Newsline 265 - 2 December 2011
Friday 2 December 2011
Download Newsline: Newsline 265 - 2 December 2011
- Tasman Nelson Environment Awards 2011
- Mayor's Comment
- Building Work Underway
- The Role of Libraries is Changing and Tasman District Libraries are No Exception
- Pest of the Month – African Feather Grass
- Matai Revitalises in Wetland Visitor Centre
- Murchison Wastewater Pumpstation Upgrades
- Eagle Eyes Spot Rubbish
- Pines to be Eliminated from Abel Tasman
- A Champion of the Bay
- Raft Race Fuelled by Fun
Mapua School’s Environment Group has spent two years transforming a hectare of weedy wasteland on the western side of Aranui Park into the nucleus of a lowland forest wetland, as part of the Tane’s Ark project, and created a cycle/walkway for the community and students so they can enjoy it.
The 18-strong team behind the Tane’s Ark project picked up the Schools award at the recent Tasman Nelson Environment Awards 2011 – beating two other finalists from Tasman: Greenwood Kindergarten (profiled in the last issue of Newsline) and Waimea Intermediate’s Wastebusters team.
With help from the Tasman District Council and Friends of Mapua Wetland, the Tane’s Ark team, aged from 10 to 13, cleared blackberry, grey and crack willow, then planted 2000 natives.
“The whole school has been out over last year to plant trees as well,” says teacher Simon Clearwater.
The other Tasman winner, taking home the Community Group award, was the Motueka Arts Council, which for the last two years has organised the Welcome to the Godwits event, celebrating the return of the long-distance fliers from Alaska, as well as promoting the rich bird life of the Motueka Sandspit and coastline.
Judges commented that the 12-strong committee, working from a small budget, seemed to have drawn in the whole of Motueka, from young to old.
“Of their members Eileen Stewart was involved with the Historic Society and is passionate about godwits, Shirley Frater has a love of art and photography and Pauline and David Samways with their love of birds brought in their Forest and Bird and Ornithological Society connections. Two of the members had been teachers and used this knowledge to involve the schools and early education institutions. This is to mention but a few of those involved.”
The full list of Environment Award 2011 winners is:
Business – sponsored by Radio Nelson
- Finalists: Nelmac, NMIT
- Winner: Nelmac
Community Groups – sponsored by Nelson Pine Industries
- Finalists: Keep Golden Bay Beautiful, Marsden Valley Trapping Group, Motueka Arts Council
- Winner: Motueka Arts Council
Heritage Sites – sponsored by the Historic Places Trust
- Finalists: Fellworth House, Woodstock House
- Winner: Fellworth House
Environmental Leadership – sponsored by the Cawthron Institute Trust Board
- Finalists: Debs Martin, Julie McLintock, Seager & Sue Mason
- Winner: Julie McLintock
Heritage Culture – sponsored by Wakatu Incorporation
- Finalists: Dramatix Theatre Development Trust (Lest We Forget), Harvest of Grace (Anglican Diocese)
- Winner: Dramatix Theatre Development Trust (Lest We Forget)
Schools – sponsored by Resene
- Finalists: Waimea Intermediate, Greenwood Kindergarten, Mapua School Tane’s Ark
- Winner: Mapua School Tane’s Ark
Sustainable Design – sponsored by Arrow International
- Finalists: Powered Living, Judith Ritchie, Woollaston Estate
- Winner: Judith Ritchie
Best Use of Renewable Energy – sponsored by EECA
- Finalists: Sola Nelson, Solar Rosa Home
- Winner: Solar Rosa Home
Rural – sponsored by Landcare Research NZ
- Finalists: Lindy Kelly, Woollaston Estate
- Winner: Lindy Kelly
A total of 59 entries were received this year. Prizes range in value from $500 to $1000.
The Council voted last week not to establish a Māori ward within Tasman. The rationale for this decision was about enhancing effective engagement with all iwi and Māori in the District. The one key message I have taken from my conversations with Māori throughout this process is that the Council needs to listen and play a constructive role in building the relationships. It would be near impossible for one person to represent the interests of all iwi. We recognise future initiatives need to enhance effective engagement with iwi.
Mapua’s waterfront area will be well on its way to being cleaned up post the tragic aquarium-destroying fire. As custodians of the publicly owned land we were as conscious of the need to clear the site before Christmas, as we were to making the area safe environmentally and structurally in the interim. Working with the people responsible for the building, the site and the relevant insurance company we are committed to ensuring this site is clear before the Christmas period with no additional cost to ratepayers.
We have seen a number of improvements in Mapua over the last year further strengthening its role as one of the jewels in the District’s crown. We are committed to working with the business owners, residents and developers in the area to ensure everyone is treated fairly and the area develops to benefit those that live in Mapua and the increasing number of visitors the area continues to attract.
– Mayor Richard Kempthorne
The imposing Waharoa, or carved gateway, that adorns the front of the Tasman District Council headquarters in Richmond is in safe storage while the building is remodelled.
Council kaumātua Archdeacon Andy Joseph blessed the carving at an early morning ceremony recently before contractors Gibbons Construction began work.
The $2.7 million remodelling will extend the headquarters to the Queen Street frontage, doing away with the drive-through entrance and creating extra space on the ground floor and first floor. Sixteen council staff who relocated to offices across the road nearly two years ago because of the lack of space will be able to return to the headquarters when the work is completed in about 12 months. The works will also include major earthquake strengthening.
Anyone visiting Council’s Queen Street office, including for Customer Services, is asked to use the side entrance to gain access to the building. This is clearly signed and a blue line has been marked on the footpath from the old entrance to the side entrance to avoid any confusion.
The building work is expected to be completed in December 2012.
Tasman has four libraries – the largest in Richmond, with branch libraries in Motueka, Takaka and Murchison. Across the District, the libraries have over 25,000 active members, attract over 522,000 visits and issue more than 730,000 items each year.
Following extensive renovations to the Richmond library in 2010, the latest change is the installation of a new computer system which saw all the District’s libraries closed for a few days during November. The new system ‘Symphony’ is used by several other libraries nationwide and overseas and offers price advantages as well as the possibility of greater cooperation between libraries on the same computer system – including Nelson’s libraries.
Libraries Manager Glennis Coote says the most obvious benefit for users will be changes to the search functionality for the online catalogue which is now more powerful and will bring up full-text articles as well as books, CDs, DVDs etc in the library’s collection.
Other planned projects and changes at the District’s libraries in 2012 include investigations into the expansion of the Motueka Library – a project which may be included for public consultation in the Draft Long Term Plan and an upgrade of the library’s website which will be completed during the first half of the year.
“The website will have a new look, feel and content and there will be greater opportunity for building communities of interest. As one example, we’ll include a range of community information,” Glennis says.
Work will also continue on Kete Tasman – an online archive of images, audio, documents and web links for the Nelson-Tasman region and the library’s small but growing e-book and e-audio collection will continue to expand.
“The District’s Libraries are interlinked so all of the library’s resources are available to anyone in the District. And of course, we don’t just have books - libraries today also have music, DVDs, talking books, magazines and online information resources such as access to thousands of newspapers in different languages.
“The modern public library is all about making connections – connecting people with information and ideas and helping them create connections with other people. It’s also about being responsive to our community and providing the services and resources that our community wants,” says Glennis.
African feather grass (Pennisetum macrourum), a native of South Africa, is a highly invasive clump-forming perennial grass that has the ability to spread rapidly, both from its vigorous rhizome system and from seeds that cling to clothing, wool and hair of animals. It can form dense infestations that completely smother other vegetation.
African feather grass will invade pastures, roadsides, wasteland and urban areas. It likes damp situations such as swamps and along the borders of streams and prefers light sandy soil, but can tolerate drought and will establish on dry shady banks.
Once planted for its attractive appearance, African feather grass has become a serious weed in many parts of New Zealand, forming dense tussocks with seed heads stalks up to two metres tall. The leaves are light green on top, up to 12mm wide and ribbed on the upper surface. They are darker green on the underside and sometimes purplish along the edges and tips.
Flowering takes place in late spring and summer with seeds maturing in February and March. The seed head is a distinctive spike-like panicle, up to 40cm long and 2cm in diameter, with a purplish yellow brown colour.
African feather grass has a network of fibrous roots up to 1 m down as well as a dense network of rhizomes just below soil surface. These grow rapidly in spring and summer, depending on moisture availability, covering adjoining areas in new plants. These rhizomes can be spread by machinery.
African feather grass has a very limited distribution within the Tasman-Nelson region and is listed as a Total Control Pest in Tasman-Nelson Regional Pest Management Strategy with the goal of eradication. This plant is also listed in the National Pest Plant Accord and cannot be propagated or offered for sale throughout New Zealand.
For more information on identification and control, contact Council’s Biosecurity Officer on Ph. 03 543 8400.
The old Mangarakau Hall in the west of Golden Bay is glowing with a newly polished matai floor thanks to a $3,000 Development Grant from the Tasman District Council.
The former village hall was taken over in 2002 by the Native Forests Restoration Trust, which is joint owner of the 350ha wetland. The building is now the visitor centre for the wetland, with displays, information boards and that “stunning” floor. The hall received a general spruce-up before the floor was done, including the addition of a storage room with outside access.
Friends of Mangarakau Swamp spokeswoman Jo-Anne Vaughan says it now feels like a “luxurious museum”. The Friends maintain the trust-owned portion of the swamp, with the rest in Department of Conservation stewardship.
The centre is open round the clock, and attracts “a substantial number of visitors, judging by donations in the donation box,” says Jo-Anne.
The nearby 17-bed lodge, available to Friends volunteers, is “pretty heavily booked” as well. The group has hundreds of members who plant, weed, trap pests and build tracks, carparks etc, with help from Forest & Bird, the Botanical Society and other workers.
Tourism is poised to become the latest economic driver in a community that once thrived on “coal, gold, timber and flax”.
Golden Bay’s west coast is one of the region’s best-kept secrets, says Jo-Anne. Mangarakau is surrounded by Kahurangi National Park, with spectacular views of limestone escarpments. Te Tai Tapu marine reserve is close by at Westhaven. “It’s a very beautiful spot.”
The swamp itself could soon be in line for Ramsar status – a worldwide convention that acknowledges wetlands of international importance.
The Murchison wastewater upgrade works on the pumpstations in Hotham Street and Waller Street are near completion. The pumpstations are operational but in the commissioning phase.
The upgrade contract at the Wastewater Treatment Plant to improve the discharge fields and site drainage has been completed. Some additional site planting has also been carried out.
Work on the pipe from the Waller Street pumpstation to the wastewater treatment plant across the State Highway bridge will be commencing soon and be finished during December 2011.
The work under the State Highway bridge is to replace the existing pipe. No disruption to the public or to properties is expected. The contractor will be welding the sections of pipe together and then supporting the new pipe underneath the bridge while the old pipe is replaced.
Please contact Council if you have any issues regarding the recent construction works.
The Engineering Eagles from Tasman District Council collected less rubbish than last year in the Big Beach Cleanup – and couldn’t be happier.
The 12-strong team took on Best Island again, officially classified as a “hard” patch of coastline. Team-member Sarah Downs says it was a lot easier this time – and she joking credits their sterling clean-up last year.
Diminishing returns were the good news overall for the spring-clean of beaches on 19 November 2011. About 7.5 tonnes of rubbish was removed from 50 stretches of coastline between Marahau and Cable Bay (293km in all). Some 540 volunteers mucked in.
Last year 10.4 tonnes of rubbish was collected but Rudy Tetteroo, of the Department of Conservation (DOC), which organised the event, says that total included river collections as well. The lower rubbish haul this time was “very pleasing”.
The DOC project, in partnership with Tasman District Council, Nelson City Council and Nelmac, was in its second year, with an impressive 70 % return rate for teams from businesses, clubs, the Councils, church groups and political parties.
The Engineering Eagles might take out a prize for the day’s most unusual find: the wreckage of a small catamaran.
Rudy Tetteroo says the Big Beach Cleanup is likely to become a regular fixture.
Work has begun to eradicate wilding pines from the southern end of Abel Tasman National Park. A grant of $80,000 from the Lotteries Commission has boosted seed funding of $20,000 provided by the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, allowing poisoning work to start last August.
The Department of Conservation and park commercial operators are assisting with the campaign. In the first year wilding pines around Tinline, Holyoakes Clearing and south of Bark Bay will be poisoned or felled.
DoC will chainsaw pines within two tree-lengths of the coast, tracks or buildings. Some tracks will be closed for short periods.
Otherwise, holes are drilled in the pines and poison applied. The trees take about 12 months to die, turning yellow and later brown. Dead trees can remain standing for 8-10 years.
The entire project will cost around $450,000 and be spread over four years as further funding is secured. Within 25 years, no pines should be left in the park.
Wilding pines top the list of animal and plant pests that are a major threat to the park, but until now DoC has not had the funds for eradication.
Motueka Area Manager Martin Rodd is delighted at the Trust’s initiative and rapid response to a funding opportunity. He also praised the “positive impacts” of the Trust’s predator trapping and the planting of native rata to restore the crimson flowering in the park at Christmas.
The Birdsong Trust was formed in 2007 with the aim of protecting and enhancing biodiversity, giving park visitors a better experience. All major tourism operators in the park contribute a Birdsong Fee to fund the Trust’s work. Two batches of South Island robins have been released (about 45 in total) and “a really good band of volunteers” trap predators, says Trust secretary/treasurer Pam Holyoake. The Trust has also carried out revegetation, in co-operation with groups such as the Awaroa Ratepayers Association, with assistance from the Tasman District Council.
“It’s really brought the community together too,” says Pam.
Harry Holmwood, retired dairy farmer, former Golden Bay Community Board Chairman and staunch supporter of the Medical Centre, was one of the driving forces in Golden Bay. He died recently after a short illness, aged 65.
Harry’s ancestors had put down roots in the bay in 1918, originally farming at East Takaka. Harry and wife Dianne farmed at Patons Rock.
In 1986 he was elected as a Councillor on the old Golden Bay County Council, which merged into the Tasman District Council three years later. Harry stood successfully for the Community Board in 1992, becoming Chair three years later. He served on the board until 2004 – 12 years in total.
He may have been part of the local body structure, but Harry could be a formidable critic of the Council, or a government department, when he disagreed with decisions. Former Tasman Councillor Noel Riley describes Harry as “strong in his views” and a straight customer: “black and white – no grey … you do it once and do it right or you don’t do it at all.”
Harry and Dianne sold most of their property in 2006. The couple then decided to share their extensive collection of machinery and memorabilia – both farm and kitchen – with the public, creating the Patons Rock Steam Museum. (Harry had worked at the Takaka Dairy Factory when he was younger, and gained his steam ticket in 1977.)
Noel Riley says many community groups benefited from Harry’s fundraising, including senior citizens, the medical centre, the aerodrome committee, collectible cars group and steam enthusiasts.
“He was one of the most astute fundraisers I’ve ever seen – if you had a dollar in your pocket he could get it.”
While not formally trained with machinery, Harry was “as good an engineer as I’ve ever seen”, says Noel.
Present Councillor Paul Sangster recalls that at one stage the medical centre in Takaka needed $70,000 for extensions. Harry raised the money in less than seven months.
He was a superb motivator of people, and “never negative … never a growler”, says Paul. If you had a problem, Harry would try to find a way through it. He would gently remind you of a task to be done, rather than criticise.
“He was very good to work with because of that positiveness.”.
Old-school “river rat” Graham Durrant keeps a raft propped up against the shed at home, hauling it out for a trip down the Motueka River once in a while. He used to be a regular in the annual raft race, and is delighted at its revival last February – although duties with the Ngatimoti Rural Fire Force meant he had to watch others paddle his craft.
“We generally hosed them down at the start and gave them a good cooling off,” he says.
The family raft is 200-litre drums in a steel framework – unlikely to receive a call-up from Team New Zealand. “It’s built for comfort and getting a suntan.”
About 30 rafts took to the river this year, and the event was “very well-received – good clean fun,” says Graham. In the race’s heyday in the 1970s close to 100 rafts competed, and the longer route took more than five hours, he says.
The event was originally organised by the Pokororo Men’s Club, then taken over by the Lions. It went into recess in the 1980s, although sporadic events took place.
Our Town Motueka has now revived the race – complete with prizes – partly to give local businesses a fun outing amid their busy summer trading.
Next year’s race, on Waitangi Day, Monday 6 February 2012, starts at noon on the east bank of the river about 300m from Alexandra Bridge. Rafts then meander or sprint – whichever takes their fancy – down the river, over a couple of small rapids. Crews can expect to be targeted by water guns. (An old umbrella is useful protection.)
Spectators are encouraged to bring along food and drink for a riverside picnic.
The first rafts arrive to the finish line under the Motueka Bridge about 4.00 pm, and all have to be off the river by 6.00 pm. The celebrations and prizegiving will be well underway by then, featuring Radio Nelson, entertainers, and lots of good food and drink.
Local businesses have donated prizes, including for the best turned out craft.
Entry numbers are limited to 40 and close on Friday 28 January 2012. Crew-members must be 18 years and over. For more information or to register contact Jacqui Taylor at Our Town Motueka on Ph. 03 528 4488.
Tasman District Council provides support “in kind” for the raft race.