Student Volunteer Army lead picker Alison Faulls will coordinate the volunteer shoppers in Marlborough. Photo: Matt Brown.

Student army wages war against virus one trolley at a time

Volunteer shoppers have mobilised in Marlborough in a bid to provide help for the elderly and infirm.

A shopping and delivery service for over 65’s, the medically vulnerable and healthcare workers, staffed by Student Volunteer Army volunteers, launched in the region today.

Student Volunteer Army lead picker Alison Faulls says they’ve had a great response from the community.

“We currently have 9 fully registered volunteers from a range of backgrounds, with the interview process ongoing,” Alison says.

Orders are placed online through the SVA website, then volunteers in full PPE pick the groceries at New World, which opens early especially for the volunteers, before delivering them to the door.

Consideration is given to those who are otherwise vulnerable on a case by case basis.

It is a completely contact-free process.

“We have to follow all the procedures staff at New World do,” Alison says.

Alison, a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment policy advisor, communicates with volunteers and the supermarket to ensure orders are picked up and meet the requirements of their customers.

“I’m the first point of contact for ensuring everything goes to plan,” she says.

Founded as a response to the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes the Student Volunteer Army work to provide community-based solutions and connection.

“I was drawn to the sense of community and the projects SVA ran, and volunteered with them from 2012 through to 2016,” Alison says.

Studying a Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering Management at University of Canterbury, Alison served as an SVA executive for her final two years and says she’s excited to be a part of the initiative in Marlborough.

“We’ve had some great buy in from the high schools here and I’ve heard the head students have been encouraging others to get involved.”

Founder Sam Johnson says this is humanity at its best.

“We have been astounded with the response to what we are doing, from those willing to join the SVA as volunteers, the individuals in the community that require our service, and also the general public sentiment who recognise the support we are providing for the most vulnerable.

The service will continue for as long as is required.

SVA Grocery orders can be placed at www.shop.sva.org.nz and volunteers can register to help at www.sva.org.nz.

A Covid-19 sign at Wairau Hospital. Photo: Matt Brown.

Two new cases of Covid-19 in Marlborough

Two new Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in Marlborough.

A Nelson Marlborough Health spokeswoman says all cases are travel-related with no evidence of a community outbreak in the region.

The two new cases bring the Nelson Marlborough region’s total to 46, with 12 confirmed and 8 probable in Marlborough.

The number of new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand has decreased for the third day in a row, with 50 new and probable cases announced today, bringing the national total to 1210.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she remains cautiously optimistic that the country is “starting to turn a corner”.

“It’s all the more reason to stay the course of our self-isolation as a nation,” she says.

She says there are no plans to end the lockdown early.

Director General Ashley Bloomfield says four people are currently in intensive care across the country with Covid-19, two in a critical condition.

He says 282 people have recovered from the virus, 41 more people than yesterday.

More than 46,000 Covid-19 tests have been performed in the country to date with 4049 completed yesterday.

Warning people off travelling during Easter, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says police will be checking with motorists that their travel is essential.

People with new or existing health worries should not delay in getting medical help and advice, doctors warn. Photo: File

One more Covid-19 case in Marlborough

A woman in her 40s has become the lastest to fall foul of Covid-19 in Marlborough.

Nelson Marlborough has confirmed one more probable case in the region as the total number of cases in Nelson Marlborough rises to 30.

But a patient who has spent the last few days in isolation at Wairau Hospital has been discharged after making a good recovery.

Across New Zealand there are now 868 confirmed and probable cases, with latest figures showing 103 patients have recovered.

A Nelson Marlborough Health spokeswoman says there are also two more cases in Nelson.

This comes after 52 people were assessed in Blenheim yesterday and 14 swabs taken for testing.

Nine people across Nelson Marlborough have recovered from the virus.

Blenheim at the beginning of lockdown. Photo: Matt Brown.

What’s open in Marlborough?

There is still confusion around just what business classes as an essential service – so we made a list of businesses operating through the lockdown.

By no means extensive, the following list will hopefully prove useful.

If you know of or run a business that is operating through level 4 lockdown restrictions, and want to be added to this list, please email [email protected]

 

Postal services

Mail will continue to be delivered and couriers are delivering items, but many New Zealand-based online stores are not dispatching items during the lockdown period.

 

Supermarkets

New World (Daily 9am – 8pm)

Pak’n’Save (Daily 8am – 9pm)

Countdown

  • Town (Daily 9am – 8pm)
  • Redwoodtown (Daily 9am – 8pm)
  • Springlands (Daily 9am – 8pm)

Four Square – Spring Creek (Daily 7.30am – 7pm)

Williams Green Grocers (Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm, Saturday 8am to 4pm)

 

Petrol Stations

Z

  • Grove Road (24hrs)
  • Redwood (Daily 6am-10pm)
  • Springlands (Daily 6am-12am)
  • Picton (24hrs)

NPD (Daily 6am-10pm)

Caltex (24hrs)

Mobil (24hrs)

GAS Picton (6.30am – 10pm)

 

Pharmacies

Wairau Pharmacy – 03-578 6022

Life Pharmacy – 03-578 5228

Community Care Pharmacy (in the Warehouse) – 03-579 1751

Poswillo’s Pharmacy – 03-578 9022

Unichem Springlands Pharmacy – 03-578 2271

Unichem Redwoodtown Pharmacy – 03-578 5748

Marlborough UFS Dispensary – 03-578 6099

Omaka Landing Pharmacy – 03-777 1056

Civic Health Pharmacy – 03-928 4354

 

Community services

Womens Refuge & Sexual Violence Support Centre Marlborough – 0800 REFUGE or 03-577 9939

 

Vets

Vets on Alabama – 03-578 6965

Springlands Veterinary Centre – 03-578 0661

The Vet Centre Marlborough – 03-577 9822

 

Doctors

Redwoodtown Medical Centre – 03-578 0470

Omaka Medical Centre trading as Francis Street Medical – 03-578 5252

Civic Family Health Care – 03-578 0199

George Street Medical Centre – 03-577 8757

Springlands Health – 03-578 0979

Marlborough Urgent Care Centre – 03-520 6377

Wairau Hospital – 03-520 9999

 

Farming supplies

Farmlands – 03-579 3150

Kiwi Seed Co. – 03-578 0468

OsGro Seed Services – 0272639885 or 03 5778323

PGG Wrightson / Fruitfed Supplies Blenheim – 03-579 3733

Tasman Crop – 03-572 5164

 

Trades

Under a level 4 alert, only trades people undertaking work related to essential business or infrastructure are expected to be working outside of the self-isolation protocol. The exception to this may be where tradespeople are required to undertake emergency work where the need is immediate and required to maintain human health and safety.

Plumbers

Laser Plumbing Blenheim – 03-579 6001

Morgan Plumbing – 03-5782034

Electricians

Cresswell Electrical – 03-578 7247

Callahan & Martella Electrical Ltd – 03-579 4445

Refrigeration and Heating

Martella Refrigeration & Air Conditioning – 03 578 0030

 

Community news

Marlborough App

 

Dairies

Night ‘n Day (Daily 7am – 9pm)

High Street Dairy (Monday – Saturday 7.30am – 7pm, Sunday 8am – 7pm)

36 Nine Convenience Store (Monday – Friday 8am – 8pm, Saturday 8am – 7pm, Sunday 9am – 6pm)

 

IT and Technology

BP Computers – 03-577 9498

Sam’s Computer Clinic – 03-572 9287

GCH UAV (drone operators) – www.gchuav.com or 021 267 2966

Mechanics

Instant Auto – 03-577 7492

 

Banks

Kiwibank – Wednesday 10am-1pm for urgent banking needs only.

ANZ – Wednesdays 9am-12pm for simple cash transactions only.

SBS Bank – Thursday 10am-2pm.

Westpac – Wednesday 10am-1pm.

ASB – Tuesday 10am-2pm.

 

Essential retail

Whiteware, heaters, blankets and devices are available for purchase during the lockdown through online or phone orders that can be delivered in a contactless way.

100% Herkt Appliances – 03-578 0700 or https://www.100percent.co.nz/

Michael Fitzpatrick Applianceplus – 021333222

 

Picton

Four Square Picton (Daily 7.30am – 7.30pm)

Fresh Choice Picton (Daily 7am – 7.30pm)

Super 7 Picton (Daily 8am – 5pm)

Picton Health Care Pharmacy – 03-573 6420

Picton Medical Centre – 03-520 3222

Picton Veterinary Clinic – 03-573 8299

Z Petrol Station Picton (24hrs)

GAS Picton (6.30am – 10pm)

 

Renwick

SuperValue Renwick (Daily 9am – 8pm)

Renwick Medical Centre – 03-572 8838

Renwick Healthcare (Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm) – 03-572 8915. Scripts faxed are delivered on the same day if in before 11.15pm.Prescriptions should be faxed to Poswillo’s Pharmacy 03 5789794 or emailed to [email protected]

GAS Renwick (24hrs)

 

Seddon

Seddon Supermarket (Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm, Saturday – Sunday 9am – 3pm)

Southfuels Seddon (24hrs)

 

Havelock

Four Square Havelock (Daily 9am-5pm)

Havelock Healthcare (Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm) – 03-574 1400. Scripts faxed are delivered on the same day if in before 12.30pm. Prescriptions should be faxed to Poswillo’s Pharmacy 03 5789794 or emailed to [email protected]

Havelock Medical Centre – 03-574 2233

Poswillo’s Pharmacy – 03-574 1400

Allied Petroleum (24hrs)

None of the cases in the clusters have had to be admitted to Wairau Hospital. Photo: Matt Brown.

Two clusters of Covid-19 under investigation

The Ministry of Health is investigating two clusters of Covid-19 cases in Blenheim – all linked to travel.

Ministry of Health staff have today classed six cases of Covid-19 in the region as a cluster.

Latest figures show that the cases are all linked to two sources; Marlborough Alzheimers and an New Zealand Air Force rugby team



This includes one probable case.

A Nelson Marlborough Health (NMH) spokeswoman says The Ministry of Health confirmed a cluster of confirmed COVID-19 cases among an Air Force rugby team who had returned to New Zealand from a US rugby tour.

Six of the nine Air Force cases have been confirmed in the last 24 hours,

Although the Ministry reports nine cases, only three of the nine cases reside in the Marlborough region.

Nelson Marlborough Health (NMH) Clinical Director of Public Health Dr Stephen Bridgman says that it’s important people do not confuse ‘cluster’ with ‘community transmission’.

“A thorough investigation and contact tracing process was completed after the first of these cases was confirmed on 22 March.

“Investigation found that local cases in this cluster were related to travel.

“All local cases have been in isolation since upon their return from the USA, and I thank them all for working closely with the public health team to ensure they remain in strict isolation.

“People do not need to be concerned about these cases’ movements in the community,” Dr Bridgman says.

“Our message for the community is that the NMPHS, and the national close contact tracing service, undertake expert contact tracing to reach close contacts – the people most at risk – as they determine necessary. Close contacts will be contacted directly.”

A cluster is where there are a group of COVID-19 cases who are linked together because they have been in the same place together.

There are some clusters of cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand. Most of these clusters have a link to someone or several people who have travelled overseas recently.

Fourteen clusters under investigation across New Zealand with possible contacts being traced.

The move comes as front-line health workers in Nelson Marlborough are set to get a boost in protective medical gear.

NMH will receive 41,580 masks for distribution to health and disability workers in our region as part of a Government decision to release 1.2 million masks from national pandemic stock.

With the assurance this new stock arriving in the next 48 hours, NMH will start to distribute more masks from our own reserves in the meantime, the spokeswoman says.

General manager strategy primary and community, Nelson Marlborough Health Cathy O’Malley says staff will be reminded and taught how and when to use PPE masks.

“We will continue to teach and remind health and disability workers about how and when to use PPE such as masks, to ensure that it is used correctly and responsibly.

“Basic hygiene measures are still the best defence against COVID-19, so training and reminders about this will also continue,” she says.

More masks will be distributed to hospitals and primary care facilities, aged residential care providers, community pharmacies, community mental health providers, home-based support workers, disability support services and community midwives.

If members of the community want to know how to use a mask correctly, there is a video on the Ministry of Health’s website :www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-information-specific-audiences/covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-essential-workers

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett. Photo: Paula Hulburt

United we stand

Paula Hulburt and Chloe Ranford

Protecting the people of Marlborough is a top priority and everything possible will be done to help.

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett yesterday issued a heart-felt message to the public in the wake of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s decision to raise New Zealand’s alert level to level three, with level four coming into force on Thursday.

“This is an unprecedented global emergency and everyone in Marlborough needs to play their part.

“I think it was inevitable … This is a clear signal that this is a very serious situation and that we each have to take responsibility to get through this.”

Nelson Marlborough Health chief medical officer Nick Baker says he believes the number of cases in Nelson Marlborough will continue to rise in the short term.

“The fight against Covid-19 will not be won in hospital corridors or at GP clinics but in the supermarket aisles.

“The key message is that we are physically separated but still together. The virus is like an invisible enemy; you only know it’s there seven days after it arrives.”

Dr Baker says these “challenging times” were especially hard for older, more vulnerable people in society.

“Be strong, be kind and think about your neighbours. The virus is like a fire if you like, we must keep it from spreading.”

Mayor John Leggett strongly urged Marlborough to support the Prime Minister’s and Ministry of Health’s advice and direction.

Council’s pandemic planning has been fast-tracked.

The Marlborough Pandemic Group met yesterday to discuss the Covid-19 crisis and share the latest information about the economic challenges now facing the Marlborough region.

Mayor Leggett, who chairs the group, says it’s a difficult time but people are doing their best to adjust to the new environment.

“Marlburians can have confidence that there is a lot of good work going on at the moment and our key industries and employer groups are responding to the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis.”

“We will come out the other side of this – we are a resilient bunch who have experienced challenges and emergencies before.”

Chief executive Mark Wheeler says council will be focusing on delivering “critical lifeline services.”

“Our focus now is on delivering critical lifeline services such as drinking water, waste management, sewerage and effluent disposal, road maintenance and emergency management.

“Keeping Port Marlborough and Marlborough Airport operational is also critical.”

Mark confirmed the Blenheim office front counter in Seymour St will close too.

Anyone wanting council services should contact them via phone on 03 520 7400 or email [email protected]

Jessica Boyce’s disappearance is being treated as murder. Photo: Supplied.

Family’s heart-felt plea to killer

The family of murder victim Jessica Boyce have made an emotional plea to her killer to end their torment.

As the first anniversary of the day she disappeared approaches, Jessica’s cousin Aaron Goodwin has a message for her killer – hand yourself in.

And he is begging for the murderer to reveal where Jessica’s body can be found so she can finally be laid to rest.

In an open message to the killer, Aaron says he still hopes that Jessica’s killer will do the right thing.

“You have had a year to do the right thing. I still, perhaps naively, hold on to hope that your conscience will get the better of you – that any good values your family may have instilled in you when you were young will win out.

“You will make an attempt at redemption and you will either hand yourself in or at least find a way to communicate to us where we can find and retrieve Jess,” he says.

Jessica Boyce was 27 when she was last seen in Renwick on 19 March driving her mum’s red Holden Rodeo ute.

The vehicle was discovered at the Lake Chalice car park in the Richmond Ranges on Friday, March 22.

Jessica’s disappearance became a homicide investigation in October.

Posting on the Find Jess website last week, Aaron says the killer must be struggling with what they have done.

“How long can you live with yourself knowing what you’ve done?

“Replaying it over and over in your head like a movie, heart skipping a beat and morphing into a full-blown panic attack when the police release another statement or Jess’s face reappears in the media,” he says.

“Your own life is more-or-less over, the only way to regain your humanity and anything resembling peace of mind back now is to confess and to own your part in Jess’s homicide and the subsequent cover up.

“How long can you trust anyone else involved with Jess’s disappearance to keep their mouth shut? How do you know they aren’t already talking, laying as much of the blame at your feet as possible before you can even formulate a defence?

Described by Aaron as “innocently naïve,” Jessica is mourned every day by her distraught family and wide circle of friends.

“Where has the time gone? Weird how it can seem like each day waiting for a development seems to drag on forever, yet it seems like only yesterday we got the news that you were missing,” he says.

Robbing her of a future also “struck fear” into the community, says Aaron.

“You have struck fear into the heart of the peaceful Marlborough community. Your community.

“The rumours about the investigation must be driving you insane, and that’s only going to get worse. People should not have to worry that killers are walking among them on Marlborough streets.

“Not only have you taken away a person whose light and energy was responsible for so much happiness in the world, you have also forever changed in a negative way the lives of many family members and friends of Jess’s”.

Jessica’s brother George is now living with Aaron. Having him close by is a comfort, he says.

He will never give up on finding justice for Jessica, he says.

“The most offensive consequence of your actions is the fact that you have robbed Jess of any future she would have had, here with us, where she belongs.

Friend Theresa Mischeski described Jessica’ disappearance as a “nightmare.”

“She’s one of ours, The cop’s have been told so much by so many of us I can’t understand why no one is arrested?

“I don’t know what else to say but keep strong to her family and friends, I’m sure they will get the hideous subhumans whom are involved.”

New Zealand police have been approached for comment and say they plan on releasing a statement on 19 March.

Anyone with any information can contact Crimestoppers New Zealand anonymously on 0800 555 111. Visit crimestoppers-nz.org for more ways to help.

Blenheim Police can be contacted on 578 5279.

Broadway beckons for young ballet star

A young boy with a talent for ballet is heading for the bright lights of Broadway.

James Dight, 10, from Blenheim has been chosen to join the Kiwi Allstars team.

He will travel to New York for a week of workshops and rehearsals with Broadway stars before heading to Disneyland for some hints and tips from their entertainers.

For the dance-mad youngster the chance is a dream come true.

“I’d like to keep doing ballet when I’m bigger as I really enjoy the stretches. I also like the pirouettes, they used to make me a bit dizzy, but not anymore

“I was really surprised to be chosen and can’t wait to do the actual performances,” he says.

The Dance on Grove student and Blenheim Musical Theatre (BMT) member has performing in his blood.

He is the fourth generation of his family to join the performing institution.

Mum Alison Dight says James enjoyed dancing from when he was just two years old.

“I was a member of BMT, so were his grandparents and great-grandparents so I wasn’t terribly surprised; it’s a bit of a generational thing.

“I have a video of James walking down a street when he was two, past restaurants and starting to dance to the music. He got his groove on,” she says.

James faced an anxious wait after submitting his video audition to join the group of 30 picked to perform at the Music Theatre International (MTI) Junior Festival in January 2021.

Technically too young to audition, he was just shy of his tenth birthday when he sent his tape off.

“You had to be ten, but he was a month off his birthday, and they said to send it [the tape] in anyway.

“I got an email telling us he had been successful, but he was just heading to ballet class, so I didn’t tell him straight away.

“We wanted to make a big thing about it, so I rushed home and printed out photos of New York and we told him when he came home.

“It was just amazing,” Alison says.

The group will spend a week in New York putting together a short sample of a show.

They will then travel to Atlanta to join 7000 other young people for the MTI Junior Festival and perform their show before adjudicators and receive feedback.

“It’s an amazing opportunity,” says Alison who will travel with him as he’s under 16-years old.

The family have been fundraising hard to try and raise $8,000 towards the trip.

“Even if people just donate the price of a cup of coffee, it could make all the difference,” Alison says.

To donate visit gofundme.com/jameskiwiallstar.

Manaia Huntly, left with sister Tui and brother Taika, is celebrating being disease free. Photo: Supplied.

Manaia’s bravery saluted

The parents of a young boy who has beaten cancer have held a celebration with the community who supported them when their son was so sick.

Manaia Huntley, 8, from Seddon, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in February 2019.

So, when doctors revealed the brave youngster was disease free his delighted family threw a party as thank you- a year to the day after the dreadful diagnosis.

Mum Laura Huntley says the event on Sunday was a way to mark the good news and to thank the community.

She says although the family have only lived in the village for three years, they were welcomed with open arms.

“They were absolutely awesome and with us all the way through. People just rallied around us as if we’d lived here for generations.

“This was a celebration for him [Manaia] now he’s feeling better and for all who helped us” she says.

About 50 people joined the Seddon School pupil alongside dad Tahu and siblings Tui,7, and Taika,4, at the neighbourhood barbecue which included bouncy castles.

Laura says it was great to have something to celebrate after such a tough year.

Manaia was diagnosed with a malignant tumour in the centre of his brain several weeks after he first complained of feeling ill.

He has since undergone surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain, endured four rounds of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiation.

‘He wasn’t quite right for months but nothing I could put my finger on,” Laura says.

“Then one Saturday he just went downhill so fast. I kept trying to wake him and he slumped to one side on the couch. I took him to Accident and Emergency at Wairau Hospital, and they knew then it was brain related.”

The night the tumour was found, dad Tahu was at a work event at Furneux Lodge. He got to the hospital just in time to see Manaia before he was flown to Starship Hospital in Auckland.

Laura spent months with her oldest son at Christchurch Hospital and at  Ronald McDonald House. The separation took its toll on the whole family.

“Tahu was at home trying to juggle working full time and arranging Tui to be picked up from school.

“There’s a real community feel to the town and we just knew people would be there and they were.”

Manaia has now returned to Seddon School four days a week. Laura says that even when he lost his hair, she knew he would never be teased.

“When he lost his hair, some of the children, about 20, shaved their hair off and so did some of the dads.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed, but hopefully there are better days ahead.

“People always turned up for us, dropping off meals, petrol vouchers and offering to help.

“We are just so grateful.”

David and Leonora McKelvey can now stay together after a four-year battle with Immigration NZ. Photo: Supplied.

Wife wins battle for residency

A wife caring for her dementia-stricken husband has won a four-year battle for permanent residency.

Leonora McKelvey, 69, from Blenheim, married husband David in 2015.

Threatened several times with deportation, Leonora fought to stay and care for her ailing husband.

Leonora was finally granted NZ residence by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) last Monday.

A spokesman for the company representing the couple has welcomed the decision but blasted officials previously dealing with their case, accusing them of a “a total absence” of fairness.

“The manner in which Leonora has been treated by all INZ officials over the four previous years … displayed a total absence of any semblance of fairness or natural justice,” he says.

Originally from the Philippines, Leonora came to New Zealand in 2014 on a visitor visa to see her son.

She met and married David, who was diagnosed with dementia a year after their wedding.

The spokesman says by caring for David at home, Leonora has proven her genuine commitment to her husband.

“He has been cared for by Leonora 24/7 for more than 1000 days. Her love, care and Christian ethics have ensured David could remain at home and have some measure of quality and life enjoyment.”

He added that Leonora wanted to thank all those who gave their support, particularly the previous and current Associate Ministers of Immigration, the Hon Kris Faafoi and then Hon Poto Williams.

He also paid tribute to Immigration Advisor Sam Yoon for his “outstanding” work.

“Over the last six months, Sam’s interaction with the final documentation within INZ has been crucial to an excellent and final result,” he says.

He credited immigration officer Isabella Stern, praising her for her “steadfastness and principled approach.”

“Her fortitude in arriving at the correct decision displayed fairness and natural justice and was in adherence to the best principals that all immigration officers must strive to reach,” he says.

The couple have struggled on the poverty line for four years, surviving on one pension, growing their own vegetables and trying to keep costs to a minimum.

The spokesman says Leonora would now like to maintain a “quiet life” and care for David.

‘They would also like to thank all their church members and friends.

“Leonora’s overall situation will in time be carefully examined to determine the facts and accountability to the fate of this remarkable, humble woman.

“Her faith, courage and love for all have carried her through her last 20 years of a journey that most of us would find unbelievable and very difficult to endure.”