice.

“Vaccination is the only sure way of preventing serious and in some cases life threatening illnesses such as measles”, he says.

Nelson Marlborough Health recorded its highest level of vaccinated children last year.

Ministry of Health figures showed the percentage of 5-year-olds who were not fully immunised fell from 15.9 per cent between 2016 and 2017 to 13.5 per cent from 2017 to 2018.

Two doses of the MMR vaccination are needed for “maximum protection”, Andrew says.

“With the ongoing measles outbreak in Canterbury, and with further cases in Auckland, now is the time to make sure your child is immunised against measles.

“Two doses of the MMR vaccine are needed for maximum protection. If you are not sure if your child is fully immunised, check in your Well Child book, or talk to the Practice Nurse at your usual General Practice”, says Andrew.

The vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella is recommended at 15 months and again at 4-years-old.

In the event of an outbreak, the Ministry of Education states that an unimmunised child can be kept away from school and quarantined for two weeks.

There have been no confirmed cases of measles in either Nelson or Marlborough.

Early symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, sore red eyes and cough. See the Ministry of Health website for further information.

Police search for missing Jess suspended

By Paula Hulburt

The official search for missing Marlborough woman Jessica Boyce has been suspended by police today.

Area Commander, Marlborough District Inspector Simon Feltham, says that despite intensive searching, no trace of the missing 27-year-old has been found.

Officials searches have been called off, but family and friends are continuing their efforts.

Inspector Fetham says the investigation will “remain active”.

“After receiving the missing person report, an intensive eight days of searching was completed but despite all search efforts no signs of Jessica have been found.

“There has been continued visible searching by Police and Search and Rescue teams over the weekend, but we have been unable to locate Jessica.

“A review of the search efforts has been undertaken today to identify areas for further investigation.

“Police would like to thank LandSAR, Jessica’s family and friends, and everyone else who volunteered in the search for their support, time and effort.

The missing person investigation will remain active and if any further lines of inquiry come to light, or areas to search, and police will continue to follow up any further information that
comes to hand”, he says.

LandSAR (Search and Rescue) teams from Marlborough were focusing their search around the Lake Chalice area where Jessica’s red Holden Rodeo was discovered.

Anyone who has any information should contact Blenheim Police on (03) 578 5279.

New retirement village and dementia care unit welcomed

Photo cap: A representation of the communal areas planned in the new Summerset retirement village to be built in Springlands. Photo: Supplied

By Kat Pickford

Retirement village developer Summerset has purchased the former Jones Berry Fruits property in Springlands, with the intentions of building Marlborough’s largest retirement village.

Summerset CEO Julian Cook says the development of the six hectare property in Old Renwick Road would exceed $100 million and employ more than 300 people during the building phase.

Up to 40 further permanent jobs will be created when the village opens, Julian says.

A timeframe for development and opening date has not yet been confirmed because the land purchase is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval.

Summerset would not say how much it had paid for the property, citing confidentiality reasons, but according to the Marlborough District Council it had a capital value of $1.885 million.

Once built, the retirement village will include 200 independent living homes, including two and three-bedroom villas, serviced apartments, rest home and hospital level care, and a memory care centre for people living with dementia.

With Blenheim’s 75+ population expected to increase by 26% over the next four years, Summerset had been looking for a suitable property in Blenheim for a number of years, Julian says.

“We know people will be really interested in the high quality homes and recreational amenities we offer in our retirement villages.

“A lot of the new Blenheim village will be “independent living”, meaning residents have their own house, but extra support is on hand if they want or need it,” he says.

Marlborough Grey Power president Brian McNamara says the new retirement village will help ease pressure on the region’s housing stock.

“Any help in solving our housing shortage is clearly welcome, I’m told there is still a shortage of flats to rent and buy in Marlborough,” says Brian.

“Marlborough is one of the top retirement destinations in New Zealand, and as our proportion of over-65s continues to increase, we will need suitable housing and amenities for them, as well as a workforce to service them, who will also need homes to live in.”

The new village will also include a number of secure, high quality one bedroom apartments for dementia patients.

Alzheimers Marlborough manager Anne Tolley welcomed the news of the specialist dementia care unit.

“Given an expected rise in the number of people being diagnosed with dementia, the proposed increase in the number of specialist beds is a positive move for the wellbeing of people living with dementia in the long term,” Anne says.

“Any resulting increase in the number of specialist respite beds would be welcomed by care partners who want greater flexibility than current respite care options provide.”

Development plans extend beyond the village itself to help improve access for its residents, Julian says.

Aerial view showing proximity of new retirement village to Westwood Business Park.

“Summerset has been in initial discussions with the Marlborough District Council to talk about footpaths in the area.

“We are expecting to install a new pedestrian footpath from the existing footpath at the corner of Murphys Road and Old Renwick Road to the site as part of the village construction.”

With its close proximity to the Westwood Business Park, Summerset would also be talking to its neighbours about the possibility of creating a direct route to the shopping complex from the village, Julian says.

“Nothing is guaranteed, but we would like to facilitate this if possible.”

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett welcomed the news.

“I’d like to thank Summerset, councillors and Council staff who have worked cooperatively together to make this happen,” he said.

The property is zoned as Urban Residential two – greenfields, which allows for residential development.

Once the Overseas Investment Office approves the purchase of the property, Summerset will need to obtain resource and building consent from the council before development can begin.

According to Summerset’s 2018 annual report, the company was the largest builder of retirement villages in New Zealand last year, reporting a profit of $98.6 million, up 21% on 2017.

It has 25 villages completed or in development across the country, housing 5000 residents and 1400 staff.