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Local News Headlines

Wednesday 16th April 2014

A Perfect "Blood Moon" over Dannevirke

The clouds kept away and the rain waited until the early morning, allowing the east coast region a perfect view of what is the first of four successive total lunar eclipses.

The moon rose from the east just before 6.30pm and was completely within the shadow by 7.06pm.   In a lunar eclipse, the moon is obscured as it passes through the Earth's shadow.

Two shadows will cross the moon during the event - the large penumbra (or ``almost-shadow''), which dims the moon, and the umbra, a smaller opaque shadow caused by the Earth blocking out the light from the sun to the moon.

  A series for photos of the Lunar Eclipse and Blood Moon taken in the Dannevirke sky last evening.

The next total lunar eclipse for our region to look forward to will be overnight on October 8/9, with mid-eclipse at 11.55pm. The eclipse on April 4, 2015, will also be visible from this country, but that of September 28, 2015, would not be.

Thursday 10th April 2014

Work starts on Pahiatua dryer

Fonterra is pouring concrete as the multimillion-dollar expansion of its Pahiatua plant picks up pace.

The company is building a new milk powder dryer and creating more storage in the $200 million to $250m revamp.

Reinforcing steel and other earthquake-proofing measures were in place, plant manager Bill Boakes said. He said that 500 cubic metres of concrete would be poured today, with 10 trucks pouring concrete and then travelling to Pahiatua and Dannevirke to re-fill.

The site employs about 130 people, with the rebuild meaning a further 50 jobs will be created, Boakes said.

Fonterra wants to increase milk powder production with a third dryer.

The Pahiatua plant will take all the milk produced on the eastern side of the island - from Hawke's Bay to Wellington.

The train that now carts milk to Fonterra's Hawera site will not be needed once the new powder plant is built.

Fonterra project manager Scott Rowden said it was a major construction, with an entire village for the work force on-site.

Rowden said work on the dryer had started as it was the longest part of the build.

Land use and discharge permits from Horizons Regional Council and Tararua District Council were given for the expansion.

The plant site, called the Mangamutu Dairy Factory - just west of Pahiatua - has a railway line and natural gas line within it.

The operation will expand milk powder processing from the two dryers which currently take a total of about 1.4 million litres to almost treble that, with the new milk dryer capable of processing a further 2.5 million litres.

Most people were in favour of the expansion, saying it would bring much needed economic growth to the region.

Fonterra is also creating a storage area and new railway siding to load dairy product.

Boakes said the expanded plant was expected to be ready for commissioning in early August 2015.

Thursday 3rd April 2014

Tararua area in for gas, oil exploration

A chunk of Tararua measuring about 1341 square kilometres has been opened up for oil and gas exploration.

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges launched the third annual block offer for exploration at an industry conference in Wellington yesterday.

The area, adjoining existing permitted areas and extending from south of Norsewood to south of Pahiatua and along the ranges, was one of eight release areas.

Tararua Mayor Roly Ellis said he had not heard of any company expressing interest in the area yet, although he expected there would be interest.

Whether exploration would benefit the district would depend on the details.

"There are going to be pluses and minuses depending on where they want to drill, really. We wouldn't want them drilling into any aquifers and that sort of thing," Ellis said.

"But I think we really need to wait and see what comes up."

Bridges said oil, worth about $1.8 billion in 2012, was the country's fourth-largest export.

"The Government receives around 42 per cent of the profits, or approximately $700 million each year. This money is invested back into our communities in key infrastructure projects like schools, roads and hospitals.

"But we have barely scratched the surface of our potential.

"If just one more of our 18 basins was opened for production, like Taranaki, it would be an economic game-changer for our nation.

"That is why the Government will continue to work hard to attract major international companies to invest in petroleum exploration and development in New Zealand."

Ellis said oil was "not a one-minute wonder" and he did not expect to see high levels of production in the district any time soon.

"I think it's going to be slowly, slowly. I don't think we'll ever get into the amount of production that's come out of Taranaki for a long, long while.

"There's been no rush over the whole thing, despite what one or two people say. I think they have to take it fairly slowly and see what there is.

"It costs a vast amount of money to put one of these wells down. Nobody's just going to go and drill willy-nilly. There's a lot of research going on."

Tag Oil, which has an exploratory well near Dannevirke, said in February an independent reservoir characterisation study had confirmed oil was being generated in the Whangai source rocks.

Chief executive Garth Johnson said last month the company planned to flow test the well by the middle of the year to determine what quantities of oil, gas or both flowed out of the well.

The company would expect to know if the well was commercially viable within weeks of testing.

The other two onshore release areas announced yesterday were in the Taranaki Basin and West Coast Basin.

The offshore release areas were in the Reinga-Northland, Taranaki, New Caledonia, Pegasus-East Coast, Great South and Canterbury basins.

The invitation for bids closes on September 25 and permits are expected to be granted in December.

Fairfax NZ News

Iwi in favour of exploration

A large North Island iwi has given the thumbs up for oil and gas exploration around Dannevirke - provided there's no harm to the environment.

The Government is preparing to issue permits to companies who want to search for natural resources, opening up several new areas on and off shore.

One block being offered is on land around Dannevirke, falling within the territory of Ngati Kahungunu.

Leader Ngahiwi Tomoana said if there are oil and gas reserves in the tribe's rohe, the iwi wanted to be involved.

But he said under his people's kaitiaki role, environmental safety was paramount.

The Government is also urging prospecting firms to bid for the right to explore a vast chunk of the West Coast.

Local Ngai Tahu tribal council - Te Runanga o Ngati Waewae - said it did not have too many concerns.

It had had good communication and consultation with the Government about the block offer and would work with any permit holder on where they should and should not look for oil and gas.

Radio NZ

Tararua Council rolls out economic development plan

The Tararua District Council Economic Development Plan 2013-2018 has recently been released. Over the next few weeks we will be profiling the key initiatives of the plan - watch this space!

The purpose of the Tararua District Council Economic Development Plan is to identify long-term growth goals to 2018 that will create a stronger district economy.

‘A strong, growing, prosperous local economy that attracts, welcomes and retains businesses and residents.’

By setting a common course, working with the business community and investing in shared goals, we will create synergies and generate better economic outcomes.

Some sectors in an economy can be viewed as drivers of growth - such as agriculture - and others viewed as enablers or support sectors largely shaped by the size of driver (for example, growing agriculture will grow the number of accountants and lawyers needed, but not vice versa).

The plan will assist largely to clarify Council’s commitment to economic development and sustainability within the Tararua District. Through its goals, it will encourage the fostering of an environment that facilitates economic growth.

The plan has a five-year period, which is reviewed annually to ensure it is aligned with the strategic direction of the Tararua District Council and the expectations of its community.

The Economic Development Plan has five themes as the central focus:

- Support and facilitate growth in local business

- Build district identity

- Promote the district by telling our story

- Business friendly and welcoming support for new residents

- A strong, growing, prosperous local economy that attracts, welcomes and retains businesses and residents

Council has been increasing the number of resources focused on economic development in the last two years. However, Council cannot create jobs and wealth - that is the role of the private sector. Council can ensure the infrastructure is in place to support business, and to enable, co-ordinate and promote business opportunities and initiatives - as well as the great lifestyle choices available in the district.

Tararua Distric Council

Tuesday 25th March 2014

Dannevirke A & P Association and Dannevirke Lions Club Small Holders Auction

The Dannevirke A & P Association and Dannevirke Lions Club can pat themselves on the back for another successful Small Holders Auction.

More than 200 registered bidders enjoyed a fine day competing for the 1000 + lots on offer at the Dannevirke Showgrounds last saturday.

Dannevirke A & P Association President Brian Beale is very pleased with the event, this being the second year for the small holders aution it was well supported from vendors and buyers from all around the region Manawatu, Hawkes Bay, Waiarapa and locally he said.

If you were looking to buy or sell this was the place to be, there was poultry, ducks, livestock, machinery, plants, animals, small and large goods etc, etc in fact anything smallholder related was there.

A big thank you to all who helped out with the running of the auction and to all that attended making this another sucessfull event for Dannevirke.

More photos of the day here >>> Dannevirke NZ Facebook page.
Thursday 13th March 2014

Dannevirke Motorists Advised to Take Care Around Level Crossings

Rail safety organisation TrackSAFE NZ is reminding Dannevirke motorists of the rules around railway level crossings, following an incident recently where a courier stopped his vehicle at a level crossing protected by flashing lights and bells, but then proceeded to cross the tracks in front of a train.

Manager of TrackSAFE NZ Megan Drayton says she was made aware of the incident after a member of the public witnessed and filmed the incident and then posted it on Facebook.

“Obviously we were concerned to see this footage,” she says. “Aside from breaking the law and risking prosecution from the Police, this type of behaviour is placing drivers at enormous personal risk.

“We really would like to get the message out there that the law requires all motorists to obey the warning signs and signals at level crossings, and that they should never attempt to race a train.

“Trains travel faster than they appear, and research has proven that people cannot accurately judge the speed of an approaching train.

She says it’s also important to ensure there is enough space for the vehicle on the other side of the crossing to avoid becoming trapped on the tracks when the signals are activated.

Ms Drayton says “near collision” incidents such as this one involving the courier van put enormous stress on the locomotive engineers who drive the trains.

Every incident like this is extremely upsetting. The only thing a train driver can do when they see a vehicle or person on the tracks in front of them is to put on the emergency brake and hope for the best.

“When trains are travelling at high speeds there is very little chance that they will be able to stop in time.”

In the past ten years in New Zealand there have been more than 235 collisions between trains and vehicles. Around 75 per cent of near collisions occur at crossings with flashing lights and bells and/or barrier arms.

TrackSAFE NZ is a charitable trust that aims to raise awareness about rail safety and educate the public on how they can keep themselves safe around railway tracks. Formerly known as the Chris Cairns Foundation, it amalgamated with harm prevention charity TrackSAFE in Australia in October last year.


Roading maintenance contract sought for Tararua

After a detailed review, Council has resolved at a special meeting on 11 March 2014 to tender a new road and bridge maintenance contract starting 1 July 2014.

This will enable contractors to propose new methods and options that reflect challenges with maintaining nearly 2000km of network.

By tendering now, Council will have clear evidence on actual costs for the next five years when they negotiate the new block allocation of roading subsidies with the New Zealand Transport Agency during 2014-15.

The New Zealand Transport Agency has been reviewing how the Funding Assistance Rates (FAR) are set and applied. During 2014, the Transport Agency will consider the FAR that will apply for the 2015-2018 investment.

Interested contractors are encouraged to contact Ray Cannon, Manager Engineering Services, on telephone 06 376 0218 (South) or 06 374 4080 (North) to discuss details of the tender.

Tuesday 4th March 2014

Flow tests to decide need for fracking

Tag Oil will know within weeks of starting its next test whether its Ngapaeruru-1 exploratory well near Dannevirke is commercially viable.

"We plan to flow test the well by the middle of this year," chief executive Garth Johnson said. "This testing usually takes two to four weeks."


He said flow testing was to see what quantities of oil, gas or both flowed out of the well.

The results would also determine whether hydraulic fracture stimulation, commonly referred to as fracking, would be an option.

"However, due to what we have learned already, it is highly unlikely for this well," he said.

Mr Johnson said Tag had not applied to Horizons Regional Council for a fracking consent.

Last week the company said earlier tests had shown the rock under Ngapaeruru-1 was naturally fractured, indicating there might not be a need for fracking.

"We didn't know the rock below Ngapaeruru-1 would be naturally fractured," Mr Johnson said. "We only found that out via the exploratory well.

"We don't know yet if it will be commercially viable and we will only find that out by flow testing . . . As we have said before, this is a methodical step-by-step process."

When Tag released its third-quarter financial results recently, it said an independent reservoir characterisation study had confirmed oil was being generated in the Whangai source rocks.

Encouraged by the report, the company said it would progress to the next stage of testing at the well, which it described as perforation and production testing.

That raised the suspicions of anti-fracking campaigners who were unfamiliar with the concept of perforation.

"Perforation is simply putting holes in the sealed pipe - called production casing - at the place in the rock the hydrocarbons will potentially allow oil and gas to flow from a specific formation," Mr Johnson said.

"When a well is drilled it is lined with layers of steel pipe and cement. The tubing is only perforated in the zones where there may be moveable hydrocarbons.

"These zones where hydrocarbons are found are themselves encased in layers of impermeable rock - which is why the hydrocarbons have stayed trapped in these zones for millions of years."

He said the company would expect to know if the well was commercially viable within weeks of testing. "However, as we have said before, this well was to learn more about exactly what is happening in the rock formations where oil and gas are being produced. It is the first step in our plan to discover if oil and gas reserves on the east coast are commercially viable."

Fairfax NZ

Hose restrictions in Tararua

A total hosing ban has been imposed on Norsewood, while two other Tararua towns have been subjected to hosing restrictions.

Prompted by continuing hot, dry weather and high water demand, the Tararua District Council says the hosing ban in Norsewood, which is in immediate effect, will be enforced until further notice.

The ban includes garden sprinklers, unattended water systems, soak hoses and hand-held hoses.

Residents may also not clean cars, wash houses or windows or refill swimming pools.

Hosing restrictions have also come into immediate effect in Pahiatua and Woodville.

The council says hand-held hoses may be used between 7pm and 9pm on alternate days - houses with even street numbers on even days and houses with odd street numbers on odd days.

''The co-operation of all residents with conserving water will help alleviate the possibility of more severe restrictions,'' the council says.

Fairfax NZ

Monday 24th February 2014


The fire danger level in the district has gone from MODERATE to HIGH as a result of settled weather experienced over the last week.  This is due to continue until the weekend.  Although there is heavy dew in the mornings, this is being burnt off during the day because of the high temperatures.  At this stage it is not intended to impose a Restricted Fire Season however the situation will be reviewed later in the week. 

Despite the fact that the fire season to date has been fairly wet, we have had more fires than we had during the drought season last year.  This has been mainly due to carelessness on the part of the persons lighting fires.  In one case a farmer tried to burn a small part of a large clear felled forest area and the wind changed causing the fire to get out of control. Had he checked the weather forecast he would have known about the wind change and not lit up.  He will be required to pay for the fire fighting costs.  Another farmer lit a rubbish fire about 4 metres from a 3 bay shed filled with straw. The wind came up and embers blew into the straw and destroyed it along with the shed.

 If people are going to light up they should check the weather forecast first.  They could also check the Rural Fire page of the Council web site at for some useful information about the fire season status and use of fire as a farm management tool. If they are in doubt they can also seek advice from a Council Rural Fire Officer.


The "Great Dannevirke Day Out"

The Dannevirke Railway Station and town was a hive of activity on Sunday afternoon as the " The Great Dannevirke Day Out" from the Hawks Bay and the "Viking Express" from Paekakariki trains arrived and disgorged their hundreds of passengers for a one hour stop and engine changeover before returning home.

The locals young and old also came out in force to witness and photograph an sight rarely seen these days especially the steam locomotive Ja1271.

Click here Dannevirke NZ Facebook to check out all the photos.

Beatson and Centrico win Feilding grand prix

Maurice Beatson is starting to wind up for the biggest show of the season, after winning the the ESNZ Horse Grand Prix at the Manfield Park One Star Show in Feilding on Sunday.

Aboard Centrico, Beatson headed off 14 other combinations to take the honours comfortably ahead of Danielle Maurer on Double Dutch who was the only other rider to go double clear.

Four went through to the jump-off where a tricky line caught out eventual third and fourth place-getters Claire Wilson on McMillans Tipsey and Jamie Howie on Zalula.

Beatson stopped the clock five seconds faster than Maurer. Centrico, a bay gelding who arrived from Germany two-and-a-half years ago as a stallion, has only done a handful of grand prix classes and is just starting to get established at that level.

In the Country TV Pony Grand Prix Jordan Giltrap will forever remember her first big start with victory on Busta Rhymes. The débutante combination beat 17 others to take the honours. Just two went through to the jump-off where Giltrap went clear and runner-up Mat Irvine on Fun House had a rail.

The main classes marked the end of a successful two-day show at Manfield.


ESNZ Horse Grand Prix: Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Centrico 1, Danielle Maurer (Auckland) Double Dutch 2, Claire Wilson (Waipukurau) McMillans Tipsey 3, Jamie Howie (Taihape) Zalula 4, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Schimmell Warrior 5, Simon Wilson (Waipukurau) McMillans Midway Smooth Dude 6.

Country TV Pony Grand Prix: Jordan Giltrap (Taranaki) Busta Rhymes 1, Matt Irvine (Waipukurau) Fun House 2, Jake Webb (Hunterville) Jakaranda 3, Hannah Fraser (Feilding) Tony The Pony 4, Parys Marshall (Taranaki) Spot U Later 5, Brooke Jenkins (Wellington) Viva Pinata 6.

Telford Young Rider: Logan Massie (Dannevirke) JJ Cloud Nine 1, Robert Wellwood (Hastings) Insightful 2, Robert Wellwood (Hastings) Cavallino 3, Jane Warren (Featherston) Dark Ages 4, Emily Fraser (Feilding) Maxamillion II 5, Claudia Porter (Hastings) Joia Hora 6.

Caledonia Amateur Rider: Diana Cottle (Wellington) Morpheus Rising 1, Natasha Mazey (Pukerua Bay) Kabo Lunar 2, Barry Beatson (Dannevirke) Sloane Square 3, Tania Dickey (Taranaki) Kiwi Felix 4, Tracey Mason (Hastings) Southern Distinction 5, Graeme Isaacson (Waipukurau) Lykon 6.

STH/LG Forge Pro Amateur Rider: Pearl Delaney-Girdlestone (Wellington) Windale Gracious 1, Sally Clark (Dannevirke) Victoria’s Secret 2, Laura Knight (Palmerston North) Sir Arthur 3, Helen Bruce (Palmerston North) Toblerone 4, Heloise Tolo (Wellington) Transcend 5.

KiwiSpan Junior Rider: Rebecca Porter (Hastings) Mr Harrison 1, Larina Dolman (Gisborne) Kiwi Lansing 2, Emily Fraser (Feilding) Kiwi Relic 3, Will Moffett (Hastings) Kiwi Mimdie 4, Emma Thurlow (Taranaki) Clifton Ali 5, Emily Fraser (Feilding) Mr Munga 3 6.

Canterbury Equestrian Five Year Old: Elizabeth Vincent (Wakefield) Vamped NZPH 1.

Mitavite Munga Six Year Old: Elizabeth Vincent (Wakefield) Utah Jazz NZPH, Larina Dolman (Gisborne) Kiwi Lansing, Claire Wilson (Waipukurau) McMillans Fredrika, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Lansbury Grosve, Claudia Porter (Hastings) Kiwi Jet, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Mandalay Cove, Matt Dickey (Taranaki) Quando, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Clearwater, Oliver Edgecombe (Waipukurau) Ultra Blue NZPH, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Wishing Crown = 1

Progress in TAG's oil search

TAG Oil is proceeding with its Ngapaeruru-1 well east of Dannevirke after tests have confirmed the presence of petroleum-bearing rock which will respond well to fracking.

TAG made the update on the well's progress as part of its third-quarter financial results.

 It said a study made by independent experts provided "a number of encouraging attributes, and important confirmation that TAG's drilling mud log interpretations from the Ngapaeruru-1 well demonstrate that oil is being generated in the Whangai source rocks".

 TAG said it will perforate the well in the coming months, hoping to see if oil or gas will flow, which is "a critical step to pursuing the economic viability" of the project.

 Because the source rock is naturally fractured, fracking might not be necessary.

 The study's report indicated several positive aspects about the Whangai Formation source rock.

 At the well it is 293m thick and highly naturally fractured. The rock is porous, permeable and has a very low clay content, "indicating fracture stimulation can be highly effective".

Horizons District Council chief executive Michael McCartney said no resource consent application to frack had been received.

He said fracking, the injection of sand-bearing water into rock in order to crack it and keep the cracks open, was a discharge into the environment, so consent was required.

Fracking is controversial due to environmental concerns over chemicals added to the fracking water.

In Taranaki, TAG has reported increased revenue for the three months ended December 31, up 19 per cent to $12,939,442 when compared to the same period last year. For the nine-month period it was up 35 per cent to $43,522,224.

 In December TAG announced a joint venture inland from Gisborne with fellow Canadian company East West, which has interests in Romania, California, Morocco and India.


Saturday 15th February 2014

Initial road quake claim $626,000

Tararua District Council has submitted an initial claim of $626,000 to the New Zealand Transport agency for repairs to earthquake-damaged roads, but the figure is likely to rise.

Chief executive Blair King said yesterday the full cost of repairs to Tararua roads damaged in the Wellington Anniversary earthquake would become apparent only once repair work began.

The council has previously indicated the cost could be as high as $2 million.

Mr King said the repair process would begin once NZTA approval for the initial claim had been granted.

An initial claim left room for later adjustment as investigations were completed.

"It's saying if your assumptions are right and we can just go in and rip the top off and reseal some of these, then it's low cost," he said.

"If they rip the top off and suddenly say hello, there's water now coming into areas that didn't have water, or the cracks are quite extensive - they are actually bigger underground than they are on top - then we go back to NZTA and say right, now that we've actually dug the area up, this is what we've found.

"That's when you go back to NZTA with a revised estimate."

He said council staff had made the damaged sites safe, but repair work could not begin until approval of the initial claim had been granted.

The earthquake also caused extensive cracking in Eketahuna's piped wastewater network.

Mr King said this had not affected service delivery, but was still of concern to the council.

"The public don't notice it, we notice it," he said.

"If you have cracked pipes the infiltration rate goes up. In other words, as we get lots of this rain you end up with more water going into the pipes and sewerage so therefore the plant's under a higher load."

He said the council had two concerns, one of which was environmental.

"So if the plant is now under high load, that creates some challenges because it has been very wet lately, and the second one is the timing for repairs.

"With a water network you can have what is called a ring-fed system, in other words if you shut off one main you can still supply an area from the other side.

"Sewerage tends to be all gravity, so if you take one pipe out you have to appreciate there's only a limited storage space in the pipes upstream," he said..

"So that means there is a lot of pressure on the guys to do it right first time. You don't get a lot of second chances."

The council has reminded residents they have until April 22 to submit claims to the Earthquake Commission (EQC).

The EQC said on Thursday that it had received a total of 3436 claims relating to the Eketahuna earthquake. Of those, 489 were from Tararua.

Fairfax NZ

Thursday 6th February 2014

Email option aids police

Dannevirke police have launched their own email address in an effort to garner more crime tips.

Launched this week, the email address was another option for people to use without going into the station, Tararua CIB Detective Shane Brown said.

Emergencies or events happening immediately should be directed to 111, but other tips, like sightings of suspicious vehicles driving in and out of a road, for instance, could be sent in via email.

The email address would be monitored regularly. Anyone who wanted to remain anonymous could always use the Crimestoppers tip line, which has call takers based in Britain to guarantee anonymity.

Mr Brown said that, particularly at this time of year, cannabis growing season, people might be able to email a registration plate, time, date, place and a description.

Mr Brown said similar addresses had been set up in two other Tararua stations, Woodville and Pahiatua.

The email address is

Fairfax NZ

Monday 3rd February 2014

Buick wins Open final at Dannevirke & Districts A & P Show.

The Dannevirke & Districts A & P Association as part of their annual two day show held its shearing and wool handling competitions on the Friday.

This was well supported by competitors and spectators alike and some exciting competition was seen in all the classes. The premier event "The Open Shearing Competition" which was watched by a large crowd was won by local Pongaroa farmer/shearer David Buick from Napiers gun shearer John Kirkpatrick in a exciting nail bitting finish for the title.

Left Jane Leogreen presenting David Buick with the open trophy.

Also held as part of the event was the wool handling competitions where competitors showed their best skills in dealing with the shorn wool as it came off the sheep. In the evening Aotea held their popular Speed Shearing Competition.
Check out the Dannevirke NZ facebook page here>>>> for all the days action.

Tuesday 14th January 2014

Tararua Reclaims Lotto’s Top Town Title

The numbers are in and Tararua has topped the table as New Zealand’s luckiest area for 2013.

Tararua was also top town in 2011, only briefly relinquishing the title in 2012 when a massive Powerball win in Te Kauwhata put Waikato in the lead.

A Dannevirke couple won $14.1 million with Big Wednesday in April, which helped tip the scales for the Tararua region, meaning on average locals won $867.58 per capita – almost double the second largest area.

But Dannevirke locals are none-the-wiser as to who the Big Wednesday winner is amongst them, especially after they decided not to lake the Lamborghini.

“We decided the Lamborghini wasn’t for us – you can’t put a tow bar on a Lamborghini,” laughed the winner.

Auckland’s Waitemata and Gulf ward had the year’s largest single win of over $33 million with Lotto Powerball in September, which helped it take out second place with a respectable win per head of $475.26.

This was also the largest ever individual win in the history of Powerball, although famously it didn’t stay in the Waitemata and Gulf ward as the winner was a self-proclaimed “Westie” from West Auckland.

The remaining spots in the top five were claimed by Taupo, Hastings and Marlborough. As with previous years, all of the top spots were awarded mainly due to a large prize being won in the region.

In this case these prizes were a Big Wednesday win of $8.6 million in Turangi in December, a $15 million Big Wednesday win in Hastings in January, and a $10.8 million Powerball win in Blenheim in March.
The top ten districts for 2013 were Tararua, Auckland’s Waitemata & Gulf ward, Taupo, Hastings, Marlborough, Buller, Gisborne, Tauranga, Auckland’s Howick ward, and Christchurch City.

The second largest win of 2013 – and the most talked about – was the $22.6 million won by a Christchurch resident in September. The BigWednesday prize almost went unclaimed until Lotto New Zealand tracked down the winner.

There were also nine Lotto First Division winning tickets sold in Christchurch, helping one of New Zealand’s largest cities to edge into the top ten table.

Over $411 million was won in prizes in 2013 with Lotto and Big Wednesday, with a total of 193 First Division prizes won by players around the country.

Lotto New Zealand also increased the amount transferred to the Lottery Grants Board in 2013, distributing a record $201.8 million, which is used to fund arts, sporting and community organisations and projects throughout New Zealand.

In terms of which Lotto store sold the most prizes, Manukau Pak N Save has retained its title for the fourth consecutive year, with over 73,000 winners winning more than $1.2 million in prizes.

Wednesday 1st January 2014

Motorist smashes into fast food joint

It was ''extremely fortunate'' no children were in the play area of Dannevirke's McDonald's restaurant when a 4WD vehicle smashed through a wall last night say police.

The vehicle's 57-year-old male driver accidentally took his foot off the brake pedal and put it on the accelerator while parked beside the play area's glass door at around 7.30pm, said constable Paul Randall.

He said no-one was injured, but if there had been children in the play area it could have been ''catastrophic''.

Fairfax NZ News

Thursday 19th December 2013

The driving force behind the Lions Coast to Coast

A record number of riders took part in Saturday's Woodville Lions Coast to Coast motorcycle ride. More than 400 people registered for the annual fundraiser for the Palmerston North rescue helicopter which sees riders travel from Himatangi to Akitio.
                               Clive and Shirley Boyden

Prior to the departure of the riders a presentation was made to Clive and Shirley Boyden of Woodville. Clive is a member of Woodville Lions and is the driving force behind the event.

Introducing Clive and Shirley to the gathered riders, Lyn Southey of Feilding who has been on every Coast to Coast ride, acknowledged the work of Clive and Shirley, particularly this year which was a difficult one for the couple who lost their son Jason to cancer.

They were presented with a pohutukawa tree
to be planted as a memorial to Jason.

Click the links below to view the Woodville Christmas parade and the Lions Coast to
Coast action -

Woodville Lions Coast to Coast Motorcycle Ride Facebook page >>>

Woodville NZ facebook page >>>

Unpaid rates exceed $1 million

Tararua ratepayers are more than $1 million out of pocket and they have only themselves to blame.

The Tararua District Council is owed $1,052,958 in unpaid rates.

The figure, provided under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, is for commercial, rural and residential properties. Council chief executive Blair King said a chunk of it would be for historical debt but it was a figure he was comfortable with.

The expected rates take was about $20m each year and the council allowed for up to 2 per cent of that not being paid, he said. "It is not significant, compared with other businesses who would love to have 98 per cent of their payments."

Mr King said the amount owing jumped once penalties kicked in.

Often people had a reason for not being able to pay, such as the power bill getting in the way or the tax collector knocking on the door.

"I know what is going to be paid first, because Inland Revenue can impose much harsher penalties than we can."

But there was a range of ways the council could deal with issues and recoup the money.

"The most obvious one is a phone call . . . and finding out their reasons," Mr King said. For more serious cases, the council could apply to have the land declared abandoned and, effectively, sell it from under the feet of the owner.

It is a process Tararua District Council staff have used before, with 13 properties in the abandoned land process as of June this year.

Those properties owed nearly $140,000 in overdue rates.

Mr King said it was not a common step, as it would not always pay off.

The cost of legal action could outweigh any potential rates recoveries.

The council could vote to cancel rates debts, which sometimes happened in cases like that.

Mr King said the council was always looking at ways to make sure rates were paid on time and that included consideration of how much rates were put up.

"It's about bringing things into the district versus what people can actually afford and trying to balance it," Mr King said.

"There are people who can pay it and it's an expense, through to those for who even a $2 a week change is the difference between balancing the budget and being over."

All councils in the Horizons region would have outstanding rates.

"If people haven't paid their Tararua rates, they probably haven't paid their Horizons ones either."

Fairfax NZ News

Wednesday 11th December 2013

No speed reduction by school.

School children in Dannevirke may have a safer walk to school in the future, but those heading to a small Tararua school may not be as lucky.

Tararua District Council is reviewing speed limits across the district, and asked staff to see if parts of Weber Rd, which goes past Weber School, and a stretch of Tipapakuku Rd between Cowper and Riverdale roads, could be added to the list of reviewed sites.

At yesterday's council meeting, councillors were told the stretch of Weber Rd did not meet criteria for staff to recommend it have its speed lowered from 70kmh to 50kmh.

Chief executive Blair King told councillors they could recommend the area have its speed lowered anyway, but the NZ Transport Agency would probably say this was not appropriate.

Mayor Roly Ellis said the road was one where stock sometimes crossed. "I still think it is one of those places with a lot of heavy logging trucks going through and lots of visitors to the beach, and [the speed limit] should be lowered."

Councillor David Roberts said that if people wanted the speed lowered there, they would be able to make submissions when the proposal went out to the public.

The proposed Tipapakuku Rd speed reduction was accepted, but councillors did not add the Weber Rd stretch to the proposal.

The proposal will be publicly notified next week, with submissions closing at the end of February. The bylaw for the speed proposals is scheduled to come into force in May.

Fairfax NZ News

Wednesday 11th December 2013

Gabby Smyth nets six goals in series win over Australia

                           New Zealand Under 18 team. Gabby Smyth is front row, third from the right.   (Photo supplied)
It's been an all all-star performance for both Leaside's Gabby Smyth and the New Zealand U18 team in their series with Australia in Dunedin,New Zealand this past week. With 15-year-old Gabby scoring a total of six goals and five assists, the team swept the four-game series. The young Canadian was a clear star and a huge asset to the NZ girls who netted a total of 13 goals against the Aussies. In  each of two games Gabby scored two goals.  A fifth game was cancelled because of Australian  injuries. The Randolph Road family of Andrew and June Smyth, with Gabby's siblings Rachel 17 and Harley, 13, has been hanging on each bit of mail as they follow Gabby's adventure.

Gabby is no stranger to New Zealand. In fact Canadian-born Gabby, a student at Leaside High, is also a New Zealand citizen thanks to her dad, who came to Canada 20 years ago and subsequently married Gabby's mom. Rachel and Harley also own the Kiwi passport. What a nice extra for three young Canadians.

As it was planned, Gabby temporarily put away her Leaside Wildcats jersey and suited up with the New Zealand U18 team for their face-off with the Australians. Mr Smyth is quoted in a hometown NZ online publication as saying: “Three years ago I found out that New Zealand has ice hockey teams and that the Men’s and Women’s National teams ranked 35th and 25th in the world respectively.
This really intrigued me, and got me to wondering……..could Gabby one day play for N.Z.”. Dannivirke goes on to report that Gabby and Leaside Wildcat teammate Riley Smith competed earlier this year in the New Zealand Women’s Nationals, which took place in Queenstown. They both played for the Dunedin (NZ) based team Southern Knights, Riley and Gabby, both getting "Player Of Game" Awards. Now its time for Gabby to fly home. But she will have the company on the trip of two lucky NZ pals who will train here with the Wildcats for a while. Facebook

Series Stats:

NZ 3 wins 
Australia 0 wins 
Game 1: 2-2 tie
Game 2: 3-1
Game 3: 3-0 
Game 4: 5-1 
Game 5: Abandoned 

The South Bayview Bulldog

Sunday 1st December 2013

2013 Dannevirke Christmas Parade


The sun came out and so did the people for Dannevirke's Annual Christmas Parade on Saturday 30th November.

Noon saw High Street  lined with young and old to see the cavalcade of floats, vehicle's - from the old to the new -  the bigggggg  to the small and many people on foot dressed in  a variety of costumes walking along High Street in the parade.

As usual the Dannevirke Brass and Pipe Band participated in the parade and also our emergency service  vehicles with blaring sirens. Santa and his reindeers took pride of place at the end of the parade as usual which bought smiles to many young children's faces to see the man in the red suit go by.
Totara Collage won the Champion Float and Melissa Martin Academy Of Dance  the Champion Children's Float.


Check out all the parade action here >>> on Dannevirke NZ Facebook page.

Wednesday 27th November 2013

Man burt in Dannevirke explosion

Dannevirke man was taken to Hutt Hospital with serious burns after an explosion powerful enough to lift the ceiling tore through his bedroom.

Tararua Detective Shane Brown said fire services were called to the Dagmar St house about 1pm yesterday after a buildup of gas from a number of LPG gas cylinders, the type generally used for camping, exploded in front of the 33-year-old man.

The force from the explosion blew the wardrobe door off its hinges, the window frame into the neighbour's yard, lifted the ceiling and disrupted roof tiles.

Police found four gas cylinders in his bedroom and more in another room of the house, but it was unclear what they were being used for.

The man's brother was also in the house at the time, and came running at the sound in time to see the injured man emerging from the bedroom on his way to the shower.

Together the pair used a garden hose to put out a fire around the bed in the room, just as fire services arrived.

The man suffered serious burns to his hands and face and was taken to Hutt Hospital by St John Ambulance staff.

Mr Brown said it was possible there had been a slow leak of the gas, or he had been using a canister for something prior to the explosion, which blew up after an ignition in the room.

The gas was the sort to stay low, rather than rise, so it was likely the man would have been able to smell a buildup of gas, he said.

A scene examination of the house was completed yesterday and police were investigating what the canisters were being used for.

Fairfax NZ
Tuesday 12th November 2013

Four sets of twins and 'oddies' feels normal


WE ARE FAMILY: Never mind 'Packed to the Rafters', Dannevirke parents Vaughn and Dianne Barrow share a home with their 12 children, four sets of twins and four 'oddies'.
Relevant offersSpecial allowances are common when you have four sets of twins and four "oddies" under one roof.

Dannevirke parents Vaughan and Diane Barrow never expected to have 12 children.

They also never imagined having eight of them in pairs, but they count each one as a blessing.

"Twelve kids to us, it just feels normal because that's what we've got," Diane Barrow said. "I grew up in a family of 16 so this feels little to me.

"It does get noisy at times but we've been lucky our twins have been boy and girls, so they balance each other out."

The Barrows have four sets of boy-girl twins aged 14 years, 8 years, 6 years and 4 years.

They also have four other children over the age of 10 years.

Diane Barrow said there was nothing in the water at their farm - it was a hereditary gene on her side.

"I didn't know I was going to have them because all 65 cousins hadn't had any until I did," she said. "None of my sisters have had them but they get nervous every time they get pregnant."

Vaughan Barrow said the house could be a bit of a zoo, especially at meal times, but it was homely.

"The first year was the hardest and the first lot was the breaking-in period," he said. "[Having more] just happened, the first set we didn't know until they were born, but the others we did.

"They each have their own talents, we call them the twins and the oddies."

Vaughan Barrow said certain accommodations had to be made for their super-sized family.

"We've got couches instead of chairs, and we obviously have a few bedrooms, which they share," he said. "We also have a dinner bell because if you send one out to tell the others, another would say they had never been told.

"We've put a false top on the table and rounded the edges so everyone fits, and we have a 15-seater van which we had to get an exemption for to drive because it was classified as a service vehicle."

Diane Barrow said living on a farm was helpful, as it gave the kids something to do, and they were able to live sustainably. "We grow some vegetables and do homekill," she said.

"We also have each of the older kids paired up with a younger one, which makes things so much easier, and I oversee the operation."

Manawatu Multiple Birth Club president TeRina Allan said there were about 35 member families from the catchment, including Taihape, Whanganui and Otaki.

"One baby is hard but when you've got to multiply it by two or three or more, it's very difficult and for some people they may be doing it on their own," she said.

"Knowing there is someone else in the same boat, knowing someone who has gone through it before is a really good resource."

 Fairfax NZ

Wednesday 6th November 2013

Dannevirke's TV Takeback a great success

Dannevirke Host Lions, along with the Tararua District Council and Dannevirke Information Centre organised the collection of unwanted television sets FREE OF CHARGE.

 Dannevirke Community Board member and
 Host Lions member Ernie Christison and
 Liz Gunson during the collection on Sunday.


Dannevirke Host Lions Club member Bob Dresser was contacted by a elderly resident concerned that she was unable to drop her telly off and if he could help, this got Bob thinking, she is not the only one and how can we can help the rest of the community with this issue. 

I put it to the Club said Bob at our last Lions meeting with everyone agreeing something should be done.  After meeting with the Local Council, Recyling Co-ordinator Tracey Nikora and the Information Centre we were able to put together this TV collection event.

There was a flyer drop in Dannevirke and a notice on the Councils page in the Bush Telegragh where residents registered through the Information Centre leaving their details regrading the collection of their old TV's. 

The collection took place throughout the Dannevirke township on Sunday
3rd November between 12.30 and 3.30, with 12 vehicles, trailers along with more than 15 Lions members and their families who took to the streets of Dannevirke, locals responding well making this a huge success with over 600 televisions being collected on the day. 

Waste & Recycling Co-ordinator Tracey Nikora said this was a mighty effort, and knowing that these TV's are being recycled is a good feeling. 

Tracey has visited Remarkit in Wellington who are one of the world’s leading e-waste recycling organisations and getting a hands on to the process of recycling e-waste (Electronic Waste).

Most components in a set are recycled - Glass is recycled overseas into new products - Metals such as steel are melted down and made into new products such as construction material - Copper wire is removed and recycled in New Zealand along with Aluminum also recycled in New Zealand - Circuit boards are recycled overseas, the plastic backs from TV's at this stage cannot be recycled as they have flame retardants in them.

If you missed this collection and have a TV or two to discard the Dannevirke Transfer Station is still accepting them at no charge, but come this Friday 8th November will be the last day, after this it will be user pays. 

If you would like any more information on this please contact our Waste & Recycling Co-ordinator
Tracey Nikora on (06) 374-4080.
Friday 1st November 2013

New child restraint laws in effect

New laws for child seats in cars come into effect from today, but police will be taking an discretionary approach while parents get to grips with the new rules.

From today the mandatory use of child restraints in vehicles will be extended by two years, requiring all children to be correctly secured in an approved restraint until their seventh birthday.

  click here

If an approved restraint is available in the vehicle, it must be used until children turn eight, an increase of one year.

Approved child restraints include baby capsules, car seats and booster seats.

A police national headquarters spokesman said the new rules which would help to keep more children safe on the road.

"Staff will be using their discretion while the new law is introduced, with a strong focus on education.

"However, there will be no tolerance for people who put children's lives at risk by wilfully ignoring the law or failing to restrain a child where restraints are available."

New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) road safety director Ernst Zollner said child restraints used in New Zealand must display standards markings to show they are approved and safe to be used.

Baby on the Move Auckland franchise owner Kylie McCracken said they hadn't noticed a massive increase in sales while parents prepared for the law change.

Most parents were happy with the new rules, however it would be better if the law was based on height instead of age, she said.

Associate transport Minister Michael Woodhouse said the rule change was agreed by Cabinet in 2012 and signed in June this year.

"Increasing the age brings New Zealand more in line with international standards and aligns us with the rules in Australia and Japan."

Those who failed to safely secure a child were liable for a $150 fine for each child.

West Auckland mother Kirsty Mew said she bought capsule car seats for her two children Hunter, 4, and Charlotte, 7, when they were babies.

They then transitioned to car seats with help from a Plunket initiative, before moving onto booster seats.

Ms Mew said the law change was "great".

"Kids, they're only little, I don't think you can put a price on their life. If it makes it safer, then why not?"

The price shouldn't be a deterrent for parents when lay by, rental and charity options were available, she said.

Ms Mew estimated she had spent around $330 on child seats over the past seven years.

Plunket national child safety advisor Sue Campbell said some parents were eligible for child seat grants through Work and Income and Plunket ran a cheaper child seat rental programme for those on low incomes in some areas.

She also advised parents to shop around and search for cheaper options.


The cost of compliance:

* Capsule car seats: $70 to $400.

* Convertible car seats: $175 to $700

* Booster seats: $22 to $600

(Source: The Baby Factory/The Warehouse)


Museum on treasure hunt

After 25 years of gathering pieces of Dannevirke's heritage, the Gallery of History is still keen for more items to add to its collection.

The museum celebrated its 25th birthday last weekend, having been founded in the town's former courthouse in September 1988.

The museum was not like others around the country, in that it did not display works from far and wide, she said.

"It is a place for artefacts and stories and any pieces of memorabilia pertaining to Dannevirke and its history. Everything here is from the area."

Miss Mills said the museum was extremely full - "we've got three rooms full of memorabilia, and strongrooms full of written material" - but it was always good to see more goods.

"My plea to people is to please not throw anything away that you think might be of use. Give it to us and we will tell you if it is good or not."

The building the museum occupied was also part of the history of Dannevirke, she said.

Built in 1906, it served as the local courthouse until a new one was built on Gordon St.

After a fundraising campaign, the old courthouse became the Gallery of History.

Miss Mills said keeping the museum status required changing out exhibitions every six months.

At the moment, clothing gifted from the Gaisford family, owners of a huge estate which stretched from Dannevirke south to Kumeroa, is on display.

Fairfax NZ

Tararua Free Insulation Scheme

An opportunity to make your house warmer, drier and more energy efficient – react now!
The Government has announced the new project Warm up NZ (Tararua), which started on 1 September. Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), which administers Warm up New Zealand: Healthy Homes, will work in partnership with EnergySmart in the Tararua District.
The free insulation scheme will run for three years and will be targeting low-income families, and those with illnesses that will be improved by having their homes insulated.
Lyn Tankersley, Wairarapa and Tararua Branch Manager of EnergySmart, advises that to meet the criteria, occupants must hold a Community Services Card (CSC) or Gold card with CSC endorsement, or be at risk from health conditions relating to cold, damp housing. If you can get a letter of support from your GP or Health Nurse then this will be even better.
Houses must be built before 2000 and there are also restrictions on the size of the homes. There are additional costs if the floor area is greater than 85 square metres, and if the floor and ceiling are both to be insulated. Government will fund 60% of the costs while the non-Government portion is being funded by Central Energy Trust in the southern Tararua, and MidCentral Health is sponsoring northern Tararua.
EnergySmart will be focusing on getting the message out to landlords, who will be expected to make a small contribution to the cost of insulation of their rentals, when tenants are low-income and at higher health risk. With Government introducing Warrant of Fitness’s for all rentals in New Zealand in the next few years, this is the time to get your rentals insulated.
React now, send your referrals through and get your tenants, friends and family warmed up. For all enquiries, contact Lyn by email:

Tuesday 10th September 2013

Tararua Sport Directory and Sports Event Calendar.

This is a great opportunity to further promote our local clubs, activity providers, events and sports facilities and it’s FREE advertising to entice potential new club members!

The first stage is to collect information from all our local sports clubs and activity providers, namely you,  then collate the information into a go to guide for all things sport in our community.

If you  would like your club/group, sport or event listed in the 2014-15 Tararua Sport Directory and Sports Event Calendar, please click here to register on-line. Alternatively, complete the attached  registration form and return it to me by Monday November 4, 2013.

Please spread the word and encourage others to register on-line or complete and return the attached registration form.

I am only a phone call or e-mail away if anyone has any questions.

If you require additional forms these will be available from all Tararua District Council offices and Bush Multisport Park.

Natarsha Nikora
Tararua Recreation Advisor, Sport Manawatu
26 Gordon Street, Po Box 115, Dannevirke 4942
06 374 4136  Email

Wednesday 4th September 2013

Shield brings back memories.......

Shield Fever hit Dannevirke today bringing back memories especially for two locals.  A large crowd of rugby fans gathered at the Dannevirke Sports Centre as Hawkes Bay Magpie players and the Ranfurly Shield took centre stage. 

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Tamaki Nui-A-Rua school childern along with the iwi welcomed them, fans grabbed every opportunity to get autographs and photos with Magpie players Dougie Edmonds and Adam Bradey and of course the
prized Ranfurly Shield.

 Graham McNair and Barry Scott at the Sports
 Centre with the 1902 Ranfurly Shield.

For Barry Scott and Graham McNair each having very fond memories
of Hawkes Bay and winning the Ranfurly Shield for the first time.
Barry's father George Scott was the Vice President of the HB Rugby Union when the shield was won in 1966. I remember this so well, like
it was yesterday Barry said.
We travelled to Hamilton - mooloo country you could of mistaken it for McLean Park as there was a sea of  black n white supporters.

Hepa Paewai and Jerry Stone both from Dannevirke played in this victorious match, Hepa was the star Barry said, a great win for the Magpies, winning  6-0. 

Returning back home to Dannevirke the Shield came back with us, spending a week on the farm at Coonoor and tagging along to Makuri School with the boys.

Graham's memories as a child were to one day play in that black and white strip and he did.  Graham played front row prop from 1986 - 93, unlucky for him the shield was challenged but never came back to the bay in his playing carerer. 

The Magpies have had many Dannevirke greats, and today we still have a local connection with players coming through, with this sucess -
"Our Loyalty will Never Expire"   Well done the Bay!!

Click here for more photos on Dannevirke NZ Facebook page

Wednesday 28th August 2013

Repair of grandstand to cost $30,000

Tararua ratepayers may stump up $30,000 to repair the Dannevirke Domain grandstand, which is well below building code standards.


Tararua District councillors will debate at a meeting in Dannevirke to whether the grandstand should be strengthened.

Built in 1935, the grandstand has been declared an earthquake-prone building because it does not reach 34 per cent of the building code.

It was estimated to reach between 8 per cent and 15 per cent.

A seismic testing report from Beca engineering consultants gave the grandstand an E grade, meaning someone was 25 times more at risk than
if they were in a building at 100 per cent compliance.

The report said strengthening work had been done before, but it was unclear when. The work consisted of a reinforced concrete frame and some columns at two corners of the building.

Councillors have been given three options - strengthen to about 34 per cent of the code, strengthen to 67 per cent of the code, or do nothing.

Not strengthening could see the grounds used less, the report said.

"This means [council] will still have fixed costs for maintaining the grounds, but likely to have significantly less usage."

Improving the grandstand to 34 per cent of code could cost up to $30,000.

Dannevirke Athletics and Harrier Club spokeswoman Lisa Galloway said the club used the grandstand for storing equipment and would be stuck without the space.

A cricket club also used the grandstand for storage, and would need to find somewhere else to store gear if the grandstand was not able to be used, she said.

While the grandstand could be prone to vandalism, she hoped it would be repaired.

"It would be a big blow for us if it did come down."

The Dannevirke Junior Football Club was looking at using the grounds and grandstand more in the future, chairman Barry Ellingham said.

He had asked the council if the grandstand was safe, but was unaware it was earthquake-prone.

In July, the Sanson grandstand was demolished after the Manawatu District Council decided it would not spend $465,000 rebuilding it.

Fairfax NZ

Future of Saddle Road secured at no cost to ratepayer

A major upgrade to the Saddle Road to improve its resilience and safety is one step closer following the completion of investigations and final agreement over how the project will be funded and delivered.

The upgrade will be 100% funded by the NZ Transport Agency and will be delivered by Tararua District Council, who own around 80% of the route. The expected cost is $4.5 million.

Transport Agency planning and investment manager, Delaney Myers, says the Agency and Tararua District Council have completed investigations to determine the scope of the project. Detailed design is about to begin, with construction tenders being called for immediately afterwards. Manawatu District Council and Palmerston North City Council are also partners in the project, which is expected to be completed in the 2014/15 financial year.

Ms Myers says the work follows around $5 million of repairs and improvements undertaken by the Transport Agency during and after the Manawatu Gorge closure. The work to repair the damage from the previous closure was recently finished and means the Saddle Road is already much better equipped to handle detoured traffic than it was when the Gorge was closed.

"The closure of the Manawatu Gorge highlighted the importance of having a high quality alternative route to act as a lifeline for this region’s community and local industry. While closures of the Gorge are uncommon, when they do happen they are hugely disruptive. This upgrade will help to foster economic productivity and send a firm signal that Manawatu is open for business regardless of what Mother Nature has up her sleeve."

Blair King, Chief Executive Tararua District Council, said he is pleased with the partnership. "The relationship that has developed between Council and the Transport Agency is producing great results. We are excited about future benefits that will occur by continuing to operate in this manner. The upgrade of the Saddle Road is a significant infrastructure project for Tararua District Council and will provide a secure secondary route access, west-east - connecting services for all of the region’s benefit."

"We are delighted with the collaborative and professional approach of our local authority partners and look forward to working alongside them to deliver this critical project," said Ms Myers.

Union in bid to help laid-off workers

More than 50 of Dannevirke's wool industry workers have only a month to prepare themselves for redundancy while the union looks at plans to keep workers employed.

Canterbury Spinners Ltd (CSL) announced its proposal last month to shut down part of its Dannevirke factory in September, with the company scaling back business as the textile industry faces tough times.

CSL's parent company, trans-Tasman carpet giant Godfrey Hirst, is battling low demand for woollen carpets. Godfrey Hirst spokesman Geoff Senescall has said 35 jobs will remain at the Dannevirke factory, but staff will face a shift shake-up.

Consultation between CSL, the union and workers was ongoing, the union said. Negotiations are circling around establishing a redundancy support role, with the union pushing for the company, the Tararua District Council, local MP John Hayes and the Government to set something up.

Yesterday, the Manawatu Standard saw a blueprint for a redundancy support programme drawn up by the First Union's general secretary Robert Reid and sent to the Ministry of Social Development's regional commissioner John Allen. In it were details for a comprehensive pre- and post-redundancy programme for all workers, whether members of a union or not.

A 40-week programme would include a resources centre, a person to run it, and information on Work and Income, Inland Revenue and training institutes, creating CVs, how to get tax rebates, accommodation supplements or joining job subsidy programmes.

"The philosophy behind the programmes is that at times of redundancy, the best form of support that can be offered to redundant workers is based on the networks that have been developed over the years on the factory floor," the blueprint said.

Palmerston North's union representative Dion Martin said the system could work in Dannevirke, and although conversations indicated the company would do it in-house, the union was still trying.

A Work and Income spokesman said there were systems that could be set up to help. "Any company facing large scale redundancy is invited to talk to us to develop a plan to ensure affected staff can smoothly transition into further training, other employment, or financial assistance if they need it."

FairFax NZ

Thursday 8th August 2013

Council nominations trickle in slowly, rush expected

People wanting to stand in this year's elections have just eight days to get their names on the ballot, and it appears many are leaving it until the last minute.

Horowhenua District Council has made a plea for nominees to come forward, with just four nominations received so far.

The call follows a similar request from Horizons Regional Council where just two people have entered their nominations.

The situation is similar in Tararua District, where just two nominations have been received, one from Mayor Roly Ellis and one for the Dannevirke Community Board.

In Rangitikei District only three people have entered nominations, all in the Marton ward with one of those candidates, Andy Watson, also standing for mayor.

Seven nominations have been received for the 10 positions on the Manawatu District Council.

In the elections for Palmerston North City Council there has been greater interest, with three candidates for mayor so far and 13 for the city council.

Horowhenua District Council electoral officer Warwick Lampp said those interested had until midday on Friday, August 16, to get their nominations in.

Mr Lampp urged people not to wait until the last minute to get nominations in. "If you do leave it until the last minute and there is something wrong with, or missing from, your application we cannot provide an extension of time."

A late flurry of nominations was possible, as the council had supplied more than 30 candidate information packs to people who had requested them.

At this stage there had been just one nomination for mayor, from Cr Anne Hunt.

Nominations for council were all in the Levin ward and from people not currently on the council. They were from Margaret Anne Jeune, Piri-Hira Josephine Tukapua and Perry Rackley. None has so far been received for the Foxton Community Board.

Mr Lampp said candidates had to be New Zealand citizens over 18 years of age who were on the electoral roll.

"All you need is the desire to represent your community and make a difference."

Anyone wishing to stand as an elected member must be nominated by two people enrolled in the district or ward they are standing in, and pay a deposit of $200.

Fairfax NZ

Wednesday 7th August 2013

Tararua Sports Directory and Calendar One-Stop Shop for All Things Sports.

The Tararua is a vibrant district with much to offer its residents, including active sports clubs, facilities, events, and tracks for cycling and walking. Sometimes we miss what is going on around us because we caught up in day to day life.

Tararua Recreation Advisor, Natarsha Nikora wants to help keep everyone in the know about what is going on in sport and has taken on the task to create a Tararua Sports Directory and Sports Event Calendar. I see the directory as a great opportunity to promote our local clubs and sports events, says Nikora.

The directory will be a go to guide for all you need to know about what is going in sport and who to contact, she adds. The first stage is to get promotion out district wide and encourage sports clubs, activity providers, and event coordinators to register.
Registrations are now open and can be made online at or pick up a form from any of the Tararua District Council offices or Bush Multisport Park. Its really that simple! Compete the registration form and send it back to me. It costs nothing but a bit of time to complete the registration and have your club's 2014/15 season and events advertised in the Tararua Sports Directory and Sports Event Calendar, says Nikora.

If you would like a copy of the registration, emailed or sent out in the post please contact Natarsha at or phone 06 374 4136. ENDS. For further information: Contact Sport Tararua Phone: (06) 374 4136

Monday 5th August 2013

Battle weary town faces more job losses

News that 50 jobs will be shed at one of Dannevirke's largest employers has come as another hammer blow, after the closure of the Oringi meatworks. Nikki Macdonald visits the town, population 5520, to see how it has battled to recover.

Past the lockers still bulging with abandoned books, through the bone-dry wash-up area, is the windowless bunker that was the hub of Dannevirke's Oringi meatworks.


Five years ago, 130 men and women in white gumboots would have been furiously cleaving and boning a chain of lamb carcasses crossing the room in five directions.

Now it's an echoey cavern of cold concrete and steel, a memorial to the 466 jobs lost when the Tararua district's biggest employer closed its doors in May 2008, after 27 years.

But around the corner from the empty $10 million boning room there's a thrum of activity. Young men in fleece-lined jackets and ear muffs drive past on forklifts, moving crates of sheepmeat into the cold store.

Others load cartons into containers to be rail-freighted to Wellington for export. Outside, a massive concrete pad is being laid for a second freezer.

Five years on from the panic and tears of closing day, Oringi has been transformed into a profitable business park, run by community- owned power company Scanpower. Last year, the cold store handled 27,000 tonnes of meat, apples, veges, pet food and grass seed.

Despite the global financial crisis, Dannevirke has defied gloomy predictions to get back up from unemployment. But not without casualties. Families split as children sought lucrative jobs in Australia. Work's motivation gave way to the depression and ill-health of unemployment. And the national spectre of shrinking rural populations continues to loom.

The statistics were grim. About 165 laid-off workers went straight to Work and Income; 126 applied for financial help.

"It was huge," says Work and Income service centre manager Aroha Peakman-Walker.

"They were the biggest employer in town. It was like history, that place. There were a lot of families that relied on income from the freezing works: Husbands and wives, sons and daughters. Sometimes three generations.

"It wasn't just about employers being able to employ. It was about the social repercussions as well."

"$ave today for the unexpected tomorrow," warns one bank's sign in Dannevirke's main street. But there are few indications the town, population 5520, is dying. A giant Viking still greets visitors to the town, acknowledging its Scandinavian heritage. Dannevirke was founded in the 1870s by Danish, Norwegian and Swedish settlers who came to clear the bush and establish farms.

Today, the trendy Black Stump Cafe is chokka, car parks are scarce, young mums with strollers drag toddlers with rat's tails past everything from second-hand furniture dealers to a quilt fabric store.

Acting Chamber of Commerce head Suresh Patel, a third- generation vege seller on the High Street, emerges from behind his outsize pears. He's had a bumper few years and believes Oringi's closure was less disastrous than first predicted, partly because about one-third of its workers came from outside the town. The Takapau meatworks and Alliance's Dannevirke plant also absorbed about one-third of those made redundant.

When Oringi shut, Dannevirke High School principal Dawid de Villiers was ready with chaplains to counsel upset children. But no pupils went "off their rockers" and only two left for Australia following the works' closure. The number of primary school children feeding his school has dropped in past years, but it's not clear if that's related to Oringi's closure, he says.

Property Brokers consultant Kerry Sutherland says he has noticed a delayed impact on house sales and values.

"We didn't all dive off the bridge but it was a relatively big blow. I think it was more 2010 when we really started to feel the pinch in terms of lack of jobs, young people going to Australia and other parts of the world."

Dannevirke's unemployment has dropped to 166 dole- dependents, from a peak of 381 in September 2010.

Critical to the town's recovery was the decision by power company Scanpower, which also helped transform Norsewear's clothing factory into a profitable sock company when it closed in 2007, to buy the former works site.

LIKE most of Dannevirke, Scanpower chief executive Lee Bettles was anxiously awaiting a white knight who would save Oringi from becoming "a sort of graveyard, vandalised, with pest problems and kids falling down holes in the ground". A big player such as Fonterra or Wattie's must, he reasoned, have a use for the 26-acre industrial site.

His interest wasn't entirely altruistic - Oringi's electricity bill accounted for 20 per cent of Scanpower's revenue.

The white knight never came - so Mr Bettles bought the works himself, sight unseen. But not before calling up Mark Holdaway, an electrical engineer and Oringi veteran of 26 years, whom he'd signed on after the works closed.

"I didn't escape for long," Mr Holdaway recalls with a laugh.

"I joined Scanpower, thought 'That's it, I'm finally out.' Then Lee rings up: 'Mark, guess what I've just bought'."

Scanpower converted the canteen to its new headquarters and Mr Holdaway set up the cold store, which contracts to a range of manufacturers from Mr Apple to a Whanganui pet food company.

"The scale of things took me back a little bit," Mr Bettles admits.

"It could have gone wrong. But sometimes the best way to make things work is just to jump in, isn't it?"

The cold store generated $2.3m last year, and restored about 40 jobs. However, the "jewel in the crown", the 12-year-old stand- alone boning room with amenities for 200 people, remains unfilled. Negotiations are underway to lease it to an aquaculture or electronics company.

Down the highway at Rangitane's Dannevirke base the mood is less upbeat.

Seven former Oringi workers are gathered for kai and a korero. Where outsiders see the good news of replacement jobs, early retirement and year-round work, the former workers see a broken community and split families.

For them, it was more than just a job. Solo dad James Kendrick worked at Oringi for 27 years, from the day it opened to the day it closed. So when he saw photo albums dating from the turning of the first sod and five aerial photographs of the plant destined for the rubbish heap he was mortified.

"It was lucky I was there to salvage those. They're one-off things. I've got the photos hanging on the wall. I'm in the process of writing a book. It's unreal the stuff they were just discarding."

He, at least, found work. Many did not.

Kathy Mihaere can barely contain her anger when she talks about the closure. Curses pepper her usually polite speech. A union delegate at the time, Ms Mihaere walked out of a meeting with the plant owners in tears of anger and frustration.

"It was like a family," she says.

Former workers still call her "aunty". After the works closed, Ms Mihaere worked on a Te Puni Kokiri-funded project to document the redundant workers' skills.

She lays out seven A3 spreadsheet pages: names, ages (30s, 40s and 50s), skills and where they ended up (Palmerston North, Carterton, Brisbane x 18, Perth x 7, Melbourne x 4). And that was just in the first eight months.

Many, including Ms Mihaere's husband, failed to find another job. They became depressed, lost motivation and sickness crept in. A fistful, probably only in their 60s, have died.

"They just gave up, I guess," Ms Mihaere says. "There's one part of the local cemetery we have decided to call Oringi Lane."

Alice Jonathan worked at Oringi for only two years before it closed, but her internal alarm clock still chimes early every morning. While she misses the works' sense of community, its closure has created opportunities for some, including her partner, who has retrained as an electrical linesman.

"For me, it was about learning appreciation. It may not be as much money as we made out there, but it's just the appreciation of being with people."

While predictions of Dannevirke's demise following Oringi's closure might have been overstated, the town's future is far from certain.

Meat processing remains fickle. Silver Fern Farms, which runs the Takapau plant, made a loss of $31m in 2011-2012, but has no plans to close more North Island plants. Alliance, which runs the Dannevirke plant, lost $50.8m last year, after closing one plant and cutting sheepmeat processing at another.

Last month Canterbury Spinners announced plans to lay off 50 textile workers at its Dannevirke plant in September.

But perhaps the greatest threat is Statistics NZ's population projection showing much of rural New Zealand will stagnate or shrink over the next 20 years. Its "medium" scenario would see Tararua district's 2006 population of 18,050 fall by 950 people by 2031.

School rolls have already fallen from 3921 in 2000 to 3174 in 2008, to 2935 in 2012.

"It's not a crisis," counters Mr de Villiers. "I didn't come half way around the world to live in a town that's going to die."

The Cape Town import is one of several immigrants spoken to by The Dominion Post, lured by lifestyle and cheap property. Mr Bettles swapped his 90-minute each way London commute for a 5-acre lifestyle block with 7-bedroom house he could never afford elsewhere.

"I was an electrical contractor on the London Underground at St John's Wood - quite a posh area. Before we could go down at night they used to have a needle remover because the intravenous drug users used to stick the needles in the rubber handle of the escalators."

Everyone has tales of workers who have left for Australia and returned disillusioned: The linesman who spent six weeks in Brisbane before deciding that wearing flame-retardant overalls, helmet, boots and gloves in 40-degree heat wasn't much fun; the guy who abandoned a Perth sawmill job after six months, hating the lifestyle.

But there's no doubt young people are leaving, says Mr Sutherland, an ex-councillor and former chairman of Scanpower's customer trust.

"We have lost a lot of younger people in that 23 to perhaps 40 age group with work struggles . . . It isn't easy to provide capital and create work. It needs a lot of people rowing the waka in the same direction."

Mayor Roly Ellis, himself a British import, hopes a new training trust will help channel school leavers into appropriate training. Of last year's 100-odd school leavers, only one had not got into training or a job.

Resilience and community rallying got Dannevirke through the past five years and the closure of its largest employer. It will need plenty more of both to continue to thrive.


Dannevirke's wool industry workers will experience more shake-ups with shifts being scrapped and hours being chopped, in the wake of the news 50 jobs will be lost from one of the town's main employers.

It's another blow for workers who are struggling to stay afloat as it is, the union which represents them says.

Canterbury Spinners Ltd (CSL) has announced plans to shut down the wool-spinning arm of its Dannevirke factory, with the company scaling back business as the textile industry faces tough times. CSL's parent company, trans- Tasman carpet giant Godfrey Hirst, is trying to battle low demand for woollen carpets by shrinking its workforce.

Godfrey Hirst spokesman Geoff Senescall has said 35 jobs will remain at the Dannevirke factory as it will continue its wool-dyeing operations.

But during consultation between the company, union and workers it was announced that staff who keep their jobs may face a shift shake-up.

Workers currently do four days of 12-hour shifts. The company now proposes to change this to five days of eight-hour shifts.

Dion Martin, Palmerston North- based FIRST Union representative, said staff who stayed employed could still lose up to $110 a week if shift patterns changed.

Allowances would be lost, earnings cut and extra pressure placed on workers, their families and their livelihoods, Mr Martin said.

"It's a huge loss of income for these people. Some of their jobs are $19 or $20 an hour and for them it's hard enough as it is - it's their mortgages and their lives in Dannevirke.

"The majority of the workers feel like they're not wanted and they're being thrown on the scrapheap."

Workers find themselves in a predicament of either keeping their jobs for a drop in income or joining the struggle to find fulltime permanent employment in Dannevirke.

They are also being denied the option of voluntary redundancy, with production expected to run as is until October, when the job cuts will happen.

The union was pushing for the company and the Tararua District Council to set up a redundancy support role to help workers find new jobs, refocus their skills and deal with redundancy, Mr Martin said. 


Life after the Oringi meatworks closure for some of those affected has meant scrambling for a new career - or moving to Australia to find work.

PAT TAIWHATI, 64, works at Takapau meatworks

When Pat Taiwhati stood outside Oringi for the last time after 23 seasons, it wasn't unemployment that scared her most.

"I was very worried. I knew there was going to be a split in the family."

Mrs Taiwhati's husband, daughter and son-in-law all worked with her. While she landed a job 20 minutes' drive away at the Takapau plant and has worked there ever since, her husband, who worked at Patea before that works closed in 1982, never found another job.

A month before being made redundant, the Taiwhatis paid off the house they had bought for daughter Anne and her family, who have now moved to Brisbane.

"Now we are just coping," Mrs Taiwhati says. "That was a very sad day. The thing I miss most is the people."

ANNE TAIWHATI, 43, now lives in Brisbane

Anne Taiwhati had worked at Oringi for 20 years and her partner Layton Martin for 15 years.

They sought work around Dannevirke, but found nothing with a reasonable hourly rate. Instead they moved to Brisbane, seeking better opportunities for their children, now aged 17, 18 and 21.

About five former Oringi workers live nearby.

The family arrived in November 2009 and she found work at a new supermarket packing plant in January. She works from 2pm to 10pm, while Mr Martin works from 10pm to 6am.

"We are passing one another. It's all right," she says with a laugh. "Less arguments."

The money is good. "I never had spending money till I got here."

But the family is still renting and she has no plans to stay.

"My heart is not here. Even though it's warm, I don't think it's all that over here [. . .] I so miss the family, and the food."

Anne Taiwhati's eldest daughter has returned to live in Otaki, but the younger two look at New Zealand and just see the cold.

JAMES KENDRICK, 52, works at BP and Mitre 10

James Kendrick worked at Oringi's boiler plant from the day it opened until the day it closed - 27 years. His mother, brother and two sisters all worked there at one time.

Its closure was worrying for a single parent with two children at school and another, Robert, a co- worker.

"The redundancy only tides you over for so long."

Mr Kendrick walked straight into casual work at BP, where he still works 32 hours a week. He also drove school buses for a time and now works at Mitre 10.

Because they worked year- round, boiler room staff were some of the highest earners. Mr Kendrick always had a late-model car and four-wheel-drive. He's had to become wiser about his spending, but is still comfortably off.

When Oringi shut, Robert moved to Perth, but he later returned and now runs a Hawke's Bay warehouse.

EDITH HARRIS, 65, retired

Life has changed radically since Edith Harris and husband Richard left the works.

Quietly spoken, Mrs Harris is shy about admitting her troubles. After 25 years at Oringi, she was unable to find another job and struggled to adjust to depending on a fortnightly benefit. Her husband worked part-time driving buses but recently suffered a heart attack.

And she had a bungled operation resulting in a cut artery. At one stage they nearly lost their home.

Now they get by on superannuation.

All of Mrs Harris' five children have worked at Oringi. Son Malcolm, who was there when the works closed, left to join his sister in Australia.

MALCOLM HARRIS, 45, now lives in Perth

Oringi was the only job Malcolm Harris had known in his 19-year working life, and his mother, father and wife all worked there.

The plant's closure spurred a change.

"I flew to Melbourne, looked around there for four days and all they had was factory work. So I flew to Perth and two days later I had a job doing construction."

Mr Harris works four weeks on, one week off, in northern mining areas. They're so awash in cash their way of life has changed completely.

"It's a very expensive lifestyle we're living, because you can. I hate it."

Mr Harris told wife Tracey, who also worked at Oringi when it closed, that she didn't have to work. But she couldn't do it. She works as a supervisor for a Perth meat company.

Mr Harris has learnt marketable new skills, such as scaffolding and forklift-driving, but misses New Zealand and wants to return.

"I love it. It's just the people itself. And the quality of food - here it's all grain-fed meat."

If he does move back, he's not sure if it will be to Dannevirke, or if his Australia-loving children - aged 7, 15, and 17 - will follow.

WAYNE McROBBIE, 55, maintenance work at Mitre 10

After 27 years on the slaughter board, Wayne McRobbie had been thinking about leaving. But then, he'd been thinking about leaving for a while.

"If they hadn't shut I probably would still have been there," he admits with a laugh.

It was five months before Mr McRobbie found another job, doing maintenance for Mitre 10, drawing on pre-works building experience.

"The wife was still working. Things were tight, but you just had to watch what you spent. Your standard of living comes down."

Having lived in Dannevirke since he was 9, Mr McRobbie never really considered leaving town. He earns more now, as he works fulltime, rather than just a five-month season.

BEN AHIPENE, About to move to Australia

Ben Ahipene moved to Dannevirke from Auckland in 1981, specifically to work at Oringi. His father, who also worked there, was gutted at the closure. Mr Ahipene, however, had been sticking around for redundancy.

His son was also beginning to work at the plant during university holidays and he didn't want three generations of his family depending on it.

Mr Ahipene took a year off to study and worked for 3 1/2 years as a youth worker, until his programme's funding was cut. Now he plans to move to the Gold Coast, where two of his sons have already relocated and where $25-an-hour work is easier to come by.

KATHY MIHAERE, 61, works for iwi social services

Kathy Mihaere misses her family - both her Oringi whanau and her husband, who now works in Gisborne after suffering unemployment-related depression. Her youngest daughter followed.

When Oringi closed, Ms Mihaere, who was a union delegate, got work compiling a skills database of the redundant workers, before joining Rangitane to help deliver social services.

She will stay in Dannevirke until the 15-year-old twins she is bringing up are old enough to take care of themselves.

"You have to do what you have to do," she says. "You have to go where the work is."

ALICE JONATHAN, 43, works for iwi social services

Alice Jonathan went to the works two years before it closed "with a dollar sign in front of me".

It was a more stable income than her previous three-job combo: the freezing works canteen, youth work and cleaning for the council.

When Oringi closed she and partner Tama, who had worked there for 14 years, checked out options in Western Australia's lucrative mining areas.

"We liked the holiday but we were both sookies to come home. It was about being close with whanau."

Ms Jonathan worked at the old Punters pub, then Merrylees Hotel before Kathy Mihaere discovered she had a social services certificate. She now works with Ms Mihaere at Rangitane running the kaitoko whanau family support programme.

For four months, while Ms Jonathan was pregnant, neither she nor Tama had a job and keeping their two houses was "a mission".

Tama began training as an electrical linesman with Unison, but was again made redundant when the company restructured. He went back to butchery work at Waipukurau, until that plant closed in 2011. Finally, he got a job at Scanpower, at the old Oringi site, and has now finished his electrical certificates.

"It felt really strange driving him out there. The car park looks so empty. I guess it's just a new beginning. He loves it."

Nikki MacDonald - FairFax NZ

Monday 29th July 2013

Hours next to go in shake-up

Dannevirke's wool industry workers will experience more shake-ups with shifts being scrapped and hours being chopped, in the wake of the news 50 jobs will be lost from one of the town's main employers.

It's another blow for workers who are struggling to stay afloat as it is, the union says.

Canterbury Spinners Ltd (CSL) announced its proposal this month to shut down the wool-spinning arm of its Dannevirke factory, with the company scaling back business as the textile industry faces tough times.

CSL's parent company, trans-Tasman carpet giant Godfrey Hirst, is trying to battle low demand for woollen carpets by shrinking its work force.

Godfrey Hirst spokesman Geoff Senescall has said 35 jobs will remain at the Dannevirke factory as it will continue its wool-dyeing operations.

But during consultation between the company, union and workers last week, it was announced that staff who keep their jobs may face a shift shake-up.

Workers currently do four days of 12-hour shifts. The company now proposes to change this to five days of eight-hour shifts.

Palmerston North-based FIRST Union representative Dion Martin said staff who stayed employed could still lose up to $110 a week if shift patterns changed.

Allowances would be lost, earnings cut and extra pressure placed on workers, their families and their livelihoods, Mr Martin said.

"It's a huge loss of income for these people. Some of their jobs are $19 or $20 an hour and for them it's hard enough as it is - it's their mortgages and their lives in Dannevirke.

"The majority of the workers feel like they're not wanted and they're being thrown on the scrap heap."

Workers find themselves in a predicament of either keeping their jobs for a drop in income or joining the struggle to find fulltime permanent employment in Dannevirke.

They are also being denied the option of voluntary redundancy, with production expected to run as is until October, when the job cuts will happen.

The union is pushing for the company and the Tararua District Council to set up a redundancy support role to help workers find new jobs, refocus their skills and deal with redundancy, Mr Martin said.

Fairfax NZ

Couple banned from caring for animals appeal conviction

A former Kennel Club judge and his wife, who were banned from caring for animals for 20 years, raised concerns over visual evidence when they appealed against their conviction today.
David and Daryl Balfour were convicted in December 2011 on three animal cruelty charges after the SPCA found 87 dogs and 161 cats in cramped conditions with insufficient shelter, water, light and ventilation on a property near Dannevirke in 2007.
At the Court of Appeal in Wellington today, the couple's lawyer, Eric Forster, told Justices Douglas White, Lowell Goddard and Simon France the fine was ``unduly harsh''.
Mr Forster also expressed concern that TVNZ footage of the raid on the Dannevirke property was excluded from evidence without being viewed in full by Judge Alastair Garland.
While acknowledging the ruling worked partially in the defence's favour, Mr Forster said Judge Garland made the ruling based on viewing ``the greatest hits''.

Mr Forster also raised photos of the property produced as evidence in the District Court trial before Judge Grant Fraser.
The photos, taken by SPCA senior operations inspector Jim Boyd over three days, did not have dates or times attached to them.
That information had since been made available and should be compared with the film footage, Mr Forster argued.
The times the photos were taken was important because images from the third day of the operation could show evidence that had been moved ``innocently'' over the previous days.
Mr Forster also argued that some of the diseases some of the cats suffered, such as ringworm, were not significant and there was ``no suffering in the dog population''.
The couple kept the animals as part of a breeding operation.
Half of the animals were put down and about 50 cats were treated by a veterinary surgeon. Some of the cats took three years to recover fully.
The couple were sentenced to a fine of almost $28,000 to be paid to the SPCA and disqualified from owning or caring for animals for 20 years.
Crown lawyer Stephanie Edwards said today the timing of many of the photos taken after the first day was not significant because they were of outbuildings after the animals had been seized.
She defended the length of the animal ban.
"The message must be made clear to breeders that the failure to meet acceptable standards will have significant consequences for their livelihood.''
The Crown had sought a lifetime ban, but the legislation was not clear as to whether that was lawful, she said.
The fines imposed on the Balfours were at the "conservative'' end of the available range, she said.
The justices reserved their decision.

Friday 19th July 2013

50 redundancies at Dannevirke textile firm

The Dannevirke community has been hit hard today with the news of redundancies at one of the town’s major employers.

Canterbury Spinners Limited (CSL) told staff at its Dannevirke plant this morning that they are proposing 50 or more redundancies.

The company’s proposal is now out for consultation. If it goes ahead the job losses would take place by the end of September, and the company is proposing remaining staff move onto a shift pattern with reduced hours.

The move represents further rationalisation in the textiles sector and was deeply distressing for CSL’s skilled workforce, FIRST Union Textiles Secretary Paul Watson said.

“A priority for FIRST Union will be minimising the impact on staff, and outstanding issues for further discussion include voluntary redundancies, relocation opportunities and ensuring workers’ income is protected as new shifts are introduced.”

“As we have done at several textile plants in recent years, we will also look for support to establish a redundancy support coordinator to work alongside staff made redundant to help with training and finding other jobs.”

FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid said that in parts of the manufacturing industry, especially outside the primary sector, significant challenges remained.

“Many manufacturing workers are still facing very uncertain times.”

“While the government shows little interest in supporting manufacturers, it is heartening to know Opposition parties are making a good attempt to come up with policy solutions for manufacturing, as we saw in the recent Manufacturing Inquiry,” Robert Reid said.

Today’s announcement follows last year’s closure of Norman Ellison Carpet’s spinning plant in Onehunga with around 85 job losses, and 190 redundancies at Summit Wool Spinners in Oamaru earlier this year. CSL purchased the Oamaru site and reemployed 60 workers.

First Union
Tuesday 16th July 2013

Large slip puts freight line out of action

30 metres of train track has been suspended in mid-air after a landslip between Dannevirke and Makotuku.

The main line for freight services between Palmerston North and Napier was closed on Sunday morning after a slope, about 25 to 30 metres deep, fell away.

KiwiRail infrastructure and engineering central regional manager John Skilton said 30 staff and contractors were working 24 hours a day to clear the slip.

''The work involves clearing out the material that has come down in the slip - which is mostly done - and structural earthworks to rebuild the eroded area,'' he said.


''A work train is bringing fill to the site so this can take place.

''We are expecting to have the line open by tomorrow.

''The current schedule is for four return services a day between Palmerston North and Napier - with a mix of general freight and export product."

While the line is closed Kiwirail is keeping in close contact with customers so they are kept up to date on progress so they can make alternative arrangements if necessary.

Mr Skilton said additional services would run to clear any backlogs once the line was opened.

Fairfax NZ / Photos

Wednesday 27th June 2013

Old sets pile up as Dannevirke gets ready for digital TV

With the move to digital just around the corner on the 29th September, there is not much time to go and it’s best to start thinking about what is required.

   Some of the televisions that have been dumped at the 
Dannevirke Transfer Station over the past two months.

The digital switchover for the South Island was completed last weekend and next in the queue is the central North Island, due to go digital in five months' time.

Manawatu's Going Digital community adviser Robin Winter, from Woodville, has spent the past three years travelling from Tararua to Taranaki and everywhere in between talking to people about the changeover.

She's visited councils, Probus clubs and community groups, talking about the benefits of digital TV, including enhanced reception, better quality pictures and more channels to choose from.

But she does it a little differently to most advisers, trying to make her teachings entertaining with animated displays of song and dance. "I've always been involved in community positions and it's part of my makeup that I like to perform.

"It means I can demystify it for people and make it really easy for them to understand."

Ms Winter said 90 per cent of New Zealand homes had switched over, with Manawatu's residents responding well so far.

She expected the final five-month home stretch to be filled with more questions than ever as people readied themselves.

The switchover will be a reality for the entire country by the end of the year with TV-watchers needing Freeview, Sky or Igloo as their old analogue television sets get switched off.

The first regions to switch were Hawke's Bay and the West Coast in September last year, with the lower North Island going live this September.

If you have any questions or need advice, feel free to contact Robin Winter  0800 838 800.

To talk directly to Robin Winter, call her on 027 540 2314, or email her on

For further information you can also go to

Wednesday 5th June 2013

Puketoi wind farm gets final go-ahead

Mighty River Power has finally been given the green light to build a wind farm at Puketoi, a move the development's opponents have slammed as "a shame for the New Zealand landscape".

The power company announced it had the all-clear in its latest quarterly report, and the Environment Court confirmed yesterday that all appeals had been withdrawn without need for a court hearing.

    Puketoi Range looking from Pinfold Road

A decision allowing the 53-turbine wind farm to be built on the outstanding natural feature of the Puketoi Range, 40km south of Dannevirke, was made last June.

The development would include a transmission line connecting to the proposed and consented Turitea wind
farm near Palmerston North.

The decision drew three appeals to the Environment Court, which have now been resolved and withdrawn.

Waitahora-Puketoi Guardians' spokesman Stuart Brown said the group had opposed Puketoi, but did not appeal, after an unsuccessful appeal against the granting of consents for Contact Energy's wind farm further north on the Puketoi Range. "It cost us a fortune (about $130,000). We could not afford to fight any more."

Mr Brown said many landowners affected by the Puketoi development had signed agreements with Mighty River Power before the Guardians were alerted. "It's a shame for the New Zealand landscape, but if people are not prepared to put up money to fight it, there is not a lot more we can do."

He said New Zealanders had a right to know how the Puketoi appeals had been resolved.

The principal objectors were Tararua farmers Wayne and Christine Marshall, who wanted the seven turbines closest to their home removed from the development plan.

The commissioners heard the Marshalls' home would be closer to the planned 130-metre tall turbines than any other property in New Zealand where the owners did not have a financial interest in the farm.

The Marshalls turned down an offer to buy them out before last April's hearing.

The commissioners agreed the effects on them would be significant, but did not accept that the couple should hold a power of veto that would stop the development going ahead.

The commission's decision imposed several conditions to mitigate the effects on them, such as reducing the height of the closest turbines, planting trees to shield their view of the turbines, and double glazing their home to reduce the noise.

Mighty River Power would not comment on the deal which had resolved the appeal and led to its withdrawal. The Marshalls were also unavailable for comment.

However, the 53 turbines all remain in the final consent.

One of the other appeals came from Makuri residents Mike and Angela Connell, who bought the town's old post office as a retirement home in 2007, before they knew of the power company's plans.

Mighty River Power said there would be no development of the 310MW wind farm, capable of powering up to 150,000 homes, for at least three to five years.

The consents have a 10-year lapse period.

Fairfax NZ

Tuesday 21st May 2013

John Key visits Dannevirke

It had been nearly 30 years since a prime minister visited Dannevirke on "official business", but all that changed today.

More than a hundred people welcomed prime minister John Key to Tararua this afternoon, including oil protesters waving placards and banners outside the building where Mr Key had lunch.


Dannevirke's Chamber of Commerce members, local business people and Tararua mayor Roly Ellis were among those Mr Key's lunchtime "meet and greet"

Mr Key talked about last week's budget announcement, economic development in New Zealand and how Dannevirke fitted into the equation.

He answered questions on oil exploration - saying he believes it should help the district and the country.

He also fielded questions on building requirements and how New Zealand would cope with baby-boomers hitting retirement.

Alongside his host, Wairarapa MP John Hayes, Mr Key visited the Kiwi Sock Company in Norsewood, the Metalform factory in Dannevirke and the Oringi Business Park off State Highway 2.


Dannevirke Chamber of Commerce acting chairman Suresh Patel, whose family has lived in Dannevirke for three generations, said the last prime minister to visit was Robert Muldoon, who first came to open the Oringi freezing works in 1981 and returned in 1984 for an election rally.

Today's visit was ''very exciting'' and the prime minister was a friendly, personable man, Mr Patel said.

Tararua Mayor Roly Ellis said any political presence helping raise the profile of Dannevirke was always welcomed.

Visit Dannevirke NZ Facebook page here >>>>  for more photos of today's visit from 'The Right Honourable John Key MP' (Prime Minister of New Zealand)

Fairfax NZ/ Photos

Wednesday 24th April 2013

'Rally of Resistance' in Dannevirke

More than 100 oil opponents marched down Dannevirke's main street this afternoon in a "rally of resistance" against petroleum exploration along the East Coast.

Among the activists were Frack Free Tararua, the district's arm of Lock the Gate and concerned residents and farmers.

They were met at the district council chambers by Maori wardens, police and representatives from the council, including Tararua mayor Roly Ellis.

Dannevirke mother and Frack Free Tararua member Dani White organised the rally to coincide with today's Tararua District Council meeting.

She said it was a chance to take their concerns to council chambers today to boycott what they say is a "railroading" of residents.

They want to put questions to the council about oil exploration along the East Coast.

"The district was railroaded into allowing an industry to gain a foothold without decent consultation with those who it will affect the most," Miss White said.

"I moved out here for the lifestyle, to raise my kids and to hand them a piece of land that was safe, but now all of that is being threatened."

Miss White's moves to the council follow the announcement from Tag Oil that drilling started near Dannevirke, at the Ngapaeruru Rd site, about 19 kilometres east of the Tararua town, this week.

The North American energy company said the first well was targeting the Waipawa Black Shale and Whangai source rock formations at an expected depth of 1800 metres, to test the potential of the area for oil and gas.

The Ngapaeruru site is one of two in line for a four-week trial of 24-hour-a-day drilling. The other is located on a Mangahei Rd property, 17km east of Dannevirke.

Fairfax NZ/Photos/Video

Precious feathers of extinct huia stolen

Two 123-year-old huia feathers worth up to $8000 each have been stolen from the back of a stuffed bird at a Dannevirke museum.

An expert has compared the incident to the theft of war medals from Waiouru's army museum.

The tail feathers were taken from one of two stuffed juvenile birds in a glass case some time last week, said Dannevirke Gallery of History volunteer Pat Mills.

"Someone's just prised open the front panel and grabbed two feathers. It's very sad," she said.

"We have informed police and advised a number of auction houses and antique dealers of the theft. We'd dearly love them back, but at the very least we'd like to thwart their sale by thieves."

The last live huia was seen in Tararua Range in 1907. The stolen feathers came off a pair of birds shot in Pohangina valley, north of Ashhurst, in 1889 and mounted for a local couple as a wedding gift.

The birds are owned by the local Galloway family, who had been told of their theft, Mrs Mills said.

The birds have been kept in a locked glass container in the museum for 25 years and had "definitely been our biggest drawcard".

They were noticed to be missing on Friday. A small group had visited the museum on Wednesday, but there were "no suspects as such", she said.

About 15 to 20 people a week visited the museum, which had no security systems. The items were not insured, she said.

In 2010, a feather similar to the stolen ones was sold for $8400 at Webb's Auction House in Auckland. At the time it was believed to be a world record for a bird feather. Several years ago a bald eagle feather sold in the United States for US$2800 (NZ$3433).

Huia feathers were traditionally used for adornment by chiefs, and attempts to slow the hunting of them began in the 1880s.

Colin Miskelly, curator of terrestrial vertebrates at Te Papa, said the theft was "an example of personal greed over the national value of intact species for future generations".

"At one level it's no different to the theft of medals from the Waiouru military museum."

While huia specimens were not uncommon, "it's very unusual to have bona fide provenance data like these ones. That saddens me even more that they've been degraded," Dr Miskelly said.

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