Eden Kavanagh is looking forward to a brighter future. Photo: Sarah Brown.

Singer hits high note

A Marlborough singer who won a legion of fans across the world with a TV audition is set to end the year on a high note.

Blenheim girl Eden Kavanagh,26, wowed audiences with her blind audition on smash-hit British show The Voice but judges were less impressed.

Now the songstress is performing full time and has been booked as part of the New Year’s Eve line up at Picton’s popular New Year’s Eve party.

She will also be one of the supporting acts performing at the Summer Sounds Music festival with Bic Runga at the Queen Charlotte Tavern in Linkwater.

Being able to perform again is a big relief, says Eden, who gave up singing for a while after appearing on the hit talent quest.

“I was heartbroken. I’d put my heart and soul into it. I just wanted my mum and to come home and here felt like home,” she explains.

“I didn’t even want to sing for a while afterwards. I couldn’t.”

Born in Rangiora, Eden has divided her time between Ireland and New Zealand.

Back in Blenheim for 18 months, her confidence has returned and requests for bookings have been keeping her busy.

She has been lucky enough to pursue her singing dream full time after giving up her day job in the hospitality industry last month, she says.

“I’m rapt to be home and delighted to be doing New Year’s Eve in Picton. I remember being on the foreshore one year in the crowds; the vibe was great, and I knew I wanted to be the one singing one day.

The self-confessed ‘super perfectionist’ reveals that after lockdown people started looking to enjoy themselves.

“People are looking to have some fun now. I knew that after level one people were going to want to go out, have a good time and be entertained,” she says.

For the Whiteria graduate who has a BA in Performing Arts, it is the realisation of a lot of hard work.

Without the support of her family and friends she knows it would have been much harder.

“They have been amazing,” she says.

“I was a little hustler from a young age and when I was a kid, I used to create whole performances and, without telling my parents, gave tickets to the neighbours and charged 50 pence at the door.

“I don’t get nervous performing, it’s kind of like I have an alter ego and can literally walk out in front of 100,000 people no problem.

“It’s crazy as I’m so comfortable. I find it calming and think that comes from being well-rehearsed.”

For bookings contact [email protected] or @edenkavanaghmusic on social.

Ben Burridge celebrates taking out first prize in Marlborough Weekly’s popular Shop & Win competition. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Shopping local pays off

It was a lucky day for Blenheim man Ben Burridge when his wife decided she needed new plants –it won him $5000 cash.

Marlborough Weekly’s popular Shop & Win competition received thousands of entries from people keen to support local businesses.

And it was Ben’s visit to Marlborough’s Mitre 10 mega store that scooped him the top cash prize.

The delighted Wither Hills vineyard manager says he had looked after the couple’s son, Luca, 4, while wife Amelia went to look at the store’s huge outdoor plant centre.

“Luca loves the helicopter in the play area. I stayed with him. We had a coffee after that and then filled in the shop & Win form, never really thinking we’d win.”

After getting an email from Marlborough Weekly asking him to call. Ben says he didn’t dare hope he had won anything.

“Amelia mentioned that maybe it was the Shop & Win and we joked about it, not really thinking we had.”

Thirty-three businesses from across Marlborough signed-up to take part in this year’s draw.

Receiving the good news on Friday, Ben revealed it had been a great day all round for him and some of his colleagues at the vineyard.

“I’m not sure what we’ll spend it on yet, I’m sure there’ll be a bit of a debate about that.”

Second place winner Gail Woolacott from Linkwater won $750 after shopping at Fabric Creations in Blenheim.

A regular customer at the store, she says she will use the money when she goes on holiday.

“I’m going on a holiday soon so it will go towards that. I’d forgotten all about it; it was a lovely surprise.”

Motor Kanix co-owner Monique McKechie scooped the third prize of $250 after Senior Community Constable Russ Smith pulled her name out of the pile of entries.

She planned to use the cash, which she won from shopping at Unichem Springlands Pharmacy, at this weekend’s garden fete in Pollard Park.

“It’ll be great to use the money to put towards some Christmas gifts.

“I never win anything, so this is a wonderful surprise.”

Now in it’s third year, the Shop & Win competition has gone from strength to strength.

Marlborough Weekly owner Summa Donald says the response is heartening, especially as people are finding their feet after lockdown.

“Locals supporting locals are what this is all about and it’s more important than ever before to support our community.

“A huge thank you to all the businesses who backed the initiative, we couldn’t have done this without you.”

About 140 people attended Salsa Groove Marlborough’s successful SBK Back to the Roots festival. Photo: Shelani De Jager.

Salsa festival finds its rhythm

A local dance group has been making all the right moves, scooping a national nomination for their contribution to salsa.

Latin dance group Salsa Groove Marlborough has been nominated in the Cultural Manager/Promoter category at this year’s New Zealand Latin Awards 2020.

The announcement comes in the wake of their successful salsa festival, SBK Back to the Roots held in Blenheim last month.

The very first of its kind in New Zealand, the festival showcased the essence of Afro, Latin and Caribbean rhythms and the dance styles that evolved.

Events Coordinator Karen Knofflock says the group are delighted to be nominated.

Salsa Groove are thrilled and honoured to be nominated for our service and contribution to the Latin dance community.

“With the huge success of the festival, we continue to improve and enhance the scene, focusing on current trends and ideas for future events,” she says.

The New Zealand Latin Awards recognise and celebrate Latin Americans and their work here in Aotearoa.

Launched three years ago in Christchurch, nominations are voted by the public and cover five categories: Art and Culture, Sports, Entertainment, Business and Latin Attitude.

Salsa Grove run weekly group classes and social dance nights, as well as hosting dance weekends.

To vote for the team at Salsa Groove Marlborough visit www.nzla.co.nz/

The team from Astrolabe joined staff at The Burleigh to pick up the coveted winner’s trophy. Photo: Supplied.

‘A prize worth savouring’

The winning pies were out in force and glasses of Riesling clinked in celebration.

Astrolabe’s Spätlese Riesling 2017 paired with The Burleigh’s Jamaican Lamb Pie is this year’s overall winner in the Great Burleigh Pie Pairing Challenge.

And delighted winners got together to mark the win and accept the sought-after trophy.

Astrolabe chief winemaker Simon Waghorn and the Astrolabe team turned out in force at The Burleigh to collect their winnings.

“Not to mince words, but this is a prize worth savouring”, he says.

Jane Waghorn-Forrest says Astrolabe organised “extensive” testing of Burleigh pies with the Astrolabe range of wines.

“We thought the sweetness of this wine would go well with spices.”

She says she is delighted the Spätlese Riesling won as it’s from her family’s home vineyard.

Judges Fiona Fenwick, Saulo Camillo, Summa Donald and Jesse Mulligan worked their way through 47 wine and pie pairings.

Marlborough Weekly owner Summa Donald says being picked as a judge was an honour.

“It was a tough gig, but somehow we managed try some of the best pies and wine Marlborough has to offer.

“Congratulations to the Astrolabe team and of course Burleigh for their fantastic selections.”

This is the fourth time the annual competition has been held.

All the entry fees go to charity, with this year’s recipient being Marlborough Foodbank.

Two generations of Whitney Street School pupils are looking forward to fireworks fun this Saturday night. Pictured from left are Naomi Barton and daughter Emilia, Deborah Barton, whose son Sidney is in the foreground, Huia Crosby with sons Maui and Tamiti, Andrea Craig with son Sam, and Jeff Valk with son George. Photo: Supplied.

Fireworks show sparks memories

Watching their children light up with excitement at the prospect of this weekend’s big fireworks show sparks memories for these parents.

They are all former Whitney Street School pupils and their children now attend the school too.

The fireworks event, Lights Over Marlborough 2020, is the school’s big annual fundraiser.

It’s on this Saturday night, with food carts, on-stage entertainment and lots of fun activities from 6pm, before the fireworks light up the night sky as darkness falls.

Organisers encourage people to come early and buy dinner on site, or bring a picnic, and enjoy the happy vibe.

Parent Andrea Craig says the school roll and the fireworks event had grown since her days as a pupil, but the community feeling of the gathering was just the same.

“It’s still a very relaxed evening out, there’s so much for the kids to do beforehand and the fireworks at the end are still really exciting.”

Back in the day, the event featured a massive bonfire in the school grounds.

These past pupils recall their parents bringing in their garden cuttings and piling them on the bonfire in the days leading up to the event.

Families would also make Guys at home and carrying them down the street to the school.

They recalled raiding their parent’s old clothes – ties, stockings and cardigans – and stuffing them full of scrunched up newspaper to create their “Guy”.

They also remember with amusement that attitudes toward safety were quite different in 1980’s New Zealand.

Huia Crosby says she can’t over emphasise just how big the bonfire was – one year the flames were enormous, creating a spectacle in the night sky that was as unnerving for some as it was exciting for others in the crowd.

These days Lights Over Marlborough is at a bigger venue and attracts about 5000 people depending on the weather.  KiwiPyro licences pyrotechnician Michelle Harris oversees the display.

Michelle grew up in Blenheim and remembers fondly attending the early displays at Whitney Street School grounds as a child.

Now she organizes the music play list to the rhythm of the fireworks display.

The event is organised by the school’s Parent Support Group and this year money raised will go towards an astro turf.

The postponement date in case of bad weather is Sunday 15 November.

EVENT INFO:

What: Lights Over Marlborough Fireworks display

Tickets: Free for children under five, $8 for adults, $35 for a family pass of up two adults and three children

Where: Marlborough A and P Showgrounds on corner of Maxwell Rd and Alabama Rd in Blenheim

When: Gates open 5.30pm for a 6pm start, Saturday 14 November, or if postponed Sunday 15 November

Why: Major annual fundraiser for Whitney Street School

Harbour Master Captain Luke Grogan is gearing up for what could be the busiest summer on record. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Waterway speedsters warned

A clamp-down on waterway risk takers in underway as Marlborough braces for one of its busiest summers on record.

Marlborough’s Harbour Master Captain Luke Grogan and his team are targeting speeding hot spots.

The number of speed breaches is substantial and the potential for a fatality is growing, he warns.

Speeding hotspots in Havelock Channel and Waikawa will come under extra scrutiny as speed cameras are deployed.

“There are a lot of blind corners and people go through there at 30 knots.

“This will cause a fatality if there’s an accident,” Luke says.

Activity on the water is expected to rise this summer as people holiday in New Zealand rather than overseas.

“This year will be one of the busiest summers on record and there will be   lot of activity on the water.

“It will be awesome to see people coming to the Sounds and enjoying the Sounds.

“We want to encourage people to be safer and not just think of themselves but also others on the water and have that courtesy,” Luke says.

“People underestimate the risks. They just see a nice sunny day and head out into the blue. It’s easy to forget that they’re going off into the wilderness.

“If you add alcohol into that mix, then things are only going to escalate.”

Fully calibrated speed cameras put in place last year on the Wairau River have highlighted a growing problem with ski joy riders.

“We had a hunch, but the actual numbers are higher than we thought. A lot of families use the Wairau and rowers.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” Luke says.

With about 3000 square kilometres under his care, Luke is appealing for people not to take risks.

“Speed is the biggest problem. We’re increasingly spending our time trying to manage speed risks we see arising.

“Jet skis are more accessible, the barriers to entry you might get with a boat are not there and the temptation to hoon around is quite high.

“We’ve had a number of near misses, and also some serious injuries.”

For help and advice on how to safe on the water visit www.marlborough.govt.nz/environment/harbours/safer-boating

Marie Large and Abbie Large from Large's Rose Nursery. Photo: Malinda Boniface.

Tempting fete

Wet weather failed to dampen spirits at this year’s popular Rapaura Springs Garden Marlborough a fete as hundreds turned out in support.

The annual market featuring an array of stall holders from across Marlborough and further afield was held at Blenheim’s Pollard Park on Sunday.

Umbrellas and gum boots were the order of the day for many after a bout of wet weather overnight.

Showers cleared as the day progressed, with people happy to be out and about.

Foster Hope coordinator Leonie McLachlan is grateful for all the donations the charity receives.  File photo.

Hope for Christmas

Foster Hope Marlborough’s annual Christmas present drive is under way.

This year’s collection has a “B-awesome” theme with presents beginning with that letter needed.

The Marlborough Weekly is helping as a collection centre for donations.

From books, blankets, bubbles body care, beach towels, balls and board games, there are plenty of options for gifts.

All donations should be new and unwrapped, so organisers know the best person to get the gift.

Presents for children of all ages, both boys and girls, are needed to help make Christmas special.

Foster Hope believes that every child in foster care deserves to know that their community cares about them

Throughout the year they demonstrate this by proving children in care with a backpack of essential items, they are a symbol of our love and support.

Donations can be dropped off at Marlborough Weekly on 52 Scott Street or at 7 Philip Place by 30 November.

Dr Jean Simpson, Carrie Mozena, Leeson Bradley and Margaret Gibbs celebrate Warmer Healthier Homes’ 2000th insulation. Photo: Erin Bradnock.

Milestone for healthy homes

Erin Bradnock

A project dedicated to making the homes of those in the Top of the South warmer and healthier to live in has just celebrated its 2000th insulation.

Warmer Healthier Homes Nelson – Marlborough has been subsidising insulation projects in the region since 2014.

Project chairman Leeson Baldey says it’s an amazing achievement for the programme, which is administered by Absolute Energy.

“It’s 2000 families living in healthy homes.”

The project began in partnership between Rata Foundation, Nelson Tasman Housing Trust, Nelson City Council, and Nelson Marlborough DHB to address unhealthy homes in the region.

Insulating a home typically costs between $2,500 to $5000 in New Zealand.

Over 30 people gathered at the Boathouse last Thursday to celebrate the milestone.

Henry Nepia of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority says they don’t often get to celebrate the wins.

“And there’s been a lot of them over the years.”

Henry acknowledged the work still to be done, saying the authority is still getting up to a 1000 inquiries for insulations a week.

Project founder and former chairman Bill Dahlberg was instrumental in the project’s founding and success.

He says it was aimed at addressing vulnerable communities who frequented health care because of cold and damp homes.

Bill says meeting the families who receive the insulation is the best thing about the work.

“I remember I went back to one family six months later, who couldn’t believe the difference a dry house makes.”

Marlborough mayor John Leggett and Niki Waitai. Photo: Supplied.

Young mum helping others overcome adversity

A Blenheim woman who returned to the region to get back to her Māori roots is helping others overcome adversity.

Growing up in Australia, Niki Waitai was determined to bring her family home to Blenheim.

Now the inspiring young mum is helping other women, some with mental health and addiction issues, to get back on their feet.

She credits Māori health provider, Te Piki Oranga, and industry training organisation, Careerforce, for supporting her while she learned on the job.

“We wanted our kids to have a sense of belonging, their identity, a sense of who they are. I missed that, being Māori in another country,” says Niki.

Although Niki says she wasn’t great at school, it was during her time at Te Piki Oranga, where she developed a thirst for learning.

She completed the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing Levels 2 and 3 in just one year and is keen to do more.

“It was an awesome way to study. I really enjoyed the journey.

“Careerforce helped me to rediscover my desire for learning,” Niki says.

Niki moved to the new role of Pūkenga Manaaki (Whānau Navigator) within the Blenheim-based organisation a year ago.

She provides an intensive service that helps support vulnerable hapu māmā and whānau with personalised intervention.

“I am privileged to support mums, many of whom have an addiction of some sort, and/or may have mental health issues, often parenting alone, and living in chaos.

“I am really grateful for this role, it’s very rewarding to play a part in the lives of whanau who need awhi support to get back on their feet,” she says.

Niki helps women and their whānau. from maternity through to antenatal and childhood up to three years old.

The goal is to encourage resilience and self-management to achieve their own aspirations and goals, she says.

Careerforce Workplace Advisor, Paula Cohen encouraged Niki to enrol in the NZ Diploma in Health and Wellbeing (Level 5) Applied Practice.

“I was learning and then actively practising the tools I had learnt with whānau.  It was very hands on,” says Niki.

“With applied practice, I was able to acknowledge and recognise what I had learnt in the case studies and apply it.

“I learnt about reflective practice and I’ve applied it on the job.   It’s so important, it’s helped with my confidence, in working with whānau.”

Niki plans in becoming a social worker and will apply for a degree course next year.