The CACTUS crew work hard delivering a programme that helps young people build on their skills. Photo: Anthony Phelps.

Sponsorship boost for youth

An initiative geared to helping build life skills and confidence in young people has been given a $90,000 boost.

Marlborough Lines will sponsor the CACTUS (Combined Adolescent Challenge Training Unit Support) programme in Blenheim and Picton.

Over the next three years, staff have pledged to fund $30,000 a year.

Marlborough Lines chief executive Tim Cosgrove says the programme is a good fit with the company’s ideals.

“It has a good spread across the region and is really youth-focused… the programme is already in place, it’s well-run and has clearly demonstrated results.

“It’s the sort of thing we’re proud to support and commit to.”

More than 650 young people have taken part in the eight-week course since 2008.

Three mornings a week, participants take part in intensive training between 6am and 7am, building up to the Longest Day, when all their skills are put together in a series of exercises.

Marlborough Youth Trust trustee and police officer Dean Buckley says the proof of CACTUS’ success is its longevity.

“If it wasn’t as successful, it wouldn’t be going still.”

He says the course helps youth in all aspects, improving their resilience and teamwork among other things.

“It’s quite powerful on the CV as well. Often young people don’t have much to put on their CV, but this is great.

“Employers see this young person has a bit of go, a bit of commitment.”

Youth mentor Reuben Molnar says CACTUS is an “awesome” programme.

“From day one, to the finish of the programme, huge improvements in self-confidence, fitness levels, and building a connection, building a tribe, and able to connect into other things we do, events and other activities.”

Marlborough Youth Trust chair Russell Smith says the course really has a long-lasting effect.

“This sponsorship will give certainty to a programme that we know has results. It means our staff time can be put into things we want to be doing like youth development rather than chasing their tails to find finance to make things work,” he says.

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.”

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.
Career Navigation days are helping Marlborough students secure jobs locally. Photo: Steve Hussey Photography.

Smooth sailing for students’ career initiative

It was a case of third time lucky for students taking part in a career’s day to learn more about Marlborough’s aquaculture sector.

The visit offered as part of the Career Navigation programme had to be called off twice, once because of Covid-19 and then because of bad weather.

But it was finally all smooth sailing for the students who got the chance to learn about different aspects of the industry from the team at Sanford.

Career Navigator is currently offered to Year 12 and 13 students at Marlborough Boys’ College, Marlborough Girls’ College and Queen Charlotte College.

It pairs students with businesspeople from a range of industries across the region serving as mentors – coupled with the support of over 120 local businesses and organisations.

Programme coordinator Tania Smith says the programme has been very successful.

“Some students have discovered new pathways they had never considered before.

“Other students have had their career pathways confirmed and now they know more about the reality of the industry they were contemplating.”

From sustainability to naval architecture and design, students were given an insight into the seafood industry.

Tania says the initiative has helped students find jobs in Marlborough.

“We’re also really delighted that some of our previous students have found jobs in their chosen field with employers right here in Marlborough.

“It all goes really well with our vision for all young people to have a purposeful pathway into their future,” she says.

“Enormous thanks to Grant Boyd, Rebekah Anderson, Dave Herbert and Les McClung from Sanford for making it such a cool learning experience for us all – and to Springlands Lifestyle Village for the transport.”

Hub committee members thank the community for their help. Photo: Matt Brown

Awatere ECE another step closer

The Awatere ECE Hub committee are “cranking into overdrive” as the realisation of years of hard work comes to fruition.

Construction on a new centre bringing the Awatere/Flaxbourne Plunket, Awatere Playcentre and the Awatere Early Learning Centre under one roof is hoped to begin early next year.

And on Thursday the committee held a special ceremony to thank early supporters of the decade-long project.

Awatere ECE Hub committee chair Phil Muir says they’re taking the opportunity to show their appreciation to the community for all their support.

“It’s been a long time coming.

“There’s a truck load of planning that goes into it, which is what we’ve been doing.”

He says the committee are still waiting on the decision of a Lotteries grant application for $1,354,000 expected during August.

“If that all comes together, we’re potentially starting the build next year,” Phil says.

The area was struck by a 7.8 magnitude quake in 2016, damaging the buildings serving the communities youngest residents beyond repair.

The group’s goal is to raise $2.1 million to build the modern hub.

A new sign showing the amount raised for the learning hub was unveiled at the ceremony.

Committee member Olivia Doonan says she was hoping for the Lotteries decision in time for today’s certificate ceremony so “we would have a bit more of the red line filled in”.

“This will be such an amazing thing for our community,” she says.

“It’s close, after years of working on it.”

“Since the 2013 earthquake we’ve been repairing. It’s been going on for a long time.

“It’s the culmination of years of the community trying to provide the right services.”

She says the ceremony was to show their appreciation for the community’s support.

“We’re wanting to get the build started at the end of the year.

“We’re cranking into overdrive to get it going.”

Community College Marlborough youth advisor Carolynn Tipene is a favourite with the students. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

College counsellor changing lives

Students at community college have been reaping the rewards of an on-site counsellor, who is helping change lives for the better.

Carolynn Tipene was employed as a part time youth advisor but has since secured more hours as a Kaiarahi.

She is part of a team looking after about 50 students; young men and women who need some help finding their niche in life.

It is, she says, her role to take a holistic approach when caring for the students she sees as an extension of her family.

“I don’t look at them like they’re students, I think of them as my own.”

From helping with accommodation to lending a listening ear, her days are unpredictable and busy, and she loves every single second; well almost.

An open-door policy means students can call in to see her if they need help, guidance or just to chat.

“They are teenagers with all the problems and drama that comes with that and sometimes they feel they can share stuff with me that they find hard to do with others.

“Mostly it’s just growing pains but sometimes I hear stuff I don’t want to and this is when it gets hard”

Taking on the four day a week role in 2017, Carolynn, who had previously worked in healthcare, is Whānau Ora trained.

The students aged between 16 and 19 years old may have been let down by the schooling system, she says, and struggling with self-esteem.

Helping them grow and appreciate their potential is incredibly rewarding, she says.

“The best part is when a kid comes in here and academically, they don’t think they can do it. When they graduate it brings me to tears.

“We get them, we pick them up and put back together in a way that works.

“We’re like family here; a village.”

But breaking down some of the barriers can take time, she says.

“It cracks me up. When they arrive, you can see them looking at me, thinking ‘what’s that old lady doing here?’ By the middle of the year they’re one of my best friends.”

Carolynn’s laugh is infectious. Her natural empathy shines through and it’s easy to see why she’s a firm favourite with the students.

With some coming from difficult home environments, she is someone to turn to, someone they clearly trust.

“I represent students and support them at conferences, with Oranga Tamariki and the Department of Corrections. I get asked to do that a fair bit,” she says.

As well as covering classes as the need arises, Carolynn also puts her experience as a professional chef to good use, providing cooked lunches at the Scott Street site.

For some, it may be the only food they get in a day, she says.

“I still have a passion for cooking and the kids help prepare and with the cleaning afterwards. It’s a great way to teach about budgeting too.”

As Carolynn chats, a student comes in to see her; a young woman she has helped.

With an apparent close bond, the pair laugh and joke together, the student is clearly happy to have Carolynn on her side,

“She gives me hope, she says.

 

 

 

James Galloway, Alina Joe, Lucy Bridgen, Maisie Davison and Dave Pauling, with Elijah Galloway and Andrew Kubis, front, take delivery of new technology. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Top up for local schools

A Marlborough based fuel company is helping keep hundreds of school children topped up with technology & sports equipment.

Southfuels a New Zealand wide bulk fuel distribution company has donated $80,000 to schools across the Marlborough region through their Fuel for Schools sponsorship programme.

The nationwide initiative has helped put more than $1 million dollars of resources into more than 350 rural schools in the last twelve years.

Pupils at Richmond View School in Blenheim are the latest to benefit, with a special technology package worth over $5000 delivered on Thursday, this package included 11 Chromebooks, an iPad and other technology for the classroom.

Southfuels Marlborough account manager Maisie Davison says customers nominate a school to receive 50 cents for every 100 litres of bulk fuel they have delivered.

“I’d like to give a big shout out and massive thank you to all our customers throughout the Marlborough region who contribute and all the schools who take part.”

Southfuels customers and programme supporters, O’Donnell Park Barging and Kenny Barging manager James Galloway and Amber-Lousie Connor from Waikawa Fishing Company were at Richmond View School to hand deliver the children get their new technology packages.

“One of our values is betterment for all and we do that in a number of different ways; we have a community van and of course, donate through Fuels for Schools’ says James.

“Being able to see just how much there is and how excited the children are is great. It’s like Christmas.”

When a participating school reaches a $1000 in donations they can pick between a technology or sports package.

Richmond School principal Dave Pauling says the donation makes a big difference to students.

“It helps enormously. We know what we need, and we get to choose.

“Some of these things go to children who might not have them otherwise.”

There are a number of schools in the region whom have benefited from the Fuel for Schools programme in recent times, including Mayfield School, Seddon School, Witherlea School, Linkwater Primary, Ward School, Spring Creek School, Fairhall School, Wairau Valley School and Riverlands School.

To get involved or find out more call Maisie Davison on 0275936229, and start supporting your local school today.

Acting principal Nicky Cameron-Dunn, left, with outgoing Bohally School principal Shane Campbell. Photo: Matt Brown.

Principal hangs up his captain hat

A much-loved school principal has relinquished his captaincy as new challenges overseas beckon.

Bohally School principal Shane Campbell was farewelled at a schoolwide assembly on Friday as he looks forward to a new job at an international school in Kuala Lumpar.

And a ship captains’ hat – a symbol of Shane’s leadership given to him when he first joined the school – was handed over to deputy principal Nicky Cameron-Dunn, who will take the role of acting principal until next year.

Shane says he leaves the school in the hands of a “dedicated” group of teachers and specially acknowledged the school’s deputy principals.

“There’s a real strong sense of support from the community,” he says.

The farewell, led by two year eight students, featured songs, dancing, and heartfelt messages of thanks to the principal of five years, with one student saying Shane put them, and learning, above all else.

Bohally board of trustee’s chair Suzie Glover says Shane’s kindness and integrity has always been clear from his actions.

“He builds learning partnerships with parents and whanau.

“He’s focused on the kids first and easy to talk to.”

Suzie says Shane has had a positive effect on the culture at Bohally and wished him “every success” in his new leadership role.

Originally from Golden Bay, Shane took the top job at Bohally in 2015 following a stint as principal at a primary school in Northland.

He joked he had worn through eight pairs of shoes pacing the halls of Bohally.

Under his watch, the school roll has grown from 392 in 2015 to 529 this year and more than 550 students expected next year.

Shane says it’s a privilege to be able to focus funding on just year 7 and 8 students.

“We’re lucky to have an intermediate school in Marlborough,” Shane says.

“What I’ve enjoyed the most is we can spend all the money on two year groups.”

The one thing he says he won’t miss at his new role in Malaysia – the cold, frosty mornings.

Marlborough Girls’ College students Beth Gray, Destiny Aires and Vita Elworthy. Photo: Matt Brown.

Business students’ wake up call

Students needing a good night’s sleep have sparked a business idea for a team of college entrepreneurs.

Four Marlborough Girls’ College business students have created special sprays to help people relax at night and feel refreshed in the morning.

Their new company, Mellow, is fully funded by the team who hope their new venture will get the money coming in.

The team settled on the facial sprays after their market research revealed many of their peers often felt tired or rundown.

Mellow chief executive Destiny Aires says the facial sprays weren’t the group’s first business idea.

Butter sticks, dog biscuits and reselling secondhand clothing were all ideas left on the cutting room floor, she says.

“We came up with a few ideas before we settled on Mellow. We had to think of a problem or an issue and then solve it.

“One of the sprays calms your mind and relaxes you. The other reinvigorates you and wakes you up in the morning.”

Production and communications manager Vita Elworthy says expert help was invaluable to get the sprays to trial stage.

Vita says the team made the most of their business mentor Erena Oliver’s knowledge of essential oils.

“She explained the properties of the oils and we made our own recipe based on that,” Vita says.

“We had a few prototypes – the first one didn’t smell too nice. We had to make it appeal to people – to make it smell nice and make people want to put it on.

“It applies to everyone, but we’re targeting youth.”

Destiny, who’s aiming to be a hotel manager, says business studies and the practical experience was really useful.

Finance director Beth Gray says the project has been exciting.

“It’s fun having full control, from the logo to the packaging,” she says.

“We’ve all contributed ideas.

“It would be cool to keep it going.”

Beth and Vita are looking to take a more creative route in their future – but both agreed the business experience was an eye-opener.

“Alongside tiredness and not getting enough sleep – it won’t lead to breakouts,” Vita says.

“It’s made for sensitive skin,” Destiny adds.

The young entrepreneurs will soon take up a stall at the Sunday Farmers’ Market with the sleep sprays retailing at $12.99.

Our tagline is ‘the natural way’, Destiny says.

Witherlea School deputy principal Kirsty Stone. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Goodbye Witherlea

After 20 years of teaching, a much-loved Witherlea School staff member is bidding farewell to staff and students.

Deputy principal Kirsty Stone will move on from the Witherlea school, thankful for the relationships she built with children and families over her two decades.

“I will miss my family here very much,” she says.

“But it’s always good to have a change and I’m excited about that too.”

Kirsty vividly remembers the fire that tore through the Wither Hills in 2001, it was her introduction to the region.

Moving to Marlborough to look after her sick father, she fell in love with the school and put down deep roots.

A teacher for 34 years, first in Wellington then the UK, she says she is passionate not only about teaching, but learning too.

“I taught right from the word go,” she says.

“We’re lucky at Witherlea, we have dedicated, passionate people.

“It’s such an amazing school.

While she isn’t leaving the industry, Kirsty says she believes teaching is becoming more challenging.

“There’s a lot of pressure on teachers,” she says.

“You have to really love teaching, otherwise you do something else.”

She says she will miss the strong connections with the kids and the local community at the 400-pupil strong school.

One of her proudest achievements is growing the school’s flourishing Kapa Haka group.

“Kapa Haka went from my class and one other eight years ago, about 40 students, to just under 200 today.

“That would be one of my proud moments.

Kirsty has also been a force for pastoral care in the community.

“We identify children that might be at risk, from grief, trauma or abuse, and put in small systems and mentoring,” she says.

“Wellbeing has become a special focus at our school.

“To the community, I would like to say a special, personal thank you for the privilege, and it is a privilege, of teaching their children.”