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

Bowel cancer kit saving lives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jamie Arbuckle has revealed his intention to stand for Marlborough Mayor. Photo: Matt Brown.

Arbuckle up for mayor

A Blenheim councillor has revealed his plans to become Marlborough’s youngest-ever mayor.

Just days before the cut off date for nominations, Jamie Arbuckle, 37, has announced his intent to take the top spot from Marlborough Mayor John Leggett.

The move follows an announcement by his wife Sally to run for a seat on council.

Jamie, who has run for the mayoralty three times previously, says he believes his nine years of experience will count in his favour this time.

“It is time for decisive leadership on key regional issues. I will deliver action on the issues that need addressing,” he says.

The councillor of nine years is calling for a Blenheim bypass and a reduction in rates.

He says financial hardship will be a problem faced by some constituents if rate rises continue.

“Rates are not sustainable or affordable. Marlborough has an ageing demographic of 65-plus, and many are on fixed incomes.

“With interest rates dropping near nil returns on savings, financial hardship and cashflow will be a real issue for some ratepayers.

“Plenty of reports come though council on the impact of increasing council rates but there’s never any action. I will change that.”

Jamie says plans for larger ferries will put more of a strain on Blenheim’s already congested main streets.

He believes the community needs to be consulted on all options before a decision is made.

“We need a bypass for Blenheim.

“Larger ferries mean more traffic heading our way. It is not a central government problem. It is ours.

“Removing all the carparks on Grove Road, Main Street and Nelson Street is not a long-term solution. With a government-funded business case we can consult with the community on all the options, with all the costs and facts,” he says.

Jamie says he has been considering running for mayor for a while.

Should he and his wife be successful in their election bids, it would be the first time a husband and wife have both served on council.

“Nothing can be taken for granted and in the next six weeks we will find out what is going to happen but we’ve both been very busy already.

“It won’t be a conflict of interest to me. Sally will represent Wairau-Awatere and I firmly believe that her attentions are the right ones.

“That’s what constituents should be voting on.

“There is a sense of urgency in the community on a number of issues.

“I feel the time is right for me to lead the region”.

Jamie joins current mayor John Leggett and first-time mayoral candidate Rick Ireland in the running for the mayoralty.

Former Junction Hotel owner Mike Pink. Photo: Supplied.

Bar boss pay out to “humiliated” manager

A humiliated part-time bar manager whose bosses told her she had a “superiority complex” has won a $28,606 payout.

Dawn Langdon told the Employment Relations Authority that her job at the Junction Hotel left her “so stressed” she was forced to resign.

Owner Mike Pink was ordered to pay compensation of $18,000 plus additional costs including reimbursement of lost wages, holiday pay and Kiwisaver contributions.

An Employment Relations Authority (ERA) decision released last week by authority Helen Doyle found in favour of Dawn.

She ruled the Marlborough woman was “unjustifiably constructively dismissed and unjustifiably disadvantaged.”

“Mike Pink is ordered to pay to Dawn Langdon the sum of $18,000 without deduction being compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings.

“There were other actions by Mr Pink in breach of good faith obligations that seriously damaged the employment relationship,” she says in her findings.

The findings come after Mike told the tribunal hearing that the Junction Hotel was owned by a company and not himself personally.

The ERA could find no evidence of that, they said.

Dawn worked at the pub, which has since been sold, from 1 August 2017 to 4 March 2018. She was paid $16 gross per hour.

She told Mike about worries she had concerning bullying behaviour directed at her but says she was made to feel like she was the cause of the problem.

In response to what he called a “tirade” of emails about the situation, Mike told his unhappy employee that she owed him $500.

“In view of the constant e-mails, personal meetings and other contacts you have bombarded me with since you commenced employment with us … I feel it only fair that I should be recompensed for the time wasted unnecessarily.

“I have had to spend hours in replying to your tirades which has kept me away from doing my normal work and as I am partially incapacitated at present, I find this totally unacceptable.

“I think that a figure of $500 is fair and I expect to receive this within 7 days,” he wrote.

Mike also claimed he had lost customers and in one case a company has “discontinued to lodge and eat here” with a loss of up to $1000 per week.

Langdon resigned on the grounds that her employer had breached his duty.

She later said at an ERA investigation meeting in Blenheim on 23 May that Pink made her feel like a “complete failure”.

“I am extremely upset and humiliated over the way I have been treated, when measured against the commitment and loyalty I have shown your business during my employment,” she wrote.

Mike and wife Hazel have sent bought the Wave Café and Courtyard in Picton.

Youngster Tom Robinson endeavours to escape the clutches of Mako loose forward Braden Stewart. Photo: Peter Jones.

Catch me if you can

Youngster Tom Robinson endeavours to escape the clutches of Mako loose forward Braden Stewart during one of the many activities on offer at Sunday’s first Tasman Rugby Union Player Development session for under-11 to under-14 players.

Thirty children and seven Mako past or present players attended the fast-paced Lansdowne Park session, the first of three designed to offer all age group players some intensive coaching and a chance to rub shoulders with the Tasman senior players.

The sessions have been introduced in the wake of the decision to end rep rugby from under-16 down and provide an opportunity for all players to get specialist help. The next two will take place on September 8 and 22.

At a similar gathering in Nelson, 120 children turned up at the Tahunanui venue, along with 10 Mako male players and six female.


Marlborough Netball development officer Raramai Nicklin has chocolate rewards for positive supporters at Saturday netball. Photo: Matt Brown.

Sweet deal for netball supporters

An effort to cut bad side-line behaviour has seen Marlborough Netball sweeten the deal for supporters.

To encourage positivity on court, chocolate bars will be handed out to well-behaved sports-fans with the hope the sugary treats will encourage others to mimic their good behaviour.

Marlborough Netball development officer Raramai Nicklin says the reward programme is a bid to support umpires and deal with sideline misconduct.

“You tend to only hear the bad stuff, which is unfortunate”.

Signs at the netball court remind parents and supporters to not take the games too seriously. Photo: Matt Brown.
Signs at the netball court remind parents and supporters to not take the games too seriously. Photo: Matt Brown.

She says bad behaviour is rare, but when it happens it is something that affects both players and umpires.

“It might just be an overzealous parent getting carried away supporting, but it can be aggressive or off-putting to the other players.

“It could just be people criticizing the refs, not necessarily meaning to offend or hurt them, but it’s about educating them too.

“It’s an incentive, an idea, I guess,” she says.

Signs reminding parents and supporters of the fun and relaxed nature of the game can already be seen along the court’s chain link fences.

But Raramai says they want to do more to encourage positive behaviour.

A netball supporter showing the right attitude is rewarded with a block of chocolate. Photo: Matt Brown.
A netball supporter showing the right attitude is rewarded with a block of chocolate. Photo: Matt Brown.

“You can go on and be grumpy about it, focus on the negative side of it, but we want to focus on the positive side and get people to encourage each other.

“It’s actually not that common, but you do hear about it every now and then.

“Every time you hear about it, it’s no less disappointing,” she says.

“Sometimes umpires get a bit of stick, sometimes players get a bit of stick.

“Some people don’t know the rules and think they do.

“People need to realise, especially with the umpires, they’re not perfect, they are all human, they are all volunteers, they are all doing it because it’s part of the game.

“Rather than going around and having to police anyone, we thought let’s really push the positive and get around and reward these people.

“Hopefully, it will pull people in line and reward the people that do the positive stuff every week that doesn’t get mentioned,” she says.

“It’s trying to develop that positive culture within the community.”

Geoff Pybus and daughter, Ever, at the soon to be rebranded Cafe Home. Photo: Matt Brown.

Greek cafe to make itself at home

After 11 years of coffee and food, the owners of Café Home are preparing to call it a day.

Owners Geoff and Nicole Pybus have sold their business, and in it’s place a new owner has planned a Greek café, Eleni.

Nicknamed ‘Miss 100,000 Volts’, incoming owner Helene Marchant is champing at the bit to unleash her vision and unique
Mediterranean flavour on Marlborough.

Incoming owner Helene Marchant. Photo: Matt Brown.
Incoming owner Helene Marchant. Photo: Matt Brown.

Helene, who has lived in Renwick for the last 20 years, says she was sipping coffee at the café late in April when she was struck with inspiration.

“I asked Geoff if he would like to sell, he said to the right person,” she says.

“I said, would I be the right person? He said yes, so we did a deal.”

And Helene has been “firing on all cylinders” getting her ideas and plans for the new eatery out of her head and into reality.

“How beautiful would it be to have a Greek café in the middle of Blenheim,” she says.

Cafe Home owner Geoff Pybus says he isn’t sure what he will do next, but was looking forward to regular nine to five hours so he could spend more time with his children.

The cafe will be rebranded as Eleni. Photo: Matt Brown.
The cafe will be rebranded as Eleni. Photo: Matt Brown.

“[A Greek cafe] is different to what everyone else is doing, it’s going to be cool,” he says.

He hopes that the new restaurant would be open at night.

An accountant by profession, Helene moved to Renwick to work in the wine industry with her husband from Adelaide, South Australia 23 years ago.

Taking over a cafe is a “huge” change of tack, she says the only experience she has running a café is drinking “copious amounts” of coffee and eating fabulous food.

But Helene’s parents, who emigrated from Greece to Adelaide when they were young, had a background in hospitality.

“My aunties, uncles, my grandparents, it must be in the blood there somewhere,” Helene says.

“My mother’s family ran a whole lot of cafes and restaurants and bakeries.

“The food gets drummed into you from an early age, and I’m a great cook,” she says.

Helene says the change of ownership is a new beginning.

“I’m a businesswoman, I’m a resourceful woman and I’d like to think I have what it takes to make Eleni successful,” she says.

“I see an opportunity, and I just go for it.

“One thing I’m not going to do is change the food structure that they have at the moment, and the coffee.

“We have the most amazing coffee.

Helene plans to introduce Greek coffee and meals over time.

“I’m trying to get a liquor license at the moment because the Mediterranean diet is all about food and enjoying it with a glass of wine or beer.”

The cafe will close for renovations on 30 July.

Helene hopes they will open the doors to the new café by 5 August.

Helene says the outgoing owners, Geoff and Nicole leave big shoes to fill.

“And they obviously knew it was time to sell,” she says.

“They’re well respected within the area and I hope I can do as wonderful a job as they have.”

Regan Petrie at the Lego HQ in Billund, Denmark. Photo: Supplied.

New Lego job child’s play for Blenheim designer

It was once his favourite toy, now a former Marlborough Boys’ College student has landed his dream job – at Lego.

As a young boy, former Blenheim man Regan Petrie, 25, spent hours perfecting his Lego creations.

Now he’ll get the chance to do so again after beating off competition from hundreds of other hopefuls to head to Denmark after landing a sought after position as a designer.

He says landing the job is the “biggest thing” to happen to him.

Regan Petrie arrives at the Lego HQ. Photo: Supplied.
Regan Petrie arrives at the Lego HQ. Photo: Supplied.

“I’m very, very stoked.

“It’s probably the biggest thing that’s happened to me in my life.”

Regan prepared for his interview by surveying the young and young-at-heart in Blenheim.

Although now based in Melbourne, Regan’s parents live in Marlborough.

“As a kid, I played with Lego a lot.

“When I was a kid, I remember I was quite jealous of a friend who had a bigger set than me.

“I would always go around to his house and make stuff and then play in each other’s worlds that we built.

“We played a lot with Lego City, being able to build massive cities.

“I had this map with a city layout, and we would build around that. It was pretty cool.

“It’s quite phenomenal being able to give back to the next generation and build something that’s used internationally,” he says.

Regan studied a master’s degree in design, focused on innovation in virtual and augmented reality at Victoria University in Wellington.

He was fast-tracked in his application to join the global institution.

While he doesn’t speak Danish, come September Regan will be moving to the birthplace and headquarters of the colourful brick, Billund in Denmark.

Hotel Legoland in Denmark. Photo: Supplied.
Hotel Legoland in Denmark. Photo: Supplied.

Regan says the management at Lego were happy receiving feedback from the southern hemisphere.

“Getting a response from the other side of the world is quite interesting to them,” Regan says.

Regan did a lot of work to help ensure he was the successful applicant, including surveying people in Blenheim.

“[Lego] said here’s one of our products, what would you do if you were going to re-release this product next year.

“Using that survey, I pulled out what people liked most about their product and tried to reflect that with the product I designed.

“It was really helpful, it gave me some data that said, this is what I’m going to design, and this is the reason why I’m going to design it”, he says.

Regan’s role at Lego involves visualising what could be possible for new sets a decade from now.

He says children have moved towards playing more digitally than they did a decade ago.

“It’s working with new technology, digital tech, the role is pretty crazy.” he says.

“It’s an amazing company and I’ll be creating fun in peoples’ lives.

“The focus is on digital experiences and how technology can be used to create more engaging experiences for kids”.

But before he begins designing, Regan will have a lot to learn.

He says Lego have been great putting plans in place for him when he arrives.

“They’re helping me a lot relocating and understanding the culture.

“Helping me with critical things like my taxes, driver’s license and Danish culture classes.

“They’re very much like, hey we want you to stay, we don’t want you to just work here we want you to live.

It’s a very personalised relocation.”

He is also looking forward to work meeting as, he says, every meeting room has a set of Lego that you can play with.

“When I went into a meeting room with them, they started playing with Lego. That’s not something you see in every office”.

Peg Moorehouse is set to celebrate her 102nd birthday. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

‘Marlborough Treasure’ turns 102

There is the barest hint of mischief behind her smile, a smile that lights up a face etched with the patina of passing time, a smile that invites confidences and giggles.

Marlborough woman Peg Moorhouse turns 102-years -old today (Tuesday), much to her surprise, she confesses.

She hasn’t smoked in decades, doesn’t drink alcohol and is still as slim as the debutante in the portrait of herself that stares self-assuredly from where it graces the walls of her Sunshine Bay home.

“I’m not quite sure how I’ve done it,” she says.

“I never expected to still be here.”

Len and Peg Moorhouse on their wedding day. Photo: Paula Hulburt.
Len and Peg Moorhouse on their wedding day. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Her long locks are pulled back in a bun and her earrings catch the light as it shimmers across the Marlborough Sounds and pours into the living room.

Colourful works of weaving adorn the walls and a huge loom takes pride of place. It is only fitting that one of New Zealand’s most celebrated weavers should live in such an inspiring place.

The inaugural recipient of the Living Cultural Treasures award in 2012, Peg is modest about her success. But as she talks about taking a call from Te Papa recently for a possible exhibition of her work, there is a resonance of quiet pride.

“I still weave most days,” she says.

Born in 1917 near Ashburton, Peg grew up in Christchurch with her cousin the painter and potter Margaret Anderson at Risingholme, a grand old house that was later gifted to the city.

Peg had her portrait painted as a debutante. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

The death of her mother when she was just four years old did, she says, leave a gap.

“I few memories of her as I was so young when she went.

“I lived a life of luxury at Risingholme. I remember turning 16-years-old and getting a cup of tea and then a piece of bread and butter in bed like the rest of the household.

“I wore my hair up for the first time and changed into a velvet dress and, later, got to try a sip of sherry. I didn’t like it,” she laughs.

Peg’s laugh rings out sure and clear. It is easy to imagine the young 19-years-old who caught the eye of her husband Len. At 33-years-old, his attentions, she says caused “a bit of an uproar” at home.

“I was dancing with him and he asked if he could ring me and when I told them at home, all hell broke loose.

“When he found out how old I was he tried to stay away but he didn’t for long. The night he proposed we went for a walk in the garden and he asked me to marry him.

“I hesitated slightly as I didn’t quite expect it and he threw me over his shoulder and said I could stay there until I said ‘yes.’

“I only kept him waiting for a few seconds,” she giggles.

In 1937, the pair were married, Peg in a family heirloom veil that was “so precious” it had to be kept in a bank safe.

She was, she thinks, the last bride to wear it.

Talking about the man she loves and still misses, there is a wistful air to her words. Six years after he retired as head of NZ Breweries, Len died aged 66-years-old.

“We had a happy marriage, no real rows or anything. I was only 52 when he died, and I still miss him.”

Peg's weaving is admired across New Zealand. Photo: Paula Hulburt.
Peg’s weaving is admired across New Zealand. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

In 1963 she and Len moved to Marlborough’s Sunshine Bay.

The spot had captivated Len, she says, and when he heard the bay was for sale, the pair rowed over to talk to the owner.

“It was all sealed with a handshake and a shilling,” she says.

The couple had four children and Peg is very proud to be a great grandmother to eleven.

Following Len’s sudden death, Peg sought solace in her family and in her talent.

Accepted to exhibit at the inaugural Wearable Arts Award in 1987 spurred her on to experiment. The award-winning professional fibre artist is notable for her do-it- yourself attitude.

It is her strength and tenacity that she had to rely on after the death of her husband but also a man she grew close to later in life, a Scottish fisherman called Bill.

“I was tempted again when I met this great big Scotsman who followed his love of the sea.

“We spent four years together in a fishing village in Australia. The police came to the door one night and told me his boat was missing in a storm. I said, “no, not Bill, he’d always get his boat back’. Ten days later they found his body.

“The other awful part was that his son and my eldest son were crewing for him and they lost their lives too that day. They were never found.”

Her gaze is drawn to the water that rushes into the small beach below in small, hurried waves.

She scattered Bill’s ashes in the Cook Strait and draws strength from its proximity, and from the bay where she was so happy with Len.

“I just got up and got on with it, you can’t dwell on the bad times. I’ve had a full life and I’m grateful for it.”

Blenheim Business Association coordinator Caroline Stone wants to turn the town centre into a riot of woolly colour. Photo: Matt Brown.

Yarn bombs away for Blenheim

It’s going to be bombs away for Blenheim as plans to turn the town centre into a woolly wonderland are launched.

Blenheim Business Association are planning to turn the town’s central shopping district into a kaleidoscope of colour– and they need your help.

Crafters, knitters and crochet stars are needed to help create knitted decorations for the first ever Blenheim Yarn Bomb.

Blenheim Business Association (BBA) coordinator Caroline Stone says knitters of all levels are needed to help the community project make a splash.

“We want members of the public to get involved as well as retailers.

“It doesn’t matter if you can just make squares; we don’t want people to think that they’re not good enough knitters. We need knitting en masse so it looks good,” she says.

Knitters are needed to contribute to Marlborough's first yarn bomb event. File photo.
Knitters are needed to contribute to Marlborough’s first yarn bomb event. File photo.

Caroline came up with the idea to bolster Blenheim’s Christmas festivities.

Even if you can’t knit or crochet, the BBA still needs people to help, she says.

“If you can make a pom-pom or help with the installation, that’d be great too.”

Yarn bombing originated in the USA as is seen as a form of street art. Public places are covered with home made creations in a bid to brighten them up

Caroline says the association wanted to expand on their annual tradition of wooden reindeers and the wine-barrel Christmas Trees.

“It will help spread cheer and hopefully put big smiles on people’s faces.

“The idea is, if this year’s event goes well, that we will do this year on year.

“We’re not asking for donations of yarn, in fact we can help supply it, but we do need help.

“We will use as many pieces as we can over again and any leftovers will be gathered together and used to knit blankets for animal shelters,” she says.

The hope is there will be enough woolly wonder to decorate Market St and neighbouring areas.

“We are conscious that we have BBA members all over the place and there are some really beautiful, big trees in Queen St that would look great,” Caroline says.

For further information on how to help visit facebook.com/blenheimyarnbomb/ or check out the Blenheim Business Association at facebook.com/BlenheimBusinessAssociation/

Dr Molly Wittig is holding a mug of coffee as she explains a busy start to the day meant her morning caffeine fix had to wait.

Psyched-up over book fest

Dr Molly Wittig is holding a mug of coffee as she explains a busy start to the day meant her morning caffeine fix had to wait.

The midwinter sun filters through the windows at her comfortable Blenheim clinic room, a stack of well-thumbed papers and her latest read lay on her desk, a book she knows very well.

Molly will be at this year’s Marlborough Book Festival talking to award-winning journalist Naomi Arnold about the book she edited – Headlands – New Stories of Anxiety.

It was, Molly says, a fascinating read.

“She’s a very accomplished journalist. We spoke yesterday [Thursday]; she’s down some really cool things and is really driven and accomplished.

“The book is great for people to know that they’re not alone and maybe they can identify and think, wow, that’s what I’m going through.” She says.

A published fiction writer with a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Louisiana State University, Molly is the perfect choice to head-up this element of the festival.

Appearing on stage at the ASB theatre is making Molly slightly nervous. She prefers to think of it as a “chat about the book with friends”.

“The great thing about the festival is it feels like a group of friends who are all there because we love books and authors,” she says.

Featuring a collection of stories by 32 Kiwis from all walks of life sharing their personal experiences of anxiety, the book seeks to show what anxiety is.

Brave contributors share their stories in a way which is sometimes raw and confronting. But all want to see an end to the stigma surrounding mental health.

With steady number of people seeking her help, Molly, who runs the Wittig Clinic, says readers will be able to relate, or know someone who will.

“The big question is why she chose anxiety and how she got these people,” she says.

“It’s a diverse group of people who’ve been willing to do it. It’s like casting out a net and seeing what you catch.”

Born in New Orleans, Molly arrived in Marlborough permanently with her husband Alex, also a doctor, but of medicine, in 2014.

With a young family, a cat, a dog, a private practice and three chooks, it is little wonder that the day’s first cup of coffee sometimes falls by the wayside.

But Molly’s buzz is not caffeine induced; she’s excited about the festival. As a festival devotee and a writer, herself, there’s plenty to look forward to.

She co-wrote Guardians of Draconem, a magical realism book for middle graders aged 8-12 years-old.

Its follow-up is underway.

“It’s finding the time. It’s always roaming around in my head, it just a matter of picking up the threads again,” she says.

This will be my fourth festival. I just love it, the organisers always do such a professional job.

“I always try and pick the ones [shows] I really want to go as, sadly I can’t go to them all and then I’ll hear that someone else was really good,” she says.

One in four New Zealanders suffer from a diagnosed mood or anxiety issues.

Is the issue more prevalent than it once was? Probably not, says Molly, but people are more aware of what to look out for and when to seek help.

“A hundred years ago it wouldn’t have been diagnosed and just dealt with by the family, probably in the dark without anyone else finding out.

“It’s getting better though, it’s less taboo and less scary.

“The book brings out that there’s definitely a cultural disconnect with Māori people less likely to seek help than pākehā.

“In the States, going to therapy has become mainstream but there are still many who are reluctant to seek help.

“There is a dearth of help but it is improving,” she says.

Tickets to the event, at the ASB Theatre on Saturday 6 July from 2-3pm, are available from ASB Theatre or online via Ticketek.

Marborough Book Festival will be on from the 5-7 July.

For more further information visit marlboroughbookfestival.co.nz