Movie marathon for film makers

Marlborough movie makers will put their talents to the test as they team up to take on a mammoth timed task.

Supported by Screen Marlborough, filmmakers have just 48 hours to create a short film from scratch.

Titled 48Hours, the competition is New Zealand’s largest independent filmmaking competition.

And Blenheim run film organisation Random Directions are gearing up to pit their wits against other groups across the country.

Chris Lippiatt will be helping the team on Friday night as they get a concept and script together.

I’m a five-year veteran of 48hours and am stoked to be part of the Random Directions Team.

“I hope to see some skills shared, inspiration nurtured and one crazy ass movie getting made.”

The competition is now in its 19th year and entrants don’t know what genre (thriller/romance etc.) they will be shooting until the start of the competition.

All creativity: writing, shooting, editing and adding a musical soundtrack, must occur within the 48Hour window beginning Friday 5 March at 7 pm and ending Sunday 7 March at 7 pm.

“Whether you are a professional production company, a group of hobbyists, a school group or two friends with a smart phone you can enter, have fun and get your movie seen,” says Chris.

48hours team leader, and co-creator at Random Directions, Phil McKinnon says the team have a lot of creativity.

“This is right up our alley, the Random Directions Film Project we created is similar to 48hours, but on a much smaller scale, so we should have a pretty solid team of creative filmmakers and outside the box thinkers and its fantastic to have the support of Screen Marlborough behind us.”

In 2018 the Council entered into a three-year partnership with Screen Wellington to promote Marlborough as a screen destination.

Screen Marlborough also supports the development of Marlborough based talent and expertise in various aspects of filmmaking.

“Our team is made up of a dozen Marlburians who have a passion for filmmaking and fun.” adds Phil. “We have a lot of creativity and talent here in Blenheim and this is one way to be able to show that off.”

The Random Directions Film Festival will be in August and be held at Event Cinema in Blenheim.

Follow the Teams 48hour Journey on facebook @RandomDirectionsNZ

The popular Taylor River has a myriad of uses besides swimming, like the Five Buck a Duck Derby. File photo.

Sewage risk for Taylor River

Sewerage could still be leeching into the Taylor River from earthquake damaged pipes.

The popular river, that wends its way through the Blenheim town centre, is listed as unsuitable for swimming on the Land Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA) interactive swim map due to sewerage contamination.

Despite council plugging what was thought to be the main source of contamination, the Third Lane sewer main, other pipes are yet to be repaired.

Marlborough District Council team leader for water quality Peter Hamill says kilometres of sewerage pipes were damaged in the 2016 Kaikoura quake.

But council scientists say they’re seeing a slight improvement of water quality at the river with recent tests giving swimming the green light.

Peter says he would swim in the river; but only if it hadn’t rained recently.

“We want to make sure people can enjoy the amenities and we’re doing our best to make sure that happens,” Peter says.

The river has a long-term grade of poor, but latest tests say the quality is ‘good’ for swimming.

Peter says following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, kilometres of sewerage pipes were damaged causing spikes in e. coli in the waterway.

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a bacteria commonly found in the gut of warm blooded organisms.

It can survive outside the body about four to six weeks in fresh water making it a useful indicator of faecal presence and the disease-causing organisms that may be present in faecal matter.

E. coli is relatively straightforward and inexpensive to measure, but the indicator bacteria isn’t particularly dangerous, Peter says.

“Campylobactor and giardia are expensive to measure,” he says.

Peter says the Taylor River is safe for dogs.

“What’s bad for humans isn’t necessarily going to have an effect on dogs.”

He says the biggest issue with the Taylor is what people put down their drain.

“Every stormwater grate along the roads – it goes into the Taylor River,” Peter says.

“Urban waterways are difficult, you don’t know what people are putting into their storm water drains.

“That’s why we put the blue fish – to remind people what goes down there ends up with the fish.”

Peter says the river looks to be improving.

“We want it to be available to swim all the time.

“Definitely we have an issue when we get rainfall,” Peter says.

It’s a wider issue for all Marlborough rivers, too.

He says excrement from sheep, goats, cows and even things in the bush like possums, are all washed into the region’s waterways following rain.

“That’s why we recommend people to not swim up to three days after rain,” he says.

Pelorus bridge is the only swimming spot with a long-term grade of ‘good’.

Ferry Bridge’s long-term grade is ‘fair’, while Craig Lochart has a ‘poor’ long-term status.

Peter says for swimmers, the thing to look at is the recent test results.

“At Ferry bridge, 92 per cent of the time it’s safe for swimming,” he says.

“Most of the time, our waterways are ok – it comes down to those rainfall events,” Peter says.

He says council is assisting farmers with fencing and planting and are constantly investigating contamination sources.

“We want people to be able to swim in the river,” he says.

“The council is constantly testing and looking for broken pipes – but it’s the general public that ultimately have the power over the cleanliness of our waterways.

“The key message is everyone in the community can make a difference.”

Part of the large crowd at Spring Creek. Photo: Supplied.

Moutere farewell ‘Uncle Arthur’

Awarua Park, home of the Moutere Rugby Club, was a sombre place on Saturday afternoon as a large crowd gathered to farewell one of the club’s stalwarts.

A funeral service was held on the No 1 ground for Arthur Pacey, known to all and sundry as “Uncle Arthur”. The 96-year-old had held every position at the club since joining in 1954 and continued to pull on the boots until aged 90.

The former Marlborough and South Island Maori rep played many years of senior rugby before turning his attention to Golden Oldies through the Moutere Magpies and Vintage Musseleers sides, winding up an astonishing 71-year rugby career in 1995.

The Moutere life member was farewelled in style, with tributes from club patron Ewen Robinson, Phil Gibbons from the Musseleers, plus family, before being taken to the Maori Island Urupa in Grovetown.

Moutere chairman Laurin Gane described Arthur as “the ultimate clubman” and said he would be “a massive loss to the club”.

“He was very loyal and passionate and did an incredible amount of work over the years.

“And he always had his boots in the back of the car … just in case he needed to play,” Laurin added.

Plugging the measles vaccination gap

Nelson Marlborough Health is ramping up efforts to find young people in the region who may have missed out on the measles vaccine.

According to the health board’s data there are 8500 people between the ages of 15 and 30 across the Top of the South, however it’s not clear how many of them are still needing to get vaccinated for the disease.

“There are many people in that age group that missed out on those childhood vaccinations for a whole lot of different reasons,” says associate director of nursing Jill Clendon. “They have slipped through the gaps.”

So, the health board is instead advocating anyone in that age group who is unsure if they had the MMR vaccine to come in, just in case.

“We would rather have people get it than miss out,” Jills says. “If you don’t know, it’s best to get immunised. It’s safe to have an extra dose of the vaccine.”

The vaccine is free and protects and measles, mumps and rubella. Last year, 2000 Kiwis got sick from measles and 700 of them needed to be hospitalised.

The symptoms of measles start with little white spots in the mouth which develops into respiratory illness. But the consequences can be serious as it can cause swilling on the brain and other conditions that can be fatal.

“We are targeting everybody,” Jill says.

She says that measles is highly contagious. If you have one person that catches the disease they will likely spread it to 12-18 others. Covid-19, on the other hand, will only be spread to an average of two people.

Jill says we need 95 percent of people to be immune to reach ‘community immunity’, sometimes known as ‘herd immunity’ and help stop future outbreaks.

“It’s a challenge. It’s really hard to engage people in this age group. Getting them in the doors is really tough. But the vaccine is free and easy and is going to be protecting not only yourself but your mates.”

It is available at GP clinics, at pharmacies, schools and at pop up clinics around the region. Health staff will also be going into some businesses to administer the vaccine. For more information head to

High winds caused widespread damage to property in Picton. Photo: Supplied.

Fire crews busiest day as dangerous winds wreak havoc in Picton

Picton Volunteer fire crew had one of their busiest days on record last week as severe winds battered the town.

Winds gusting more than 100km caused chaos as the volunteer crew dealt with 12 callouts in less than 12 hours.

And as pine trees snapped in 140km gusts on forestry roads near Tory Channel last Tuesday, it was sheer luck that prevented a major fire, says chief fire officer Wayne Wytenburg.

Many of the crew were busy all day as a barrage of calls came into the national fire communications centre.

From roofs partially being blown off, to arching power lines and a caravan destroyed by severe gusts, the emergencies kept coming, says Wayne.

“We’ve had winds before but not like this, not recently. It was a very busy day for the crew, that’s for sure.

“A crew member was coming back from Tory Channel via forestry roads and clocked a 140km/h gust; pine trees were just snapping.

‘We’re really lucky that nothing landed on power lines or there could have been a huge fire and there would have been nothing we could have done; the winds were too severe.”

The crew got their first call at about 8.30am when glass tiles above the entrance to Picton Medical Centre were shifted by the wind.

Staff called for help, worried the glass tiles would fall and injure someone.

Deputy chief fire officer Greg Frisken says the brigade dealt with three or four calls that morning alone.

Some of the call outs were serious he says, posing a potential threat to life. A job at Seaview Crescent where metal roof tiles were smashing to the ground saw people running for cover.

“By the afternoon it had really ramped up and the calls kept coming.

“We were at the caravan securing it by the St John Ambulance centre when we got a call to go to Queen Charlotte College as part of the roof was lifting there. We secured the caravan temporarily, went to the college and then came back to the caravan.”

Wayne paid tribute to the crews who helped and appealed for more volunteers to sign up.

“They did a marvellous job but we seriously need to get more recruits. We need at least five more staff, especially those who live in Picton.

“I’d also like to thank the employers and those volunteers who are self-employed. We don’t get paid and without the support of the community we wouldn’t be able to do the job we do.”

The fire station is open on a Monday night for potential volunteers from 7pm and would be volunteers are welcome to come along. To find out more, visit the Picton Volunteer Fire Brigade’s Facebook page or contact Wayne on: 0272226490

A century of service

Two long-serving volunteers are celebrating more than a century of serving up sustenance with Meals on Wheels.

Best Friends and Red Cross volunteers Janet Clarke and Bev Lucas from Blenheim first started with Meals on Wheels in 1969.

And the duo is still delivering meals as they get set to celebrate a milestone anniversary later this year, with 101 years of service between them.

They have seen a lot of changes over the years.

“In the early days we saw some very sad cases,” Janet says. “People now are taken care of better.”

Red Cross’s Meals on Wheels service help people all around New Zealand by providing them with a healthy meal every day.

Volunteers deliver around 620,000 hot meals a year, or nearly 12,000 every week.

Janet remembers her first day – it was the 19th of September 1969. “I was escorted by one of the Miss Bruns, who were sisters,” she says.

“In the days when we started, we had big metal cans with a hot plate in it – customers had to have a plate ready.”

Bev says customers often forgot their warmed plate, and they had some fussy eaters too.

“We used to get people who would say, I don’t like peas, and we told them to eat around them,” she laughs. “We’ve had a fair experience.
It has been a very pleasurable thing – we’ve met an awful lot of people.”

Janet recalls delivering a meal to one Mrs Weaver following her hundredth birthday.

“She was so proud to show us her letter from the queen and the governor general,” she says.

And in all their time delivering meals, they’ve always done it together.

“She got me into all sorts of things – choir was one of them,” says Bev.

Janet says she has been a part of the Choral Society for 54 years.

“I introduced Janet to city shopping,” Bev says.

Holidays down the Sounds, choir and watching their children play sport – the pair have made a lifetime of memories following their chance meeting taking children home from school.

“I got her a fridge magnet that says, ‘you will always be my friend because you know too much.”

The pair have life memberships with Red Cross, recognising the many roles they have had with the organisation. Both are humble about their achievements and long-service, saying they did it for the pleasure of volunteering.

“We must be the longest serving Meals on Wheels drivers,” Bev says.

Their one bugbear – dogs that jump.

“Old ladies have thin skin,” says Janet. “We scratch easily.”

A bank-transaction gone wrong saw Cathy Hawker lose her life savings. Photo: Emma Filipov-Bell.

Caravan cash theft accused caught

A stranger who allegedly refused to return a Canvastown woman’s life savings she received by mistake has been caught by police.

The woman, who lives in the North Island, was caught by police investigating claims she had taken $8000 that was not hers.

Cathy Hawker spent years saving $8000 to buy a campervan.

But a mistake in making the payment means she has lost all her hard-earned money to the woman who then allegedly refused to return the ill-gotten gains.

The service station assistant wants to warn others that a simple mistake could cost them dearly.

“I wanted to have some adventure,” she says. “Go away. Have a bit of fun in life.

“It was something for me.”

Cathy says she transferred $8000 to her friend Johnny who she was buying the caravan from.

But when Johnny called to check when the money would clear, Cathy realised she had made a terrible mistake.

“I’d put in a double-oh (00) instead of 09,” Cathy says. “That was all my savings.

“I felt like a fool. How could I make such a mistake?”

Banking Ombudsman Nicola Sladden says getting money back from an incorrect payment can be a tricky process.

“It relies on honesty and goodwill,” she says.

“It’s very disappointing in this case the recipient didn’t return the funds,” Nicola says.

Police investigated the matter as theft and the woman is expected to appear in court on 24 February.

Community supporter Alister Neal with Fire Fighter Scottie Henry. Photo: Paula Hulburt

Fire fighters’ life-saving donation

A volunteer fire force has raised thousands of dollars to bring a life saving device to a rural community.

Rarangi Voluntary Rural Fire Force has put up a defibrillator outside the Beach Road station.

It means people in the immediate area can access vital treatment faster should they suffer a cardiac arrest.

Firefighter Scottie Henry says the move fills a gap in getting emergency help when every second counts.

“It’s about community resilience.

“We have one [a defibrillator] on the truck but if we’re out it’s inaccessible.

“People do pull up outside the station in an emergency and to have the defibrillator here could save someone’s life.”

The community gave generously to the call for funds which helped pay for the $4000 defibrillator, batteries and pads.

A locked box keeps the equipment safe and users need to call 111 to get the pin number to unlock it.

With about 340 households in the vicinity of the station, it’s important that help is available as soon as possible, Scottie says.

“For every minute without defibrillation, a person’s chance of survival decreases by around 10 per cent.”

The 14-strong volunteer force put a call out on Facebook for donations and then knocked on hundreds of doors around the community to secure funds.

People were delighted to take part and support the initiative, says Scottie.

“We are a community that looks after each other and if anyone, locals or tourists, need help, the defibrillator is there.

“It’s easy to see in its bright yellow case and there are instructions on it to follow.

“When you call 111 an operator will stay on the phone to talk you through what to do until help arrives,” he says.

Training people how the defibrillator works is the next step to help save lives.

“We hope that St John might help with that,” Scottie says, who revealed the Rarangi Fire Fighter Sky Tower Team 2020 had done well at last week’s challenge in Auckland.

Todd Neal came first in the Grand Master and Donned categories (carrying equipment) while James Cowie was second in his age group and in the Grand Masters.

The brigade is also starting a junior crew in the New Year.

“Five keen local teenagers have said they want to take part and we would like to see if we can get more.

“It’s a means to involve the wider community and hopefully get them keen on the idea of maybe volunteering with us later on,” Scottie says.

“We will do fire related learning including fire safety, use of our firefighting equipment and team building exercises.”

Email [email protected] for further information.

5Tapped owner Haydn Mearns is the inaugural winner of a national cider brewing competition. Photo: Matt Brown.

‘Cider the road’ takes top spot

A Marlborough publican and hobbyist cider maker has taken the top award in the inaugural NZ Cider Festival amateur competition.

Owner of 5Tapped Haydn Mearns walked away with the 2020 Amateur Cider Maker trophy – ‘Cider the Road’, beating eight other competitors from the cider capital, Nelson.

“The judges reckon the top three were close but judging by their reactions they were pretty impressed,” Haydn says.

“When you think of Nelson, and all the fruit over there, I thought there would be some tough competition.

Haydn, with his partner and brewing sidekick Nikky, made the mad dash to the Nelson cider festival earlier this month after completing a half marathon in the Marlborough Sounds.

“Nikky had run a half marathon, the Lochmara half, that morning,” he says.

“We water-taxi’d back to Picton then rushed over to Nelson.

“The festival was cool; they had a big range of cider, top notch food stalls and entertainment.”

His winning cider, which he made about 50 litres of, is made using foraged and donated fruit.

“It’s gone from surplus fruit on my property to foraging fruit from all over Marlborough.”

He says fruit is still abundant in Marlborough, and he just uses what’s available.

“There are no rules as far as I’m concerned.

“It’s a creative way of using surplus fruit.”

The wild-fermented apple-based cider took about four months of “tweaking” before Haydn was happy with the result.

“I don’t even know what type of apples I’m using,” he laughs.

“I just chuck anything in there – it is what it is.

“Often, I’m tweaking and adjusting as I go – adding sugar or back-sweetening.

“It had a few faults that I was able to fix.

“Because we’re getting good results, and now this award, I’m considering doing 100 or 200 litres a year.”

He says there are hundred of breweries making amazing beers, but New Zealand brewers aren’t putting the same effort into cider.

“If you look at cider in the supermarket, there’s only half a dozen brands and a whole aisle of beer.

Haydn says he was “quietly confident” about doing well at the festival.

“I had no idea how I would do – although I had a feeling we had a pretty good brew this year.

“I was quietly confident.

“I’m very much still learning.”

Whānau at Waikawa Marae are helping find solutions to stop violence. Photo: Keelan Walker.

Breakthrough pledge to stop violence

A community have pledged to stand united in a bid to stop violence from wrecking local lives.

Whānau at Waikawa Marae have banded together to make a stance against destructive behaviour.

Supporters gathered at the Marae on Sunday to sign a special Charter of Commitment, signalling the start of a new era.

The charter reinforces that Waikawa Marae is a safe and secure environment.

Chair of Tū Pono Te Mana Kaha o te Whānau Shane Graham says the idea is to develop long term solutions and a zero tolerance to violence.

“We acknowledge the work that needs to be done to prevent whānau harm and the strength that comes from a collaborative effort.

“The goal is for whānau to take ownership and responsibility for their actions and to develop solutions to address whānau harm”.

Making sure people feel safe in body, spirit and mind is the key message of the new charter.

It will take determination, courage and strength to see it through, says Shane.

“Our service model is based on the Mangopare which represents strength, leadership, agility, tenacity, unrelenting determination, courage, and wealth.”

Speaking on behalf of Waikawa Marae, Chair Rita Powick says they came up with their own solutions by working with the South Island Whānau Ora Agency.

“Through strong leadership and whānau input our plans are now coming to fruition,” she says.

Shane says there is no one answer to the problem and breaking the cycle of violence must come from action across marae, iwi, hapū and homes.

All people who belong to or visit Waikawa Marae come knowing it is a Tū Pono (Stand True) space.

“Through Tū Pono, whānau are being empowered to help promote a zero tolerance to whānau harm which is a more powerful message when we’re in it together than through agencies”, says Shane.

“We believe we are all responsible for ‘Standing Strong Together’ to build each other up and provide paths that can be transformational for whānau who truly want to break the cycle of violence and harm.

“We can’t stand by and watch.”