Picton Girl Guides help recycle thousands of cans every year. Photo: Supplied.

Guides’ can-do attitude a winner

Come wind, rain and shine, a devoted group of girl guides take care of can recycling.

Picton Girl Guides work hard to run three aluminium can recycling banks in the community.

And their work has won them a top five place in a national competition.

The team’s work has seen them make the finals of the Mitre 10 Helping Hands awards where they hope to win some help to replace their run-down storage compound.

While voting has now closed, the girls are keeping their fingers crossed they win enough votes to make their reno dream come true.

Picton Girl Guide leader Helen Ashworth says the project means a lot to the girls.

“Community service is an important part of modern guiding and has been at the very core of guiding since it started over 100 years ago.

“We have great fun doing this project. Dressing up in our gloves and gumboots to jump on the cans to crush them before storage and dragging the storage bags to the trucks.

“Girls in Guiding from 5 to 18 years old are involved and it develops great teamwork and camaraderie.”

They began work three years ago and look after aluminium can recycling at Waikawa, Picton Marina and one on Kent Street.

Using council recycling bins to scoop out the empties before putting them into old wool bags the girls then cart them off to the storage compound.

But wear and tear mean it’s not as safe as it once was.

“Our girls are growing up in a different world with many environmental pressures.

“Every aluminium can that we can stop going to landfill, and recycle for reuse, is helping our environment and the group loves that.

“It’s also a real adventure for them, they wear their uniform and gum boots and have fun,” says Helen, who the girls know as HJ.

Alongside second Girl Guide Leader John Welch, the team set aside time each term to empty the well-used bins, collecting tens of thousands of cans a year.

The guides get paid for the recycling can when they are collected commercially, and the money is ploughed back into the initiative.

“We are doing this for our community to keep Picton beautiful,” says Helen.

Picton Guides meet on Mondays 6-8pm at St Joseph’s School. Call HJ on 0211 700401.

John and Florrie Donnelly celebrated 60 years of marriage. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

From dance hall meeting to diamond anniversary

The couple were married on 20 August 1960 in Motueka. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

The music jollied around them as the pair danced together, happy and slightly nervous in each other’s arms for the first time.

Sixty years on and Blenheim couple John and Florrie Donnelly were all smiles, celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.

They were surrounded by family and friends on Saturday as they marked the special occasion with a party at home.

The pair met on Christmas Eve 1956 at a dance in Motueka. Three years later they were married.

“I was 17 years old when we met and wanted to join the Merchant Navy, but dad wouldn’t let me until I was 21 years old.

“I met John so am glad I didn’t go,” Florrie says.

While they were dating, every Sunday, John would pick up Florrie in a Hudson Super 6 and the pair would go for a drive.

After three years of courtship, John says he plucked up the courage to ask Florrie’s dad for her hand in marriage.

“He was out working in the paddock and I had to track him down.

“I wanted to do it properly and ask permission,” he says.

John says he wasn’t sure what she would say.

“I really had no idea, I just hoped she would say yes.”

“I knew straight away I would say yes,” says Florrie.

In a light pink wedding dress she made herself and a veil adorned with handstitched flowers, Florrie waited for her groom at the alter of a church in Motueka.

With her sister Elsie as bridesmaid, the wedding on 20 August was small but wonderful,” says Florrie.

“The minister had a donkey that was peering in the window while we got married. Not many people would have a donkey at their wedding,” she says.

With three children, Alison, John and Martin, John and Florrie have six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

While Alert Level 2 meant some family couldn’t make it to the anniversary party from Auckland, plenty of guests were there to congratulate the couple.

They also received a card of congratulations from Her Majesty the Queen.

“We just get on well,” says Florrie. “There’s no secret, we’re good friends and enjoy being together.”

Counting their blessings as milestone marked for new library. Photo: Supplied.

Counting their blessings as milestone marked for new library

At dawn on Wednesday morning, Marlborough’s new district library and art gallery site was ceremonially blessed with the laying of a mauri stone by iwi representatives.

Rain failed to dampen spirits as an appreciative group of more than 50 guests gathered to mark the historic moment.

Speakers included Shane Graham (Ngāti Rarua), Marlborough Mayor John Leggett and Millennium Art Gallery Trust chairman Rick Wilson.

Hularii Mckenzie and daughter Bailey are asking Marlborough businesses to be aware of accessibility issues during Covid-19 alert levels. Photo: File.

Covid causes access issues for wheelchair users

The family of a young wheelchair user are calling for businesses to help keep vulnerable people safe during the pandemic.

Blenheim parents Hularii and Amber McKenzie are calling for local companies to be more mindful when it comes to protecting disabled customers.

The pair, whose 10-year-old daughter Bailey uses a wheelchair, say hand sanitisers and QR codes for tracking apps are often too high to reach.

“Some can’t see onto countertops or reach high up, for those wheelchair users still needing to access shops and the community a QR code lower can really help.

“This also applies to sanitiser as well, having it lower helps, if it’s high they can’t reach it or it can squirt in their face,” Amber says.

Under Alert Level 2, all shops and business are required to post QR tracking codes to be used with mobile phones or keep a written record of visitors.

But the family of seven, who are currently self-isolating as Bailey has just had surgery, believe more care needs to be taken where posters and sign-in registers are placed.

Bailey, who has a range of conditions, including spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy, uses a wheelchair.

The youngster underwent double bilateral ankle surgery in Wellington earlier this month and is recovering well.

Hularii says he highlights the issue to businesses when he sees a problem.

“There was just a few I’d seen and mentioned it to the place, both here and in Wellington when we were there for surgery.

“All the places approached took it on board really well including making sure sanitiser was at a good height for wheelchair users.

“My understanding is on the back of the QR code sheet are recommendations, so they are at a height wheelchairs users can reach,” Hularii says.

The government recommendation is that the QR code sheets be placed no higher than 130cm.

Hularii says some people are displaying more than one QR code at different height levels to help.

But others people just aren’t aware of the problem,” he says.

“It doesn’t surprise me that some people aren’t aware of it.

“I always say if accessibility is not something you deal with day to day it’s easy to forget to account for because it’s not there, obvious in your face.

“Once people know they are usually very accommodating.

“Though it can be annoying for some, the disabled community can see issues and make others aware of the challenges we face.

“People don’t know what they don’t know.”

Council parks and open spaces manager Jane Tito says the council wanted to provide a “safer option” in Ward. Photo: Chloe Ranford/LDR.

Freedom camper money making plans amuse

Rural township residents are laughing off suggestions a new freedom camping site will bring in money.

About 30 Ward residents burst into laughter at a meeting last week after a Marlborough District Council staffer suggested freedom campers’ cash would benefit the town.

Ward is one of three new sites proposed under the council’s draft freedom camping bylaw.

But despite overwhelming opposition for the site, Ward farmer John Hickman took a one-man stand at the meeting.

John had earlier emailed members of local community group, the Flaxbourne Settlers Association, calling for residents not to “throw up barriers.”

“I just want everyone to keep an open mind,” he says.

But local mechanic Mike Hole says he objected to his taxes funding other people’s holidays.

The proposed campsite was located by a creek damage during the 2016 quake and which flooded in extreme weather, he says.

Council released its draft bylaw earlier this month, which included a Marlborough-wide ban on freedom campers that were not self-contained.

The bylaw would restrict freedom camping in Blenheim, Renwick and Picton to designated sites.

But in Ward, campers would still be allowed to park up anywhere. Rai Valley was the same.

Council parks and open spaces manager Jane Tito says the council wanted to provide a “safer option” in Ward, instead of having campers parked along the state highway.

Council staffers advised they were not documenting people’s opinions and asked the meeting’s attendees to submit on the proposed bylaw before the deadline of September 7, at 5pm.

It was recommended residents outline where they felt freedom camping should be banned in Ward, while Kaikōura MP, National’s Stuart Smith, suggested the community put forward an alternative site.

LDR - Local Democracy Reporting

Zoe Osgood, 13, has been supported by the local community during her bone cancer battle in Christchurch. Photo: Supplied.

Café’s coffee kindness

A café’s bid to help a Blenheim girl dealing with bone cancer has raised more than $5000.

Zoe Osgood, 13, is in Christchurch undergoing treatment for osteosarcoma.

Friends and family in Marlborough have been raising money to help take the financial pressure off her family while they support Zoe.

Ritual Café in Blenheim held a Zoe Week last week, raising $5301. For every coffee sold, staff donated a dollar.

An instore donations box raised $1736 which boss Julie McDonald then doubled.

“It’s been the most outstanding week for the team at Ritual Café.

“I’m hoping that this money will help Zoe and her family in some way.

“Knowing the family, I know that they will be totally grateful to everyone who supported this amazing cause.

All the very best Zoe – you got this girl.”

A Givealittle page has been set up to help, with $39,994 raised as of Monday morning.

Zoe;s mum Michelle Osgood says the community support has been amazing.

“It is truly an amazing gesture. We are absolutely been away.”

Visit givealittle.co.nz to donate by searching under Zoe Osgood.

Marlborough Sportsperson of the Year 2019, MMA champion Gase Sanita. Photo: David James.

Sports awards to run with different format

The Marlborough Sports Awards are going ahead in 2020 – albeit in a slightly-modified format.

It was confirmed this week that the annual celebration of sporting prowess, which has been running since 1968, will be staged at the Marlborough Convention Centre on Monday, November 16.

However, given the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on most sports, the MSA organising committee have opted for a different approach to suit the current environment.

They have decided to stage a more “grassroots” awards evening this year, with the aim of reducing potential costs to sports bodies, the nominees’ individual sponsors, plus the major supporters of the event.

Trophies will still be awarded across all five categories, with an overall winner announced, while the Marlborough Medal, for lengthy service to sport in the province, will again be presented.

Ticket prices for the evening have been reduced to $30 per head.  Although there will be no formal dinner there will be snack food available on the tables, plus some beverages.

Nomination information has been sent to Marlborough’s various sporting bodies, with organisers hoping for a good spread of nominees across the categories [sportsman and sportswoman, junior sportsman and sportswoman, plus team of the year].

MSA committee spokesman Rory Crawford said, “With sports bodies facing less expenditure and not being required to find a sponsor for their individual nomination, we see this as an opportunity for them to perhaps make several nominations.

“Plus, with restricted national and international competition in 2020, we expect those competing at a local level to be more prominent in the various categories.”

Crawford added that, while no high-profile guest speaker was being sought this year, the committee were working hard on attracting an MC and speaker with links to the region.

For more information on the 2020 Marlborough Sports Awards please contact [email protected] or go to the website www. marlboroughsportsawards.

The Marlborough Sports Awards are run by Sport Tasman, Blenheim Round Table and Marlborough Media.

The event’s main sponsors are House of Travel, Redwood Trust, MoreFM, Marlborough Convention Centre, WK Advisors and Accountants and Fairweathers.

Writer Gavin Kerr has reprinted his popular poetry book twice. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Poetry in motion a money spinner

A poetry book written during lockdown has raised $1000 dollars for Alzheimers Marlborough.

Author Gavin Kerr self-published work Under Lockdown has been reprinted twice since it was published last month.

Earlier this week, the Blenheim writer, whose wife Liz died in March from complications relating to Alzheimers, took a cheque to the Wither Road centre.

“The public were very generous in their support, with two reprints being necessary to cater for demand both in New Zealand and in Australia.

“I would especially thank the Marlborough community for their contribution to the project. It was most heartening indeed,” he says.

The former school principal and academic says the support he and Liz had from staff at Alzheimers Marlborough was vital following Liz’s diagnosis.

Alzheimer Marlborough manager Diane Tolley says the organisation appreciates Gavin’s kindness.

“Alzheimers Marlborough was thrilled to receive a very generous donation of $1000.

“Personally, receiving of a copy of the poem “The Lockdown” written twenty days after the passing of Gavin’s wife brought home to us the range of emotions families go through, as the dementia journey progresses.

“We were pleased to be able to support Gavin and his family through their journey and encourage all people affected by dementia to seek the support of the caring staff at Alzheimers Marlborough.

“Having support in place, as soon as possible after a diagnosis, can assist the person living with dementia and their family to continue to lead fulfilling lives,” she says.

Books are still available for $25 from both Marlborough Alzheimers office on Wither Rd or by emailling  [email protected].

The Burleigh’s Jane Dickenson, left, and Pie Challenge organiser Fiona Fenwick closely examine a Burleigh pie in the buildup to this year’s challenge. Photo: Anthony Phelps/Phelps Photography.

Pie pairing challenge launched

The chefs behind some of Marlborough’s most famous pies are looking for a perfect partner for their crusty creations.

For the fourth year, the Great Burleigh Pie Pairing Challenge is back, and teams are set to compete the find the best wine match for their popular pies.

As well as a trophy and bragging rights, winners also get the chance take a coveted place on the judging panel.

Co-founder of the Great Burleigh Pie Pairing Challenge Fiona Fenwick says this year’s competition includes an additional challenge.

“While Marlborough is known widely for its wine, there are also people producing other beverages – alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

This year, there is a wildcard entry these Marlborough non-wine beverage producers can do – match a Burleigh pie to any non-wine beverage from Marlborough.”

But, she says, this one is for the glory and bragging rights only – entries in the “wildcard” category are not eligible for the Supreme Award.

All fees from the winery team entries go to charity, with Marlborough Food Bank set to benefit this year.

Fiona says they are also looking for entries for the most original savoury pie recipe.

The main criteria here is that three of the ingredients need to be from Marlborough – whether it’s Lake Grassmere sea salt, a lemon from the tree next door, or greenshell mussels from the Marlborough Sounds,” she says.

As the Burleigh Pie pair, Jane Dickenson and Rod Burdis, say “We love the unexpected and we love quality so we can’t wait to see what Marlborough people come up with”.

The Marlborough Weekly has teamed up with the Great Burleigh Pie Pairing Challenge this year and is a collection point for pie enthusiasts.

Entry forms are available from The Burleigh on New Renwick Road in Blenheim or at Marlborough Weekly at 52 Scott Street.

Completed forms to be returned to The Burleigh, Marlborough Weekly, or emailed to [email protected]

All entries are to be received by 5pm on 4 September 2020.

Marlborough District Council is looking at banning non-self-contained vehicles from its freedom camping sites. Photo: Chloe Ranford/LDR

Freedom camping challenge could face legal threat

Marlborough council may face legal challenges in their bid to ban freedom campers in vehicles that are not self-contained.

Council staff want to ban vehicles without toilets from its freedom camping sites under a draft bylaw, released last week.

The bylaw was sparked by ongoing concerns that freedom campers were using Marlborough’s green patches as a toilet.

But at a public meeting in Renwick last week, council’s parks and open spaces planner Linda Craighead said the ban was not straightforward.

The council anticipated legal challengers she says.

“As with a lot of legal matters, there are some lawyers who feel we can ban non-self-contained units, and some lawyers who think we can’t.

“We’re going to have a go and see how we do,” she says.

Speaking after the meeting, Linda said the Freedom Camping Act, which guided the bylaw review, said councils “must not absolutely prohibit freedom camping” in their regions.

“Some believe that if you make freedom camping self-contained only, you’re prohibiting freedom camping for a number of people in the community, which goes against the act,” she says.

“Others argue that you’re still making provision for freedom camping, just that it’s restricted to self-contained. We already do other restrictions like limiting the number of vehicles at a site.”

To receive a self-containment certification, vehicles must have a toilet, portable or fixed, which must be able to be used inside a campervan with “sufficient head and elbow room”.

Under the bylaw, non-self-contained campers could be fined up to $200 by the council’s freedom camping enforcement officers.

This was in line with neighbouring Nelson City Council’s bylaw.

The council was aware of some individuals or organisations who might challenge their draft bylaw, but Linda says challengers had to submit on the bylaw then take their case to the High Court.

One attendee says he was concerned campers would not use their toilets, even if their vehicle was certified as self-contained.

“I hear stories of these people hiring campervan rentals.

“There are companies that put a seal over the toilets in the van. These cheeky companies are saying; ‘If you don’t break the seal to use that toilet, we will give you that bond back’. It’s wrong,” he says.

The bylaw says it is an offence to improperly dispose of waste.

Linda says infringement notices were “challenging” as the act prevented the council from fining more than $200. If the camper challenged the fine, it was not worth the costs of going to court.

A freedom camping report written by an independent expert earlier this year says the council’s approach of ‘educating first’, rather than fining, has led to a lower infringement tally than other regions. Last summer, the council issued seven fines, while Nelson issued 245 and Queenstown issued just under 2500.

An audience member asked how the council would manage homeless people who did not have toilets in their vehicles.

Linda says officers would contact relevant services.

The bylaw proposed no changes to the Renwick Domain camp site, which allowed up to 10 campers between 6pm and 9am.

Submissions on the bylaw would close on September 7 at 5pm.

LDR - Local Democracy Reporting