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 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 for further information.

Rhys Hall from Indevin. Photo: Supplied.

Grape expectations

Rhys Hall from Indevin will be pitting his wits against five other finalists next month competing for the coveted NZ Young Viticulturist of the Year title.

The talented finalist I hoping to take out the top spot at the milestone event, which will also mark the competition’s 15th anniversary.

Since 2006 the initiative has helped support passionate, young viticulturists grow, reach their goals and move into leadership roles within the wine industry.

Leadership & Communities Manager at NZ Winegrowers Nicky Grandorge is welcoming a chance for the industry to celebrate after a tumultuous few months.

This year’s National Final is being held in conjunction with the celebration so the fifteenth winner -The Corteva NZ Young Viticulturist of the Year 2020 – will be announced at the dinner.

“In this challenging year, it is fantastic that we have made it through our six regional finals and are able to hold the National Final.

“This, along with reaching the fifteen-year milestone, is certainly something to celebrate and a wonderful opportunity to bring our passionate, big thinking winners together, many of whom are now senior leaders in our industry.” Nicky says.

The celebrations take place on 8 October in Martinborough.

Chateau Marlborough manager Lynley, McKinnon, Marlborough Hospice nurse manager Sarah Hammond and Quench restaurant chef Maree Connolly. Photo: Supplied.

Food heroes help hospice

Helping hospice staff prepare for lockdown has seen a Marlborough restaurant recognised for their efforts.

For several years, kind-hearted staff at Chateau Marlborough have donated meals to Marlborough Hospice.

And when lockdown level 4 loomed, they pulled out all the stops to make sure there were plenty of meals ready for patients.

The move saw the team nominated for a NZ Food Heroes award – and now they are through to the finals.

Chef Maree Connolly from the hotel’s Quench Restaurant helps create the evening meals for patients to enjoy.

Hospice fundraiser and events coordinator Sandy Inwood says staff were delighted to be able to nominate them for the award.

“They have done this now for several years and just prior to lockdown they made sure there were enough meals to cover the entire lockdown period.

“The team at Hospice are very, very grateful for their support and generous donation.”

The campaign, launched with the support of Massey University, was launched by the New Zealand Food Awards earlier this year.

It aims to showcase behind-the-scenes efforts of local food producers, charities and individuals to ensure communities had access to quality food as part of the pandemic response.

Massey University’s national events and sponsorship manager, Kelly Douglas, says the range of food heroes is heart-warming.

“It reveals the astonishing scope and scale of innovation and community spirit unleashed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” she says.

The winner will be announced at a celebration dinner in Auckland on 8 October.

Marlborough Citizens Advice volunteer Tiffany Cross. Photo: Matt Brown.

Online only move puts people at risk

Vulnerable people are at risk of losing access to vital services, a community organisation warns.

A bid to move government services online and out of local communities is putting some people at risk say Citizen Advice Bureau (CAB) staff.

Now staff have launched a petition calling for government bosses to urgently address digital exclusion.

Marlborough Citizens Advice volunteer Tiffany Cross says the move to online-only is deeply concerning and affects a large cross-section of society.

“People of all ages are coming to us stressed and frustrated about their experiences of trying to access government services,” she says.

“It’s getting harder to access human support from government agencies, but people’s need for face-to-face services is as real as ever.”

A report, released by CAB just before Covid restrictions in New Zealand, reveals digital exclusion affects people across all demographics.

The report, ‘Face to Face with Digital Exclusion’ puts the spotlight on the impacts of government digital services on inclusion and wellbeing in society

“While online services are great for some people, the drive towards online-only is leaving some of the most vulnerable members of the community behind.”

Tiffany says CAB is left to pick up the pieces and shoulder the costs.

“Many of these individuals seek the support of the CAB because they need access to face-to-face services, paper-based resources, and empathetic human connection.

“In the report, it is made clear that the public sector is relying heavily on the goodwill of the Citizens Advice Bureau and its volunteers, to fill the gap from government’s withdrawal from face-to-face and paper-based service delivery.

“This has a very real impact on local CABs who are carrying the burden of this cost-shifting by government agencies.”

The CAB is asking all candidates in the upcoming election to support the recommendations of its digital exclusion report and pledge their support to the following:


  1. Leave no-one behind:

Ensure that steps are taken to address digital exclusion and that no-one is left behind or left out because they can’t or don’t wish to engage online.

  1. Public services accessible to all:

Implement accessibility and inclusion standards for the delivery of public services that include offline channels as part of the proactive design of government service delivery.

  1. CAB compensated for cost-shifting:

Ensure that the Citizens Advice Bureau is properly funded to meet the demands and cost-shifting that has resulted from government services going online.

The CAB has issued a pledge statement for candidates to sign up to. It is also asking for the public to get behind this by signing a petition, and Tiffany wants to assure people that “paper copies of the petition will also be available at your local CAB.”

The Witherlea School choir took to the stage. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Sing stars

Marking the end of term with a learning showcase, Witherlea School pupils welcomed parents and caregivers back on school grounds.

Pupils across all year groups kept teachers, parents and caregivers entertained with a variety of performances on Friday afternoon.

Ranging from Tukana (senior) Kapa Hapa to jump jam groups and Teina (junior) Kapa Haka, the day was a way to mark student’s learning and progress.

It is the first time in Alert Level 1 that the school community has been able to celebrate together.

Principal Andrea Harnett praised staff, students and caregivers for their support during an “up and down year with Covid.”

The iconic festival attracts wine makers from across the region. File photo.

Wine and food fest falls foul of Covid fears

Marlborough Wine & Food Festival has been cancelled for the first time in its 36-year history.

Festival bosses have today announced the iconic festival will not go ahead as planned to help protect the 2021 harvest from the threat of Covid-19.

Marlborough Winegrowers Board Chair Tom Trolove says the decision has been a difficult one.

“It’s been a really tough decision, and we realise this will impact businesses in our community.

“But the board was clear that in these unprecedented times, it had to prioritise the safety of the harvest.

“The Marlborough Wine & Food Festival celebrates our industry on the cusp of our harvest, and that’s a risk,” he says.

A report from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research found that the wine industry made up 19 per cent of Marlborough’s GDP.

The industry employs 4,850 people in Marlborough and could not be put at risk Tom says.

“This industry is absolutely vital to Marlborough’s economic health.

“So, no matter how much we love our iconic wine festival, with all its camaraderie and celebration, we cannot let it jeopardise our industry, or indeed our community.”

“Deciding early to cancel the festival was important for event partners, festival organiser Wine Marlborough, and also the event audience, many of whom travel from other parts of the country to attend,” he says.

Around 8000 people celebrate at the annual festival each year at Brancott Estate.

But worries about Covid-19 means organisers have had to pull the plug.

“The past month has been a reminder that the world is in a time of uncertainty, and New Zealand’s situation can change at any time.

“What is certain to us is that we have to do all we can to protect the health of our people, and the economic lifeblood of this region,” Tom says.

Marlborough’s wine industry makes up 77.7 per cent of the national grape harvest, and accounts for at least 80 per cent of all exports, which are currently worth $1.923 billion a year.

General admission tickets were due to go on sale on October 1, which also made an early decision important.

“It may not be a good time for 8000 people to gather on a vineyard site to celebrate together with over 40 wineries, but it’s a fantastic time to visit Marlborough’s cellar doors and get an extraordinary insight into what makes this region’s wines amazing,” Tom says.

Super Early Bird ticket holders will be offered a 100 per cent refund.

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett says the cancellation would be a blow to Marlborough’s events calendar,

“But there’s no doubt that the wine industry’s main objective is to harvest its grapes in optimal condition and make the wine that helps put Marlborough on the global stage”.

Festival Committee Chair Tracy Johnston says the committee was disappointed the event was not going ahead but believed it is the right decision.

“The Marlborough Wine & Food Festival will return as a proud and iconic event for Marlborough when it can be delivered without putting our industry and community at risk.”

Wine Marlborough General Manager Marcus Pickens says the committee and organising team put their heart and soul into the event every year.

“It’s gutting that we can’t do that for February 2021, but we fully support the board’s decision.”

“Wine Marlborough’s top priority is protecting the reputation of our extraordinary wine region, and right now that means doing all we can to help reduce the risk of holding a large event like this before harvest.”

Brendon Adams raises money for mental health groups. Photo: Supplied.

A driving force for health

Mental Health Awareness Week is on until 25 September Here mental health advocate Brendon Adams from Blenheim highlights his journey and why he wants to help.


What inspires you to help raise awareness for mental health? 

Up until 2010, I had very little appreciation or knowledge of what mental wellbeing was.  You could say I experienced an awakening.  From that moment I got to meet and talk to a wide variety of people working within our current mental health system.  From high-level psychiatrists, the many branches of social services, and the many people living with a vast array of mental health matters.  I have no doubt my 10-year experience has been my driving force and inspiration to continue to help raise awareness for mental health.


What have been your goals to raise awareness for wellbeing? 

I was 37 years old when I first learned anything about the topic.  I felt I could have been better equipped with some form of prior knowledge.  That’s not to say that the information wasn’t around, more so to speak to the fact that the subject was seldom spoken about.  Almost considered Taboo.  Making it ok to talk about mental health and wellbeing and being comfortable doing so would be one of my main goals.  It’s ok to not be ok, and it’s ok to talk about it.   To help others will always be my primary goal.


What are some of the main concerns our mental health systems faces? 

I guess the most obvious concern to me would be the apparent lack of resources available to cope with the demand for our mental health system.  It seems to be the poor cousin of our general health system.  It is often very hard to convince people to seek help for themselves or loved ones especially when they’ve tried and have been turned away because the problem doesn’t appear to be big enough.  This will often lead to a problem exacerbating.   Then the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff type scenario plays out and the help is often too little too late.  This seems to be prevalent with men in particular.  Men generally struggle to talk about their feelings and what’s going on for them.  They tend to bottle things up or their situation is played down.


What are key signs that a person may be suffering from mental health, both what to look out for in ourselves and in others? 

Signs may include the following.  Don’t want to see their friends or no longer enjoy spending time with their friends and family.  Stop doing things they used to love or don’t seem to be enjoying themselves.  Can’t remember things, concentrate, or pay attention.  Feel bad about themselves – guilty, worthless, or ashamed.  Have a big change in eating patterns or appetite.  Have extreme mood swings.  Feel hopeless or really sad, or cry a lot.  Feel anxious, stressed, nervous, or scared a lot and can’t seem to relax.  Are not happy unless they’re using drugs or alcohol.  Don’t take care of their appearance or personal hygiene.  Have physical signs of injury or that they are hurting themselves.  Have panic attacks – rapid heartbeat, unable to breathe, feeling dizzy, and extremely scared or anxious all at once.  Unsettled sleeping patterns.


What do you think can help people be resilient in times of adversity, including strategies for coping? 

By being mindful of the four basic cornerstones to good health, you can help yourself and others in many ways.  To start with you would want to 1. get a good night’s sleep (7-9 hours a night).  2. Eat well and frequently, drink plenty of water.  3. Get plenty of exercise throughout the day.  4. Talk to someone about what’s going on.   Too often we see the signs of suffering get worse if any one of these cornerstones is compromised.


How can people support loved ones who suffer from mental health? 

I often have people ask me where to start when trying to get help either for themselves or for their loved ones.  The answer is never simple as everyone’s situation is different.  The good news is the increase of awareness we are now seeing as our culture shifts from this being a topic once kept in the dark to a topic bought into the light.  There seems to be more understanding and acceptance nowadays than there used to be.  Although we still have a long way to go.  Encourage an open and casual conversation with someone you think may be suffering and be prepared to listen without judgment.  Encourage belief and self-worth in someone that they can help themselves and get the monkey off their back.  Sometimes that’s all it takes and that is a good start.  Be kind and caring.

Battle of Britain airmen remembered 80 years in

The gathered crowd fell silent as overhead two Marlborough Warbirds flew by, their wings outlined against a perfect blue sky.

About 100 people gathered in the September sunshine on Sunday at Seymour Square to remember the New Zealand airmen who died in the Battle of Britain.

Commemorating the 80th anniversary of the famous air battle, Marlborough Mayor John Leggett welcomed guests and Officer Commanding Base Woodbourne, Wing Commander Peter De Rungs.

The service at the Blenheim War Memorial clock tower was attended by 32 military personnel from RNZAF Base Woodbourne.

A total of 135 New Zealand airmen flew with the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain which lasted from May 10 to October 31, 1940.

It was the RAF resistance to the Luftwaffe aerial bombing campaign of southern England that effectively prevented the German invasion of the British Isles, a turning point in World War Two.

Airmen from all over the Commonwealth, including New Zealand, served in RAF Fighter Command.