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.”

Jessica Boyce has been missing since March 19. Photo: Supplied.

Birthday tribute for missing Jess

It was her 28th birthday, a day she should have spent with those who loved her, but instead those gathered remembered a girl conspicuous by her absence.

A vigil to mark missing Renwick woman Jessica Boyce’s birthday was held in Seymour Square in Blenheim on Sunday evening.

People gathered to remember the young woman they all know as Jess, to share stories about the “bright and bubbly” girl they all loved.

And as the chime of the last bell rang out from the clock tower at 7pm, a rendition of Happy Birthday filled the air, followed by a minute silence.

People gathered at Seymour Square to mark what would have been Jessica Boyce’s 28th birthday. Photo: Paula Hulburt.
People gathered at Seymour Square to mark what would have been Jessica Boyce’s 28th birthday. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Her close friend and cousin, Aaron Goodwin, says the event was a chance for people to reflect and share.

The family wanted members of the public to be able to attend as they have been “so helpful and supportive”, since Jessica’s disappearance in March last year.

Jessica went missing on March 19 last year. Her disappearance was upgraded to a homicide investigation in October.

Her case is now being treated as a homicide by Blenheim detectives in charge of the investigation.

Detective Senior Sergeant Ciaran Sloan says those responsible were likely acquaintances of Jessica’s.

Aaron, who grew up alongside Jessica, returned to live in Blenheim on Friday, moving back to the town he grew up in from Dunedin.

It’s been a “confronting” few days, with memories everywhere he looks, he says.

It was her friends who came up with the idea of marking her birthday.

Amid the stories shared and fond memories of the bright-eyed blonde, were tales of parties past.

Speaking to the Marlborough Weekly last year, Aaron described Jess as very sociable and easy to get on with.

The Help Find Jess website started by her family is now named Remembering Jessica Boyce.

She always believed the best in people, says Aaron.

“She was so innocently naïve and genuinely did not understand about consequences, but she was not the hard woman that some people seem to think she was.

“We’re talking about an almost 30-year-old woman whose favourite movies were old Disney ones.”

Her friends spoke of her fun-loving nature, her kindness and willingness to help. Her absence is felt by all who know her, Aaron says.

Items belonging to Arthur Wooding have been stolen. Photo: Supplied.

War time memories stolen in heritage heist

Precious war time memories, including a soldier’s medals and postcards home have been stolen by callous thieves.

A haul of heritage items has been taken from a padlocked storage container in Ward used by trustees from Flaxbourne Heritage Museum.

Items belonging to Private Arthur Wooding were among a cache of historical items swiped.

Arthur Wooding. Photo: Supplied.
Arthur Wooding. Photo: Supplied.

Flaxbourne Heritage trustee Sally Peter says she is struggling to put into words how upsetting the theft is.

“It’s a real violation. He served for future generations of the community to be here; they’ve taken something sacred away.

“We were looking after then for the future and I can’t help but blame myself for this,” she says.

The theft is believed to have happened between 23-24 November.

Items belonging to Arthur Wooding have been stolen. Photo: Supplied.
Items belonging to Arthur Wooding have been stolen. Photo: Supplied.

A book commemorating Arthur’s first communion at St Peter’s Church in Ward on 3 February 1929, four medals, a small uniform repair kit and a pair of binoculars are among items taken.

Sally says she had been going to pick items up from the container when she discovered the padlocks had been cut open.

The museum’s ANZAC collection had been near the doors as it is used every year to commemorate the special day.

“I don’t think they knew what they were looking for and think maybe they got a fright and ran off as there was heavy stuff left outside.

“The ANZAC boxes were close to the door as I use them every year for a display at Ward Hall.

Items belonging to Arthur Wooding have been stolen. Photo: Supplied.
Items belonging to Arthur Wooding have been stolen. Photo: Supplied.

“I feel I could have done better,” she says.

The Flaxbourne Museum collection has been stored in two shipping containers in Ward following the magnitude 7.8-magnitude earthquake in 2016.

Other items, not part of the Wooding Collection, were also stolen, including an intricately engraved cornet, once part of the popular Ward Band.

A lantern off the shipwreck Wakatu was taken in the break in and an old inkwell from Ward School.

Items belonging to Arthur Wooding have been stolen. Photo: Supplied.
Items belonging to Arthur Wooding have been stolen. Photo: Supplied.

Sally says telling Arthur’s family about the theft was “awful.”

“This was a box containing precious memories from a man’s time away fighting for our country, including his medals, photos, postcards, his sewing kit for quick mends, his binoculars, buttons, badges and other things pertaining to his years spent away.

“How low can you get and how dare someone violate this privacy and his memory.”

Police are investigating the theft and anyone with any information can contact police via 105.

MBC student George Glover training in the Sounds for his fund-raising swim later this year. Photo: Supplied.

Young swimmer inspired to make a difference

Inspiration is often found in the most unlikely places.

However, in George Glover’s case, it came in an entirely appropriate setting.

After hearing champion free diver William Trubridge speak at the Inspire Foundation Marlborough grants evening in April, the 16-year-old Marlborough Boys’ College year 12 student decided it was time he did something about the issues he felt strongly about.

So, the seeds of what George has termed “The Black Dog Swim” were sown.

From December 30 until January 8, George plans to swim the length of Queen Charlotte Sound and back again, his mission being to highlight youth mental health and raise funds for I AM HOPE.

This youth and community-focused support group, run by The Key to Life Charity Trust, promotes positive attitudinal societal change in schools and communities, while funding private care and counselling for young people stuck-in-the-mud on waiting lists.

Last year alone, 137 New Zealand young people died by suicide and it is estimated 3500 tried to take their own lives.

“There are two degrees of separation in New Zealand,” George says. “But there is only one degree of separation between mental health and suicide.

“Unfortunately, youth suffering from mental health issues can’t always get the help when they need it, with some having to wait up to six months to receive counselling.”

George hopes to raise at least $50,000 from his marathon swim, providing all-important resources for I AM HOPE and enabling those that are suffering to get help quickly.

“The I AM HOPE fund, which provides mental health counselling for all New Zealanders between the ages of 13 and 25, has run dry over the last nine months, so more funds are urgently needed,” said George.

The Inspire evening, coupled with William’s words and his “dive” across Cook Strait to raise awareness of the plight of Hector and Maui dolphins, triggered a positive response in the young man who will be Marlborough Boys’ College head boy in 2020.

“I went home and I through, ‘I want to do something’ … William had another take with his Cook Strait effort, so I thought ‘I like swimming … what can I do?’ And it just evolved from there.”

The Queen Charlotte swim has never been done before, one of the primary reasons George chose to do it, pushing himself well outside his personal comfort zone.

Although George is a competitive pool swimmer, one of the best in the Nelson Marlborough region for the past four years and an age-group silver medallist in the 1500m freestyle at the latest NZ short course champs, he has limited experience of long-distance ocean swimming.

He has competed in the annual 2.3km White’s Bay to Rarangi swim, setting the quickest time earlier this year, and has been training regularly with an ocean swim group in Picton. However, he reckons his longest previous ocean swim was around 12km, a far cry from what lies ahead.

The Black Dog Swim is estimated to cover 123km (66 nautical miles). George will hop into the water at Anakiwa, swim around to Picton then up the south side of the Sound to East Bay before crossing over the northern side for the trip back to Anakiwa. He expects to spend around six hours per day in the water for 10 days, with the longest leg covering about 18km.

George is well aware it is a bold step into the unknown.

“I feel I’ll never be fully prepared for it. It is going to be 10 days in the sea and I don’t feel that I can simulate that … but I reckon it is doable and I have a great support crew to help me get there.”

He has enlisted the help of local identities Ross Anderson and Norm Wilson, who have vast experience of the area, plus talked mental preparation with local endurance cyclist Craig Harper whose 10-day Ride Across America has certain parallels, and Dave Edgar, a vastly-experienced river, lake and ocean swimmer.

Although sharing his time with a string of school and environmental organisations, George is training around 10km each day in the pool, plus grabbing ocean swims whenever possible. His preparation is well-planned but the teenager admits he has some nerves as the start time approaches.

“Physically yes, but more so mentally. It’s just being in the water for six hours a day, especially on days four, five and six when it really starts to hurt … but I will push through it and it will all go well in the end.

“Completing the swim is possible, but I know I am going to have to put in a lot of hard work to make it happen.”

George’s Give A Little link is: https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/black-dog-swim-for-nz-youth-mental-health

Here is also the link to the Instagram account: https://instagram.com/blackdogswim

He will have regular updates on both Instagram and Facebook pages.

Chief customer officer Andre Gargiulo says the aim is to make the best mussel powder “in the world.” Photo: Supplied.

Seafood firm flexes mussels with multimillion-dollar venture

A seafood company has announced plans to invest $20 million dollars in a new Greenshell Mussels extract centre in Blenheim.

Sanford Ltd bosses revealed last week they would build a new Marine Extracts centre to boost their mussel powder power.

The move will create more jobs in the area and plans are already been drawn up for the centre which is set to open early in 2021.

It will focus on the discovery and production of high value nutrition products from New Zealand seafood.

Sanford already makes Greenshell mussel powder from a small facility in Blenheim and its success has convinced the company to go several steps further.

Chief customer officer Andre Gargiulo says the aim is to make the best mussel powder “in the world.”

Greenshell mussel powder. Photo: Supplied.
Greenshell mussel powder. Photo: Supplied.

“We want to make the best mussel powder in the world and more. The demand for marine extracts is huge and it’s only going to grow,” he says.

Greenshell mussel powder can help athletes combat inflammation issues and staff plan to start moving into the benefits of mussel oil.

“The plan is to move into mussel oil and look at extracts from marine species other than mussels.

“There is so much to unlock and we are incredibly excited about the potential,” says Andre.

More than 40 people will be employed in a wide range of roles from scientific research through to production.

Sanford’s current extracts business general manager of innovation, Andrew Stanley says Blenheim the “perfect” place for the new hub.

“It’s a great location. We already have all the natural ingredients just down the road growing in the Marlborough Sounds so it was an ideal location for us to choose.

“Blenheim is also an attractive place to live and that’s a very good thing given the number of highly talented people we will need to attract.

“The lifestyle here is amazing. I recently moved here from Auckland myself and I can vouch for the combination of open spaces, wine country and being near the sea,” he says.

Andrew says science at the new centre will be world leading.

“This is a fantastic new chapter and we’re stoked to be able to share it with the world.”

Gase fights her way to the top

Winning back-to-back world titles has propelled Gase Sanita to the top of the Marlborough sporting tree.

The 29-year-old mixed martial arts exponent was named the province’s Sportsperson of the Year at the annual awards evening on Monday night.

Gase made history late last year when she became the first woman to win a second amateur MMA world title, successfully defending her 2017 women’s lightweight crown at the Unified World Championships in Bahrain.

Gase was just the fourth athlete to retain a world championships gold medal, and the first woman to join the iconic list of two-time amateur world champions.

Tennis player Jade Otway, 16, took out the House of Travel Junior Sportswoman of the Year award. Photo: Supplied.

Over 350 athletes from more than 50 nations took part in the championships.

Gase initially took out the MoreFM Sportswoman of the Year title at Monday’s awards before going on to claim the province’s premier accolade.

Earlier in the night, the junior (under-19) awards went to a couple of rapidly-rising stars.

Tennis player Jade Otway, 16, took out the House of Travel Junior Sportswoman of the Year award. Jade, who is ranked No 1 at under-16 level, picked up a string of titles and went on to represent her country in the NZ junior Federation Cup team.

Alex Dawson was named Redwood Trust Junior Sportsman of the Year. Photo: David James.
Alex Dawson was named Redwood Trust Junior Sportsman of the Year. Photo: David James.

Alex Dawson was named Redwood Trust Junior Sportsman of the Year. The 18-year-old topped the national under-20 100m rankings in December and was included in a NZ under-20 relay development team. He is currently rated sixth overall in the senior men’s 100m rankings.

The Marlborough Convention Centre Sportsman of the Year was the largest category, containing 12 nominees.

It was won this year by international rower Tom Murray.

Tom, rowing alongside Michael Brake in the New Zealand men’s elite pair, enjoyed a superb season, capped off with a silver medal at the world championships in Austria, their podium placing qualifying the Kiwi boat for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

International rower Tom Murray was named the Marlborough Convention Centre Sportsman of the Year. Photo: Supplied.
International rower Tom Murray was named the Marlborough Convention Centre Sportsman of the Year. Photo: Supplied.

The 25-year-old also won silver and bronze at the Rowing World Cup regattas that preceded the worlds.

The fifth category, the WK Advisors and Accountants Team of the Year award, was also hotly contested.

This year the trophy went to the Tasman Mako, who rampaged undefeated through the Mitre 10 Cup provincial rugby season, winning 12-from-12.

Their efforts included a semifinal win over defending champions Auckland and victory over Wellington in the premiership final, cementing their position as the nation’s top provincial team, a rags-to-riches story unparalleled in NZ rugby.

Their achievement showed New Zealand that two small provincial unions in the top of the south can put historical differences and geographical challenges aside to reach the pinnacle of their sport.

In what has quickly become a feature of the Marlborough Sports Awards, the Marlborough Medal was presented to a local person who has given long service to sport in the region. This year the Medal went to Simon Halliday, a stalwart of the Marlborough basketball scene over the past 39 years who has given sterling service as a player, referee, coach and administrator.

The awards evening had a distinctly netball feel this year, appropriate given the sport’s representatives became the only major NZ team to claim a world title.

The night’s entertainment was superbly co-ordinated by MC Bernice Mene, a former Silver Ferns legend, while current international defender Jane Watson, a member of the world champion side, was guest speaker.

The awards are a non-profit event, organised by representatives from Blenheim Round Table, Sport Tasman and the Marlborough Weekly.

Appointed liquidator Brenton Hunt revealed creditors were unlikely to see any money back from defunct building company Rose Built Homes. Photo: Matt Brown.

Rose Built Homes used as ‘cash cow’

The bungling former owners of a defunct building firm may face criminal charges for fraud.

Rose Built Homes, which folded in September, has left Marlborough businesses out of pocket to the tune of $1.6 million.

Appointed liquidator Brenton Hunt revealed creditors were unlikely to see any money back, branding the case “one of the worst” he has seen in 25-years.

Treating the company as a “personal cash cow” could see former directors Ryan Butler and Kyle Payne in court, he says.

And the former directors have turned on each other, with Kyle blaming some of their dodgy dealings on his colleagues “gambling problems”.

The revelation comes amid rumours that Kyle has fled the country.

Brenton says he can’t stop Kyle from leaving the country.

“I can’t stop him travelling until I actually have judgement against him, and even then, a border alert would require details of his actual flight,” he says.

“Regardless…he can still be bankrupted here in New Zealand.”

Local contractors and businesses have been left high and dry, with one secured creditor owed more than $500,000.

Investigations uncovered a raft of costly personal purchases bought using company funds.

Boats, motorcycles and cars bought on finance were being paid from company accounts but registered to the young company directors.

But Brenton says he doubts any money will be paid out to any class of creditor.

“There were very few assets to be collected. Some office equipment and limited tools were collected from the office.

“The majority of these were returned to Christchurch and sold by Mainland Auctions, limited amount were sold to interested parties in Blenheim.”

“A number of creditors have raised jet skis as another asset, but I have never managed to locate any,” he says.

In addition, Kyle Payne traded a company asset, a Ford Mustang, on an Audi he recorded as his personally.

“The Audi still has a significant amount of finance over and above the trade-in value.”

Tax payments are “well behind” with no annual accounts ever produced.

Brenton says Kyle tried to blame the lack of tax payments on the company’s accountant, however, it is the director’s responsibility to file returns.

PAYE had not been paid since December 2018.

Kyle, in an interview with the liquidator, says he was not aware that non-payment of PAYE was a criminal offence.

“A huge amount of personal expenditure was coded in the company records as business expenditure and GST attempted to be claimed,” Brenton says.

“I have been working in insolvency for ten years, and as an accountant for over twenty-five years.

“Rarely have I seen company records in such a bad state.

“It has been very hard to work out anything form the records kept so I have had to go back to bank transactions.

GST had not been filed since March 2019 or paid since May 2018.

Brenton says Kyle had appeared to have committed “several items” of fraud and a creditor has offered to assist in filing a criminal complaint to police for fraud.

“Insurance records have been altered to allow customers to make drawdowns, customers have been asked to pay into bank accounts which are not company bank accounts and various customers and creditors have been lied to repeatedly,” he says.

“After recoding a lot of the expenditure which Kyle Payne had recorded as business expenditure but was paid to his own bank accounts, I have made a demand for $335,739.

“I have had no response to this demand so are now commencing judgement against him for this debt.”

Kyle sold his house, on Howick Rd, in September.

Brenton says Ryan was cooperative during the liquidation.

“He is apologetic for where everything has ended up and claims he never knew just how bad everything was.

“Regardless of his regrets he was a director and personally guaranteed several of the debts.”

Brenton says Ryan is looking into bankruptcy.

“As there has been very limited recovery from the company, I am funding a lot of the continued work for the liquidation myself.

He says the only asset of the company is the money which the directors had withdrawn in various ways.

“The likelihood of recovery of this for creditors is fairly remote so it is not anticipated any distribution for any class of creditor will happen.

“Regardless of this I will continue with my action against the director and see what comes out of it.”

Alex Nankivell, left and Tim O’Malley lift the Mitre 10 Premiership trophy at Trafalgar Park on Saturday night. Photo: Evan Barnes/Shuttersport.

Mako may have another ‘tiger by the tail’

When Marlborough wrestled the Ranfurly Shield from Canterbury in 1973 Red Devils skipper Ramon Sutherland famously commented that perhaps the little top of the south province had grabbed “a tiger by the tail”.

Forty-six years later Ramon, now president of the Tasman Rugby Union, suggests the nation’s newest union may have done the same thing.

“I think we have got another [tiger by the tail] … it’s one thing to get there, now they have got to keep this standard up … but I’m sure they can,” he says.

On Saturday evening the Mako completed a perfect 12-from-12 season with a 31-14 win over Wellington in Nelson to claim the Mitre 10 Cup premiership title for the first time and underline their status as the country’s leading province.

Although Ramon has been surprised with the speed with which Tasman has risen to the top of the provincial tree, he says good coaching has been the key to success.

Tasman Rugby Union president Ramon Sutherland watched the Mako clinch a perfect season at Trafalgar Park on Saturday evening. Photo: Peter Jones.
Tasman Rugby Union president Ramon Sutherland watched the Mako clinch a perfect season at Trafalgar Park on Saturday evening. Photo: Peter Jones.

“Kieran Keane started it and it has carried on through Leon [MacDonald] and that’s why the improvement has been so fast.”

He feels the Mako’s win will do a lot of huge amount for the sport in the Marlborough/Nelson region.

“It shows that you don’t have to be a big city union to [win the premiership]. With the right encouragement and finances you can do it, but in a small area with a small population everyone has to do a lot of work.”

Although it is hard to compare achievements from different eras, Ramon suggested Tasman’s NPC win was “right up there” with Marlborough’s famous 1973-74 Ranfurly Shield era.

“Coming from a small area we have done exceptionally well.

“We have got some really talented players there and they are just going to get better,” he predicted.

Tasman chairman Wayne Young, like Ramon a former Red Devils player, said his immediate feeling after the final whistle on Saturday was “relief”.

“The way we had performed all year it would have been terrible not to get over the line tonight. Our defence was a huge factor.”

Wayne said the impetus for the team’s success began a few season’s back, under Leon MacDonald’s watch.

“He built a good culture which everyone has bought into, now we have just got to keep that momentum. It’s just providing that balance between our local players coming through and keeping our Super players on track, because we still have to provide a pathway for our young club players – it’s a balancing act.”

When Tasman ran out for their first NPC match, against North Harbour in 2006, they were led onto the park by hooker Ti’i Paulo.

Now based in Marlborough, Ti’i has experienced first-hand the unprecedented rise of the Mako.

After leading them in 2006, when they were very much an unknown quantity, he played 11 seasons in France, before rejoining the team in 2017, by which time the Mako were provincial powerhouses.

“To come back in 2017 was a real buzz for me … to see how far they had come was awesome.

“Thinking back when we first started, I wouldn’t have dreamed about them winning the whole thing, it’s a pretty proud moment.”

He says the most significant change he noticed was self-belief.

“That season [2017] will stay in my memory … the whole club and union had shifted to have confidence in their ability. I felt that when I came back.”

Ti’i says the fact that just 10 years ago the national body was looking to cut the Mako, illustrates just how much grit the franchise had.

“Having that resilience to stay there and become a respected side was a massive positive.”

The fans also played an integral part in helping the Mako survive.

“Everyone just fell in love with the team and their relationship with supporters was always strong.”

He says a premiership title is a “fantastic reward” for the region.

“It will be massive for the both sides of the hill, everyone’s been waiting for them to lift that trophy.

“It makes me very proud to be a Mako.”

Marlborough Chamber of Commerce chief executive Hans Neilson and Marlborough Media director Summa MacDonald. Photo: Andrew Board.

Shop & Win competition puts $5k up for grabs

One lucky Marlburian will win $5000 cash thanks to a new local promotion, Shop & Win.

Shop & Win is a joint promotion between 30 local retailers, Marlborough Weekly and the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce and will see a total of $6000 given to locals.

The competition is simple, buy anything at one of the 30 participating businesses between 22 October and 29 November, fill in an entry form and you’re in the draw.

After six weeks one winning entry form will be pulled from the pile and the name on that entry will win $5000 cash.

There are also second and third prizes of $750 and $250 respectively.

Marlborough Weekly co-owner Summa MacDonald says the competition encourages people to shop locally.

“We have so many fantastic retailers here in Marlborough and this competition is a way to encourage people to support them and go in the draw to win a massive prize,” Summa says.

“It’s such a cool way to get the town buzzing and it’s so simple for people to take part.

“We encourage everyone to fill in a form when you shop because there will be a local winner.”

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Hans Neilson says when you buy local your dollars kick off a multiplier effect.

“Spending your money at independent businesses begins a cycle in which those businesses then spend their money at local shops, support community groups and employ locals.”

Hans says small local businesses are the “economic backbone” of Marlborough.

“Many don’t have large marketing budgets so this offers a resource to raise their profile by being a part of something bigger, something that supports Marlborough as a whole,” he says.

“This is a great campaign and we’re proud to support it.

“It’s a gift to your community, and with Marlborough Anniversary coming what better way to say happy birthday.”

A full list of the participating businesses is on page 9 of this newspaper, or keep an eye out for the Shop & Win posters in the windows of participating businesses. A full list is also on the Marlborough App.