Covid-19 precautions have seen some shoppers have to queue. Photo: File

Supermarket bosses bid to cut queues as weather cools

Countdown stores in Marlborough will open for longer from tomorrow in a bid to help combat queues as the weather cools down.

Stores across the country will be changing their opening hours from tomorrow and will open from 8am to 8pm.

And priority shopping for emergency service staff and medical workers will now move to 7am.

Countdown’s general manager health and safety Kiri Hannifin says the change in hours will hopefully help cut down customer queuing.

“We’ve extended the opening hours of our stores to give our customers more time to do their shopping, especially as the weather starts to cool and the evenings are darker,” she says.

Safer measures put in place during lockdown to protect staff and customers from the threat of Covid-19 means customers have had to wait longer outside some stores.

“This has in some instances led to queues but we’re hoping extended trading hours will help ease this a little.,” says Kiri.

“We also hope the earlier start time of our priority shopping hour will work better for those emergency workers and medical personnel working shifts.

The priority shopping hour is available to NZ Police, Fire Service, ambulance paramedics, DHBs, hospital and medical personnel with proper ID.

Covid-19 kills milk delivery

Milk delivery in Marlborough has become a casualty of Covid-19.

The first milk delivery service in Marlborough for 30 years, Milk and More, has closed its Blenheim run.

Owner Trevor Nicholls, in a Facebook post, says a disagreement with their glass-bottle milk supplier was the final straw for the business.

“This is deeply saddening for myself and my staff and I am aware that so many other businesses and individuals are in the same boat,” Trevor says.

“Covid-19 has affected individuals, communities, businesses and many other groups in an immense way.”

He says at the beginning Milk and More intended to deliver through the level four lockdown.

“We were then told that we would not be deemed an essential business – many of us here breathed a sigh of relief as we would not be exposing ourselves, our families and our customers to a greater risk of the virus spreading.”

Then, on March 6, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced butchers, bakers and greengrocers would be able to make home deliveries.

“Although this decision gave us the opportunity to recommence milk deliveries, I’d had time to think about the risks presented with picking up glass bottles from over 5,000 houses across the top of the South.

“So, I made the difficult decision to only supply Anchor Milk in plastic bottles for the immediate future.

“Our glass bottle milk supplier did not see eye to eye with me on this, and as a result, have terminated the relationship between us.”

Trevor says not having glass-bottle milk would see him lose most of his customers.

“Despite this, I stand by my choice to cease glass bottle pickup while in lock-down and will always be of the opinion that the safety of my staff and customers comes above business profitability and success.

“It has been my absolute pleasure in servicing Blenheim and the surrounding areas with Milk and More products over the years.

“Thank you for your support, loyalty and friendly faces. I wish you all the best.”

Suppliers to Milk and More, Oaklands Milk, based in Stoke, is looking to resume home delivery in re-usable glass bottles.

To register your interest in getting milk bottle deliveries, email [email protected]

Haircuts will have to wait until lockdown restrictions are eased. File photo.

Hairdos are hairdon’ts until lockdown hits level two

Manes will go untamed until lockdown restrictions are eased.

The national body of hairdressers has revealed hair cuts are off the table until the alert level is lowered to level two.

Cutz on Weld owner Toni-Marie Robinson says it’s reassuring to have a governing body with the foresight to guide small business owners in these troubling times.

“I feel as an industry we are dealing with customers extremely closely,” she says. “I certainly think it is a fair ruling.”

“All our clients are totally supportive, as they understand this is affecting not only us as a nation but the whole world.”

Guidelines released by the New Zealand Association of Registered Hairdressers outline what their members can and can’t do during the Covid-19 quarantine.

Online sales of haircare products are permitted at level three and four, but they can’t do hairdos until level two.

And there are strict guidelines when they reopen, including physical distancing, staggered shifts and those over 70 and immunocompromised prohibited from salons and barbers.

Toni-Marie says it’s a small price to pay.

“If we don’t have our health, we don’t have businesses, so it is a small price to pay to live,” she says.

“We aren’t in this alone.

“This is a once in a lifetime world pandemic, and we as New Zealanders know how to join together and fight.”

But she says there is a bright side.

And with the professionals maintaining their own bubbles, Kiwis have turned to the trusty mixing bowl in droves.

Mullets and bowl cuts have made a comeback as New Zealanders celebrate the number 8 wire mentality with DIY trims.

“We as a business are looking forward to seeing the wild a wacky hairstyles walking through the door,” Toni-Marie says.

ASB Bank in Blenheim. Photo: Matt Squire.

Bank shutdown forces new tech skills

Level 4 lockdown restrictions are forcing some senior citizens to get to grips with technology.

The closure of major banks amid Covid-19 has seen some pensioners struggling to pay bills and carry out every day banking tasks.

Half of Blenheim’s banks have shut their doors until the coronavirus crisis ends with the rest operating at reduced hours.

Marlborough District Council councillor Jenny Andrews says this is a concern for many.

“This will worry them,” Jenny says.

“But entering a bank would be potentially dangerous for a senior person.”

She says where possible, seniors should try and set up services online.

“It may take time but at present we have time,” Jenny says.

“Use a smart phone or tablet and be prepared to keep trying.”

Local technology tutor Wendy Reynolds says the old-fashioned way of writing a cheque isn’t going to work during the lockdown.

“If we have our brain and faculties it’s important we manage our own money,” she says.

Wendy has been offering computer tutoring for eight years and recently was awarded $10,000 by the AM Show and Chorus for her work teaching elderly the ins and outs of technology.

“If they want help, my answer is yes. Help is available.”

But she says the tech-challenged need to want to learn.

“They need to want to do it or else it’s a struggle,” she says.

The biggest challenge she says people face is complicated or unfit devices.

“Some will have to put their hand in their pocket and get a new device.

“Technology skills are something all elderly should have,” Wendy says.

BNZ communications consultant Sam Durbin says while they didn’t open last week, that doesn’t mean they won’t open in Marlborough in the coming weeks.

“In these unprecedented times we have a lot of factors to consider such as staff and resourcing, the busy times for an individual branch, and most important of all is how we can protect our customers and our staff and their wellbeing.”

BNZ opened 48 branches for four hours throughout the country on Thursday last week.

“If customers can, they should avoid going to the branch if possible and use other ways to bank,” he says.

To book training with Wendy, give her a call on 0212230160.

It costs $5 to join an online class or $20 per hour for one on one tutoring.

Bank opening hours:

ANZ – Wednesdays 9am-12pm

BNZ – Closed

ASB – Tuesday 10am-2pm.

SBS – Thursdays 10am-2pm

Rabobank – Closed

The Coop – Closed

Kiwibank – Wednesdays 10am-1pm

Westpac – Wednesdays 10am-1pm

The Blue Door op shop in Blenheim. Photo: Matt Brown.

Op shops face dump dilemma over donations

People are being warned not to dump donations at op shops during lockdown.

Leaving goods outside closed second-hand shops poses a public safety risk.

Everything that’s ditched outside locked doors will have to be destroyed – going straight to landfill.

The SPCA Op Shop on Grove Road has fallen foul of people leaving goods outside and will have to foot the bill to bin the items.

A spokeswoman says that everyone should know that both the store and Renwick centre are closed.

“So why do people still dump their donations at our shop door?

“They will not be sorted they have to go in the bin. The SPCA now have to pay to have your gear dumped. Things are hard enough without extra problems – how about sticking to the rules?

“To everyone else stay safe and look after yourselves.”

A council spokesman is asking for people hold on to anything they have to donate.

Even then, all items will need to be thoroughly cleaned, he warns.

“For health and security reasons, anything left outside op shops will be taken straight to the landfill.

“Please save any donations for delivery to charity shops once we move out of the lockdown period.”

Maegen Blom is a finalist in the Seafood Sustainability Awards. Photo: Supplied.

Mussel makeover wins young entrepreneur awards top spot

A young entrepreneur has been recognised for her part in helping give mussels a reputation makeover.

Maegan Blom, 19, is part of a small, passionate, team working at her family business, Mills Bay Mussels in Havelock.

And her bid to shine the spotlight on NZ Greenshell mussels has seen her take a top spot in the Seafood Sustainability Awards as a finalist.

The creative lead behind the rebrand of her family’s business, hopes to get people looking at the humble mussel in a more positive light.

“There is a perception around mussels in NZ and they are often viewed as a cheap form of protein or a food to indulge in.

“We believe that mussels are a delicious, healthy, sustainable superfood that with the right treatment can shine amongst all other top-quality NZ produce,” she says.

Maegen completed her first year of a commerce degree at Victoria University in Wellington last year.

She plans to head overseas this year and take a year out before returning to her studies next year.

There are a lot of people who are yet to discover how great mussels can be, she says.

“Setting up Our Tasting Room & Eatery in Havelock was one of the projects I was highly involved in – this is where we educate our customers about the exciting and delicious ways mussels can be enjoyed.

“Instead of growing our business through increasing volume we are finding ways for people to see mussels as a higher value food.”

Maegen, who grew up in Southland on a dairy farm came to Marlborough four years ago when her family.

Her parents, originally from the Netherlands, bought a small lodge in Nydia Bay, On the Track Lodge, and then diversified into the mussel business.

She has been trusted put some of her business ideas into practice, she says.

“There are a lot of people who want to help and support me. I am still pretty young, so I am quite honoured to be recognised among the other finalists.

“My dad is also a big motivator for me. He challenges me constantly to get out of my comfort zone and try new things.

“He has also given me a lot of freedom within the business to try things and carry out projects.”

Introducing new product offerings, using promotional marketing including ‘the best way to eat mussels’, and creating a website to increase market reach caught the judges’ attention.

“The finalists are shining examples of communities who contribute to the long-term sustainability of New Zealand’s seafood sector and ensure that our oceans are resilient, healthy and bountiful for future generations,” says deputy director-general of Fisheries New Zealand, Dan Bolger.

Viticulture cadet Jessica Marston features in a documentary about harvest at Villa Maria. Photo: Supplied.

Film first for vintage

A fly-on-the wall film giving viewers a behind the scenes look at vintage is set to make its screen debut.

Villa Maria has teamed up with an American filmmaker to create a feature length documentary, set to be released as the region gears up for its busiest time of year.

Titled Vintage, the movie followed staff from the Fairhall-based winery throughout vintage last year.

First timer Jessica Marston says she not only had her first harvest to cope with but a camera crew to contend with too.

“I didn’t want to do anything wrong; make a wrong move with harvest and I was more worried about that,” she says

The viticulturist, who graduated from Washington State University, says she was fortunate with her first harvest.

“I think I got quite lucky. Previous harvests sound like they were quite rough weather-wise. We also have a cool crew of people.”

Originally from Auckland, Jessica who graduated with a degree in viticulture and oenology has made Blenheim her home.

When she first heard about filmmaker Colin West’s concept for the film, she was keen to be included.

‘I like to talk,” she says.

The film also follows chief winemaker Nick Picone, viticulturist Stuart Dudley, chief viticulturist and Ollie Powrie.

It reveals how the team cope with unforeseen challenges, vastly varying climates, frost-filled early mornings and 24-hour-days.

Nick says it is the first time the vintage process has been captured on film

“For the first time ever in New Zealand, a winery is capturing the vintage process, peeking behind the curtain of the all-consuming harvest period known as vintage.

“You’ll see the passion and hard work that goes into every bottle.”

Director and producer Colin West says the film tells a uniquely Kiwi story.

“It captures the incredible highs and heart-breaking lows of making world class wine in New Zealand.”

“We hoped that everything would go well but we didn’t really know how vintage was going to unfold.  It’s so different from one year to the next,” He says.

Vintage will show on free-to-air television in a partnership with Three on Saturday 15 February at 10:30 PM.

The Liu family on holiday in China are in self-imposed quarantine after returning home. Photo: Supplied.

Coronavirus caution for chippy family

A Blenheim family has placed itself in self-imposed quarantine after returning from China amid coronavirus fears.

Main St Fish and Chips owner Andrew Liu says he took his family to Guangzhou to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Even though the family were forced to stay indoors for most of their visit, they have chosen to take extra precautions to protect the public, just in case.

“Most people were worried about it,” Andrew says of their visit where people are on high alert for the potentially fatal virus.

“We were told to stay home; the whole country is worried about it.”

Andrew, his wife Winnie and their three children, will stay in quarantine for the recommended 14 days.

The family arrived back in New Zealand on 31 January.

New Zealand Immigration has placed temporary entry restrictions into New Zealand on all foreign nationals travelling from mainland China to help stop the virus from spreading.

The restrictions do not apply to New Zealand citizens, permanent residents, residents with valid travel conditions and their immediate family.

Andrew’s popular Main Street takeaway shop, which temporarily closed before they left on holiday, will remain shut until the quarantine period ends.

The couple’s three children will not be attending school.

“No one is feeling sick,” Andrew says.

“It’s because we notice that when we came back, we should have self-imposed quarantine for 14 days.”

All travellers arriving in New Zealand out of mainland China, or any travellers who have had exposure to a confirmed case of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) are expected to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time they leave mainland China or were exposed to novel coronavirus.

A Nelson Marlborough Health (NMH) incident management team is on stand-by but not yet active. NMH has a pandemic plan and a health emergency plan in place.

People will not be allowed to smoke at the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival. Photo: Supplied.

Winefest goes smoke free

The popular summer Wine and Food festival is giving fags the flick.

Land-owners Pernod-Ricard has banned smoking at the long-standing event and are asking smokers to leave their cigarettes at home.

And even vapes have come on the chopping block – with the entire site right to the road flagged as smoke free.

Wine Marlborough event coordinator Loren Coffey praised the initiative, saying New Zealand had been heading in this direction for a while.

“None of their [Pernod Ricard] workers can smoke on their site – so it’s fair to extend it to events,” she says.

In recent years, smoking was confined to a designated area. But this year those areas have been canned. “If anyone’s smoking on site they will be politely told to put it out,” Loren says.

The policy, part of Pernod Ricard’s 2020 sustainability plan, was shared with wineries attending the festival at a briefing last Thursday.

Loren says stallholders were supportive of the initiative.

Destination Marlborough general manager Jacqui Lloyd. Photo: Matt Brown.

New look website the perfect match

Marlborough’s online profile has just been given a makeover in a bid to woo more admirers.

Destination Marlborough has unveiled a new-look website dedicated to show off all the region has to offer. includes new sections sharing the ins and outs of living and working here.

Destination Marlborough general manager Jacqui Lloyd says visitors who have a good time here could be inspired to make the region a permanent home.

“Travellers who have a positive holiday experience in the region are more likely to be inspired to consider returning to live, work or do business here.

“Having one site that can seamlessly serve up the right information to encourage this will be invaluable.”

The project is a partnership with Marlborough District Council and supported by multiple regional agencies, Jacqui says.

“It’s been built to provide an online portal to showcase Marlborough in a way that doesn’t duplicate what organisations are already doing, but instead, strengthens and underpins their activity.”

Until now, the website has been tailored towards attracting holiday visitors to the region, generating more than 31,000 visits a month.

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett says the new website fills a much-needed gap for people thinking of relocating, working or investing here.

“The site even has a section on film production, showcasing the amazing opportunities for filmmakers here in Marlborough,” he says.

Marlborough Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Hans Neilson says the site will be a valuable tool support business.

“It means that anyone wanting to find out more about doing business here is directed to the right place and given a range of organisations to connect with, based on their desired pathway and supporting businesses to attract talent into the region.”