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Upping the water pressure
Water Conservation Orders (WCOs) are the highest level of protection that can be afforded by any freshwater body in New Zealand, yet lots of people have never heard of them. This is why former All Black Anton Oliver is fronting the Fish & Game NZ campaign as WCO ambassador.
"We have only got a finite number of wild, free-flowing rivers left in this country and many are protected by these orders. It is time to get WCOs to the fore and ensure the average Kiwi understands how precious they are," Mr Oliver said.
Fish & Game NZ and Mr Oliver, Forest & Bird, Environmental Defence Society, Whitewater NZ, Federated Mountain Clubs and other NGOs want Kiwis to know that a WCO recognises a river or lake's outstanding natural, recreational, cultural or heritage values.
"When granted it provides National Park type status, protecting its outstanding natural values for all freshwater fish, wildlife, outdoor recreation and present and future generations.
"So when a WCO is in place it protects a river from damming, altering its course or other environmentally damaging in-stream impacts," Mr Oliver said.
Brian Megaw, of River Valley Adventures, who operates kayaks and white water rafting on the Rangitikei river, said he was quite sure that a few people realised that there was a WCO on the Rangitikei and that is was there because of its outstanding values.
"WCOs are the only real protection that these rivers have from fragmented resource driven development. Unfortunately they can be rescinded and this is another aim of the awareness campaign to strengthen their protection. This protection has been likened to that of a National Park, but in reality does not appear to be as robust as that."
Mr Megaw said the overall campaign was not limited to just the rivers that presently had a WCO.
The WCO campaign includes the launch of a new website outstandingrivers.org.nz, erecting WCO signs and unveiling ceremonies.
Leaders needed to revive Scouting
It has been about three years since Taihape has had Keas, Cubs or a Scouts troop. Scouts New Zealand's Gwyn Fraser is doing all she can to change that and is looking for leaders and volunteers to bring back Scouting.
"Taihape has a fully resourced Scout Hall. All that is needed is leaders to make it work and volunteers to help out," she said.
A past leader at Taihape, Darren Morris said he had to give up because his job had changed and he was not able to carry on and others moved away from Taihape, that is when the local troop folded. He is still not in a position to take on a leadership role but says he will mentor anyone who puts their name forward.
Grant Hays says he is more than happy to talk to anybody who puts their hand up to become a leader. Mr Hays was leader at Ohakune for 14 years and an area Scout leader for seven years.
He said, "Taihape has not only got a Scout Hall and resources, there is a whole container load of equipment from Ohakune sitting next to the hall. So to get it up and running all that is needed in new leaders and volunteers."
Ms Fraser says Scouting in New Zealand has seen a resurgence in popularity from those youngsters who want to take part but there are waiting lists right across the country because there are not enough volunteers.
"The simple fact is that the more volunteers we have, the more young people can take part in Scouting."
Being a volunteer with Scouts NZ is an effective and rewarding experience - it is not just the kids having fun because volunteers and leaders join in. Many parents choose to join the team of leaders in order to experience the adventure for themselves.
Leaders also learn and challenge themselves through a training programme offering a chance to learn new skills, discover a passion for new adventure, make new friends and give something worthwhile back to the community. To find out more or register your interest phone 0800 SCOUTS or go on-line at www.scouts.org.nz
Wongs all set to farewell New World
The Wong dynasty will be gone from Taihape retailing by the end of this year after serving more than 100 years. Conrad Wong announced last week that he is selling Taihape's New World supermarket. As owner-operator, Mr Wong has spent the past 10 years in the business and says it has been challenging.
"It is time for a change. I have a young family and want to spend more time with my wife Lyn and the children."
Foodstuffs is handling the sale and Mr Wong believes the supermarket will sell fairly quickly. He is requesting staff be kept in their current roles and employment conditions.
The immediate plan is to visit Lyn's family in Beijing. Other than bringing the big garden at their house back in order, he will decide what he is going to do when they return to Taihape.
Plants doubled due to hard work
Students at Taihape Area School (TAS) are dedicated recyclers and this year were given 30 trees from the Paper 4 Trees scheme.
"This is up from 15 last year," said TAS assistant principal junior school Deb Logan.
"Our Recycling at Taihape Area School (RAT) programme is working really well.
"Each week, students go to all learning spaces and collect up all the RAT bins. The paper is put into fadges and then Conrad Wong takes it for recycling in Palmerston North."
Ms Logan feels the year 1 to 8 students are certainly much more vigilant and aware after working with Heather Clark from Zero Waste.
"They have learnt about composting, zero waste lunch boxes with no wrapping, and the cycle of water – to keep our water clean and sustainable. The students now know where water comes from and how we can ensure a sustainable supply," said Ms Logan.
Five students were chosen by class teachers to help plant the trees in an area below the netball courts. Already new steps have been installed, making access to the area much easier.
"The planting and steps were all done with volunteer labour," said executive officer Jenny Pearce.
"It is exciting to see an area with so much potential coming together. All curriculum areas will be involved as funding becomes available.
"There will be a raised garden for the junior students to enjoy and an area for reading groups. Our art classes will paint murals and we hope to incorporate a sculpture garden."
It is hoped the community will also use the area for concerts and perhaps functions, such as Christmas in the Park, once there is vehicle and pedestrian access.
"It is really a 10-year plan but we will need to apply for funding," said Mrs Pearce, who hopes to maximise every space, even incorporating storage under the deck area.
McMillan stands up to TAS bad-mouthers
Taihape Area School (TAS) principal for the past two years, Richard McMillan is perturbed about the misinformation on the school that is still being bandied about in the community.
He said public perception is important, and can be very damaging unless based on fact.
"Taihape is a small town, and as is the case in many small towns, rumour and innuendo can almost become a social disease.
"In the two years I have lived in Taihape, I have become increasingly concerned about the amount of false information that is aired in the community.
"As an example I have heard several times that the school cost over $25 million to build – in fact the real cost was $17,600,000.
"More misinformation surrounded the running of the Waiouru bus run.
"This was always going to continue, even after the decision by the Ministry to discontinue paying because the bus enters the zones of Waiouru Primary School and Ruapehu College.
"Sadly, some people seem to have a real issue with Taihape Area School, and get pleasure from tarnishing our good name."
Mr McMillan says he vividly remembers a conversation with a parent at the end of 2010.
"This parent wanted to keep her children at home in a local school. However, she was placed under considerable pressure from misinformed people, including friends, who literally rubbished this school.
"Fortunately, common sense prevailed, and this parent took the opportunity to visit TAS to find out for herself."
After a tour of the school, and an opportunity to have her concerns addressed, she admitted to being incredibly impressed.
"She also admitted to being surprised as what she discovered was contrary to the information passed on by supposedly knowledgeable people – people who claimed to know what went on here," Mr McMillan said.
"As a result, her children are now very happily ensconced as members of our school community.
"They are thriving and have been exposed to a range of exciting learning opportunities.
"Small rural communities are facing massive challenges in the current economic and social climate.
"It is important that everyone unites to support local businesses and organisations, including schools, and work together for the greater good of the community as a whole.
"A strong, united community would have positive spin-offs for all, including Taihape Area School."
Change of Pace for exchange student
"Welcome to New Zealand" were the first words that I heard when I arrived at Palmerston North Airport from my host mother, Vanessa Witt.
Nearby was a tall man called Toby and three children: Oliver, Matthew, Peter. We took 1 1/2hours in a car to a small town called Taihape and that is the beginning of my adventure in New Zealand.
My name is Merisa Thanasarnthiti but usually people call me "May". I am a 16-year-old girl from Bangkok, Thailand, the capital city of the land of elephants which is located in Southeast Asia.
My lineage is from a huge loving Chinese family. If you can imagine 14 people in one house, yes, that is us. A big family gives you lots. For example, they teach you how to respect and deal with others without using emotion, how to share, which is super important in our family. Everyone must have their own equal share, and how to be a responsible person.
Let me talk about high school life in Thailand. As a year 12 student (if you compare it with the New Zealand education system), it might be really silly for one person to leave a whole year at school and pay almost $24,000 to be an exchange student.
We mostly dedicate ourselves to studying. Essentially, every school runs from 7.30am till 4.30pm – eight periods per day depending on your main subjects.
You choose from: Science Way (physics, biology and chemistry) and Language Way which depends on what you are interested in. They usually are French, German, Japanese or Chinese.
For me, I chose French. That means I have to study it more than eight hours a week and also have exams four times a year. The ugly truth is there is not enough for everyone so we must compete with others for a seat in public universities. Students go to tutorial schools at least two days a week but a few spend their time after school every single day and during weekends as well. Looks like a tutorial school is the second home for them.
So, it is good for me to spend this time in New Zealand. I enjoy the different culture, natural environment, outdoor activities, friendly people and fabulous school, TAS, without stress or pressure. I'd like to thank my natural parents and my host family for their moral support, standing beside me and believing in me. Thanks to every teacher and mates at TAS for fantastic companionship and happiness. And lastly, thanks New Zealand for this wonderful experience which I will remember for the rest of my life.
New Cycle trail gets thumbs up
The Rangitikei and Manawatu has joined "Nga Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail" with the opening of the Manawatu Cycleway on The Country Road.
The 126-kilometre route weaves its way from Mangaweka to Palmerston North via Apiti, Rangiwahia and Ashhurst, providing cyclists with a two-day trip against the region's unique rural landscape.
Although named the Manawatu Cycleway on The Country Road it actually starts in the Rangitikei, at Mangaweka.
The ride offers cyclists an alternative to the busy highways, while helping to grow and support the rural communities in Manawatu and surrounds.
It is a crucial route to get cyclists and travellers off the main highway and into our own patch of New Zealand.
To celebrate the launch of this ride, a group of keen cyclists rode the entire route over two days on February 18 and 19.
Destination Manawatu, who organised the ride, said the weather was perfect and the local support and involvement was fantastic.
"The riders where truly blown away by our unique and picturesque region and are looking forward to coming back again soon," said Janet Reynolds, Destination Manawatu's leisure tourism manager.
Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie, one of the riders, was impressed "with the number of people from out of our region who joined the ride".
He said the positive comments from them had been encouraging. "They were particularly impressed with the organisation and our weather."
Jonathan Kennett from the New Zealand Cycle Trail said it was the most enjoyable cycle trail opening he had been to.
The riders enjoyed some Mangaweka hospitality before heading off on their two-day ride.
Mayor Chalky Leary spoke to the guests and riders, including Wellington mayor and cycling enthusiast Celia Wade-Brown, and Manawatu's action mayor, Matt Bell.
Public urged to help make town pristine
It's Keep New Zealand Beautiful's (KNZB) annual Clean Up New Zealand week.
Free rubbish bags are available to ayone wanting to make a difference to the image of their district and clean up their streets/roads.
With the Rugby World Cup looming there is a real concern that the rural and some urban sectors are not as pristine as they should be.
A programme called COOL (Collect Our Own Litter) has joined forces with KNZB and following an initiative of the South Wairarapa Rotary Club, who set up a system of rural roadside litter collection that is proving very popular, all Rotary Clubs in New Zealand have been asked to organise their areas to do the same.
The Taihape club want to work with community groups and schools.
"Hopefully it will be an ongoing programme and locals take the responsibility of some small area on a regular basis," said Rotary president and RDC councillor Jan Byford.
"We must make the effort ourselves as it is not in the council's programme to pick up litter on all the urban streets and rural roads - that would indeed set our rates sky high.
"Our town has been given 1000 bags and I ask all community groups and sports clubs, schools and individuals to offer their support to make a difference before the World Cup visitors arrive in our country.
"This is not a hard task - just a sense of pride and a short commitment," she said.
"This Saturday collect a bag, use some gloves, fill the bag with street litter and deliver the bag to a designated area."
For a collection point and other information, enquire at the Taihape Information Centre - 06 388 0604.
Spring forecast promises stability
Outlook for August to October 2011
Mild conditions with near average rainfall likely in most places. The Tropical Pacific is now in the neutral range (neither La Nina or El Nino), and is expected to remain neutral over at least the next season, according to the Niwa National Climate Centre.
The centre's latest outlook for New Zealand, for early spring (August to October), indicates that temperatures are likely to be near average or above average in all regions, except for the east of the South Island where near average temperatures are likely. Cold snaps typical of winter will occur from time to time through this period.
Seasonal rainfall is likely to be normal or below normal in the east of the South Island, and near normal in all other regions. Soil moisture levels are likely to be below normal in the eastern South Island, and near normal in all other regions. River flows are likely to be below normal in eastern South island, near normal or below normal in the north of the South Island, and normal in all other regions.
The outlook states that mean sea level pressures are likely to be above normal to the south and southeast of New Zealand, with weaker westerlies over the country for the season as a whole. However, the month of August is expected to be rather different, with a continuation of the recent disturbed south-westerly flow.
Temperature: For the August to October period as a whole, air temperatures are likely to be near average or above average in all regions, except for the east of the South Island where near average temperatures are likely. Cold snaps typical of winter will occur. Sea surface temperatures near New Zealand are expected to be near normal or above normal.
Rainfall, soil moisture, and river flows:
The National Climate Centre says that seasonal rainfall and soil moisture levels are likely to be near normal in all regions, except the east of the South Island where normal or below normal rainfall and soil moisture is likely. River flows are likely to be below normal in eastern South Island, near normal or below normal in the north of the South Island, and normal in all other regions.
Central North Island, Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu and Wellington
Temperatures are likely to be near average or above. Rainfall totals, soil moisture levels, and river flows are likely to be normal.
Probabilities are assigned in three categories; above average, near average, and below average. The full probability breakdown for temperature, rainfall, soil moisture, river flows by region is:
Above average = 40%, 30%, 30%, 30%
Near average = 40%, 40%, 40%, 40%
Below average = 20%, 30%, 30%, 30%
The tropical Pacific is now in a neutral state, with the previously stong La Nina event having dissipated. Through spring a continuation of the neutral state is considered most likely. Sea temperatures in the near-surface waters of the tropical Pacific Ocean have increased and are slightly above average. However, this warming tredabated during July, so El Nino development, or a return to La Nina condititon can not be ruled out.
Sea temperatures are still about half a degree above average, and influence the seasonal forecast of average or above average air temperatures. With neutral conditions in the tropical Pacific, there is little to make our climate differ from near normal.
Charity Ball for Christchurch
The Off the Paddock Charity Ball earthquake appeal fundraiser for the Christchurch City Mission raised a huge $27,500 after expenses - but thats not all.
The stock drive due to finish next week already has sheep donated including 10 fat lambs worth $130 to $170 each, by Gary Moore.
One of the organisers, Bruce Hansen, said about 200 people attended the fundraiser at Taihape's town hall where they enjoyed some great yarns from the ex-All Black guest speakers, a fantastic meal, bid generously at the auction led by Phil Transom, and, of course, lots of socialising and listening to the live band Fossil Rock.
"Bob Barrell and John Transom did a great job as comperes, in fact Bob auctioned his undies and got $250 for the cause - not sure how," Mr Hansen said.
"Some very generous cash donations were made by a couple of people who couldn't make it and tickets bought by people who couldn't make it either were give to some of our older fold who couldn't afford it."
The food for the excellent roast dinner was donated by farmers and the two local supermarkets. Alistair McLean processed the meats and the girls from IROAM netball team did the rest.
The three guest speakers were flown courtesy of Air New Zealand.
On landing in Palmerston North they were given a brand new Mitsubishi Triton 4WD for the weekend from Palmerston North's McVerry Crawford Motors.
They drove to Hunterville to watch the rugby clash between the Power Farming Hunterville and Utiku Old Boys.
After the game Loe, Shaw and Earl were picked up by Hill Country Helicopters and flown over the district for an hour by Mark Tillyard before landing in Taihape.
"It was a great effort - the whole town got behind it.
"The food was donated thanks to the farmers, Alex Wongs and Taihape New World, the band was free, the fire brigade boys did a great job running the bar, and courtesy vehicle (the Triton 4WD), Steve Bradley and Lochy Harding did a great job on the door and the Barnett girls made sure everyone had bar tickets."
Hansen said: "There are many other people to thank and I guess there will be many more when the stock drive has ended."
To donate, Ring Bruce Hansen, 027 497 1839.
Simplicity the key for Green Plum
The proprietor of the successful Sugar Plum Cafe on SH1 at Mt View, Janice Hatrick has converted what was Annabelle's Cafe in Hunterville to the Green Plum Cafe.
Mrs Hatrick said she was approached by the Hunterville Museum committee in March who suggested she could run this as a smaller cafe to the Sugar Plum, given that she lives in Hunterville and the premises would suit such a venture.
She felt it would complement the Sugar Plum.
"While Sugar Plum has a far more extensive menu, simplicity is the key at Green Plum," Mrs Hatrick said.
"With this in mind, on offer is a quick-to-prepare menu that can even provide quality takeaway food such as sushi and fresh Asian salads."
When asked what inspired the name Green Plum, Mrs Hatrick said the green is for clean, green and environmentally friendly. She has made a commitment to supply organic fair trade coffee. Even the cutlery is made from sugar cane and is biodegradable.
A former teacher at Mangaweka School, Mrs Hatrick said she has always been interested in the hospitality industry.
She said she loves to see people enjoy good food and have fun.
Matariki festivity unique
The children learned how important it was to share this time together and celebrate our unique place in the world. They learned to give respect to the whenua on which we live, and admiration to our mother earth, Papatuanuku.
Throughout Matariki they learn about those who came before us - our history, our family, our bones.
Matariki signals growth. It is a time of change. It is a time to prepare, and a time of action. During Matariki we acknowledge what we have and what we have to give.
The children were told Matariki celebrates the diversity of life. It is a celebration of culture, language, spirit and of people. It is our Aotearoa Pacific New Year.
The timing of the rising of Matariki amd the particular Maori celebration is unique to Aotearoa. However, the Matariki cluster can be seen from many parts of the world and it is celebrated at different times by different tribes.
New chair for centre
The long serving chairwoman of the Taihape Youth Centre has stood down at the Centre's Annual Meeting held in May.
Members at the meeting conveyed their thanks for Sarah Collier's contribution and leadershop in running the youth centre.
Ms Collier elected to remain involved as a trustee.
A trust volunteer with experience in governance of the trust, Susan Harrison has taken up the position of Chairwoman. Other trustees are Christine Whatarau, Yvonne Sicely and Gordon Riach.
Trust co-ordinator Dave Whatarau said the trust has a number of goals for this year, the most important being funding.
"This is on-going for our trustees, they spend a lot of time on this issue. The funding would enable us to extend our holiday programmes and include more youth.
"We wish to use local activity providers for our holiday programme within the Rangitikei, so if you provide activities that our youth can experience then contact us."
Taihape Youth Centres drop in centre, The Hutt, is a safe environment for young people to relax among their peers. They can hang out, listen to music, play pool or table tennis and watch DVD's.
"If you have a pool or table tennis table stored away in teh garage or in your way - then we can help you by taking it off your hands," Mr Whatarau said. Organised after-school activities are held at the Taihape Area School's multi-function centre.
Badminton, Thursday 3 till 7pm
Basketball, Friday 3 til 5pm (4 - 8 years)
Volleyball, Monday 5 til 7pm
All activities are free. For details of the next school holiday programme register with Dave Whatarau - Ph: (06) 388 1351 or (022) 095 2926 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jam on the gumboots
Local dancers, musicians, and entertainers are "in rehearsal" and the production crew and organising committee are busily preparing for Taihape's Gumboot Jam - a festival of music and dance, which will be happen on September 17 & 18.
As the tempo heats up and the performers are fine-tuning their parts, the production crew are planning the staging, lighting, sound equipment, and of course programming the whole weekend.
Backing tracks are being recorded in preparation for the "big" sounds, local bands are fine tuning their repertoires.
The Gumboot Jam is part of the REAL New Zealand Festival coinciding with the Rugby World Cup. The festival is a celebration of the best our country can offer the world.
Festival director Briony Ellis said the REAL New Zealand Festival tells a story about New Zealanders. "If it's quintessentially Kiwi, something we love and are proud of, chances are it'll be there."
At the beginning of July the Rugby World Cup 2011 Road Show will depart Stewart Island and travel through the country to give each area an opportunity to show the world what is planned to entertain the overseas visitors of the six weeks of the RWC.
The Gumboot Jam committee is planning to head to The Square in Palmerston North on the morning of Friday July 15 to take part in the Road Show. Volunteering to go are two members of the Outlaw Band, Hui-A with taonga puoro, TAS dancers, senior dancers including Lauren Donne-Gregory and a team of Taihape Rotarians who will be showing Palmerstonians how to throw gumboots. The next meeting of the organising committee will be held next week.
Any thoughts and ideas are welcome - please call Elizabeth Mortland on 06 388 1309.
'Taihappy' helps business
Judging by the number attending, and taking into account the list of appologies, the monthly business forum "Taihappy Hour" is gathering momentum.
It should soon prove to be an integral part of Taihape's growth - business-wise and strengthening the community.
Cynthia and Fred Hammer were the hosts of this month's get-together, speaking about their business.
They said local government are making moves to streamline the building consents system, which would save both the builders and their clients time and money.
Mr Hammer said he has a passion for joinery because of the intricate work, and this includes refurbishing old furniture.
Elizabeth Mortland spoke on the arrangements being made locally for the Rugby World Cup, saying it is expected that 85,000 visitors will be travelling through New Zealand, most of them along State Highway 1 and most by campervan.
Most Taihape businesses will be flying RWC bunting and have daffodils in bloom in the street. Sixteen RWC flags are to be erected through the town.
September is "Spring Fling" month so shop windows are generally decorated.
The forum agreed that this year the windows should have a RWC theme with each business adopting a country playing in the World Cup.
An events board will be used as a tool to stop the traffic in Taihape. They will direct campervan visitors to where the dump station is located and to a proposed day time campervan park - probably in the Outback.
The next Taihappy Hour will be hosted by Mokai Gravity Canyon on Thursday, July 7.
The starting time has been changed to 5.30pm and the evening format will allow 30 minutes to meet, greet and network, followed by a 15 minute slot to learn what Gravity Canyon has to offer and 15 minutes of innovation, when ideas, solutions and general discussions will take place.
Kaimanawa horses show steady growth
The annual count of the Kaimanawa wild horses has confirmed the herd is robust and maintaining its numbers.
The herd, located on the army training grounds at Waiouru, was reduced to about 300 horses last year. After the last breeding season the herd has grown to 340 to 350, representing a growth rate of between 16.4 and 19.9 per cent.
The Department of Conservation's Taupo-nui-a-tia area manager Dave Lumley said the growth rate is within the range of that observed for the herd in the past 20-plus years, and confirms that the reduction in herd size has not jeopardised the vigour of the herd.
"It is expected the herd will have grown in excess of 400 by autumn 2012 at which time a muster is planned to return the herd to about 300," Mr Lumley said.
He added that the reducation was undertaken to reduce the cost of managing the herd for both DOC and the clountary organisations that assist.
"The smaller herd size will also reduce the number of older horses that are fated to be sent to an abattoir when they cannot be found a new home. Simply the reduced herd size reduces the surplus animals produced each year."
Away from the managed herd, the count revealed a stable population of horses on private land to the east of the training area and 18 horses located in areas that DOC are attempting to keep free of horses because of the risk they pose to public safety of ecological values. These horses will be monitored and may be removed if their threat increases.
Two recent field trips to view the horses with members of the public generated favourable comment on the condition of both the horses and the habitat. Mr Lumley said it was great to hear as both were in good condition, because that is the principal goal of DOC's management.
Mr Lumley also said that the Kaimanawa Wild Horse Advisory Group had recently been briefed on progress with research into contraception options for feral horses in the United States.
"The group and the department would continue to monitor these advances with the thought that they may provide an alternative to mustering," he said.
Nurse-led weekend service for Taihape
A new nurse-led weekend service is now available at Taihape Medical Centre for urgent acute care on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am and 11am, but an after-hours fee must be paid on the day.
Taihape Health, the subsidiary company of the Whanganui Regional Primary Health Organisation, has been in business at the Taihape Medical Centre for the past three months providing primary health care services.
As it cannot carry a lot of debt, it asks people to pay on the day, but if that is not possible to let office staff know so that other arrangements, such as automatic payments, can be made.
The health-care services now being provided include the general practice, nursing services, palliative care, social work, counselling, meals on wheels, day-carer relief and mid-wifery services, including labour, birth and postnatal stays.
Mobile surgical services continue as usual every five weeks.
Taihape Health has also been forming partnerships with other health and social providers. A visiting service to support older people living in isolation in the community has been organised in association with Taihape Older & Bolder co-ordinators Frances Randle and Betty Tierney. An information, co-ordination and transport service has also been arranged to help patients reach appointments and access services.
Physiotherapy services are provided by Healthwise Physiotherapy, from Bulls, on referral from a doctor.
Taihape Health has a contract with Ergot-Occupational Therapy Service to provide home safety assessments for referred clients. To access this service, referral is required from the Community and Chronic Care Nursing team.
The Whanganui District Health Board long-term disability occupational service is still available to the community via referral from a general practice of from secondary services (hospital). Taihape Health has a positive working relationship with the board, which will ensure that all needs are met.
ENROLMENT: all those over 16 who wish to attend Taihape Health need to re-enrol. Forms are available from the medical centre, or call (06) 388 2035 and a form will be posted out. Enrolment supports the services by enabling funding and, in turn, patients can take advantage of low access fees.
Rest-home rate of $2 flagged
Rangitikei ratepayers will now not be paying the $2 uniform annual general charge to prop up Marton's Edale Home.
At the District Council meeting earlier this month, councillors agreed to accept a submission from the Edale Trust to charge the 8500 Rangitikei ratepayers $2 by way of a district-wide rate.
This decision was revoked at last Thursday's council meeting following a review set in motion by Council Cheif Executive Clare Hadley, who said the grant did not fit within the council's policy framework, nor had residents had an opportunity to have their say on the matter.
"It was not something we had taken out to the community to consult on," she said.
Rangitikei Mayor Chalky Leary said the whole district knew rest homes everywhere were having problems.
"Whare Ora in Hunterville has closed, Taihape's Ruanui has been closed, but fortunately Edale is still open.
"We are conscious [of this] and trying to do what we can to help all businesses in the Rangitikei. Of course, that does not mean financially."
Mr Leary explained that Edale did not have the water problem it had thought it had.
New tests proved the water pressure to be sufficient for fire fighting and no further action is necessary.
"The good news is Edale does not need the $15,000 council agreed to fund, so this has also been revoked," Mr Leary said.
The results of the new test has also saved Edale $7000.
There's nothing soft about this club
The Taihape Majors Softball Club have made it through a rough first season.
The novices found their straps eventually and came back to take out the teams that dealt to them in the first few games.
Now armed with new skills, attitude and enthusiasm the club is looking forward to October and the next season.
Les Clarke, who was pulled in as coach, says the team has come a long way in a very short time.
"For a throw-together team they have done extremely well," he says.
"In the first few games the team got thrashed but come the second round (it was) a different story, they were beating those same teams by some 20 runs or so," Mr Clarke says.
"There's great strength in the team's batters - who more than hold their own against the top pitchers in the Manawatu - and we had three players in the rep team."
The three Majors players in the Manawatu U17 rep team were Jessie Hamilton, who is playing well above her age, Jessie Swan and Sarah Wollaston.
Throughout the season the members have used borrowed gear, but have been busy fundraising to buy their own.
They give thanks and appreciation to their supporters and look forward to continued support with their fundraising activities over the off-season.
The club has also received sponsorship from Pub Charity, Gretna Hotel and Gail Larson at Go Bus.
Majors founder Donna Wood is also looking forward to the next season.
"The club will be doing its best to form one or two U16 softball teams," she says.
"So we can plan to begin the new season with a fun day where people can come along and see what Taihape Majors and softball are all about."
Spreading on offer
Finley Wallis has taken his business, B&F Contractors, a step further in offering Taihape and districts a new service.
Besides discing, rotary hoeing and drilling for cropping and regrassing, Mr Wallis now has a bulk spreading truck for fertiliser, lime and crop sowing. The 7 tonne four-wheel-drive is equipped with GPS which ensures he puts the product in the right place.
B&F Contracting has been of service to many clients in and around Taihape for more than 10 years. The business began as a partnership between Finley Wallis and Brett Martin of rally car fame. Mr Wallis bough him out four years ago.
"Taking the business to this next stage will be beneficial to all farmers in the area," he said.
RD mailman retires
After 13 years travelling 240km a day operating RD2 and 3, Peter Deighton called it a day last Thursday and he and his wife Robyn have put their feet up in Taupo.
Mr Deighton said he has enjoyed the time serving a "wonderful" community.
"The people are fantastic - that's Taihape rural folk for you."
Indeed, as proof of his words, Mr Deighton's rural box holders banded together and took up a collection which was presented to him by John Bird and Gary Moore at his last stop outside Ron Cranston's gate.
He was running late, which is most unusual for Mr Deighton, but for a very good reason. He had to get through Pukeokahu and Taoroa schools where the children wanted to wish him well and give him heaps of cuddles.
Gordon and Sheila Maxwell took over the RD2 and RD3 runs on Friday after 18 years on Ngamatea Station.
Gumboot Grans' first gala
Taihape's Gumboot City Grans hosted 17 leisure marching teams in Taihape Area School multi-function centre on Saturday.
A good crowd turned out to watch the slick, professional demonstrations of marching from teams who came from as far away as Waitara, Wellington and Dannevirke, each looking great in their uniforms.
This was the Gumboot Grans' first Open Day in Taihape but it will not be their last. They plan to repeat the event next year.
Most teams host these exhibition days annually, a chance to compare their marching techniques and reunite with friends without being subject to judging.
Organiser Barbara Anderson said it was great to see so many local folk coming to watch.
"I guess there was such a good turnout because it is the first time Taihape has hosted such a day.
Everything went off as planned; the whole day was really superb."
When making a presentation to 86-year-old Mona Selwyn, the oldest and fittest of the Gumboot City Grans, Mrs Anderson said leisure marching has no age barrier. She stressed that leisure marching is great therapy, especially for sufferers of arthritis and that Gumboot City Grans welcomes any new members.
The Taihape leisure marching team has picked up two or three new members as a result of the publicity of the weekend and now has about 10 active marchers.
"Perhaps there will be a bigger team going to the nationals in Dunedin next year," she said.
For more information phone, Barbara Anderson on 06 388 0938 or Bev Crimp on 06 388 0889.
Dancing for the heartland
A full house is expected on Thursday night for the Royal New Zealand Ballet Tutus on Tour at the Taihape Town Hall.
The ballet tour is taken to heartland New Zealand, in the North and South Islands, every two years.
A highlight of the tour this year is Pinocchio, choreographed by former dancer Toby Behan. This whimsical ballet version of the world's most loved stories is a new commission and promises to delight young and old.
It is the first time a full length children's story ballet has been included in Tutus on Tour.
Ballet general manager Amanda Skoog said they wanted to do something different for 2011.
"We have always done a series of smaller pieces on this tour but we decided it would be nice to give heartland New Zealand a chance to see what a full show looks like, from the sets to costumes and props.
"It is more challenging to tour a larger work to so many venues but audiences will get a better idea of what a full ballet production is like."
Classical ballet lovers have not been forgotten.
The tour will also see the premiere of ballet master Greg Horsman's Verdi Variations - a stunning classical showpiece featuring sparkling tutus handmade by the legendary RNZB wardrobe department.
Set to music by Verdi, it pays homage to Russian ballet and will feature breathtaking solos and stunning duets.
It's a ballet showpiece of pure dance.
Festival to be 'showcase'
Thanks to the Rangitikei District Council securing funds from the Rugby World Cup Festival Lottery Fund, Taihape will have a Dance and Music Festival in September.
One of the instigators, Elizabeth Mortland of the Taihape Community Development Trust, is rapt that funding has been approved.
"This is a great opportunity to showcase the performing arts talent in Taihape.
"This will be promoted on the REAL New Zealand Festival website and will, hopefully, attract overseas visitors that have come for the Rugby World Cup," Ms Mortland said.
She put together an outline of what could take place in order to meet the funding application deadline but insists "nothing is set in concrete" and is inviting interested parties to a meeting.
In the outline, Ms Mortland proposed the "Gumboot Jam" Dance and Music Festival would showcase Taihape's dancers and musicians, including local dance groups and bands.
Locals who have been or are still involved in music or dance will be shoulder tapped and asked to bring their expertise and help organise the biggest event in Taihape this year.
Ms Mortland says anyone with anything to offer is welcome to attend the April meeting.
"I look forward to hearing from you and hope that you can come to this meeting with lots of ideas," she said.
The Taihape Council Chambers has been booked for the planning meeting to be held on Thursday, April 7 at 5.30pm.
For further information contact Elizabeth Mortland (06) 388 1307.
Mum proves to be Jill of all trades
Newly qualified builder Angela Conlon is humble about her latest achievement.
Formally presented with her certificate last Thursday morning, she was quietly proud but reluctant to make a fuss.
As a mum raising five children who are now happy, well-adjusted teens, Ms Conlon already has a long list of qualifications as a cook, maid, counsellor, nurse and transport co-ordinator.
Amid the chaos of the household, she has managed to apply herself to hours of study and research to complete the requirements of her apprenticeship over the past four years.
She has also managed to get the kids off to school and herself to work to complete the long hours that go with a fulltime job, and made it look easy.
Making the presentation to Ms Conlon, Building and Construction ITO training adviser Tom Davie said that he was impressed with her dedication and resolve to complete her apprenticeship.
"She has done really well, better than the guys do," he said.
Mr Davie also acknowledged the dedicated support and guidance offered to her by her employer Clint Buckley.
Vintage railcar runs again
Ten local vintage car enthusiasts took a trip to the Pahiatua Railcar Society recently to see the great work taking place there.
The only surviving Wairarapa-class railcar, known as "The Tin Hare", is being refurbished and has just been certified for mainline running.
This railcar was basically a bus on rails built high enough to clear the centre rail used by fell engines to climb the one in 13 inclines over the Rimutaka Ranges.
The car had a four-wheel bogie up front with a driven single axle at the rear. They rode very roughly and people with dentures were advised not to seat themselves in the rear of the car.
A standard RM class twin engine, double-ender railcar "Tokomaru" is now certified for mainline running and we may one day see both railcars coming on excursions to Taihape.
Peter Wilton said: "Driver training starts soon so we will stay in contact with them to learn when they may reach here."
A fleet of RM class rail cars built in the Hutt Workshops were named after the 10 great Maori canoes. They plied the Wellington - New Plymouth, Wellington - Napier - Wairoa - Gisborne lines.
When the Rimutaka tunnel was opened in 1955 an articulated 88-seater version took over the Wairarapa to Hawkes Bay run and the standard 48-56 seater RM's ran the Wellington to New Plymouth line.
"If any good Taihape folk are in Pahiatua - the Railcar Society is well worth a visit," Mr Wilton said.
Gumboot Day - where would ya be?
It may be an old cliche but there really is something for everyone at Gumboot Day.
Besides the gumboot throwing competition which is offering a prize of $2500 to the thrower who can break the world record (67.31 metres for men, 49.35 metres for women), there are competitions to decorate a gumboot.
Draw and decorate an A3-sized gumboot picture and it will hang for all to see at Gumboot Day.
There is a copy available on taihape.co.nz to be printed off. Otherwise you may wish to let your imagination run wild and decorate an old gumboot (or even a pair) with either Rugby World Cup theme or Bling.
Then there is the Wearable Art competition with four age categories to be judged. There is still time to enter you creation. Watch for the Wearable Art parade during Gumboot Day.
Budding brewers are selecting their favourite tipple to enter into the Simply Brewing homebrew competition. The categories are: Dark Beer, Lager, Draft, Ginger Beer, and Cider - all must be home brewed by the entrant.
Cafes and eateries throughout Rangitikei have been invited to enter a baked item in the Gumboot Eateries Bake-Off Challenge. Each entry will have a gumboot theme of some kind and will be judged by the general public.
Bringing a little country to town is the dog barking contest - there's a prize for the best!
For the youngsters there is the Kid's Activity Trail around town, Kids Fun rides, and the Singing Cowboy and for the grown-ups there will be food and craft stalls, and a genuine hangi. Look for the Gumboot Inn near the stage where the Rascal Kings will be performing.
Watch for the quick-fire raffles - at $2 a ticket you could win a whole bunch of groceries from Taihape New World to the value of $500. Buy a $5 ticket for the Weekend Adventure raffle!
Tickets will be only available on the day and will be drawn in the afternoon.
Information, timetables and entry forms can be found at taihape.co.nz, - your community website - or find us on facebook.
Here's an opportunity to win a Mystery Weekend at Tai....Happy Hour.
Participating businesses will be offering drinks and nibbles prior to the Te Radar show in the town hall.
Businesses participating in the Tai...Happy Hour are; George Edward, High Country Clothing, The Bra Fence, PGG Wrightson, Spacey's Video World, Taihape New World, Piccadilly & Co, The Quilted Gumboot, Taihape Appliances, Soul Food Cafe, Chelsea, Farmlands, Taihape Honda and the Crystal Bar.
The Gumboot Day window display winner will receive an advertising package from Central District Times. Te Radar will announce the winner during his show, Eating the Dog.
Iwi unite to discuss claims
Historic group of Iwi gather for Waitangi hui
For the first time since the 1880's, iwi representatives from the Taihape district will come together at a historical hui at Moawhango Marae on March 12.
Mokai Patea Waitangi Claims Trust chairman Utiku Potaka said representatives from the Confederated Iwi of Mokai Patea - from Ngati Hauiti, Ngati Whitikaupeka, Ngati Tamakopiri and Ngati Te Ohuake - will represent iwi under one banner to address treaty grievances.
"This is the first step in a long process. This is the reforming of the Confederation.
"In the old days, our iwi lived in their respective areas and in time of war would come together to support each other."
On February 13 the first of three meetings brought people together to allow discussion of matters of mutual historical concern.
"So far there has been very strong support," he said.
"This is because of the intention to move claims forward and settle Waitangi grievances with the Crown.
"Everyone involved has been positive about the process and want to know all about it."
Get the red and black out for Christchurch
The effects of the devastating earthquake that hit Christchurch last week are widespread.
The whole country has felt them. Consequently people from all walks of life will do as much as they can to help, and those on the ground in Christchurch are definately doing that.
But everyone in the country wants to know how they can help Christchurch too.
Taihape has a strong community and it is common knowledge that we can make a difference if we pool together.
So the call now is for everyone to get behind Red and Black Fridays. Beginning this week, March 4, wear red and black on Fridays and drop $2 into collection buckets/boxes that will be about the town.
Let us have fun with this while giving hope and support to those in need.
Taihape Area School will be starting Red and Black theme tomorrow, which is great considering rugby mad principal Richard McMillan comes from Otago. With tongue in cheek he said red and black does not sit well but under the circumstances "we are definately in!"
For more information on how you can help call Terry at the Times on 06 388 0639.
"Calling All Dawns" - Grammy Award Winner!!!!
Local man, Jerome Kavanagh, is a lyricist and performer for the album “Calling All Dawns” (mixed and recorded by Grammy-winning engineer John Kurlander at Abbey Road Studios) which was nominated for two Grammy Awards at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards in Los Angeles at Staples Centre on Sunday, February 13 2011. The album was nominated for 'Best Classical Crossover Album', and 'Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists'. The group was awarded the Grammy for “Best Classical Crossover Album”!!!!
Jerome was a lyricist and performer for the 12th track on the album called “Kia Hora Te Marino” – “May Peace Be Widespread” which is sung in Maori.
“Calling All Dawns”, released on October 1st 2009, features the collaborative efforts of over 200 musicians from around the world, singing poems and prayers in 12 different languages. Performers include legendary mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, the Grammy-winning Soweto Gospel Choir, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, early music singers Anonymous 4, Iranian-born Sussan Deyhim, Portuguese fado singer Dulce Pontes, Chinese soprano Jia Ruhan, and Japanese pop singers Lia, Aoi Tada and Kaori Omura.
Jerome is also with the world music group “Hui-a” who have “Got to live” on iTunes. “Calling All Dawns” can also be found on iTunes – check it out!
What a fantastic achievement for Jerome! Well done and congratulations.
Arcadians prepare for Easter concert
Taihape's Arcadian Singers, led by Helen Gordon, will this year celebrate 30 years as a well-loved choir bringing a variety of music to Taihape.
The choir is open to anyone who enjoy's music and can sing.
Long-time chorister Dave Spier says he heard the choir and thought, "I can do that".
He has enjoyed many years with the group and has also sung with the New Zealand Male Voice Choir around New Zealand as well as in Sydney and Wales.
Many have used the wonderful training in the Arcadians to launch into larger careers, including Waiouru army wife Anna Gawn.
When asked why the choristers had stayed and enjoyed the choir so much, the main response was friendship, meeting new people, and sharing the pleasure of music.
"Helen is so widely knwn and can source new people from afar to help, - conductors, pianists, even the NZSO," June Gilbert said.
"The choir draws people together and provides a choral repertoire spanning 1000 years. It is just so much fun, even the singing in parts."
"I had sung a little at teachers' college but I came along and got the bug.
"Nothing is more important to me than this."
Ann Greenwood from Ohakune travels to practices in Taihape.
The choir is currently enjoying preparing for an Easter concert of modern church music, including some from The Vicar of Dibley, to be held in St Margaret's church on Passion Sunday, April 10.
This concert will be accompanied by organist Richard Chapman and Thomas Stafford, both tutors at Wanganui Collegiate School.
"This will include wonderful Easter music, Bach, Brahms and Tchaikovsky, which needs the full range of the pipe organ to accompany it," said Mrs Gordon.
As usual, the choir will present a variety concert mid-winter but the piece de resistance will be singing The Messiah again to end this celebration year. This will be accompanied by some instrumentalists from the NZSO.
"For me the choir is great," said Mrs Gilbert. "People can come and sing the music they enjoy but always there is something for everyone.
"Although we have sung the Messiah before each time is different and of course through the years we have been able to sing with other choirs from around the country, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Wainuiomata and Tauranga and are grateful for the extra dimension this brings.
"Is it any wonder that people continue to enjoy being Arcadian Singers," she said.
Buzz cut for pesky Old Man's Beard
Over a number of years the Rangitikei Environment Group (REG) led by Jim Howard has worked tirelessly to bring the pest weed, Clematis vitalba "Old Man's Beard" under control, with gangs working on the ground and helicopter spraying at least once a year.
The Spooners Hill gully was once highly infested but the state of the area now bears testament to the progress made by REG workers.
Financing the project has always been difficult said Mr Howard.
The work was once financed through the Rangitikei District Council but Horizons Regional Council now allocates funds.
Mr Howard said discussions with Horizons' new chairman Bruce Gordon were ongoing but he thought funding would be restricted in the next financial year which will reduce the area that can be treated.
Great shearer will be missed by many
Tributes were plentiful as many spoke to honour a great man, husband, father, uncle, and friend, Ray (R L) Alabaster. More tributes flowed in from all over New Zealand and internationally.
A regional Otago newspaper ran a tribute to Alabaster on Friday, February 4 and Paddy Rock of the Irish Sheep Shearers Association posted a press release on their website sheepsheaingireland.com.
"The sheep shearing scene across New Zealand and throughout the world is mourning the loss of former great Ray Alabaster," Mr Rock wrote.
He then wrote about Mr Alabaster's achievements.
As a 16-year old, Alabaster competed at his first Golden Shears in 1961 and became one of the greatest shearers to compete at Masterton's iconic event without winning its coveted Open title.
He was in the six-man, 20 sheep final nine times from 1971 to 1981, and was runner-up to Norm Blackwell and Martin Ngataki in 1974 and 1979 respectively, and third in 1978 to inaugurual world champion Roger Cox, when less than six-tenths of a point covered the first four placings.
In the year of his last final there were strong hopes of a dream result when he was top qualifiers of the 12 for the semifinals, but he had to settle for sixth in the showdown won by Ivan Rosandich.
He was to achieve victory on Masterton's famous War Memorial Stadium board two years later when he and Rei Rangiawha won the Golden Shears Maori-Pakeha team's event.
Alabaster represented New Zealand in two trans-Tasman shearing tests, in 1979, in Masterton and in the Victorian town of Euroa, where Australian shearing identity Bernie Walker in 1983 penned Just a Yard of Purple Ribbon, an ode to the nine men who had shared the 23 Golden Shears Open titles to that time - with Ray Alabaster, the only non-winner to rate a mention.
A modest man, he would say it would have been nice to have won the Open, but a lot of world-class shearers never made the final and he was one of the lucky ones.
He was known for his woolshed tallies as a young shearer, first taking part in a five stand, an unofficial world record, north of Gisborne.
Aged just 17, he contributed more than 300 of the 2133 ewes shorn in nine hours.
In late 1969 he led his own gang to an official four stand record with 417 of the 1562 shorn that day in a shed near Waiouru.
Having left school to work on the family farm at the age of 14, he became a long-time contractor in the Taihape area.
Since his competitive days he had maintained a strong association with the sport, becoming a judge along with wife Libby, who officiates at wool handling events.
Their schoolteacher daughter Sheree Alabaster is one of the country's top wool handlers, winning the world individual and team's titles in Norway in 2008.
Last year the couple were in Wales to see their daughter come second in her individual title defence and win a second team's title.
Family wants to protest further
In a pamphlet delivered to the Taihape community last week from the Whanganui District Health Board, part of the message from CEO Julie Patterson is deemed to be "absolute rubbish" by some of those who have been severely affected by the closure of the Ruanui Rest Home.
The part of the message referred to reads: "We're delighted that the residents of Ruanui who have moved into new accomodation and/or are receiving support services are settling in well to the new arrangements. A special thank you to all families for working with us so constructively".
Robin and Eileen Wilson were shocked with the statement they said proves Mrs Patterson is not aware of what is really going on.
Mrs Wilson wrote to Mrs Patterson explaining how the forced move from Taihape had affected Doug and Vera Wilson.
"I think it is important that the entire team at the DHB get to hear about the ramifications of their decision to close Ruanui," Mrs Wilson said.
The letter explains that the WDHB were not listening to the voices of families and the community at the time of the closure.
She wrote: "The move from Ruanui was as detrimental to Vera as Assess Ability had predicted in their assessment.....
"When Ruanui went into liquidation and you interviewed us, I expressed a concern that someone might die and I remember you saying that you didi not believe that statement."
Doug Wilson passed away on January 30 shortly after his daughter-in-law wrote the letter expressing her concern that the move had been disruptive to his health and care to such a degree that he had been admitted to Palmerston North hospital.
At the time she wrote: "The disruption to his treatment regime has been detrimental beyond comprehension. That disruption came about as a direct result of the closure of Ruanui and of us being force to move them."
On Friday, Mrs Wilson received a bouquet and a letter of apology from Mrs Patterson, who said, had she know of Mr Wilson's death she would not have said what she wrote in the flyer.
Vera Wilson is still at Coombrae Home in Feilding where she and her husband were taken on December 8. Her health is deteriorating.
Other families who have had to move their loved ones away from Taihape have said their home lives have been adversely affected and the extra financial burden of having to frequently travel is taking its toll.
Eileen and Robin Wilson run a business, while looking after their own and now Vera's property plus supporting Vera in a rest home more than an hour away.
Since moving their parents from Ruanui nine weeks ago, they have made more than 26 trips to Feilding usually having to free up a whole day to make the visit.
Wendy Campbell's parents, both aged over 90 did not want to leave Taihape either and the only option was for Mrs Campbell to make a home for them with her and her partner.
Mrs Campbell works full-time, is convalescing from a hip replacement and, although she said the home help she has received has been great, having her parents living with her has been very disruptive.
"But we had no other choice at the the time. The DHB gave us very little time to make arrangements. This can only be a temporary measure while my parents are both well. In 12 months' time the situation could be different," she said.
Mrs Wilson said other families are only rarely able to visit their elderly parents who are now in Whanganui or Feilding. As well as the time involved the cost of travel is a consideration.
Mrs and Mr Wilson want to take the matter further and hope others will join them.
A proposal for a better health service
A proposal released by Whanganui District Health Board (DHB) chief executive Julie Patterson is designed to strengthen the leadership of health professionals across the organsiation and get services closer to the people.
The DHB has undergone a lot of change directed towards improving the safety and quality of the services provided in Whanganui.
"We have established the Patient Safety Centre, strengthened the clinical advice available to managers, and put new clinical governance arrangements in place," Mrs Patterson said. "This proposal is the final step in facilitating strong clinical leadership across the organisation.
"Other changes in the proposal are intended to ensure that the Whanganui community receives the full benefits from the Government's commitment to improving how the services work together, and getting services closer to people."
While the majority of the changes proposed were not about making direct financial savings, Mrs Patterson was taking the opportunity to consult with the staff on a "trimmed down" executive management to save money.
"Because our costs are still well above the funding available to Whanganui DHB it is vital that we look at improving productivity across our organisation," Mrs Patterson said.
Staff forums are being held on the proposed changes and submissions close on February 16, 2011.
Keeping our great outdoors great
The "meeting of the waters" (Otoea), where the Hautapu runs in to the Rangitikei River, has been a favourite fishing, family camping, and picnic spot for generations.
It is one of the last easily accessed waterways in the area.
Like many other people, Te Tina Warren is concerned about the way in which people treat these public areas that are free for all to enjoy.
"I feel that we undervalue the natural resources that we have," she said.
"The immediate hazard is of course that of broken glass and severed aluminium, as well as unattended fires that have the potential to turn wild. The litter that gets washed away in our riverways ends up in the sea, contributing to the Great Pacific garbage patch - google this and you will be astounded."
If we are to preserve our "clean green" image and enjoy the great outdoors, we should do our part by removing our litter from the natural environment," she said.
"Take only photographs, leave only footprints."
Eighty layoffs prompt urgent call for action
The National Distribution Union is calling on the Government to urgently address issues confronted by the wood industries sector.
This is prompted by 80 job losses at Winstone Pulp International's Tangiwai Mill last week, including 26 voluntary and 18 compulsorty redundancies.
Staff at the mill have gone from 165 to 85 from the time the layoffs were first announced on December 16th.
NDU general secretary Robert Reid said other companies wanted to meet with the union to discuss scaling back production caused by the economic issues confronted by the industry.
But he said that as the industry laid off workers, the Minister of Forestry was missing in action.
"Many of the industry problems that have been identified to NDU are a result of government macro-economic policy settings, rather than efficiency or productivity issues in the industry itself.
"Given this, we reiterate our call of 16 December for the Government to convene an urgent meeting with industry and unions to see what can be done.
"One of New Zealand's major export industries is in crisis.
"It is not acceptable for David Carter to sit back. It is time he came off holiday mode, rolled his sleeves up, and addressed the job losses in the industry."
The Tangiwai layoffs follow the mothballing of WPI's Prime Sawmill in Gisborne where nearly 30 workers lost their jobs, as did between four to six workers who carried out the mothballing. Earlier in November, 15 Prime workers lost their jobs.
On December 14, Carter Holt Harvey Wood Products Kawerau Sawmill announced 26 redundancies.
"The price of raw logs is going up and up, but the price at which New Zealand can sell processed timber is going down," Mr Reid said.
"This, together with the high New Zealand dollar, puts the value-added strategy at serious risk."
Bullfighters don't Shudder in the ring
What happens to a broken bull rider?
Just ask Brian Bird, orginally from Parklee farm, in Kimbolton, who was a top rider for seven years - until he dislocated his shoulder, crushed a ligament in his knee and found his riding days were over.
The next best thing - bull fighting! These are the "clowns" you see in the arena coaxing bulls away from unseated riders.
"We are the guys that take the hits for the riders," Bird says.
He has been doing it for the last three years. During the season he travels to events throughout the country each weekend.
Bird will be at the Taihape event on February 26th because the Best Bullfighter of the Year will be announced and he wants it to be him.
During the week, Bird works on Hinau Station near Rangiwahia.
His father, Rodger Bird from Kimbolton, will be supplying half of the bulls for the Taihape event and Brian says some of them are pretty mean.
"Watch for Shudder, a pretty ornery Brahman Jersery cross.
"These bulls are specially bred and they will buck," Bird said.
Other bulls to watch for are Crank Handle who is up for Bucking Bull of the Year.
Then there is Forklift "the man", and one from H & R Contractors in Ohakune called Unlisted - 2 seconds and you're outta here.
H & R will be supplying the other half of the bulls.
They own last year's Bull of the Year - Bin Laden who is another to watch at the Taihape event.
A&P centenary countdown
Taihape's centennial A&P Show is gearing up for January 29. Organisers are pleased with the number of entries to the various competitions but say there is still room for more.
Twenty pens are booked in the fat lamb competition and while entries are slow for the Pastoral Queen competition it is expected a good number of young women will have registered by the end of this week.
The A&P Association will be selling a selection of Silverhope wine with a special centennial label.
Purchasers will be able to sample before buying and take the special bottles home. Wine and beer will also be for sale for drinking within the restricted area during the day.
The 1.30pm Grand Parade that will be led by the Hunterville Pipe Band will feature Vintage Cars, vehicles from trade sites, highland cattle, horses and ponies and horse drawn vehicles.
Something a little different by synonymous with the A&P Show is the highland cattle on show in front of the cattle shed.
Barry Cleaver has been busy organising vintage machinery and it is possible that Garrit's of Greytown will be bringing 20 classic trucks to put on show.
A new activity at the show will be the water dunker which will be operated by Dave Whatarau on behalf of the Taihape Youth Centre.
"For a small fee you may be able to dunk your local mayor, MP or teacher."
The Cottage Industries and Produce Court will be open all day and the Marton axemen have sharpened up and are ready to go. Shearers and wool handlers are set and just behind the shearing pavilion, the dog trials will be held. Mahon's Amusements will again join in the fun of the fair.
At the end of the show a wind-down function will be held at the far end of the grounds at the embankment. There will be a good mixture of local talent and the winner and placegetters of the Pastoral Queen competition will be announced.
Running too fast to win race
The 55th running of the annual Waiouru to Taihape 20-mile road race went off well on Saturday. Conditions were excellent for a test of stamina with only one of the 33 starters failing to finish.
First place went to Jules LeLievre of Whanganui with a well-judged run in his second start.
Back marker Brian Garmonsway ran strongly for second place and fastest time honours. Garmonsway, originally from Taihape, is a force to be reckoned with in the running world.
Third to finish was Hunterville's Christine Voelkerling, a regular starter who won the race in 1999.
The first three runners to finish had to be disqualified because the estimated times put in with their entries were too far out. Two of them were out by more than 40 minutes.
A runner of interest was Malcolm Hutchins from Whanganui, making a comeback. Hutchins was the first and fastest back in 1974 but well down the track this time.
First: Jules LeLievre (Whanganui)
Second: Brian Garmonsway (Trentham)
Third: Christine Voelkerling (Hunterville)
First: Brian Garmonsway (2 hours, 11 minutes, 33 seconds)
Second: Jason Page (2 hours, 11 minutes, 33 seconds)
Third: Glen Daly (2 hours, 15 minutes, 37 seconds)
The 2011 Bullriding New Zealand Champion will be crowned on Saturday, February 26 at Taihape.
The top 10 bull riding cowboys in the open grade and the second division grade will take on the best purpose-bred bucking bulls New Zealand has to offer.
Defending champion Richard Harden is being pushed hard by the winners of the first event of the circuit, Josh Ropitini of Rotorua, and Nick Jerram from Taihape.
President of Bull Riding New Zealand, Peter Bird said, "Never in my 15 years of bull riding have I ever seen anything like this in New Zealand. These cowboys are really pushing each other - it is really competitive."
Event organiser Lee Cooper is finalising arrangements for a great family day.
"This is a first for Taihape and we are hoping to hold at least one event a year here in the future," she said.
Further details will be announced as they come to hand.
Charges get overturned
Charges brought against River Valley by Maritime NZ following the tragic death of guide Tor Prestmo at Fulcrum Rapid, on the Grade 5 section of the Rangitikei River in October 2007, have been quashed by the Court of Appeal.
River Valley strenuously defended themselves against the charges in the district court, which were lost.
River Valley managing director Brian Megaw said: "The decision by the Court of Appeal brings to a close a highly distressing and stressful period for River Valley staff and the company owners."
"It has not always been without its positive points, however."
"Throughout the three-year period since the initial charges were laid,we have had messages and offers of support, both from those within the tourism industry and outside of the industry."
These included customers, past staff members, our legal team and family and friends.
"I would like very much to acknowledge and thank them."
River Valley runs a rafting operation on the Rangitikei River.
There are areas of rapids which are graded at the highest level of danger on which commercial operations are permitted.
Mr Megaw said that whitewater rafting companies operated in a challenging and unpredictable environment.
He said: "River Valley has always aspired to run trips in as safe a manner as possible, with truly professional staff.
"This judgement is in a sense a vindication both of that level of professionalism and the guides and team who deliver it."
There's only one person for the board job
It is possible a by-election will not be needed to fill the vacant seat on the Taihape Community Board.
Nominations close tomorrow and unless another candidate steps forward, Phyllis Leigh will take the seat unopposed.
Ms Leigh is a well-known personality in the Taihape District.
Because of her association with Women in Farming (WIF) she is also know throughout the country for the animal health seminars she has conducted.
Ms Leigh has always taken an active interest in local issues.
She previously joined the medical trust to make sure Taihape did not lose the services of the surgical bus.
Through her work as a vet, Ms Leigh is commoly associated with the Taihape Vet Club.
She plans to retire at the end of this year after a decade with the vet club.
It was her interest in music which led to the formation of the Straggle Muster Band, a group she has put together for people who want to play music.
"We dont turn anybody away regardless of talent or the instrument they play," she said.
When there was an old man's beard problem out at Paengaroa Rd, Ms Leigh got a few of locals together, and along with the help of Horizons, formed an old man's beard control group to eradicate the noxious weed.
As a member of the Taihape Community Board, Ms Leigh says she will be "pricking up her ears" to any issues concerning health, education, environment or animal welfare.
Mellor making progress
Injured Waiouru officer Senior Constable Bruce Mellor has spent the weekend out of hospital but will return soon for further assessment and treatment.
"Bruce has spent the weekend concalescing with family and friends, but he needs further hospital treatment for his facial and head injuries as part of his longer term rehabilitation," said Superintendent Russell Gibson, central Police district commander.
"Bruce is by nature a humble and private man. He's overwhelmed by the hundreds of cards and messages of support he's received, and by the lovely flowers which have brightened his days and those of people looking after him."
Mr Gibson said the huge number of messages, many from people unknown, was very appreciated by Mr Mellor, his friends and family, and police.
"These generous and supportive messages have boosted Bruce and all of us," Mr Gibson said.
"It's good news that Bruce is out of hospital, albeit temporarily."
In a statement, Mr Mellor siad he was making good progress.
"Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts and messages.
"I hope at some point I will be able to thank you personally or through other communications channels."
"Show of the century"
Central District Times, 14 November 2010
The organising committee for Taihape's 100th A&P Show are disappointed with the slow response from competitors for key events - although they are confident that the programme for January 29 will be the show of the century.
Taihape A&P Association president Gail Larson said Taihape and the surrounding district was fortunate that there were "ordinary folk" who had volunteered their time to help make the centenary show one of the best - if not the best.
"It is because of these people we still have a show. So many rural areas throughout New Zealand have lost out - they do not have an annual A&P Show - we are very lucky. We know what the community is currently going through, we are part of it as well, please look ahead and do what you can to support these fine people."
"Join in, enter an event and be part of the show of the century."
The Farmlands Pastoral Queen Pagent has been organised for this show as a celebration of the centenary.
The pageant was once an integral part of show days right from the smaller rural events through to the Royal Agricultural & Pastoral shows.
The New Zealand Wool Board was one of the major national sponsors over the years.
Organisers of the pageant are asking business houses to commit to the event by nominating a princess to compete.
The Canterbury Meat Processors and G R Grace-sponsored Prime Lamb competition is another event that has been popular in the past and an excellent means of raising funds for the association.
Farmers are asked to enter a pen of three lambs, weight 15 - 21kgs. These will be judged in the pen and on the hook.
There will be substantial prizes for first, second and third. Entry fee is one entry lamb to A&P Association.
Entries are still open for the National Bank-sponsored 2011 Shepherd's Challenge. This time the event is open to all shepherds to compete individually rather than on behalf of a station.
The event will include dog trial, sheep shearing, count sheep and cut and join wire - it will be all over by noon.
Special Centennial trophies donated by Don White are up for grabs and there is still room for more competitors and dogs.
To enter a lamb please contact Colin Thomas: 06 388 0262.
Give Erin Gibson a call about the Shepherd's Challenge 06 388 9191.
Give Don White a call about the Centennial Trophies on 06 388 7728.
Please contact Terry or Pat Karatau for further details on nominating a princess on 06 388 1197.
Site Manager loving her new role
Central District Times, 14 November 2010
The new site manager at Mokai Gravity Canyon has received a positive response.
Shannan Scott said she was thrilled to be in her new position and was looking forward to challenges ahead for her and her crew. This comes from an "aussie" who came to Queenstown for a week's holiday a few years ago.
While in Queenstown working at Cadrona, she met Canadian Mark Scott who was working for Queenstown Rafting. That was some time ago, the pair are now a couple and have lived in Mangweka for the past five years. They have two children Finn (4) and Ryder (2). They are settled and love Mangaweka and its people and have no plans of moving on.
Mrs Scott said she had worked for Mokai Gravity Canyon crew since they arrived in Mangaweka. She qualified as a swing assistant and flying fox operator before choosing to go into marketing.
"Coming from South Australia - the driest place in the world, and New Zealand being so green, I love the country and so does Mark. We weren't born here so I feel we have a greater appreciation from a tourist perspective."
The staff at Gravity Canyon have a great camaraderie - they are one big happy family, work well with each other and ensure visitors to Gravity Canyon enjoy a unique experience, even if they are only there to watch.
"During summer we have 16 staff, 10 are permanent and over half have been here for more than 4 years. That is because of the company philosophy to be family orientated," Mrs Scott said.
The crew make an attempt to speak to everyone that comes onto the site. They also share information on what else there is to do in the area. In general, they help visitors enjoy the Taihape/Mangaweka area hoping they will return.
Mrs Scott said there will be a few subtle changes made, especially to the cafe.
Taihape make a last stand for hospital
Central District Times, 14 December 2010
Last Tuesday 29 Taihape residents organised a bus and mini-van and took a visit to the Beehive in Wellington.
The group were reacting to the Whanganui District Health Board's decision to close Ruanui, and the demise of health services to Taihape.
One protester Herbert Steedman said he had planned to come home to Taihape to retire. "I can't do that now - no rest home."
On arrival, the new Labour candidate for Rangitikei, Josie Pagani, took time from her job to host the Taihape contingent.
A delegation comprising of Les Rowlands, Marian and Chris Bennett and Jordan Winiata-Haines met with Rangitikei's MP Simon Power.
Labour's spokeswoman for Health Ruth Dyson walked past the barriers and the silent protest to mingle with the group. She learned first-hand how the whole community has been affected by the pending hospital closure an dthe dire consequences in the future they fear.
Following further discussions Mr Rowlands presented the petition to Mrs Dyson who in turn invited the contingent to sit in the public gallery during question time. She then directed a question to Health Minister Tony Ryall about his lack of response to a letter to him and other ministers about the closure of Otaihape Health Land what the community was not being told.
The letter dated 23 November 2010 was from the then-clinical co-ordinator Donna Wood.
"I am certain Simon (Power) now agrees we were sold a lemon," said Chris Bennett. His wife, Marian said there were 3540 registered voters in Taihape. "We delivered a petition with 2990 signatures. Well Done!"
Time to arm our police?
Central District Times, 14 December 2010
There has been shock around the country about the extent of violence suffered by Waiouru based policeman, Bruce Mellor.
Mr Mellor, in his 50's, was attacked around 6.30am on Saturday in a frenzied attach with a machete by two occupants of a motor vehicle.
The senior constable, with 35 years service, suffered gashes to his head, a broken jaw and multiple skull fractures.
He is missing some teeth and has a broken eye socket. A finger on his left hand was nearly hacked off and his eyes are almost completely closed due to swelling caused by repeated blows to the head.
Understandably Mr Mellor feared for his life as he curled up in a ball on the roadside trying to protect himself against every blow.
After police received reports of a red coloured Mazda 323 Hatchback driving erratically in a northbound direction, both south and north of Taihape, the vehicle was stopped by Mr Mellor's police patrol car 7km north of Taihape.
The two occupants decamped from the scene of the attack, in the Mazda motor vehicle, but crashed shortly after on Old Spooner Hill Rd, Taihape.
They were apprehended a short time later by police.
Mr Mellor remains in a serious but stable condition in Palmerston North Hospital.
He underwent surgery to treat the multiple lacerations to his face, head and body late Sunday night.
The two offenders, aged 18 and 14, have been charged with crimes in relation to the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, Crimes Act assult and attempted arson of the motor vehicle, and the serious assault.
The 18-year-old male has been charged with unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, Crimes Act assault and attempted arson of the motor vehicle. He remains in police custody.
The 14-year-old male has been charged with unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle, Crimes Act assault and attempted arson of the motor vehicle. He has been taken into CYFS custody.
Futher charges are being considered.
Police are seeking sightings of the offenders vehicle between Feilding and Taihape.
The vehicle was stolen in the early hours of Saturday, some time after 2.30am, from an Awahuri Rd address in Feilding.
Police also wish to speak to anyone who witnessed the roadside attack or who arrived and assisted at the scene post the attack.
The brutal attack was the first time Mr Mellor had been assaulted as a police officer.
The attack renewed a call by Police Association president Greg O'Connor to arm police.
Mr O'Connor said the time had come for police officers to have a firearms.
"The majority of frontline officers now want to be armed," he said.
"We have had nine police officers shot in the last two years on top of all these serious assaults. The only weapon that is any good against a machete is a firearm."
Drought history repeats
Central District Times, 07 December 2010
Farmers in the region are preparing for the worst, with weather experts forecasting drought-like conditions over the coming months.
Federated Farmers is concerned about the dry conditions that are starting to develop around the country.
Metservice has issued forecasts for the hot and dry weather to continue through to February next year, but this has come a month earlier than usual.
Forecaster Bob McDavitt said it was caused by the La Nina weather cycle, which takes the anticyclones of summer and pushes them further south. He said the weather would gradually stunt pasture growth.
He predicts this summer's La Nina conditions will be on a par with that experienced in 1988 - 1989 and in the summer of 1975 - 1976.
It seems with the weather, history can indeed repeat, so he advise farmers to check their farm data from 1989.
"What we are currently experiencing is a pattern similar to that seen 21 and 44 years ago respectively. I don't wish to annoy camping ground owners, but several weeks of rain would dramatically improve the current picture.
"But I also know farmers in areas affected by this dry weather are getting excellent advice and are preparing their farms and stock accordingly."
"With our annualised rainfall, drought shouldn't be a word in our vocabulary, yet it is," he said. "This is why Federated Farmers advocates strongly that water storage should be national infrastructure."
Manawatu/Rangitikei Federated Farmers president Gordon McKellar said the weather would put a lot of stress on the farmers.
He said farmers were already worried about the implications it could have on their incomes.
"It will have a huge effect on the economy and farmers' livelihoods if it goes on for a lengthy period of time." He said it will affect farmers who have large stock numbers.
"Those who have irrigation will be OK, but it will depend on how long the weather continues for.
Farmers were usually prepared for drought during the summer months, but because it had come about six weeks early they had been thrown a bit, he siad.
"We just don't know how long it will be before we get some rain, so it's difficult to plan for, but it has to be done before stock numbers get too low".
Residential services close
Central District Times - 07 December 2010
By Terry Karatau
Residential care services at Taihape's Ruanui Home will close on Wednesday, December 12.
In a press statement released late last Monday, Whanganui District Health Board chief executive Julie Patterson said the board had received formal notification from liquidator John Whitfield that he is unable to continue to provide residential care services in Taihape as has disclaimed the contracts.
Staff of Ruanui were advised by Mr Whitfield that their employment contracts will end on December 12.
"I will not keep staff on when I do not have the funds to pay them," Mr Whitfield said.
He confirmed funding was available for the cotinuation of other services and that he is working with the WDHB until it can find an alternative provider.
The closure was the expected outsome. The WDHB has been working with families of Ruanui Home residents to find "the next best option" for their loved ones.
"Many families have already made their decision. However, some are still considering options. We will continue to support them to ensure their loved ones have a new home before the closure date," Mrs Patterson said.
In the past six months, no other providers have come forward who are willing to deliver residential care services in Taihape. Some of the staff at Ruanui were considering putting in a proposal.
"Like many members of the community, we would welcome a miracle, but it is really important that any miracle is sustainable and not set up to fail," Mrs Patterson said.
"The reality that they will be able to meet the basic requirements of such a contract, in particular start up funding and working capital is unlikely, however, we will take the time to review any proposals submitted."
Mrs Patterson re-iterated that home based support services and day services for older people, along with all other primary and community health services, will continue in Taihape.
School development now under way
Central District Times, 07 December 2010
By Terry Karatau
Work has begun on the new Waiouru School. After five years in the plannning, the project is due to be completed in June next year with a budget of $2.2 million.
Principal Petra Corbett said the Ministry of Education found the refurbishment of the old building would cost significantly more than building new ones.
"It is quite exciting for our community. The new school will have six learning areas (classrooms), information technology pods and a library."
The school has four teachers and 71 pupils on the roll. Its main entrance is currently off Currie Cres but the new site is near Ruapehu Road.
Hone Rapana Padre O'Callaghan performed a blessing at this site recently before the first so was turned. Inframax did the ground work, and four weeks ago Isles Construction from Palmerston North moved in with their workers and sub-contractors from Napier and Palmerston North.
Isles Construction foreman Hamish Verrry said with the good weather, work has progressed well.
As of las Wednesday, the school hall has been moved from the back of the site, underground work is near completed and steel girders were being erected.
Power acknowledges concern
Central District Times, 30 November 2010
Rangitikei MP Simon Power says the voluntary liquidation earlier this month of Otaihape Health is obviously unsettling for the Taihape community.
"I have been working with Otaihape Health trustees, and Tony Ryall, Minister of Health, for many months to try to resolve the situation," he said.
"My understanding of the matter is that the Whanganui District Health Board has provided funding over and above contractually agreed arrangements since Otaihape Health's establishment in 2007. "During the past six months, the DHB has also contributed significant additional funding to assist Otaihape Health to address its financial sustainability issues, including writing-off back rents of $450,000, and providing outside financial expertise and other suport," Mr Power said.
"I am advised that this additional support totals more than $1 million."
He said despite the financial support from the DHB, a viable solution to Otaihape Health's financial difficulties could not be found prompting the trustees to vote to go into voluntarily liquidation.
"I have been assured that the Whanganui DHB is working closely with the liquidators, the primary health organisation, and alternative providers to ensure that a range of primary and community-based health services in Taihape will continue."
Mr Power said that although the provider of these services will change, the community should notice little difference in the way they access services and receive care.
"Again, I acknowledge this is an unsettling time for you, your family, and your community."
"I will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure health services continue to be provided in Taihape," he said.
Stop the 'Elder Abuse'
Central District Times, 30 November 2010
Rural Women New Zealand members will be joining a further protest in Taihape this afternoon agains the Whanganui District Health Board's decision to do away with the town's 20-bed rest home and four inpatient beds, effectively closing the hopsital.
The decision means 20 elderly residents are faced with a move to rest homes more than 100 kilometres away in Whangani or Palmerston North - a three-hour round trip by road.
"This is elder abuse", said Rural Women New Zealand health spokeswoman Kerry Maw. "To move a dementia client out of familiar surroundings to somewhere over 100kms away, without people coming to visit them means they are going to be completely lost.
"These are frail, elderly people and we are appalled at the complete lack of compassion that is being shown in this decision."
Rural Women New Zealand has asked Health Minister Tony Ryall how the closure of the rest home can be justified when New Zealand is a signatory to the OECD Ageing in Place Strategy which states that where elderly people can no longer continue to live in their own homes "they should be enabled to live in a sheltered and supportive environment which is as close to their community as possible, in both the social and geographical sense."
Rural Women New Zealand believes a more holistic view of the DHB's funding difficulties must be taken.
People in Taihape and surrounding rural areas currently visit their relatives in the rest home on a daily basis. In future, visits will be rare, costly and time consuming.
"The impacts on the community have not been taken into account, nor the threats to the remaining health services in Taihape. The rest home closure could be the thin end of the wedge," said Mrs Maw.
This also brings in to question the availability of a weekend duty doctor, as there will not be any nursing staff to fall back on at the rest home and hospital.
Rural Women New Zealand has called on the Whanganui DHB to urgently re-think its decision to close the rest home and inpatient beds, and instead give the people of Taihape something to celebrate this Christmas.
Bikers ride against violence
Central District Times, 23 November 2010
By Terry Karatau
It was unfortunate the weather caused the cancellation of events that were planned to coincide with the arrival in Taihape of the Whte Ribbon Ride on Sunday.
However a number of folk were waiting at REAP's Taihape office to welcome the riders.
The annual ride is organised by the Families Commission as part of the White Ribbon campaign to eliminate violence against women.
Campaign co-ordinator for the Families Commission Rob McCann said White Ribbon was an opportunity for men to stand up and become part of the solution.
"Too often our society has accepted the violence of men without question."
"Campaigns such as It's Not Okay and White Ribbon are now changing this perception," said Mr McCann.
"The challenge now is to ensure people feel that they are able to act, to offer, or ask for help rather than remain silent."
He said the ride offered a visual and loud reminder that there was a non-violent way of life.
Supa Maori Fullas and ride leader Roger Rawiri said, "If you look at the men on this ride, they might look tough but they don't hit women or children. Only cowards do."
After a brief stop, a short meeting and a cuppa, the riders left for Bulls.
Board promises continuity
Central District Times, 23 November 2010
By Terry Karatau
Close to 200 people attended the Whanganui District Health Board health services meeting last Wednesday evening.
The board chairwoman, Kate Joblin, CEO Julie Patterson and one of the six General Managers, Tracey Scheibli told the community what the voluntary liquidation of Otaihape Health Limited meant for the future of Taihape health services.
It was made clear that the residential care facility would be closed by mid-December. Mrs Patterson said she understood the trustees' decision and acknowledged how difficult this was for all concerned.
She emphasised that the decision was very unsettling and disruptive for the residents and their families, staff and the whole community.
"I do not realistically believe there is another provider who can successfully provide these services," Mrs Patterson said.
Many people took advantage of the opportunity to ask questions at the meeting.
The closure means the loss of the residential care facility and the three executives have met with all the affected families, offering assistance to find the second best option for the residents and their loved ones.
"We are incredibly impressed with the Taihape community," Mrs Patterson said.
"They have been so gracious and polite to us despite how they must be feeling."
She said she was confident about the conitiuity of most of the services other than the residential care service.
In 2006 the ten CEO of the WDHB Memo Musa spun a tale of woe about his cas strapped health board. He stood in the Taihape town hall and told the community to step up and take responsibility for the provision of health services in the northern Rangitikei.
The Ruanui Trust, which operated Ruanui Home, and the health provider, Taihape Medical Trust, merged and became Otaihape Health Trust and Otaihape Health Limited was created to operate the new facility and supposedly do away with costly inefficiencies. Now, four and a half years later, Otaihape Health Ltd is in voluntary liquidation because there is not enough money.
Hospital protest disrupts highway traffic
Central District Times, 23 November 2010
By Terry Karatau
The Taihape community is up in arms with the Whanganui District Health Board’s decision to close residential services at the hospital.
A sure sign of solidarity was shown when more than 200 people gathered at the hospital on Friday morning where Les Rowlands was interviewed by TV3 news and said, “Unless we show some resolution, we are going to lose this facility”.
The gathering decided to march down town and disrupt the traffic on State Highway 1 by continuously using the pedestrian crossings.
Within minutes “Save our Hospital” placards appeared and the protest took place with the entire town joining in. Traffic was brought to a standstill and when drivers were told of the reason for the protest they showed their support by tooting their vehicle horns.
At the hospital, open discussions saw the crowd agree to send a delegation to Wellington and deliver a petition to parliament. It was also agreed to target MP’s with emails. Addresses are as follows:
Prime Minister John Key email@example.com
Minster of Health Tony Ryall firstname.lastname@example.org
Labour Leader Phil Goff email@example.com
Ruth Dyson firstname.lastname@example.org
Co Leader & Minister of Health Tariana Turia email@example.com
Act Party Rodney Hide firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris and Marion Bennett have hired a bus to travel to Wellington next Tuesday November 30, leaving at 8.00am. Those wishing to go should call Bennett’s to book a space. A petition is available for signing in shops throughout the town and at the Information Centre.
Gumboot Day bags Te Radar
Central District Times, 23 November 2010
By Terry Karatau
Taihape Community Development Trust's Elizabeth Mortland and her band of volunteers are getting ready for another successful Gumboot Day, to be held on Saturday March 12 2011.
The star attraction at the fun family festival will be Kiwi comedian Te Radar (Andrew J Lumsden) who is an award winning satirist, documentary maker, writer, stage and screen director, and amateur historian. His recent series on TV1, Radar's Patch was a top-rated show. He was also one of the presenters on Intrepid Journeys.
Te Radar has been taking his show Eating the Dog around the country, mainly as a fundraising vehicle for non-profit community organisations. He will present the show at the Taihape Town Hall on Friday March 11 2011.
Eating the Dog is a satirical and educational look at some of the more notable characters and events in New Zealand's history. In the show he celebrates the history that history tried to forget: the bumblers and ne'er-do-wells who personify New Zealand's "she'll be right" spirit.
The show, which will be a fundraiser project for trust projects, picked up three national comedy awards last year, including best local show at the New Zealand Comedy Festival.
Tickets, at just $25.00, will go on sale at the Taihape Information Centre at the beginning of December.
Te Radar will also be the guest compere at Gumboot Day.
Roly may be oldest living dog
By Terry Karatau
There has been a story from England about the worlds oldest dog – aged 20 but guess what – according to Janise and Mike Seal of Taihape they are wrong because their dog Roly is estimated to be 22 years old (in human terms). “So does that make him world famous, we think so, especially here in Taihape,” Mr Seal said.
The Seals got Roly when he was just about six months old from a house where he was not treated very well and has been with the family ever since.
“We estimate his age to be about or nearly 22. We cannot prove his age, just going on the age of our daughter Natalie, when we brought him home she was seven years old and now she is 28 – so do the math yourself.”
It is believed Roly has a little fox terrier and beagle in him and when taken to the vet a month ago he was given a clean bill of health, apart from being hard of hearing. “Roly has life too comforatble and is certainly not ready to go to ‘dog heaven’ just yet – would you – with your own sofa to sleep on, a duvet to cuddle up to and his best friend to lay in front of the fire on a cold day. Roly’s friend is Mahi, a ginger female manx cat – that means she has no tail – but that is another story for another time.”
Surgery bus a hit
The mobile surgical bus is into the second of its five-year contracts to provide day surgery to outlying rural hospitals. Funded through the Ministry of Health, the bus comes to Taihape one day every five weeks usually on a Friday and is now in the eigth year.
Main street review
The public consultation process for the proposed upgrade of Taihape's main street is now well under the way with plans available at the District Council's service centre in the town hall, the Taihape Times office and at Taihape Appliances
By Terry Karatau
TheRangitikei District comprises mainly lush, rural land. It is a diverse district, ranging from the sand plains on the south coast - which stretch inland almost as far as Bulls - to the magnificent hill country of the upper Rangitikei.
Agriculture and horticulture flourish throughout the region and amongst the fresh fruit and produce is Rangitikei’s best kept secret .. .. .. .. Silverhope Wines.
Although the town once known as Silverhope is now gone, the name has seen a rebirth with the establishment of a vineyard further down the Porewa stream in 1998.
Lindy and Richard Horrocks of Hunterville joined with life long friends Jon and Jo Heslop of Palmerston North to plant and nurture the grapes and produce the first Silverhope vintage in 2001. Since then winemaker Dan Barker of Taradale has produced Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling for Silverhope.
“The whole thing evolved out of a life long interest in wines – it started as a hobby,??? Lindy Horrocks said. “Although we don’t produce a huge amount of wine we have had a commercial release every year since our first vintage in 2001.???
Richard Horrocks said winemaker Dan Barker, “knows his stuff, he is competent and passionate and his talents have brought him the title of Young Winemaker of the year in 2004 and runner up in 2003.???
Silverhope’s 2007 Reserve Chardonnay won a bronze medal in the 2008 Bragato wine awards. It is the first and only time the vineyard has entered a wine.
A very palatable unoaked Chardonnay produced in 2008 is now available. The wine is described as being clean and light – easy drinking and refreshing. The 2008 oaked Chardonnay is due to be bottled and will be available by Christmas. An excellent 2008 Pinot Noir is also available.
Mrs Horrocks sells the wines direct through their farm off licence in Hunterville, Taylors Hunterville, and the Feilding Farmers Market. Tastings can be arranged by telephone (06) 322-8315 or (06) 357-6287.
Hydro power revival?
Recalling Taihape’s electric tale
By Jocelyn Fannin
The Hautapu River may once again generate electricity, as the Taihape Community Development Trust investigates the feasibility of such a project. “The original tunnel has the ability to generate some five times what was originally being generated,??? said Taihape Community Trust member John Booth.
“Originally a lot of water was left behind at peak flow times but by having a bigger but mostly unutilized capacity, we can take advantage of higher level flows.???
Taihape Energy, as this new entity will be called, will sell the electricity to local Taihape customers. “With the advent of smart metering, householders know exactly how much is being used so we know there is the capacity for this to be a viable source of income for the community. “The Trust is a non profit organisation which feeds all its funds back into the community,??? said Mr Booth. Taihape Energy will have the ability to sell and buy on the spot market, selling to the national grid when power is more expensive but buying when the power is cheaper. The Trust has received a $5000 grant from PowerCo and has permission from Horizons to gig out and explore the original tunnel. Taihape was one of the first communities in New Zealand to run its own hydro electricity scheme.
A proposal for a hydro electric scheme on Hautapu River was first made in 1904 – pre-dating the first borough council. However, it was 1911 before a firm decision was made to utilize the river as a source of power. A dam, still visible today, was built on the Hautapu River near the present bridge beyond the sale yards. The tunnel through to the power house site off Papakai Rd still exists but little remains of the power house itself. This tunnel runs for 150 metres across the isthmus of the river. Two 50kw DC generators commissioned in 1913 were installed by Turnbull and Jones, costing £7500. For three months of the year there was not enough water to run the plant at full load and at times generating capacity fell to 23kw, so it was not long before the borough was in trouble. In 1916, a 150hp standby plant run on suction gas was installed and in 1925 one of the original 50m kw generators was replaced with a 100kw set – for the first and only time in its history the scheme generated a surplus of power. To get enough water to operate this larger machine, planks were put on top of the concrete dam to increase the limited amount of water storage and provide a slightly greater operating head of water. In 1932 the borough began buying power from the Wanganui Rangitikei Electric Power Board and converted AC to DC for its supply system – later scrapped when the reticulation system was changed to AC. The hydro plant last produced energy in 1956 and was scrapped shortly afterward. The gas plant had run very little after supply from the board was obtained. It was finally dismantled in the early 1950’s. In 1937 the Council decided that all water heating services must be fitted with thermostats and there were to be 18 hours of service each day. This council decision meant no power was being wasted. In 1940 there were 46 water heaters but by 1943 Taihape had 71 water heaters and by January 1950, there were 119 customers with an average monthly consumption per consumer at 9 units per day. Prior to World War II there had been no spare capacity but a boom in appliance sales in the 1950’s meant a surge in electricity use.
School caters for community
By Jocelyn Fannin
Family and friends of the Taihape Area School many from out of town, gathered with the pupils for a celebration assembly in the school’s multi-function centre for the official opening of the school on Friday, October 23 at 11am. MP Trevor Mallard, who as Minister of Education instigated the review in 2004 which led to the formation of the Area School, was present along with Rangitikei MP Simon Power, Mayor Chalky Leary, the architect, project manager and contractor, previous board members, past principal Vivienne Mickleson, Anne Devonshire from the Ministry of Education and others who have been intimately involved with the evolution of this state-of-the-art educational facility. A video was played showing the various stages of construction.
The assembly began with a whakarau from the bilingual students before the principal, Boyce Davey, was introduced. Speakers paid tribute to Mr Davey whose energy and enthusiasm not only saw the completion of the project but also led the community to become intimately involved in the process of education. Mr Davey said his philosophy was always that any school was not the buildings – amazing though the Taihape one are – but rather it was the culture, the people in it. He said education was not just about the 3Rs but also about leadership and community to educate a child,??? said Mr Davey, “and although standards are imposed through the ministry the standards we impose must be ours.??? Mr Mallard said: “The focus of the review was to improve the standard of education for students of this community, to develop partnerships. I came up and drove the back roads and realised the distances involved so that made for an easy decision to create an area school catering for both primary and secondary students.??? He was also aware that many students were leaving Taihape both because of distances and also because at that time there was a perceived feeling that the standard of education at Taihape College was not good. “A bigger senior school would mean more options for students.???
Mr Power spoke about the need for communication and the need for the community to value their teachers. “We need to attract the very best we can and this school will aid that,??? he said. Throughout the assembly pupils of Taihape Area School were featured with both senior and junior students speaking. The year 7 and 8 kapa haka group, along with the Hip Hop group, pianist Lukes Schoppman (year 11), vocalists Tyler and Latalya all entertained the visitors.
To finish, another interactive video of students in a variety of school activities was shown. Craig Bryant, chair of the establishment board, spoke of the merging of two cultures. “I lived and breathed this school for two years. We started with a budget of $3.2 million and have ended with a $20m plus state of the art facility. I am so glad Boyce Davies came to Taihape. His passion and forthright vision saw the project to its completion,??? he said. Jenny Mower, of the board of trustees, acknowledged Christine Whatarau, former board chairperson, and enthusiasm made the board job so much easier. “Boyce Davies came with a vision for education and TAS now has many opportunities that were previously not available in Taihape,??? she said.
Both Mr Mallard and Mr Power unveiled the plaque together. “I want to pay tribute to Trevor Mallard,??? said Hon Power. “Throughout the process of decision-making we were both intimately involved but I know we could communicate and know that what we talked about would remain confidential. “As member for this area that helped me tremendously and I would ask him to help me unveil this plaque,??? he said. The morning concluded with a light luncheon for those present.
Trust ensures warmer swim
By Jocelyn Fannin
Taihape’s swimming pool will be a great deal warmer this year thanks to new pool covers. A $20,000 grant from PowerCo Trust and the expertise of engineer John Booth have meant the Taihape Community Development Trust has been able to install three pool covers for less than the original quote of $50,000 for two. “It is great that the Trust can be seen by the community to be achieving things,??? said vice Trust chairman Les Clarke. “The Trust now has a contract to run the pool and with the grant plus money in kitty we are able to do this at no cost to the ratepayers.??? The thermal blankets are cut to size and have been donated by Incept Marine, mechanical rollers enable them to be pulled on and off easily. “They will cover the main pool plus learners’ pool at night, which will keep the heat in and significantly save costs to the ratepayer,??? said Mr Clarke. “To have been able to cover the main pool as well as the learners’ pool is great he said.
Overlander is back – now let’s use it
By Terry Karatau
Wednesday, October 21, 2009 was a historic day for Taihape community. Both the northbound and southbound Overlander passenger trains began their scheduled stops in Taihape, albeit for a 12-month trial period. The last scheduled stop at Taihape was on April 10, 2005. About 50 Taihape folk joined Rangitikei Mayor Chalky Leary, Taihape Community Board chairman Richard Aslett and Taihape Community Development Trust manager Elizabeth Mortland to pop champagne that grabbed media attention throughout the country. Due to an online ticketing hiccup in July, the Overlander was made to stop in Taihape to drop off David Robinson – the first stop since TollNZ, the rail operator at the time, decided not to stop here.
Betty Tierney, of Older and Bolder, drew up a petition to have the train stop “on demand???, and 1111 signatures were collected. In September, it was presented to Rangitikei MP Simon Power and later to KiwiRail’s Nigel Parry and Tranz Scenic’s Richard Keenan. Now Taihape has been reinstated as a scheduled stop. Abroad the train on Wednesday were KiwiRail marketing and communications manager Nigel Parry and his guest, David “the man who stopped the train??? Robinson.Mr Leary addressed the gathering, saying rail had been an important link to the rest of the country for more than 100 years. “In 1906, the first mayor of the Taihape Borough Council was Anthony Nathan – he built the main trunk line from Mangaweka to Utiku,??? Mr Leary said. “The rail was important to the development of the Central North Island heartland. “Let’s see the rail serving the heartland for at least another 100 year, because Taihape is the heartland.???
Before reboarding the train for Wellington, Mr Parry toasted Taihape saying KiwiRail had been impressed with Taihape’s commitment to regular train services and congratulating the gathering on the outcome. Tranz Scenic marketing manager Richard Keenan earlier said he was looking forward to working with Taihape to arrange packages to bring more visitors to the town. He suggested marketing Taihape to Wellingtonians as a great country lunch destination.
A stop at Taihape back on the main trunk line
Four years after it was dumped from teh railway map, Taihape is back on the mian trunk line – with designs on becoming a train tourist trap.
KiwiRail announced yesterday it was adding the central North Island town as a scheduled stop on the Overlander route between Wellington and Auckland for a one-year trial period. Taihape was dropped from the train timetable in 2005 when Overlander passenger numbers fell. However, a 25 per cent increase in Overlander passenger numbers in the past 18 months prompted KiwiRail to give Taihape a second chance. The efforts of Taihape residents to get the train sto back had been a deciding factor, KiwiRail spokesman Nigel Parry said.
“The community are working on ways to make their town more of an attraction. That makes it more encouraging for us to give it a go.???
The northbound Overlander will make a two-minute stop in Taihape at 11.21am adn the southbound service will stop at 3.03.pm. The first stop will be this Friday.
All aboard, the Overlander’s back
By Terry Karatau
A vote of thanks must go to everyone who convinced KiwiRail to timetable the Overlander passenger train to stop in Taihape, which includes the 1111 people who signed the petition. Nigel Parry from KiwiRail said that after consideration fo the potential passenger numbers for a Taihape stop on the Overlander, TranzScenic have decided to included Taihape as a scheduled stop for a trial period. “We have been impressed with Taihape’s commitment to regular train services, including enthusiasm for events and attractions which will add to the appeal of Taihape as a destination. “We have also been pleased with the numbers of passengers on this winter’s Steam Sunday specials, which have stopped at the town.???
Taihape Community Board chairman Richard Aslett said, “it’s certainly a great decision.???His message to the community, “Now that’s we have it back – let’s use it.??? The trial period will begin on 23 October and run until the end of September 2010. It is hoped the stop will prove viable enough to be kept in the timetable permanently.“However, we have arranged for a special stop of the Southbound Overlander the day before, 22 October, to mark Taihape’s return to the timetable, “ Mr Parry said.“The man who stopped the train at Taihape??? David Robinson will join Mr Parry on this special trip. Planning is underway to mark this special occasion both here and with KiwiRail.
How it happened
Thanks to a tip off by Fran Silbestri of Auckland that the train was stopping back in July, staff at the TCDT swung into action and arranged a crowd to meet the train that Mr Robinson got off. A petition was arranged by Betty Tierney of Taihape’s Older and Bolder. TCB chairman Richard Aslett came on board. Campbell Live, TV3’s current affairs show was brought to town and all was on track. The petition was handed to Rangitikei MP Simon Power in September and later to Nigel Parry and TranzScenic marketing manager Richard Keenan at the meeting in Taihape.
Taihape community Development Trust manager Elizabeth Mortland said, “This is a great outcome and a fantastic opportunity for Taihape – it calls for a big celebration, especially on the 22nd. “We’ve got something back that was taken from us, so let’s make use of it.???
The regular northbound service will arrive at 11.21am and the southbound at 15.03pm with a scheduled 2 minute stop to allow passengers to board or disembark and for luggage handling.
Overlander Set to Stop in Taihape
by Laurel Stowell
After blasting straight through for four years the Overlander passenger train will again stop regularly in Taihape. The news was greeted with joy by the Taihape Community Development Trust project and event manager Elizabeth Mortland.
“I’m absolutely rapt. It’s like the little people have had a win.??? The trust, Taihape Community Board and the Older and Bolder group all lobbied for stops to resume, collecting 1111 signatures on a petition. Former Taihape resident David Robinson conducted a one-man campaign from his current home in Auckland. He managed to book a ticket from Auckland to Taihape over the internet, then insisted on having it honoured.
The Overlander’s first stop in Taihape will probably be on October 23, and Ms Mortland suggested rail staff crack open a bottle of champagne with the lobbyists when the first southbound train draws up to the platform at 3pm. From then on through the summer season there would be two stops a day, a southbound one at 3pm, and a northbound at 11am. Each would be for two or three minutes, whether or not people got on or off.
Ms Mortland said Taihape’s railway station was gone, but there was a shelter where people could wait, and public toilets nearby. The stop was on a trial basis, for a year. “They obviously want to see if the numbers stack up, so it’s up to us now to use it.??? Wellington people coming to events like Gumboot Day could take the train, get off at 11am, stay the night and return next day. Few people were getting on or off in Taihape when the stop was deleted in April 2005, Tranz Scenic communications manager Nigel Parry said. But the situation had changed.
The Overlander had been so full lately that it had started running every day. This usually didn’t happen until December.
Numbers for the school holidays were 55 percent up on the same time last year.
Use had steadily increased since 2006, when the Overlander was nearly axed.
People were enjoying rail travel, they liked the new fare structures and more of them were getting off in “heartland New Zealand??? – places between Auckland and Wellington.
For the Taihape stop to continue, it would need to average three people getting on or off each time. Mr Parry was “relatively confident??? that it would.
He said special trips to Taihape by steam engine were so popular that extra carriages were put on. The nearest stops to Taihape were Feilding to the south, and Ohakune to the north.
Window shoppers win
More than 120 entries were made in last month's window spotting competition during Taihape retailers Spring Fling promotion. Businesses included a product they do not sell in their window displays, which meant window spotters, had to look carefullly to find the odd one out. "Obviously entrants had spent good time looking closely at the window displays - and hopefully are more aware of what each shop sells," said Taihape Community Development Trust manager Elizabeth Mortland.
Winners, James, Jessie and Hollie Hamilton won a shopping voucher worth $1000 to be used at any of the participating businesses.
Demolish or upgrade?
By Terry Karatau
Last week’s community meeting, held to discuss stage one plans for the proposed redevelopment of Taihape’s Memorial Park, gave the Taihape leisure Centre committee a clear view of how the community sees “The Hub??? proposal.
Four workshops conducted during the meeting were positive and have given the committee pointers and ideas to work with. Taihape Community Board chairman Richard Aslett led the meeting by explaining the format for the evening, saying a question and answer period would follow the workshops. One workshop discussed the future of the grandstand. It was suggested the 1924 building should be retained and registered as an historic building. Others said the grandstand should be upgraded for future use.Rangitikei District Council’s asset manager Graeme Pointon said council had commissioned a structural engineer to report on the state of the building. This report says the building is structurally sound but needed many improvements to meet current building regulations and standard consents. He said the absolute minimum cost to ratepayers would be $300,000 and that’s not providing for any plumbing, draining or electrical work. Three groups were in favour of demolition. The fourth group expressed a clear desire fo further information before making any decision.
The workshop, facilitated by architect Mike Swann, entitled “Understanding what is involved and how much does the community want to spend on a new facility/facilities. What will we get for this???? He reported that overall the groups were inconclusive but happy with the plans. There were questions on how to reduce costs as they felt the current costing of $3.8 million is beyond reach, some suggesting a cut back to $2m.
Fencing along Kokako St was also discussed with most agreeing a high fence would be more practicable, mainly for the collection of entrance fees to sporting fixtures and in consideration to residents across the street. Other matters such as noise, alcohol and acoustics were clarified from a police point of view by Les Clarke.
The workshop exploring the best means of governance was conducted by Elizabeth Mortland who made clear to each of the groups they had four choices of organisations to govern the Taihape Leisure Centre on behalf of the community; Taihape Community Development Trust, create a new charitable trust, form an incorporated society or creative a company limited by guarantee. Group One discussed governance. They were clear that they wanted a governance body that is separate to the Taihape Community Development Trust (TCDT). However, there was concern that, as Taihape already has the TCDT and the Otaihape Health Trust, are there enough people available to form another trust? Group Two discussed funding to individual clubs/organisations. They were divided evenly as to a charitable trust or an incorporated society. Group Three discussed membership/fees. They clearly preferred a trust, but again the issue of too few people to form another body and overloading the TCDT were raised. Group Four definitely preferred an incorporated society. It was strongly stated that “we need transparency and the ability (for members) to exercise their rights???. “If we don’t get it (governance) right from the start, then there is no point in going any further.???
The fourth workshop facilitated by RDC’s policy analyst Denise Servante, entitled “Future Use and Business Plan???. Community views on what would be acceptable membership fees/rental rates and what would be realistic occupancy rates, saw groups reaching a general consensus saying staff is needed to boost occupancy/use of the facilities in order to ensure income streams. They added that current maintenance funds budgeted to the park by the council should be redirected to the TLC management body. There were also concerns expressed about the cost to club members for membership an affiliation fees. Ms Servante said the workshop proved inconclusive but provided recipients with a survey form on usage of the facilities that asks individuals how much they expect to pay. The TLC committee will meeting in the near future to consider these findings and make a decision on the next step they should pursue.
Art, food and fashion at the Mangaweka festival
By Jocelyn Fannin
Mangaweka will be the place to be Saturday, October 24. With the entrepreneurial spirit the community, there will be lots to keep everyone involved and interested. From the DC3 plane which will be newly painted and open for inspection, to the many crafts and collectibles at Irene Loder’s garden, there will be plenty to see and do. Ms Loder will be promoting her old original Mangaweka jail as accommodation and also has collectibles. She hopes to have a real market day in her garden, with Hanne Anderson bringing original and affordable jewellery from wellington, silk and cotton nighties of the sexy 1930s style, bright Kiwiana pottery pieces from Rewa and glass pendants from Invercargill. To tempt the palette, there will be smoked salmon and olives or just a chair to relax in the garden and enjoy the ambience. Maree Brannigan will have the Good as Goldie museum open and Richard Aslett from the Mangaweka Gallery is again staging his Fakes and Forgeries exhibition. Artists have till October 18 to send in their entries and great prize money is up for grabs. Four local artists will produce a four-piece work which will later be auctioned on Trade me. This money to keep this community festival continuing for many Labour Weekends to come.
Vital meeting to decide fate for Leisure Hub
By Terry Karatau
The Taihape Leisure Hub committee is looking forward to a large turnout at the public consultation meeting that will be held in the Pirates’ Function Centre on Monday September 28 at 6pm. TLC chairman Danny Mickleson said right throughout the process of the Memorial Park re-development planning, the input from the large numbers of people who have attended the public meetings has been a great help. “This meeting will determine if we go ahead with the project. The committee has done the homework and now we want to present it to a cross section of the community,??? Mr Mickleson said. The committee has worked through six sets of architects’ plans in an effort to give sports groups and clubs their ‘want’, whilst attempting to keep costs down. At last week’s meeting, architect Mike Swann said it wa possible to downsize the hub without compromising the facilities too much and would save approximately $300,000. “Taking this on board and if the district council allows us to leave the carpark development until the next stage of the project, the cost will come back to $3.5 million for stage one, much more realistic than the previous quote of $4.2 million,??? Mr Mickleson added. “This also makes our fundraising effort more realistic, as we are half way there,??? Work in kind, as other districts have experienced when building similar projects, will also save on cost, although this cannot be taken into account at this early stage.
Closer working ties for Taihape trusts
By Terry Karatau
Taihape Community Development Trust and Otaihape Health Trust plan to work more closely together in fundraising and other activities, following a recent meeting of representatives from both trusts. The Taihape Leisure Centre committee have done their homework and want to cross section of the community as well as park users to give feedback on their proposals. The public are invited to a consultation meeting on the proposed Leisure Centre Development, to be held at the Pirates Function Centre on Monday, September 28 at 6pm. Architect plans for the development can be viewed at Taihape’s New World, Greenstone Insurance, the Information Centre and Taihape Times. The swimming pool will open on Saturday, October 31 with a duathlon “Do da Du???. Swim centre manager Buzz Clarke is busy contacting groups and taking entries for the fun day. Preparations are well under way for the Christmas parade set for Saturday, December 5. Clubs, businesses and individuals are reminded to register their floats as soon as possible. Groups and clubs are asked to consider supporting their local sponsors by offering a hand to build floats. Visit taihape.co.nz and see whey it had 26,277 visits since it went online in July 2007. Toni George is upgrading the website almost daily. Clubs and groups can use Events Calendar on the site to advertise any upcoming activities. There are three ways to contact the Taihape Community Development Trust. Either visit Elizabeth Mortland or Toni George on the first floor of the Town Hall in Taihape, phone 06 3881307 or email email@example.com
New World supporting The Hub
By Terry Karatau
Taihape New World is right behind the proposed re-development of Memorial Park by fundraising for The Hub. For the next two weeks, customers shopping at new World will be invited to donate one dollar which will be added to purchases at the check-out. “Customers can chose to add a dollar to their grocery bill,??? store manager Jamie Henderson said. “It is a convenient way to make a donation towards The Hub. This drive will run for two weeks.???It makes sense to get behind this project,??? New World owner/operator Conrad Wong said. “We remember when people were asking whey we should spend millions of dollars on a new school – now look at the wonderful asset Taihape now has. In my view, the Taihape Leisure Centre will be an asset as well. “Small donations made by a lot of people soon add up,??? Taihape Community development trust chairman Trevor Dyke said. “On behalf of the community thank you New World and on behalf of the Leisure Centre fundraising committee, thank you community.???
Unity a force to be reckoned with
By Brian Sage
Last month I talked about the underlying unity that seems to run through all humankind, regardless of nationality, age, gender, social status, peer group mentality, belief systems or what ever. I tried to illustrate how this had become evident tome through dealing with people, and the outdoor activities I had been involved with. I am now convinced this universal unity, which is becoming increasingly evident among ordinary people throughout the world, will eventually become a force to be reckoned with. I posed the question last month, “Where does this underlying unity spring from???? It comes from within us. We are carrying it around all the time. From birth, our minds are trained to focus on the physical emotional aspects of living and when we encounter these deeper unifying uplifting feelings we automatically associate them with the activity we are experiencing at the time. We give the activity the credit and try to repeat this in the beginning. That is how our mind has been conditioned t o think. We can easily lose those unifying feelings when our primary focus is on the external, so such activities can be regarded as little more than a catalyst. The reality has to be the feelings themselves, which are obviously independent from the normal way we use our minds. Perhaps we should recognize them in their own right and instead of saying, “What do I think???? ask ourselves, “What do I really feel???? It’s a new way of using our minds, not the way we are taught at school. I can’t get over a noticeable desire from people for more of a “real??? community. I understand the Taihape Market Day is taking on a new life. Not with the sole desire to sell stuff, but to interact with each other and bring people together. Looks like that source is breaking through again.
Choo choo choose Taihape stop off
By Terry Karatau
“Let’s work together??? is the catch cry to get the Overlander train stopping in Taihape once again. Tranz Scenic marketing manager Richard Keenan and KiwiRail marketing communications manager met with a delegation in Taihape last Tuesday. Mr Parry said he and Mr Keenan have spent some time looking at reinstating the Taihape stop from a business point of view and looking at areas that have more to offer such as tourism. “More people are choosing to travel by train, “he said “We have taken 43,000 passengers past your door so far this year.??? However, the message to the delegation was that it would only work if people use the service. “The town has obviously got together judging by the number of signatures on the petition. Let’s get on track with Trains connecting Communities,??? Mr Parry said. “Maybe leading by example is the way to go. Let’s work together on this one.??? The delegation lead by Older and Bolder co-ordinator Betty Tierney, Taihape Community Development Trust’s Elizabeht Mortland and Taihape Community Board chairman Richard Aslett joined by Taihape Ward councilor Jan Byford, Winsome Smith and Christine Crafar agreed a partnership should evolve between the community and KiwiRail-Tranz Scenic. Mr Keenan said they would rather not stop on demand but would prefer to timetable regular stops. The Overlander is due to begin a new timetable at the end of this month and will be running seven day s a week at least over the summer period. “We would want to trial it (a stop in Taihape) for 12 months if we go forward with this, “Mr Keenan said “In our last survey the average was less than three passengers per day to and from Taihape. We would need 20-30 per week to justify the stop,??? he said. The northbound Overlander would arrive in Taihape at 11.30am and southbound at 2.30pm, with the exception of the Sunday steam trains. Mr Aslett told the meeting he had approached Gravity Canyon, River Valley and other tour operators to gain support for the train stopping in Taihape. At Mr Keenan’s request the delegation agreed to give him advice on approximate numbers that would use the train – individuals school and sports groups. Other methods of marketing Taihape as a destination were discussed, including a suggestion the town co9uld be marketing to Wellingtonians as a great country lunch destination.
Accolade for stable treks
Taihape’s River Valley Stables were recently rated second onlyu East Cape-based Eastender Hors Treks in the recent Rankers 2009 Traveller Voted Awards. River Valley Stables managing director Janey Megaw said she was “absolutely rapt about the result. “Not only for the great ratings and reviews, but also the fact that our guests have taken the time to jump on the Rankers site and post a ranking,??? she said. “These results fully back up the fantastic comments we have been receiving in our stable visitors book. “It is seeing this sort of feedback that really gets myself and the rest of the girls excited, and looking forward to a busy and rewarding summer season.???
River Valley stables offers rides over Rangitikei hill country in the Pukeokahu district. The Ruahine Rangers and the mountain – Aorangi – provide a spectacular backdrop on the treks. Rides from two hours to a full day were available. Rankers was part of a new wave of social media, a site where people comment direct and share their experiences with other. “For operators, this can be traumatic with no chance of regress,??? said River Valley’s managing director Brian Megaw. “However, for those who embrace it, it is an honest assessment of where the public thinks their product sits.??? Mr Megaw said tourism businesses in the region were meeting their guest expectations, and exceeding them.
Petition push for KiwiRail stop
By Laura Richards
Advocates of the Overlander train stopping at Taihape will present copies of a petition to representatives of Tranz Scenic and KiwiRail at the Taihape Town Hall today. Tranz Scenic’s marketing manager Richard Keenan and KiwiRail’s marketing communications manager Nigel Parry were expected to receive the 63 page petition with 1111 signatures. Last week, Older and Bolder’s Betty Tierney, Taihape Community Board chairman Richard Aslett and a representative of Taihape Community Development Trust, administrative assistant Toni George, told Rangitikei MP Simon Power they want to see the Overlander stop on request by passengers.
The petition organisers gave copies of the petition to Mr Power. Mrs Tierney said she remembered when students would make school trips using the train and had taken the train for Older and Bolder trips. Mr Power said the number of signatures represented more than half of the population of Taihape and in the past month he had heard what the general local feeling was on the issue. Mrs Tierney said Taihape residents were not the only people to sign the petition. Some signatures were gathered online and others at the Mangaweka Gallery.
Mr Aslett said he expected once Taihape was available as a by request stop, more visitors would make the stop in Taihape to participate in some of the adventure tourism activities in the area. He believed some tourism businesses and accommodation outlets would have lost bookings because the train did not stop in Taihape. Mrs Tierney said one of the reasons for not stopping in Taihape, given to them previously by KiwiRail, was to allow a longer stop at National Park.
Mr Power said he would ensure the two government stakeholders of KiwiRail – the Minister of Finance and the Minister of State Owned Enterprises – would be made aware of the petition.
Taihape Leisure Hub catches interest of MP
Rangitikei MP Simon Power checked out the site of the proposed Leisure Hub during a visit to Taihape to last week. He told Taihape Community Development Trust chairman Les Clarke and the chairman of the Taihape Leisure Centre committee, Danny Mickleson, that he had seen the proposed draft plans but wanted to know who would be using the facilities, how much will it cost and where the money is coming from. Mr Mickleson said the proposed development is a community project that will encompass all current park users, community groups, clubs families and individuals.
“The cost of stage one, as proposed, is near $4 million. Several clubs have committed pledges of just over $685,000,???he said.
“The committee has been concentrating on finalising a workable design for the development but an all-out effort to raise more funds will get underway following the community consultation meeting at the end of this month.???
Mr Power said he would forward a letter of support to the trust and asked to be kept informed of further developments.
Centre needs your help to reach target
Get on board to raise funds
By Terry Karatau
The Taihape Leisure Centre fundraising committee is urging local people to give their support and help reach the $1.4 million target before March next year. The Taihape Rotary Club has pledged $5000, Taihape Playcentre added $500 and New Worlds $655 bring the fundraising total to $685,395. A remaining balance of $714,605 is needed before the Trust can apply to the Lotteries Commission for the remaining $2.8 million.
The commission’s funding round closes in March 2010. Taihape Community Development Trust manager Elizabeth Mortland, who is also secretary of the leisure centre committee, said it is not yet known how much can be raised from other funding sources, but the community is not expected to raise the balance required. “But the community needs to get behind the fundraising committee and help,??? she said. “The more money the community raises, the more likely major funders will look positively at our applications.???
Funding applications will be submitted to trusts as each of their funding rounds close. The fundraising committee is asking groups and individuals to step forward and take charge of fundraising events, such as regular sausages sizzles, raffles, cake stalls, and concerts. “Anything that will help swell the coffers,??? Ms Mortland said. Local fundraising activities are in planning including a musos night with the Taihape Musicians Club, a motocross being organised by Dave Gordon Suzuki, paintball war games and Taihape New World will be gathering $1 shopper donations.
A public consultation meeting will take place at 6pm on Monday, September 28, at a venue yet to be advised. The agenda will include approval and feedback to the current draft plans for the hub, the financial structure, membership fees, the governance structure and fundraising. Prior to the meeting, members of the community are invited to look over the draft plans on display at Taihape Appliances, Greenstone Insurance and Taihape Times, and offer feedback to the Development Trust. Ms Mortland said the fundraising committee and the development trusts sees the meeting as an opportunity to bring everybody up to date with the Leisure Centre proposal and to ensure people are informed.
Plastic bags boost funds
Taihape New World has raised $650 for the leisure Centre from the sale of plastic bags last month, and at the same time reduced plastic bag usage by 70 per cent. New World supermarkets’ parent company Foodstuffs decided earlier this year that from August 1, it would help reduce the number of plastic bags being used in its supermarkets by charging customers five cents a ba with the money raised to go to local charities. The national average for reduced use was 50 percent. Taihape store manager Jamie Henderson said there had been complaints from customers in the Wellington area leading to a decision by Foodstuffs to allow supermarket owner-operators to decide if the five cent charge should remain. “As we have not had any complaints we will continue to sell the bags as a charity fundraiser,??? she said. “In fact, we would welcome suggestions as to what charitable organisation we can donate to in the future.???
Taihape train petition
By Terry Karatau
A delegation of Taihape people met with Rangitikei MP Simon Power in Taihape last week to present a petition with 1111 signatures to have the Overlander train stop in Taihape. Mr Power was told the decision by TollNZ, teh former owners of the rail network, to stop Overlander trains stopping in Taihape has never been opoular with locals.
This point was made clear by Betty Tierney, the coordinator of Older and Bolder, who said not having the service has inconvenienced many people, including senior citizens who prefer travelling by train because they have access to food and toilets.
“We are asking that the Overlander stops in Taihape on demand – only when there are passengers to drop off or pick up,??? she said.
Taihape Community Board chairman Richard Aslett said having the train stop in Taihape would definitely be a boost to the tourist trade. People wanting to travel to and from Taihape by train have had to be turned away. “In the past, Taihape was a major railhead – a railway town – and now that we have our rail system back in government hands, perhaps we, in Taihape, can also get the service back.???
Mr Power said he, as the minister of State Owned Enterprises, and Finance Minister, Bill English, are the governments shareholder in KiwiRail. He said he would forward the petition and a letter to the finance minister after he is advised of the outcome of today’s meeting with the delegation and representatives from KiwiRail.
So this is what it will look like
By Terry Karatau
Taihape people can now get a better look at what is being planned for the Memorial Park redevelopment. The fifth set of draft plans for the first stage of Taihape’s Memorial Park revdevelopment are now available for viewing in a window display at Taihape Appliances. They can also be seen at the Information Centre and Taihape Times office.
The plans will be presented to a community consultation meeting that the Leisure Hub organisers will be holding in the next few weeks. Once the plans have been confirmed by the community, funding applications will be made.
The intention is to raise at least a third of the $4.1 million needed for the project, before applying to the Lotteries Community Facilities Fund. Elizabeth Mortland from the Taihape Community Development Trust said pledged funds for the project now total $684,240.
A number of fundraising activities are underway. David Gordon Suzuki are organising a motorcross, Brendon Mickleson is organising a horse trek and there is a possiblility of a music night featuring entertainers from the Taihape Musicians Club.
Ms Mortland said other ideas could include regular sausage sizzles and cake stalls, garden tours and a tour of houses decorated for Christmas.
“We really need people to help organise and run fundraising activities,??? she said.
If you can help, contact Elizabeth Mortland or Toni George at TCDT.
Phone (06) 388 1307 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
click here for the complete draft 5 plans
Our Grans heading north
The Gumboot City Grans’ fame has spread nationwide having been featured on the front page of teh Department of internal Affairs winter newsletter.
The team was formed in 1995 after a team of “mature??? women from Marton visited Taihape and put on a marching demonstration. The locals were impressed and decided to form their own team. The group has an 84-year old and an 80-year-old in its ranks. Some members who suffer from arthritis say they find the gentle exercise of weekly practices just what the doctor ordered – brisk walking, arm swinging, good posture, breathing and the memory benefits of learning drill combinations.
For keeping fit and mentally alert marching is great, say the Gumboot City Grans. Coach Barbara Anderson said it was also great for social wellbeing. “It keeps the women active in their community. “They make friendships and have a lot of fun.??? More than 1000 older women throughout New Zealand make up 100 teams involved in leisure marching. Although it’s a non-competitive sport, there is plenty of regional pride involved. Big events for the Gumboot City Grans include the national and North Island competitions.
In March they travelled to Wellington for the nationals, at which there were 900 participants and next month they are off to the North Island event, in Auckland. The 2010 nationals will be held in Christchurch early next year. “We are really grateful for the funding from COGS and of course we need to thank our local supporters as well, especially Denis Robertson,??? Mrs Anderson said.
Hammer nails top award
The Taihape-based construction company Fred Hammer & Co won the Supreme Award at the annual Wanganui Master Builders House of the Year Awards at the weekend. Mr Hammer’s company won the new homes over $1 million category and the best kitchen award.
The Wanganui company, Wells & Wadsworth Construction, which built the Taihape Area School, won the best commercial project of the Year.
The awards dinner was held at the Wanganui War Memorial Hall on Saturday night.
National Cycleways exciting for region
By Terry Karatau
Ruapehu and Wanganui tourism operators are looking forward to an increase in tourist dollars after last week’s announcement by Prime Minister John Key about the government’s national cycleway.
Mr Key said $9 million had been tagged from the $50 million New Zealand Cycleway fund, to get some of the projects underway. Work is due to begin this summer. Two of the cycleways earmarked as part of the first seen trails are the Central North Island Rail Trail, along with the Mountains to Sea (Ruapehu to Wanganui) cycleway. Ruapehu mayor Sue Morris said the cycleway initiatives are a major boost for the region and will add momentum to the Ruapehu district tourism sector. “It is hugely exciting for the district. There will be immediate benefits to local communities and businesses from track upgrade and construction work, and longer term benefits for tourism businesses,??? she said. One of the tracks chosen for fast development, the 245km Mountains to Sea route starts on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu, takes in the Old coach road at its base, across the Hapuawhenua Viaduct, through the Kaiwhakauka and Mangpurua Valleys in Whanganui National Park. The trail will travel on historic roads built to support farm settlement after World War 1 such as the Mangapurua Road and cross theiconic Bride to Nowhere. It then goes from the Mangpurua Landing by jet boat to Pipiriki, down the Whanganui River Road to Wanganui. The four-to-six day ride will cross areas rich in Maori and early farming history. ???We are absolutely thrilled,??? said Ohakune Old coach Road chairman Dana Blackburn. “Not just because of the funding butfor the recognition of the amount of work that volunteers have done already and the support that sponsors have given.??? Mr Blackburn said the decision to redevelop will allow the Ohakune to Horopito track to be completed within 12-18 months. The second project is the two day Central North Island Rail Trail which runs through the Pureora Forest and features historic timber and rail sites.
The trail will run south through Ongarue to Taumarunui. It includes the Ongarue tramway and historic Endean’s timber mill.
The Ruapehu/Whanganui projects are mainly upgrades or extensions to tracks on Department of Conservation (DOC) land. Work in the Manapurua and Kaiwhakauka Valleys is expected to cost $500,000, with the money coming from DOC.
It was planned spending that had been prioritized,??? DOC’s Whanganui Area Manager Nic Peet said. “We’re looking forward to working with our partner organisations to bring people into the back country and provide economic opportunities to a lot of the communities along the route.???
Phase one of both rides involves development of tracks managed by DOC, but also includes some public and paper roads managed by district councils. The Ruapehu mayor task force will be working to further develop sections of the rides over the next few years. Construction of the two rides will cost about $5 million with half the funds coming from DOC.
Throwing the baron’s boots
By Terry Karatau
Taihape’s claim to be the gumboot-throwing capital of the world has been getting some strong support from the high echelons of New Zealand diplomatic service. Mary Oliver, who is the deputy director of the protocol division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has been a strong supporter of Taihape’s claim to fame since taking part in a gumboot-throwing competition in France when she was based at the new Zealand embassy in Paris on a four-year posting.
Ms Oliver, who is a niece of Roland Oliver who farmed at manui, and a friend of Taihape painter Douglas McDiarmid, got the chance to take part in the annual French/New Zealand Association. The event was held at the country estate of Baron Schonen, a former French ambassador to new Zealand. His Normandy estate is set amid beautiful flower beds, and vegetable gardens surrounding a three- storey French country mansion. Ms Oliver said the baron provided the gumboots and he and his wife took part in the gumboot throwing. A couple were lost in the lake, one was thrown straight into a hawthorn hedge never to be retrieved, but the baron had lots of gumboots. “The French throwers were much more graceful and balletic than the Kiwis, but the Kiwis tended to have the edge in terms of straight lines and distance,??? Ms Oliver said. “It was huge fun and the French absolutely loved it.??? Embassy staff participate in the association’s events whenever possible. Ms Oliver won the women’s competition.
Her prize was a beautiful curvaceous candle and a spice jar collection. “They are prized possessions and the candle had never been lit to this day,??? she said. In her job, Ms Oliver has a lot of contact with the foreign diplomatic corps in Wellington and has been promoting Taihape as the Gumboot Throwing Capital among the diplomatic community.
"Hub will be ‘for the whole community"
By Terry Karatau
The role of the Otaihape Club in the Taihape Leisure Hub project has been questioned by some Taihape people. The Otaihape Cub has donated $500,000 towards the project, subject to there being sufficient funding available for the project to start. But Taihape Community Development Trust manager Elizabeth Mortland said the Leisure Hub is not destined to be “an Otaihape Club No 2???.
She said the hub will include the membership of the Otaihape club “but apart from that, there will be no more similarities???. Otaihape Club spokesman Danny Mickleson said the club has no hidden agenda. “We are for the community. “We have no extra say over what happens in this project. “All we want is a place for our three snooker tables, a place to meet and have a drink, hold functions and be part of a new chartered club.???
Ms Mortland said whether a club has pledged $4000 or $500,000 will make no difference. “No rules will be enforced by one club alone,??? she said. “This new facility is for the whole community, not just a small proportion of people in Taihape.???
Train stop big news
By Terry Karatau
Taihape made it on to national TV last week, thanks to the effort of local people to have the Overlander train once again stop at Taihape.TV3's Campbell Live sent a reporter to Taihape to follow up on last week’s story Central District Times front page about Aucklander David Robinson’s efforts to convince KiwiRail of the benefits of doing so.
In a news item entitled Small town fights for a place on the railway map, reporter Richard Langston gathered a group to talk about the issue. Segments of a video shot by Taihape Community Development Trust’s Elizabeth Mortland, when the Overlander stopped to drop off Mr Robinson, were also shown. The message that came through was that Taihape wants the Overlander stop reinstated. Three years ago the service was close to be being abandoned but was given a last-minute reprieve by the then- owners, Toll Rail. In an effort to make the journey quicker, a number of small town stops were cut. But Richared Aslett, chairman of the Taihape community Board, said people don’t travel on the Overlander for speed. If that was the objective, he said, travellers would fly. “They are getting on for the journey and Taihape is part of the journey. “The rail is an artery through the heartland to the metropolis of Auckland and Wellington. “We want to be connected again.??? Mrs Mortland said Taihape was not being too pushy. “It doesn’t have to stop if nobody’s getting on or off – but as required, she said.
KiwiRail’s marketing and communications manager Nigel Parry said the Overlander timetable is undergoing a review. “There are a lot of communities on the main trunk line who are very interested in the Overlander coming, because it’s been a real growing success over the past 18 months, with 25 per cent more passengers using the service,??? he said. But Mr Parry said timetabling is a complex issue. “To rearrange the Overalnder timetable may mean rearranged schedules of other trains so that they meet crossover points.???
Big, scarey and right
By Terry Karatau
Taihape’s Leisure Centre project is so huge that some people cannot believe it will happen and others say they don’t know enough about it, according to Taihape Community Development Trust’s manager, Elizabeth Mortland.
Bernadette Nepe, a keen sports person said it looks great. “But I’ll believe it when it happens.??? Taihape businesswoman AmberLee Siddle is another supporter.???It’s a very cool idea but i didn’t realise the community had to raise so much funding.???
Ms Mortland said the cost will not fall on the ratepayer so the co-ordinators are hoping the community will get behind the fundraising. “It would be fantastic if somebody would offer to organise a particular fundraising activity or event,??? she said. “People can always contact the office or join the fundraising committee.???
Ms Mortland said it appeared there were some in the community who felt they were not fully informed on the proposal for Memorial Park. She said the Trust had endeavoured to keep the community updated through the Central District Times and five community meetings since 2007. “The community has spoken through various sports groups and clubs and as individuals. The Trust is committed in giving the community what they want.???
The cost of the project is estimated to be $3-4 million. So far, close to $660,000 has been pledged. Leaving $340,000 to be raised to secure the first million dollars, the minimum amount needed to submit an application to the Lotteries Commission Facilities Fund for the rest of the money.
Opening of the Majestic in sight
By Terry Karatau
Many hours of work spent rebuilding, renovating and upgrading Taihape’s majestic cinema will soon pay off. While a date has not yet been set for the grand opening, a spokeswoman for the Majestic Heritage Trust management committee, Jan Byford, said the excitement is mounting. The Trust now has the services of Ian Freer from Wellington, who has a passion for cinemas. He is working with Taihape people to install a new screen and additional speakers while also looking at heating options and the setup for ticketing and film distribution. Mr Freer started his working life in the Manners Mall cinema in Wellington, where he learnt all aspects of theatre operation. As a qualified projectionist he was in demand around the country. He married in 2004 and travelled to London where he worked in cinema engineering as well as undergoing some training in Germany. He returned to new Zealand and set up his own company. Mr Freer’s association with the Taihape Majestic Cinema has been intermittent over the past two years. Mrs Byford said the Trust is fortunate to have the services of a passionate and qualified expert to help with the final stages of the cinema development. “It has been a long haul with few helpers, but there is a real determination for the project to succeed and the excitement is mounting for the opening night,??? she said. Anyone interested in helping with the project should contact Jan Byford on 06 3880194
First cash rolls in to hub
Steven and Judith Bradley have the distinction of making the first individual contribution to the Taihape Leisure Centre fundraiser last week. The fundraising committee is inviting individuals, groups and businesses to make donations of $10 to $10,000 of more.
Taihape Community Development Trust staffs are putting together a funding application to Lottery Community Facilities Fund. To qualify for a grant, the Trust has to raise a third of the cost of the total funds needed for the project. The total cost of the project is about $3 million. To date $665,000 has been pledged by five sports clubs – squash, netball, tennis, fitness club and rugby – and the Otaihape Club. In the past week 18 individuals have pledged $540. The trust says a further $343,460 is needed by July 14.
It says all contributors are acknowledged. Sponsors who donate more than $5000 will have names on an acknowledgement board in the entrance to the leisure centre. The names of all contributors, however small the contribution, will be recorded in an album. Should the project not go ahead, the Trust says all financial contributions will be returned to the donors.
Parade a goer
A Christmas parade in Taihape this year looks like a goer.
Last month the Central District Times reported that the Taihape Community Development Trust was looking for feedback on the idea, and canvassed the opinions of some local residents.
Trust manager Elizabeth Mortland said the trust has had positive feedback, with most people saying they want to see the parade revived and are keen to be involved.
She said because December is the busiest time for local businesses they have little time to spend building individual parade floats, so the Trust is suggesting community groups may be able to work together with local businesses to help theme get up and running. Ms Mortland said it is an opportunity for sports clubs and community groups to show their appreciation to local businesses who’ve provided sponsorship and raffle items for them down the years.
“Buddy up with a business that has provided support to your group, and combine to build a float that shows off the businesses and the work of the club/community group,??? she said. “Lets all work together and we can have a fantastic fun day with a big parade showing off our great businesses and community organizations.???
Artist Adams off to Florence
By Jocelyn Fannin
Taihape artist Lianne Adams has been selected to show her work at Italy’s Florence Biennale, the biggest contemporary art exhibition in the world. Artists from 84 countries have been selected to exhibit at the exhibition in December. Adams' selected work is a mixed media piece using topographical maps and old newspapers and is a view from Ridge Road across Taihape to the mountains. She said it is built up using old New Zealand stamps. The art work is made in three panels and measures 1.5 metres wide. “It has always been my concept to take Taihape to Florence,??? she said.
The artwork was sent to Florence in April and before Adams heads to Florence later this year she plans to auction the piece with the hope of finding a local bidder. “I want it stay here. It is too personal to leave Taihape,??? she said.
Adams is one of 1000 artists who have been invited to contribute to a book The Who’s Who in the Visual Arts which will be published in Europe next year. She has also been invited to exhibit at the Gallery Gora in Montreal, Canada and her work features in Auckland’s Original Art Sale and the New Zealand Affordable Art Sale in Wellington. She has exhibited for three years at the Waimarino Art Awards and was selected to show at the Norsewear Art Awards.
Adams displayed her artistic aptitude at a young age. When she was five her teacher suggested to her mother that the child should be taught art. Adams wanted to learn ballet, but was sent to painting lessons instead. “All the children were much older and I was very shy but through going on and off for around three years I learnt very good skills. Things that come naturally now come from this time,??? she said. She remembers that instead of doing her school work she would draw. “My teacher never complained so it was never knocked out of me,??? she said. Adams grew up in Waikato and attended Te Aroha College. Her English teacher would open the art room at lunch time and leave an electric jug and toasted sandwich maker for the young artist. “He seemed so old to me then but we still keep in touch and I guess I was lucky I got good marks in English.??? Adams left school in the 6th form and worked in a bank before marriage and a family. When her youngest child was born 14 years ago she decided to take up painting again and joined the local art society. She said she taught herself “through perseverance and pigheadedness???. “I just wanted to do it and in 2000 I chucked in my part time job and took up painting full time.??? In 2001 she moved to Taihape and Springvale station. Her son attended Moawhango School. “Although I was told many times to never ever move to Taihape and I’ve lived in a lot of places around New Zealand, Taihape has always seems like home to me and I just love it,??? she said.
Adams felt Taihape needed an art gallery and so she opened one on Taoroa Street before moving to an old railway house on Mataroa Road. She said she had to make the decision to either become a full time retailer of a full time artist. After selling the shop she worked for a year on a major exhibition in Taupo. She then focused on entering as many national art awards as possible and getting dealer galleries to display her work. She now supplies three galleries and receives many commissions including portrait work. When the national dog trials were held recently at Moawhango all winners received an Adams portrait of their dog. Adams also takes small groups for painting lessons. “I never used to paint landscapes but most of the students wanted to paint landscapes so I very quickly had to learn how, but I truly love this landscape. It is a special and magical, unique area of New Zealand and I now have the time to get out and tramp and explore.??? Her mission in life is to make New Zealanders aware of what they have. “Peter Jackson has done a great job taking New Zealand to the world but my job is to take New Zealand to New Zealanders.???
Mini building boom
By Terry Karatau
During this period of economic recession Taihape is seeing millions of dollars being invested in buildings. McDonald’s 394 square metre restaurant is due to open in August. The 105-seat restarurant, being built on what was the Otaihape Club’s site, on the corner fo Hautapu and Weka streets, will include a play area and McCafe drive-through facilities. Another boost to the town’s economy wil be employment for 60-70 fulltime and part time staff.
McDonalds spokesperson Kate Porter would not put a figure on this cost of the project as it is not McDonald’s policy to do so. Taihape real estate agent Kylie Sargison said property sales are holding well. “People still want to come and live in Taihape:???
Taihape Community Board chairman Richard Aslett said the development is great for the town. “Hopefully, the appearance of the town, when the footpaths have been upgraded, will bring more people in and hopefully they will chose to stay, as I did. I am aware that some folk are not happy with McDonalds coming to town, but having this restaurant added to the fantastic cafes and restaurants we already have could potentially be a boom to the town.???
Massive fundraising drive for new centre
By Terry Karatau
Last weeks inaugural meeting of the fundraising committee for the Taihape Leisure Centre kick started the mammoth drive to raise funds to build the new centre.
Stage one of the redevelopment of Memorial Park is estimated to cost $3 to $4 million. So far, $665,000 has been pledged.
A funding application to the Lotteries Commissin due to be lodged a the end of July, could see the coffers swell to nearly $2 million. Applications will also be made to other funding agencies and corporates could be offered naming rights. The committee is looking at other fundraising options including merchandising options including –like t-shirts – and events such as a horse trek, motorcross, garden tours, Christmas decorations tour, a casino night, local music night, sausage sizzles, cake stalls, and projects like gate keeping for the A&P Show. A buy a plaque scheme is also being looked at. Clubs, groups and individuals will also be approached for donations.
Taihape Community Development Trust manager Elizabeth Mortland said the main sports codes – rugby, netball and tennis have made huge pledges. “We see an opportunity for the community to claim ownership of the park by pledging donations as well as taking an active part in helping the committee organize and run events to raise funds that will provide sports facilities to be proud of, for years to come.???
The Trust also needs to raise $4125 as its contribution to the $25,000 (plus GST) bill for architects and consultancy fees. Rangitikei District Council has provided $9000, Whanganui Community Foundation $8000 and Otaihape Club $7000.
Donations can be made to members of the funding committee – Elizabeth Mortland, Michelle Fannin, Toni George, Jenny Mower and Brendan Mickleson – or at the ANZ Bank.
To find out more about this project click here
Visitors find plenty to do
By Jocelyn Fannin
Visitors arriving by steam train every second Sunday are finding plenty to do in Taihape. They are met by members of the local Rotary club, who look after safety on the platform and can also direct passengers to places of interest and things to do. After time spent browsing the town, many of the visitors head to one of the local cafes for lunch, and then explore the activities on offer. Rotary club members have been organizing a gumboot throwing competition with prizes, which has proved popular. The museum is another popular destination and the Mt Stewart reserve with its many walking tracks and native bush is a drawcard. Many who checked out the walking tracks also took the time for photos beside that Taihape icon, Jeff Thompson’s great corrugated iron gumboot.
Fresh start to market
By Terry Karatau
Organisers of Taihape’s Produce Market are looking for a fresh start. Shannon Scott and Helen Luoni want to enlarge the market and bring more to the streets of Taihape.
“There are so many creative people in the area who we would love to see join us and help build a thriving market that will bring people in to Taihape every two weeks,??? Mrs Scott said. “We would love to see lots more support.???
For the next two months most stall holders are taking a break.
She said the market will re-open on Saturday, September 12, with new signage and a total revamp. The event will then run every second and fourth Saturday of the month. For more information contact either Mrs Scott (06) 3825833 or Mrs Luoni (36)3889209.
$3m leisure centre gathers support
Pooling resources may be the way to realize a dream for
Taihape’s Clubs and sports groups
Wanganui Chroncle, 29th June 2009
By Laurel Stowell
An ambitious plan for a $3 million Taihape Leisure Centre is gaining traction with the town’s clubs and sports groups. With Taihape’s small population and ageing amenities it made sense to pool resources and use the same facilities, said Taihape Community Development Trust manager Elizabeth Mortland. The Trust hoped the upgraded facilities would attract national events such as teams training for the Rugby World Cup and kapa haka competitions.
The idea of the groups banding together to build easy to maintain new facilities was mooted a few years ago. It could lead to them sharing administration as well.
A 2008 feasibility study by Opus consultants recommended concentrating leisure infrastructure at or near the town’s Memorial Park. That area already had rugby fields, netball and tennis courts, equestrian facilities, a swimming pool and buildings used for the annual A & P Show. Many of these assets needed upgrading.
The Otaihape Club would use the new facility, Ms Mortland said, as would the netball, squash, tennis and rugby groups. The A&P committee had yet to make a decision.
Three full sized snooker tables from the demolished former Otaihape Club were being stored until the new facility was ready. The existing shearing shed and Utiku Old Boys rugby rooms would be kept.
On Wednesday the trust say preliminary plans from architect Mike Swann, of Palmerston North’s Procarch Architects. The plans had a large and extendable building with sex changing rooms, three single squash courts with walls that could be removed to make a large gym space, a referee room and St John room and a lift upstairs to two big lounges, a bar and a kitchen. The 1924 grandstand would have to be demolished and replaced because it would be too expensive to upgrade. Phase two of the project, which would cost an extra amount, would be to upgrade the swimming pool. Phase three would be improvements to the equestrian area.
Finding $3 million in a district of less than 4000 people could be difficult. But Taihape Community Development Trust chair Trevor Dyke said $600,000 had already been pledged by groups that wanted to use the facility. “If we can get it up to the $1 million or beyond, we can get a 2:1 community grant from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board.???
The upper storey in the resulting building could function a bit like the Wanganui Cosmopolitan Club, with catering contracted out. Rangitikei District Council staff had given time and guidance to the project. “Council is putting money into those facilities now, to maintain the grounds, so I’m hoping they will be doing at least that much [in future],??? Ms Mortland said.
The trust now have two committees working on the project, a building one and a fundraising one. No building would happen until the money had been raised.
Detailed Leisure Hub proposal unveiled
By Terry Karatau
A draft architect’s brief for the development of the Taihape Leisure Hub was presented at a meeting last Monday night. The Leisure Hub building as proposed would incorporate three Squash courts, six team changing rooms, referees’ facilities, St John Ambulance first aid facilities and access to the number one playing field. Additional showers and changing areas with secure lockers are included in the plans for squash, Tennis and Netball. The first floor would feature a large function room able to be divided for multi use and provision for small meeting rooms, a bar and kitchen facilities is proposed. A grandstand would cater for 300 people watching field sports and 50-100 spectators for tennis and netball. The existing netball/tennis courts would be resurfaced, new fencing added and improved lighting, with an ablution block and kitchen facilities. A wish list includes a proposal for the netball/tennis courts to be covered and lighting installed for the rugby/soccer pitches.
The 40-odd people at last weeks meeting agreed in principle with the draft. The next step is to form a project building committee to finalise the brief and work with architect Mike Swann. The cost of this phase of the project is estimated to be $3-$4 million. To date, a total of $665,000 has been pledged and a further $1.2 million is being sought from the lotteries Commission Facilities Fund. A fundraising committee is being formed and the project won’t be started until all funds are secured. The draft brief is to be included in The Rangitikei Park Reserve Management Plan to be soon available for public consultation.
Taihape Community Development Trust Chairman Trevor Dyke said it is a huge project for the town and the economic benefits will be huge. He said with the new facilities promoted properly, national events are possible.
To download and view the architects draft plan click here
Saving grandstand would be big cost
By Terry Karatau
At least two people have objected to the revoval of the grandstand at Memorial Park on the basis that it is an icon in the town and should be preserved.
But architect Mike Swann said the grandstand, built in 1924, needed a major upgrade.
“To retain the grandstand significant work needs to be done to comply with the building code which states [public] buildings erected before 1978 must be upgraded.???
He said it would be difficult to find funding for a conservation project of a historic building.
Taihape Community Development Trust chairman Trevor Dyke said if the community wanted the building to stay and be upgraded, the cost would have to come out of ratepayers pockets. “A visit to the facilities under the grandstand is needed to appreciate what needs to be done to upgrade the building. “Once a hammer is taken to it there will be no stopping.???
Gumboot lane gets spruced up
By Terry Karatau
Flooding problems with the concrete pad in Taihape’s gumboot throwing land has been fixed. The Taihape Community Development Trust arranged with the Rangitikei District Council to have the work done.
The job was not included in the current budget, but the council was able to supply the materials. The Trust approached Rob Adams at the Taihape branch of Works Infrastructure, who agreed his team would do the job as a community service. Two sumps were installed, pipes were laid and connected to the storm water system. The grassed area is to be resown, which will make the throwing land an all-weather venue.
Surf town site
The Taihape Community Development Trust (TCDT) is reminding event organizers and clubs to list their porgrammes on taihape.co.nz
The Trust’s assistant co-ordinator, Toni George, said the website has been running for almost two years and has had more than 120,000 hits and more than 60,000 visitors.
“To boast, there are very few small town s in New Zealand that have their very own town website.??? The website was originally developed as a directory promoting what Taihape has to offer. Mrs George says the content of the site makes it attractive to potential visitors to the town.
“There is a photo gallery, media page, community message board, history of Taihape, events calendar, a guide to community services and a business directory. “It is a
great place for locals to visit and see what’s happening in their district.???
There is no charge for listing events but there is for business listings.
For more information contact Toni George (06)3881307 or email email@example.com
Convincing, funny drama
Stiff by April Phillips, Taihape Drama Group.
Reviewed by Gill Duncan
For those of us lucky enough to catch the Taihape Drama Group’s latest show, Stiff, it was a great way to cheer up a chilly winter’s evening.
Shock and surprise were key elements as the show opened and exposed our plucky Taihape locals at play with every taboo subject from the oldest profession, to death and the decreased with quick fire repartee, pun and innuendo.
This cast of seven sold their characters to the audience; director Neil Riddle said how pleased he was, particularly with Sarah Thomsen, (Angel Delight), and Sarah Transom, (Rosanne Paine), who had not previously had such prominent roles, stepping up into their significant and demanding parts. Ainsley Munroe, the sweetly confused Sherry, was flawlessly consistent but is was the fastidious Delilah, (Jefferey Wong), in six-inch, red patent leather court shoes who made my ribs ache.
Lisa Vasil did a great job as the lawyer explaining the last will and testament which John bird played a convincing R. Swipe (Robert), the loyal funeral assistant who missed out inheriting the business to the illegitimate daughter, Angel. Thereafter, out to strip bare Angel’s subterfuge (of running an undercover massage parlour in the funeral home), poor Mr Swipe could never quite put his finger on it, dispite being invited to by the delicious Delilah.
Also, two newcomers to the Taihape state, Bob Barrell and Bridget King, complemented the crew delightfully. Bob was a sizzling corpse, who never missed a line, and Bridget played Angel’s long lost mother and Bob’s “bereaved’ wife with great conviction; her stage presence and strong voice showing promise for future shows. This piece took the cast a lot of time and energy to prepare and execute. One happy member of the audience said, “Aren’t we lucky to have such wonderful talent in Taihape.??? I couldn’t agree more. Well done Mr Riddle and team, and thank you for another fun show.
Taking up the reins
By Terry Karatau
The new project and events manager with the Taihape Community Development Trust, Elizabeth Mortland has taken up her duties, albeit on a part time basis. She is completing a postgraduate diploma in development studies but will be available full time towards the end of the year. Ms Mortland is assisted by Toni George.
Ms Mortland originally from Taihape, has been involved in a wide range of community issues, including the environment, agriculture and horticulture, womens issues, the needs of the elderly, youth, unemployed, schools, businesses and economic development, crafts and maori needs. She believes the district has tremendous potential . “I am keen to promiote Tahape and district, to attract people to spend time in this part of the world,: she said. “Taihape is a dynamic, thriving community of warm hearted people???.
Ms Mortland has worked as the Community Education Officer for Ruapehu REAP and after developing the Rangitikei Environment Group in 2004 she spent time in Vanuatu with volunteer Service Abroad. She has also worked for the Department of women’s affairs as a policy advisor. As a consultant, Ms Mortland organised and co-ordinated the 10th triennial conference of Pacific women and the 3rd pacific ministers meeting on women.
Pool Upgrade plans
By Terry Karatau
Essential capital upgrade work on Taihape’s public swimming pool is estimated to cost $300,000 says the final draft of the Rangitikei District Council’s 10 year strategic plan.
Support for retaining the pool in council ownership came through clearly in submissions to the 10 year plan.
From a total of 259 submissions on the future of community pools in Taihape, Hunterville and Marton 217 submitters said they should not be closed and many said pool ownership should go to community trusts. At least one submitter called for better signposting at the Taihape pool. The council said the strong support from submissions to retain the three swimming pools posed a budget issue, since its policy has been for the past 10 years not fund depreciation.
This decision was taken to reduce the rates burden and in the expectation the community trust managing the day to day operation of the pools would secure additional non ratepayer funding. Essential capital upgrades for the three pools is estimated at $300,000 for each facility. If the council was to make this investment, it will consider resuming ownership of the pools, possibly when the current service agreements expire. The council has introduced a minimal maintenance and renewal allocation and will work with the community to develop long term solutions for the pools. On the question of a hockey astro turf for Marton, more than 70 per cent of Taihape residents who made a submission objected to the council contributing to the project. But the draft plan recommends $75,000 be made available for the project in year four of the 10 year plan (2012/2013).
Of the 420 people who made submissions on the proposal, 46 agreed the funds should come from district wide rates. In the final draft of the plan councilors acknowledged most people did not feel the project was affordable at this time, but have agreed to make the allocation on the understanding that those community members who are driving the project will pursue all other avenues of funding in the first instance.
Hub starts push for funding
By Terry Karatau
A community meeting to update everyone on the Taihape Community Leisure Hub project is being held next Monday at the area school beginning at 6.30pm.
The Taihape Community Development Trust has led the project, which was first discussed in July 2007, along with the support of Taihape Area School, Rangitikei District Council and Sport Wanganui.
The resigning projects and events manager of the Taihape Community Development Trust, Eva George, said the steering group is now pushing to get an application to the Lotteries Community Facilities Fund for major funding. The deadline is the end of July.
The site plan identifies three grouped projects, the first being the replacement of the old grandstand and changing rooms along with new squash courts and club facilities, and resurfacing the netball and tennis courts.
“At next week’s meeting there will be an opportunity to see the current concept plans and brief [before the architect starts any work] and have your say in this great development for Taihape, Mrs George said.
For more information check the project file, which is now available in the Taihape Library. Alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (06)388 1307 for more information.