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.
Amy Cragg, Marianne Govaerts, Anne Goodyear, and Emily Gidlow are supporting Breast Cancer Foundation New Zealand. Photo: Supplied.

Picton Pink Ribbon Fundraiser takes glam to the next level

A Pink Ribbon Breakfast in Picton is taking glam to the next level in a bid to raise money for the Breast Cancer Foundation of New Zealand.

Oxley’s Bar & Kitchen is hosting their first annual Pink Ribbon Breakfast Event on Sunday 6 September 6 from 10am to 1pm.

Organisers hope guest host and popular Sydney-based drag queen Miss Felicity Frockaccino will help get ticket sales soaring for a cause that is close to their hearts.

One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Breast Cancer Foundation of New Zealand.

Business owner, Amy Cragg is contributing the venue, staff, and entertainment and says local support has been overwhelming.

“Every business we have approached to contribute has said yes, without hesitation.

“Ticket sales alone will raise $5,000, and we have some fantastic auction items which could double that figure.

“The highest valued item so far is an original artwork by Liz Kempton, which usually goes for around $1,400,” she says.

Oncologist nurse Karen Little-John from Wairau Hospital is one of two guest speakers.

She will share her perspective on treating cancer patients.  What to look out for and what support is available locally.

Second guest speaker is Waikawa Marae manager Allanah Burgess, who will outline their services, including community support.

Funds raised for the Breast Cancer Foundation go towards educating the public about breast cancer (which is New Zealand’s most common cancer in women), support those diagnosed with the disease, medical grants, and distributing money for breast cancer research.

The breakfast will be held on Sunday, 6th August 10am – 1pm.

Tickets are $50 each (100 max) and can purchase at Oxley’s Bar & Kitchen.

Planting work done by Taimate farmer John Hickman to restore native ecosystems may be eligible for future help. Photo: Matt Brown.

New fund to help nurture nature

A new $70,000 dollar a year fund has been set up to help keep Marlborough’s habitat happy.

Marlborough District council have set up the new Working for Nature/Mahi mō te Taiao in a bid to make the environmental grant process easier.

The new initiative will soon be on offer to landowners, businesses and community groups who meet the guidelines.

Deputy Chair of the Environment Committee Gerald Hope says the move puts the process on a par with council’s sports, arts, heritage and youth funding practice.

“Council has successful community grant schemes for sports, the arts and culture, heritage and youth but our environmental grant process has been less well coordinated.

Working for Nature will bring a much better structure to our process for granting funds for environmental protection and enhancement,” he says.

Funding has been reallocated from the Tui to Town programme and the Greening Marlborough fund.

More money could be made available from other sources, depending on demand, Gerald says.

Initiatives geared towards restoring native ecosystems, protecting native habitat and planting stream banks will be first in line.

The proposed $70,000 annual budget would be split between Habitat Marlborough to help restore native habitat and improve biodiversity and fresh water quality.

Protecting Marlborough is set to benefit from a $45,000 funds boost for animal control projects.

Councillor David Oddie says projects can take place on public, private or Māori-owned land.

“This fund will be welcome news for the many groups and individuals in Marlborough who are striving to improve natural habitats and control pests.”

Projects can take place on public, private or Māori-owned land.

“Successful applicants will be required to sign a funding agreement and provide an accountability report once the money is spent.”

The first round of applications will open on 1 October 2020 and close on 31 October 2020.

The decision is subject to ratification by the full Council on Thursday 17 September.

Children at Blenheim’s Montessori Preschool spread sunshine and smiles as they helped celebrate Daffodil Day. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Flower power

Staff and children donned yellow for the day to help raise funds for the Cancer Society on Friday.

School across Blenheim joined in the national appeal as the annual street appeal was postponed because of Alert Level 2.

“We spent a lot of time discussing how the daffodil is a symbol of hope and what it stands for, says teacher Rachel Roundhill.