Mark Lovelock was the overall winner. Photo: Supplied.

Trio build bright future in construction

A trio of talented apprentices have taken out three top spots in a prestigious competition.

The Registered Master Builders Apprentice of the Year, in partnership with CARTERS, is the leading apprentice competition for the building and construction sector.

And at a regional awards ceremony in Renwick on Friday night, three Marlborough carpentry apprentices won first second and third place at the Upper South Island regional competition.

Cameron Palmer-McGruer impressed judges to be awarded second place. Photo: Supplied.
Cameron Palmer-McGruer impressed judges to be awarded second place. Photo: Supplied.

Mark Lovelock of Timbercraft Construction, Cameron Palmer-McGruer from Brent Woodward Builder and Daniel Small from Scott Construction Marlborough Limited impressed judges.

At the Upper South Island regional competition the apprentices were judged on a two-hour practical challenge, and their initial entry submission.

The top 10 in the region progressed to an interview with the judging panel, which was followed by an onsite visit where contestants discussed their project.

Making their selection, judges praised Mark’s organisation and his ability to be involved in all aspects of the build.

Daniel Small was third at the regional awards. Photo: Supplied.
Daniel Small was third at the regional awards. Photo: Supplied.

“The site visit showed us why in-depth planning was so necessary. The site’s isolation meant everything was helicoptered onto the site.

“We were impressed with how Mark has been involved in all aspects of the build. This includes planning, set out, groundworks, prefabrication and the delivery and installation.

“The judges look forward to seeing where Mark takes his career,” they said.

Mark will now go on to compete against the 10 regional winners from across the country at the national CARTERS Apprentice of the Year 2020 competition in Auckland this November.

People left photos and lit candles in memory of those they have lost to mark World Suicide Awareness Day. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Shining a light on Suicide Awareness Day

Clutching photos of loved ones lost, friends and family gathered last night to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.

The clock tower and fountain in Seymour Square in Blenheim were lit up in yellow for a candlelight vigil to mark the day and those affected by suicide.

About 50 people joined together and marked a minute of silence before some took the opportunity to talk briefly about their loss and honour those they have lost through suicide.

World Suicide Prevention Day is held on this day each year to highlight the devastating effects of suicide, and the need to work together to support each other.

Organiser Bary Neal urged those struggling to seek help, saying loved ones left behind in the wake of such devastating loss deserved the chance to live their best lives.

“They wouldn’t want us to suffer forever,” he says.

National helplines

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Healthline – 0800 611 116

Samaritans – 0800 726 666

Springlands School students Maisie Cornelius and Jaye Wiapo with their gold-medal-winning science fair project. Photo: Matt Brown.

Science fair finds right formula for success

Young scientists are set to make history as the annual Marlborough Lines Science and Technology Fair moves online.

For decades, thousands of curious Marlborough school children have taken part in the popular event, proudly showing off their projects.

But Covid-19 means this year’s event will be different from any previously held.

Organiser Hugh Lensen says this is the first time the fair hasn’t had a physical presence

“[Going online] is a good idea otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to do it at all,” he says.

Video and digital slides will replace the traditional hand drawn poster boards and papier mache models.

But the carefully crafted poster boards will still make an appearance at schools where they can be shared with fellow pupils.

The online move has proven so popular that some would-be entrants had to be turned away.

Springlands School students Jaye Wiapo and Maisie Cornelius won a school gold medal for their science project, ‘An apple a day keeps the dentist away’.

The pair were intrigued by Maisie’s granddad, who claimed eating two apples was enough to replace brushing his teeth.

“It actually wrecks your teeth,” Maisie says.

They tested a variety of apples, hoping to find a type that would prove her granddad’s claims.

“The Pink Lady was the most harmful,” Jaye says.

“Royal Gala was the best for your teeth.”

But their research found that apples in general aren’t particularly good for teeth – and are not a replacement for brushing.

“There are all sorts of out there projects,” Hugh says.

“A lot of students have not really wanted to do a project but then have really got into it.

“Some have gone to university, studying science, and changed their career path just because they enjoyed the science fair as a kid.

“Students can end up with a bundle of money.”

Staff at Blenheim's Re-Use shop helped raise money for E Tū Tāngata as part of Metallic Sweepings bid to give back to the community. Photo: Paula Hulburt

Re-use centre’s labour of love

Keeping unwanted goods out of landfill helped raise vital funds for a charity supporting Marlborough school students.

The Re-Use Centre at Blenheim’s Resource Recovery Centre in Wither Road receives thousands of unwanted items every year.

Operators Metallic Sweeping have pledged to donate part of the revenue they raise by selling on donated goods to charity.

Metallic Sweeping director Clive Peter today handed a cheque for $22,000 dollars to 24-7 YouthWork E Tū Tāngata Founder Jay Gerald.

He says the company, who are waste contractors for Marlborough District Council, are proud to help support the community

“When we look at the issues that face our communities, especially the issues that our youth and young people face and when I look at the work that 24-7 do, it pulled at our heartstrings.

“These are the value that we inspire to embrace, and we decided we wanted to support them and keep funding their work.”

24-7 YouthWork is New Zealand’s leading school-based youth work provider and recently celebrated 21 years of work in communities across the country.

In 2011, 24-7 YouthWork began working in Redwoodtown School, which was followed by Marlborough Girls’ College in 2016.

Jay says the latest initiative, E Tū Tāngata, is about instilling sense of confidence, in young people especially, and creating a climate where everyone can flourish.

From camera chargers and books to glass wear and toys, all sorts of items can be found at the popular Re-Use Centre.

Situated next to the recycling centre off Wither Road, the shop is a treasure trove of goods.

Rather than being dumped items are made available for someone else to use.

They are checked, cleaned and sometimes re-worked before being made available for sale to the public at low prices, to cover costs.

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett says the work the centre does is of great benefit to the whole community.

“Back in the 1970s I worked on the rubbish cart and there was no recycling then.

‘Times are changing and we’re all up for that; young people especially are up for that and are the drive behind change.”

Marlborough District Council solid waste manager Alex McNeil says the Re-Use Centre has an important role to play.

“It’s come along way from 2011. There are a lot of social challenges that fly under the radar because we have a vibrant economy and the council are looking at that.

“As Covid-19 and unemployment kick in people in will need cheaper furniture.”

Tu Meke BBQ owners Andrew and Melissa Poswillo are leaving town after an unsuccessful search for a home in Marlborough. Photo: Matt Brown.

Housing shortfall hurting families

Housing headaches are forcing people out of the region in a bid to find homes.

A lack of suitable housing has forced a young family to look for greener pastures.

And a young mum who cannot find a rental is facing the possibility of having to live in her car.

Successful business owners, husband and wife team Andrew and Melissa Poswillo, are packing up their young family after months of unsuccessfully trying to find somewhere to live in Marlborough.

“We had plans of putting down roots, but it all fell apart,” Mel says.

A passion for BBQ and six years of dreaming brought the couple back to the region from Australia to open their popular food truck, Tu Meke.

But rising house prices, a lack of properties coming to the market and stringent covenants in new residential areas have left the couple disillusioned.

“We’re leaving because we’re finding it so hard to find somewhere to live,” Melissa says.

New Zealand First Kaikōura candidate Jamie Arbuckle with party leader Winston Peters. Photo: Matt Brown.
New Zealand First Kaikōura candidate Jamie Arbuckle with party leader Winston Peters. Photo: Matt Brown.

“We’re gutted – we built our business really strongly here and we have had amazing support in town.”

Covenants in some new subdivisions outlawing sign-written vehicles on the street added insult to injury.

Trademe Property lists nearly 200 houses with three plus bedrooms for under $400,000 in Christchurch.

Blenheim has just six.

The online auction site has only 26 houses available for rent in the Marlborough region while Christchurch city has 1166.

Andrew fears the housing crisis will “get worse before it gets better”.

“We don’t want to live in a car,” he says. “We were all banking on this working out.”

“But you’ve got to roll with the punches.”

Mum of two Becky Corbett has been desperately trying to secure a rental property in Blenheim or Picton.

While money is not an issue, she says she has had no success.

“We’re a two-income family of four desperately needing a new place to call home.

“It’s horrible and the judgement and assumptions just make it so much worse.

“We can’t find a home, but real estate agents rent to single people who then rent the rooms to temporary workers in the area.

She has rented a caravan but needs to find somewhere to put it.

“I’ve managed to rent a caravan for my family while we look for a house. However, the campground no longer has long term sites available.”

“I’m literally about to be living in my car with my kids but no one seems to grasp the affect that has living with that thought,” she says.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, while visiting Blenheim on Friday, says the region’s lack of housing is a “perfect statistical storm which we can fix”.

“I wouldn’t have a bunch of Wellington bureaucrats working on a housing problem. Full stop,” he says.

“I’d go and see builders and get them to do the job.”

“We used to be the biggest house ownership nations in the world.

“We believe that the economic future of this country and the wealth creation of this country lies in the provinces and always has.”

Peters says he would change the planning laws “so that one third of your house building costs are not going to this needless red-tape bureaucracy.”

“Then look at the house commodity pricing market and ensure that duopolies are not controlling an artificial market.”

REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell says houses are selling quickly; the average of 26 days is the fastest since August 2016.

“The number of properties being sold is exceeding the number of new listings on the market which is likely to be pushing up prices and contributing to the shortage of stock.”

She says Marlborough had the fewest number of houses for sale, 162, since records began.

Melissa says leaving was a hard decision.

“There’s a huge crisis here,” she says.

“Even rentals, there are just none.”

Booked events have been cancelled and suppliers informed of their impending departure.

“We’ve committed ourselves to leaving, but Tu Meke will continue,” Andrew says.

“We’ll be up here doing pop ups and events.

“Thank you all so much for the love and support you’ve thrown us over the past few months. It’s been amazing.”

Fire and Emergency representatives meeting with the Marlborough Local Advisory Committee. Photo: Supplied.

Emergency planning

A new way of tackling fire and emergency planning is underway across the region.

Members of the Fire and Emergency Marlborough Local Advisory Committee have met up in person for the first time.

Local Advisory Committees (LACs) are responsible for providing independent advice from a local perspective to the Fire and Emergency Board to inform local emergency planning.

Marlborough LAC chair Trevor Hook says the committee’s first face-to-face meeting last week was a tangible step forward for the committees and for Fire and Emergency.

“It was a valuable opportunity to come together as a committee and to meet with members of Fire and Emergency’s regional leadership team.

The Committee is looking forward to contributing to the strategic direction of Fire and Emergency, with a focus on the needs of the local community,” he says.

Fire and Emergency Area Manager for Tasman-Marlborough Grant Haywood says it was great to be part of the first meeting.

“One of Fire and Emergency’s main strategic priorities is building resilient communities.

“To do this, we must have a deep understanding of communities’ needs so we can ensure our services remain effective

“This first meeting is a big step forward in ensuring that our local and national planning reflects our community’s voice.”

Staff have been using their talents to keep residents entertained. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Beating the Covid-boredom blues

Rest home residents have been turning to technology to help keep boredom at bay during lockdown.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, residents have spent almost 15 (non-consecutive) weeks unable to leave under alert level 4.

Ashwood Park Retirement Village in Blenheim has been using Zoom to hook residents up with other rest homes to take part in shared activities.

Manager and New Zealand Aged Care Association spokesman Ross Bisset says staff have worked hard to keep residents entertained.

“The last seven months has been a real team effort and as I have said to the group ‘I’ve always been proud to lead them’ – but even more so over this period.

“Everyone has contributed to helping out and it’s been amazing to find some team members hidden abilities.

“There has been a lot of music, cooking, inter village activities via zoom and we even had a traveling professional organist on a truck play,” he says.

Alongside other Blenheim rest homes and retirement villages, Ashwood Park has been limiting visitor numbers to help lower infection risk.

Under Ministry of Health guidelines, residents can leave at level 2 and only need to be isolated on return if they display symptoms.

But keeping residents safe means curtailing outside visits until Alert Level 1.

Not being able to go out in the community has quickly become the new normal, Ross says.

Older age and underlying conditions are two big factors that make catching Covid-19 even more dangerous,

“Our residents know it’s important to do everything possible to stay safe.

“Right from the initial March lockdown, the residents have been incredibly resilient and quickly acknowledged the serious position everyone was in.”

“They have been extremely supportive and understand the realities of keeping the whole group safe, which at times has meant not going out into the community.”

Kathryn Martin, former Silver Fern Yvonne Willering and Claire Martin at a fan event in Liverpool last year. Photo: Supplied.

Netball nut wins big

A love of the game has seen a self-confessed netball nut net a prize for two to the next world cup in South Africa.

Claire Martin from Blenheim scooped a package for two to the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town.

The huge netball fan is bringing her mum with her for the once in a lifetime trip.

Claire impressed International Netball Foundation with her tie-breaking skills to win the competition.

“I’m very stoked, and so is mum.

“They emailed me at the beginning of August. I couldn’t believe it – I thought it was a joke.

“I was going to go anyway, although I have no idea how I was going to get the money.

“It’s perfect for a netball nut like me.”

Claire, who has just moved to Lower Hutt where she works for a payroll company, went to the World Cup in Liverpool last year.

“It’s a bit of a tradition, now – I went to the Sydney World Cup four years prior,” she says.

After returning from Liverpool, Claire says she wanted to support the federation’s charity, Creating Choices.

It was her $10 donation that ultimately led to her big win.

“There was a box on the form – you could enter a competition – it was just 15 words about what netball means to you.

“I choose netball because it has given me the confidence to take challenges head-on and grab rare opportunities,” she wrote.

“I never thought I would win.”

The prize includes return flights, four-star hotel accommodation and two tickets for the duration of the competition.

“I was in complete shock and it’s taken a while to process the fact I’ve won such an incredible prize.

The first person I called was my mum; the who, how and why to my love of netball and the one that will be joining me on this experience of a lifetime.”

“I can’t wait for Cape Town 2023.”

Bohally school brainboxes Oliver Wakelin and Ted Small. Photo: Matt Brown.

Brainy Bohally boys’ TV quiz quest

Two young brainboxes are taking their quizzing skills to the small screen.

Bohally school pupils Ted Small and Oliver Wakelin will stretch their thinking abilities in upcoming episodes of popular TV2 children’s quiz show Brain Busters.

But don’t ask them how they went, they’re not allowed to say.

“It’s an awesome experience. At first, I was really nervous. Once I started getting the questions right, I was okay,” Oliver says.

The year 8 student filmed at the Christchurch studio about a month ago – his episode is scheduled to air next Wednesday.

Ted says he can’t wait to make the trip to Whitebait Media’s filming space, tomorrow (Wednesday) with one of his parents.

“I’m not super nervous. The fact I even got on the show is pretty good,” he says.

It’s not easy to make the cut – the selection process to compete in the quiz is tough.”

The two students are both in Bohally’s FPSG – Future Problem Solving Group – and they say the entry quiz, used to determine a student’s suitability, is on the “harder side”.

“If they think you did well enough on the quiz, you get an audition,” Oliver says.

Studio executives then gave the young quizzers a Skype or Zoom call.

“They asked our name and interests and had us complete some practice questions,” Ted says.

The new quiz show challenges year eight and nine students through various rounds of  quiz questions with the final two contestants racing on an obstacle course.

“The quiz is only half the show,” Oliver says.

The first round, with all four contestants, test their general knowledge. Then they pick a specialist subject – Oliver’s was history and Ted’s, mathematics.

“I was worried I was going to do really bad, that I was going to bomb out,” Oliver says.

He says it depends how the questions fall, especially with pop culture – pointing out that he wasn’t born when Friends first aired on television.

“A guy on my show was asked a question about Shortland Street – none of us had any idea,” he laughs.

Then comes the physical challenge – a course with puzzles, ziplines, obstacles and a race to the finish.

Finally, the winner from the obstacle course gets the opportunity to win money in a final quick-fire question round.

“You get $100 regardless, and you can earn more if you make it to the final round,” Oliver says.

Ted says he’s aiming for the number one spot and isn’t sure what he will spend his prize money on.

“It’s cool all the effort that goes into it,” he says.

Oliver’s looking to invest in metal detecting tools.

“It’s the best quiz show – mainly because I’ve been on it.”

Bohally Intermediate School acting principal Nicky Cameron-Dunn. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Warning over online abuse

A Marlborough principal is warning parents to be on their guard when it comes to social media as staff grapple with increasing fallout.

Bohally Intermediate School staff have sent out an email to parents highlighting the harm social media can cause.

Acting principal Nicky Cameron-Dunn says she has seen a rise in the number of social media related issues students are dealing with.

Nicky says her personal advice is for no students to use social media platforms until they are 14 years old.

“It’s much more of an issue now than ever before and it’s only going to get worse.

“My personal advice would be for no students to use social media platforms at this age but ultimately it is up to parents to decide that for their own child.”

Using social media outside of school is having a flow on effect at school, says Nicky.

All mobile phones must be handed in to the school office at the start of the school day.

The school also uses blocking devices to help keep pupils safe.

But what they are accessing at home is spilling over at school, Nicky warns.

“They come into school and are emotionally upset, have anxiety and do not feel valued.

“Using these platforms to destroy others and spread rumours is inappropriate and they’re too young to understand the ramifications and reflect on what they’ve done.”

The school also sent out a link to parents to go to for advice.

But social media savvy children are going to great lengths to keep their online activities off the parental radar.

“We know that students often have numerous accounts yet may only show one to their parents which looks okay,” Nicky says.

Monitoring social media use is key to ensuring it is only used positively, she says.

The minimum signup age for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube is 13.

Net safe NZ say a child’s social and emotional capability is still developing and they will find it difficult to identify and deal with challenges.

“If your child is under 13 and keen to use social media, consider their capability to manage potential online challenges before setting up a profile.

For more advice about staying safe online visit  https://www.netsafe.org.nz/

  • A third of New Zealand teens (33%) spend 4 or more hours online in an average day.
  • 4 in 10 currently use 5 or more social media platforms. • 1 in 4 would be devastated if they had no access to digital technologies for a month.
  • Nearly 8 in 10 agree “there are a lot of things on the internet that are good for people my age”.
  • There are gender differences in teens’ use of digital devices, the activities they carry out online, and their preferences for specific social media platforms.
  • Teens regard themselves as confident technology users. Over 4 in 10 rarely or never seek support regarding an online or technical problem
  • Overall, teens highly rate their knowledge of online safety, but over 1 in 10 (13%) do not know much about it.
  • Just over half (56%) agree it is helpful to set age restrictions and block access to content.