Tyler Redmond is using his talents to help both bullies and their victims. Photo: Supplied.

Teen’s screen anti-bullying message

They once bullied him, now their victim has included his tormentors in a film to help stop others suffering the same fate.

Blenheim filmmaker and director Tyler Redmond, 16, has been bullied since he was 5 years old.

Making films helped take his mind off the trauma, now his latest film, Rise Up, is set to help others going through similar situations.

But it’s not been an easy path to follow, he says.

“Instead of helping just one person in a schoolyard, I’m trying to help others on a national level.”

The young director credits his dad, Christchurch motorsport driver Stan Redmond, 65, as the force behind his drive to succeed.

Stan died in 2013 following a crash at Invercargill’s Teretonga Park.

“I think I’m so driven because of him. I was nine years old when my dad passed away.

“He was very driven and knew what he wanted, what he wanted to achieve.

“My mum’s also been very supportive and has been with me every step of the way,” he says.

It includes two characters played by two boys who once bullied Tyler. He says while he was “hesitant” at first to include them, he made an unbiased decision.

“I’d put a call out for cast, and they showed up. I was a bit wary, a bit hesitant at first. They remembered me but didn’t realise I was making the film. They were a bit embarrassed.

“I got talking to one of them and he apologised for what he’d done.” Tyler says.

Bullying affects nearly one-half of primary-aged children in New Zealand schools and a third of secondary students.

Tyler hopes his film will help both bullies and victims.

“What makes me sick to the stomach is when you see on the news about young people who are taking their own lives.

“Social media and commenting can cause constant hurt and upset and I want people to know it doesn’t have to be that way.”

Rise-Up will premiere at the Clubs of Marlborough for free on 29 November at 6.30pm.

A milestone moment as the raised pathway was finished. Photo: Supplied.

Lagoon plans unveiled

A ten-year bid to build a boardwalk over part of an iconic Marlborough wetland has been completed.

Volunteers charged with the restoration of the Grovetown Lagoon have marked a milestone moment as the raised pathway was finished.

And the hard-working team have already unveiled future plans – including a possible outdoor classroom, viewing platform and jetty.

Te Whanau Hou Grovetown Lagoon coordinator Justine Johnson says now the Kelly’s Creek boardwalk has been completed they can focus on the next project.

Plans include a possible outdoor classroom, viewing platform and jetty. Photo: Supplied.

“It’s somewhat fluid,” Justine says. “It’s such an interesting area, the steamer used to come up the steam wharf.

“There’s a lot of iwi history that we’re probably unaware of and a lot of volunteers love the history,” she says.

The oxbow loop of the Wairau River is one of the largest remaining areas of natural value on the Wairau Plain, with areas of open water, swampy ground, springs and adjoining land.

Justine says that when settlers arrived, they used trees from a Kahikatea forest to build their homes.

The group have started planting a tribute forest of replacement Kahikatea trees.

“They called the area Big Bush. Kahikatea is amazing, it grows tall but sheds it’s lower branches,” Justine says.

Over the decade, volunteers have come and gone but people have been keen to lend a hand when they can.

A working bee is held every six weeks.

“Quite a lot of work went into it. People come out and say, I can do this for you.

“Fulton Hogan came and said we want to sponsor you and it all happened quite quickly after that,”

The group also holds a Wetland Warriors meeting every Wednesday from 9.30am to 11.30am.

For further information visit www.grovetown.co.nz

From left, Mistletoe Bay Trust vice-patron John Stace, Mistletoe Bay Charitable Foundation chairman Simon Heath and patron Sir Stephen Tindall. Photo: Supplied.

Dinner serves up school camp funds boost

A special fundraising dinner has raised $115,000 to help ensure that no Marlborough children miss out on a trip to Mistletoe Bay.

It’s a classic Kiwi rite of passage- a childhood trip to school camp but for some families, it’s out of reach financially.

But the Mistletoe Foundation has raised funds to ensure no youngsters will miss out.

The foundation held a dinner last week at the bay, in Queen Charlotte Sound near Onahau Bay.

Foundation chairman and Renwick School principal Simon Heath says help will be on offer for students who might not be able to afford to go.

“Principals of schools sending students to camps at Mistletoe Bay are now assured of being able to access help for students who might not otherwise be able to afford to go to camp and have the Mistletoe Bay experience,” he says.

The Foundation has raised $300,000 which will now be invested, and scholarships will be granted to students each year.

The dinner was created by the team at Arbour restaurant, and hosted by the Mistletoe Charitable Foundation’s patron Dame Lowell Goddard QC along with the Mistletoe Bay Trust’s patrons Sir Stephen and Lady Tindall.

About 40 people took part in the “Magic at Mistletoe” event, taking a Marlborough Tour Company bus to Picton, and then the Marlborough Tour Company vessel Odyssea to Mistletoe Bay.

Sir Stephen spoke to guests about his experience as patron of the Mistletoe Bay Trust for the last ten years.

“This truly is an example for sustainability that we need to continue to nurture,” he says.

Simon says that spending time at the camp was “life-changing.”

“As a school principal myself, I know that the time spent at the bay on camp, doing activities with classmates and learning valuable lessons, can be life-changing for our young people, and they need that experience now more than ever,” he says.

Hope Walk organisers Vita Vaka and Bary Neal. Photo: Matt Brown.

Bringing Hope to the community

Two friends hope people will turn out in force to support those whose lives have been touched by suicide.

Marlborough man Bary Neal lost his son, Matt, 22, to suicide in 2016 while his friend and Hope Walk organiser Vita Vaka suffered from depression.

Together, the pair hope this year’s walk will start conversations about suicide and let people know support is on hand.

Organiser Vita Vaka says suicide is a topic close to his heart.

“I do this because I wish people were there walking with me through it,” he says.

The walk takes up to an hour, depending on the size of the crowd, and makes a loop circuit around Blenheim – starting and ending at Seymour Square.

In 2017, nearly 1000 Marlburians turned out for the region’s inaugural Hope Walk after organiser Bary Neal heard of a guy in Auckland starting a similar event.

Bary handed over organising the event to 30-year-old Vita last year, after he moved to Dunedin for work.

But now back in Blenheim, he continues to be a passionate advocate for the walk.

He organised the first event in Blenheim in 2017.

“I thought, why not?”

“Rather than sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I got out and did something,” Bary says.

“It’s made a difference in a lot of people’s lives.”

Bary says the event is about encouraging people to open-up.

“To not sit at home and feel like a burden,” he says.

Bary, a competitive speed walker went through a double hip replacement, then a marriage breakup before the death of his  son.

“At that stage I didn’t want anyone around me,” Bary says.

“I put on a brave face, but I would hide and have a cry.

“My best mate didn’t have a clue, but he checked up on me every other day.

“I kept thinking, my boy is looking down on me being miserable, so I wanted to do something to help people who were having similar trouble” he says.

Vita says Hope Walk itself is a type of suicide prevention.

“It’s a day to remind people how valuable they are to life,” he says.

“People have some kai and are informed about the support networks,” Vita says.

“It’s important people know the support is there.”

The Hope Walk begins at 10am Saturday 28 September at Seymour Square.

Cats on a Blenheim property have been suffering say animal advocates. Photo: Supplied.

House of horrors for neglected cats

Starving, ill and flea-infested cats will continue to suffer and die as authorities fail to act warn animal charity bosses.

Marlborough Dog Pawz, which care for both cats and dogs, has hit out at both the SPCA and Marlborough District Council over their failure to act.

The central Blenheim home has around nine cats living in filth and faeces, says charity co-founder Michelle Masden.

Cats on a Blenheim property have been suffering say animal advocates. Photo: Supplied.
Cats on a Blenheim property have been suffering say animal advocates. Photo: Supplied.

She has implored both councillors and SPCA to act and for help to be given to the homeowner.

But she says her pleas are falling on “deaf ears”.

“I feel like it is in the too hard basket and no one wants to actually try, the place hasn’t changed since January and is still a health hazard.

“We did go knock on the door on one occasion to see if we could help with desexing or any other sick kittens etc.

“That is when I found a little kitten lying in the garden covered in flies and crawling with fleas like I have never seen before, there was also a dead cat by the garage.

“I am not sure what you actually have to do to get someone to take action.

“We have taken six or seven [cats] from the property and four were put down as they were past helping,” she says.

Cats on a Blenheim property have been suffering say animal advocates. Photo: Supplied.
Cats on a Blenheim property have been suffering say animal advocates. Photo: Supplied.

The cats first came to the charity’s attention in January. They reported their urgent concerns to the SPCA.

After a four day wait, officials showed up at the house, Michelle says.

“The smell was so bad it almost made me sick, there was also a dead cat by the garage. SPCA know this property and actually took 8 cats from there last year but haven’t followed up since.

“It breaks my heart totally.”

The charity has been calling for a meeting with council staff, including Marlborough Mayor John Leggett.

But despite assurances a meeting would happen, nothing has been confirmed yet, though says councillor and mayoral candidate Jamie Arbuckle has been in contact.

“The owner of the property will not de sex any cats or let the SPCA remove any, this shouldn’t be a multi choice it needs to be enforced and acted upon.

“Kitten season is yet again here and there will be more emaciated kittens very soon.“The property owner needs support and that’s something that isn’t being offered here, the situation is now like a bad joke and i feel like a broken record.

“I know the SPCA and council want me to just disappear, but I won’t, these fur babies have no voice.

A spokesman from Marlborough District Council says the property had been inspected.

“Council inspected the property again on 4 September – there were four cats present and no concerns regarding their health or well-being. There have been no complaints from the neighbours.”

A cheque was presented by Organiser Bob O’Malley to Cancer Society Marlborough centre manager Felicity Spencer at a morning tea ceremony at the Vintage Car Clubs clubroom at Brayshaw Park on Wednesday. Photo: Supplied.

Sun shines for charity car show

The organiser of a vintage car show prayed for good weather and his efforts paid off, especially for the charity they support.

Marlborough’s Cancer Society received a massive windfall after the well-attended car show raised several thousands of dollars.

The popular Vintage Car Club Daffodil Day Vehicle Display smashed previous records, making nearly double the amount of last year’s show.

$17,500 was raised for the charity, with about 4000 Marlburians attending the show.

Organiser Kelly Landon-Lane says he got corns on his knees praying for fine weather for the third annual display.

And it worked, the day was one of the warmest and sunniest of the month.

“The weather leading up wasn’t great, but on the day – they [weather forecasters] got it a bit wrong,” Kelly says.

A cheque was presented by Organiser Bob O’Malley to Cancer Society Marlborough centre manager Felicity Spencer at a morning tea ceremony at the Vintage Car Clubs clubroom at Brayshaw Park on Wednesday.

Felicity says they were “overwhelmed” by the amount the Vintage Car Club made for the charity.

“It’s such an awesome effort, and they took all the initiative to run the event,” she says.

More than 50 generous local businesses contributed to the successful show.

“The support has been absolutely superb,” Kelly says.

“We had a figure in our mind when we started, around $15,000, and we made more than that.

“It’s progressed from $8000, to $9000 to more than $17,000 this year.

“You got to thank the people that turned up on the day.”

Bob says most families are affected “in one way or another” by cancer.

The money raised will go towards a new supportive care nurse hired by the society and to establish support groups for people affected by cancer in the region.

“The public really get behind us, it’s just incredible,” Bob says.

Kelly says the support from the community has been overwhelming.

“Hopefully we can keep the ball rolling and build on the event for next year,” he says.

Bottles, human excrement and other detritus mar a popular hut at Marfells Beach. Photo: Supplied.

Marfell Beach’s family hut trashed

It’s survived an earthquake, but a small structure on Marfells beach near Seddon could be taken down by tanked teens.

The hut, built by a local family for shelter from the notorious east coast wind, has become a dumping ground for raucous revellers.

Human faeces, piles of rubbish, including empty bottles and cans, are turning the hut into a tip – the “childish” antics wrecking the shelter for everyone else.

A local Seddon resident, who asked to not be named, says he erected the hut for his family as a respite when walking the popular beach.

“It’s a good place to kick back and get out of the sun and wind,” he says.

“I haven’t been there for a long time, but it was always kept pretty good.”

Constructed prior to the  7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2016, halfway between Marfells Beach Road and the wharf, the shelter was intended to be used by fishermen and families walking the shore.

But a four-wheel-drive track adjacent to the structure has proven to be its downfall.

The Seddon local thought it was local teens wrecking the structure for everyone else.

“It’s absolute childish stuff,” he says.

“I’ve sent a few people down there to clean up glass and faeces.

“I’ve yet to deal with the people that did it.

“They’re ruining it for everybody else,” he says.

Council has been approached for comment.

Foster Hope coordinator Leonie McLachlan is grateful for all the donations the charity receives. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Crowded house a problem for pyjama charity

A charity bid to help provide pyjamas to children in foster care needs to upsize its storage in a bid to cope with demand.

Foster Hope Marlborough urgently needs a new storage shed as kind-hearted Marlburians gift goodies to the charity.

The popular initiative stores and sorts donations of pyjamas, clothes, toys and other gifts from across the Top of the South

But local Foster Hope coordinator Leonie McLachlan is running out of room.

“This is such an amazing, giving community and this is a fabulous problem to have,” she says.

The Blenheim mum of four, who has been a foster parent for 22 years, has boxes of donations in her living room and in storage sheds in the garden.

Foster Hope arranged for a shed to be installed but it only holds a fraction of the donations.

With the need for help high, Leonie hopes someone may be able to help in some way- through supplying a shed or sleep out, helping to build it or supplying the materials needed.

Gifts come into Blenheim from across Marlborough and the Nelson Tasman areas before being distributed back to both regions.

The charity also provides help to children under the care of Oranga Tamariki and The Open Home Foundation.

“I have also provided clothing and pyjamas through the hospital social workers both here and in Nelson as well as Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and Fostering Kids and pyjamas to the Woman’s Refuge,” says Leonie.

“I need something here on my property rather than a storage unit as I sort out the donations once the kids are in bed. It’s a big job.

“Ideally it needs to be lined and insulated so the clothes don’t go mouldy or get damp.”

Building regulations means the maximum size must not be bigger than 10 metres square.

As a registered charity, Foster Hope can provide a receipt for any donations.

“I absolutely love what I do, I just love it and any help would be much appreciated,” Leonie says.

To contact Foster Hope, email [email protected]

More than 7000 trees have been planted in six years as a result of the reserves initiative. Photo: Supplied.

Call for help to boost reserves

Restoring a scenic reserve will pay off for future generations of endangered bats.

Endangered long tail bats are set for a helping hand as conservation teams join forces to bring Ronga Reserve in Pelorus back to its best.

And an appeal has gone out for members of the public to help plant saplings that bats will one day roost in.

Forest & Bird, Nelson Tasman Weedbusters and the Department of Conservation (DOC) hope people will pledge to assist as they get ready to plant rimu, totara and matai.

DOC ranger Wendy Sullivan say they hope the day will make a big difference.

“The 17ha Ronga Scenic Reserve is an important habitat for the endangered long tailed bats.

“The tiny rimu, totara and matai planted by volunteers will eventually become the giant trees required for bats to roost in.

Ronga Scenic Reserve, along with its more famous neighbour the Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve, are not only home to long-tailed bats, but are also ‘acutely threatened’ forests.,” she says.

The annual planting days have been organised by Forest & Bird and DOC for six years.

More than 7000 trees have been planted and, despite flooding and ongoing weed issues, has been lauded as a success.

It’s heartening to see the seedlings start to appear above the rank grass,” Wendy says.

Less than 1 per cent of this type of forest remains in the Pelorus District.

Wendy says the ancient podocarps are crucial to the survival of long-tailed bats.

“They need old hollow trees to roost and breed in.,” she says.

A community planting day will be held on Saturday 31 August.

Meet outside the Brick Oven in Rai Valley by 9:45 am. DOC will be providing a wild meat BBQ for a late lunch but feel free to bring a salad to share.

Bring solid shoes, warm clothes and a well-labelled spade. If the weather is bad, check out facebook/ronga reserve restoration for updates – postponement dates are 1 or 14 September.

June Maslin was successfully treated for bowel cancer after an at-home test kit detected it early. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Bowel cancer kit saving lives

A Blenheim woman is urging others to take at an at-home test which helped save her life.

When June Maslin got a bowel testing kit in the post, she put it aside; with no family history and no symptoms, at first it seemed like a waste of time.

But she was persuaded by friends to do the test and within a month was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour.

The keen golfer, who has since been given the all clear, is warning others not to ignore the free test kits.

“I nearly didn’t do it but it’s so simple to do and it’s given me a second chance at life,” she says.

The grandmother of one had surgery at Wairau Hospital in April this year and will not need chemotherapy.

She says the 5-minute test detected signs of the cancer before she developed any symptoms.

In the year since it was launched in Marlborough, the bowel cancer screening initiative has seen 15,223 kits sent out.

Sixty-six per cent were returned. The Ministry of Health’s target for return rate is 60 per cent.

“I felt fine, I didn’t have any symptoms, June says. “I really didn’t think there was anything wrong.

“Please do it now, the sooner it’s done, the better peace of mind you’ll have.

“Everybody during this was absolutely marvelous, the hospital staff were fabulous.”

A total of 415 tests have proven positive with 11 of these proving to be cancer.

Nelson Marlborough Health Bowel Screening Programme manager Claudia Teunissen has been helping spread the word at information stalls at festivals, A&P shows and community meetings.

She says the most satisfying part of her role is getting positive feedback from the public.

“People telling me that they have completed the kit and had a negative result.

“Also, when people tell me that I had convinced them to do the test after we had spoken together at another event.

“I also feel I’ve done a good job when people from our priority population want to talk to me individually and even request for a kit to be sent to them,” she says.

For further information visit www.timetoscreen.nz/bowel-screening/