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)


Angus and Ratapu Moore with their children. Photo: Supplied.

Shearing gang’s support for grieving dad

When the son of one of their own was killed in a recent road accident, a local shearing gang was left heartbroken.

Angus and Te Moore have been in the shearing industry for 16 years and have run a contracting business based in Seddon for the last five.

Their 12-person shearing gang is like a family, so when one of its members lost a son in a road accident it hit them all hard, says Te.

To show their support, the gang and farmer rallied round and donated all the proceeds from a day’s shearing to their colleague.

Now he’s repaid that kind gesture by shouting them all tickets to the Farmstrong Comedy Night Show at Awatere, Seddon.

Nationwide rural wellbeing programme Farmstrong is putting on two comedy shows for Marlborough’s farming community.

It has been a trying time for the team and getting the tickets was a great surprise.

Having something to look forward to helps, says Te.

“We’re really looking forward to going out for a night together and just having a laugh and a few beers. We didn’t even know he’d bought us tickets, so it was a nice surprise.”

The Seddon farming community has been through a lot in recent times with earthquakes, drought and Covid-lockdown, so the shows are well-timed, she says

“This is a great chance to come together and celebrate our resilience as a community.”

The shows feature an all-star line-up of comedians Nick Rado, Melanie Bracewell, Tevita Manukia and Tarun Mohanbhai.

Farmstrong project lead Gerard Vaughan says the ups and downs of farming can take a toll on people and the organisation is there to help,

“We help farmers cope with the ups and downs of farming by sharing things they can do to look after themselves and their teams.

“Encouraging farmers to get off the farm, have a laugh and socialise at events like this is one of the best ways we can do that.

“Our message to farmers is grab your mates and neighbours and treat them to a cracking night of comedy for a great cause.”

Te says that having worked in the farming industry for so long, she knows how important it is to be open about pressures that come with the job.

Their team are right behind Farmstrong.

“It’s definitely raised awareness amongst the farmers and shearers we work with about the importance of looking after yourself.

“We’ve noticed people are a lot more open to discussing the pressures they’re facing or listening to others who might be under the pump.”

“The friendships and connections you build are a big part of dealing with those challenges.”

“That’s why Farmstrong putting on these shows is a great idea. It strengthens those relationships.”


Show details

9 October, Woodbourne, Woodbourne Tavern, doors open 6.00 pm, show starts 7.00 pm

10 October Seddon, Awatere Memorial Hall, doors open 6.00 pm, show starts 7.00 pm.

Tickets are available online at trybooking.co.nz. Type Farmstrong in the search to find the event. Tickets are $20.

Roger Randall on his clinker with grandson Toby Randall. Photo: Supplied.

Vintage boats mark new season

A small flotilla of classic boats took to the water to mark the start of a new season.

Members of the Picton Clinker & Classic Boat Club celebrated the start of warmer weather, taking their lovingly restored vessels up the Pelorus River from Havelock.

Known as the Ice Breaker, the annual trip marks the start of a series of monthly trips out and about in the Marlborough Sounds.

Club commodore Roger Randall, who joined the club three years ago, says the boats are named after the way they are built.

“It’s a method where the hull planks are overlapped.”

Based in Picton and meeting on the first Monday each month, the club has members from all walks of life, but the majority are retired.

But younger people enjoy it too, Roger says.

“It’s messing about on old boats. From the moment my grandson Toby first came out he was hooked – he thinks of it as his boat.”

Clinker, which can date back decades, can be borrowed from the club or new members can hitch a lift with others to give it a go.

The club ensures safe and interesting adventures on their runs.

“We’ve got members from all across the community and it really is good fun,” Roger says.

To find out more about the club, contact Roger on: 572 7172.

Volunteer Marlborough chair Beth Barnes joined the Board of Trustees three years ago. Photo: Supplied.

Caring for the community

Since 2009 Volunteer Marlborough have been matching volunteers with local organisations that need help. Volunteers are urgently needed to help on numerous Boards of Trustees across the region. Here, chair Beth Barnes explains why taking up a volunteer post can be a win-win.

What does a Board of Trustees do and why are they important?

A Board of Trustees governs an organisation, we set the strategy and the direction, seeing the big picture; then the staff do the work to get us there. An analogy that is often used is that of a boat – the Board steers the boat and the staff row the boat, working together we make a difference.


What kind of people are you looking for to volunteer for these roles?

It is so important to have a diverse representation on a Board, the most important attribute we are looking for is a passion for volunteering in the community and an understanding of why it is important.


Is it a big time commitment?

We have a monthly meeting that takes about 1.5 hours, then there is the reading before that, about another hour, and any discussion that needs to be had between meetings. If we have something that needs doing by a Board member we ask who is able to do it and work around the other commitments we all have.


What would a potential volunteer need to know about being on a BoT?

You don’t need any experience (but it is always a benefit!), you can do some training online and other Board members have experience in governance, you just need to want to be able to help and be able to commit to the organisation and doing the best for it. Don’t be afraid to speak up and give your opinion, there usually isn’t a right or wrong answer, but it is important to be involved in the discussion. If you are interested in joining a Board, approach the organisation as many will be looking for new members and would love to hear from you.


Do the benefits work both ways?

I have found that I get a lot out of being on a Board, there are opportunities to learn and grow, to practice new skills and increase your knowledge as well as being able to bring your knowledge, experience and skills into the organisation, so it is a mutually beneficial relationship.


How long have you been Board Chair for Volunteer Marlborough and what does it mean to you to be part of that team?

I’ve been on the Volunteer Marlborough Board for 3 years and I took over being the Chair a year ago. VM is an important organisation in the not for profit community, providing support, training, and resources to other organisations. Volunteering is important to me and being part of an organisation that promotes that to everyone in our community is very satisfying.


Contact Volunteer Marlborough on 577 9388 or visit volunteermarlborough.org.nz for further information.