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.