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Four people in hospital after two buses crash on SH 8 near Tekapo
Four people in hospital after two buses crash on SH 8 near Tekapo

17 July 2024, 11:13 PM

Four people have been taken to hospital after two bus crashes on State Highway 8 in the Mackenzie District.Police said the single-vehicle crashes occurred 100 metres apart on State Highway 8 - the Twizel-Tekapo Highway - about 8.40am this morning (Thursday July 18).Hato Hone St John said it was notified of the incidents at 8.38am and 10 vehicles and a helicopter had been dispatched.Four patients have been hospitalised; two in serious condition, one in moderate condition and another with minor injuries.The two seriously injured had been taken to Dunedin and Timaru hospitals via helicopter.Police said it was understood those on board were international tourists, and the relevant Consulate had been advised.Passengers on board the buses who have not required medical attention have been taken to Twizel.About 40 firefighters from four crews around Twizel, Lake Tekapo, Omarama and Otematata are at the scene.Fire and Emergency said no one was believed to be trapped after the crashes, and they were not expecting more crews would be called for.The road is closed between Tekapo and the intersection Lake Pukaki.The New Zealand Transport Agency / Waka Kotahi (NZTA) advised motorists to expect delays, with this section of the road possibly staying closed for the rest of the day and no immediate detours available."Drivers should allow at least two hours longer for travel times while SH8 remains closed."Westbound travellers should use SH8 east to Timaru, SH1 south to the SH82 junction, and the inland route on SH82 to Kurow/SH83 junction, with westbound to SH8/83 Otematata. Eastbound travellers should use the reverse route."The Serious Crash Unit is investigating."Weather conditions were foggy at the time, however the exact cause of the crashes is still being determined," police said.NZTA said as this was a serious crash on a state highway, they would be conducting an investigation of the road and roadside conditions, alongside police investigations."The condition of both buses will also be examined as part of the investigation."Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this morning's crash."

Elderly man in fear for life, waiting for police
Elderly man in fear for life, waiting for police

17 July 2024, 5:06 PM

An elderly Wānaka man was left in fear for his life on two occasions in one week when his calls for police assistance were not passed on to the Wānaka Police in a timely manner.The man, who asked not to be named, was alerted to intruders on his property in the small hours of Saturday June 22 and phoned 111 at approximately 3am.“He got up in the night and on returning to his bedroom, was surprised to see lights in the garden area of his property,” the man’s son told the Wānaka App.The event was captured on CCTV.The property owner told the Wānaka App the police operator had informed him that a police sergeant would be dispatched from Cromwell, but no one arrived. Wānaka Police were informed of the man’s call at 6.16am the following day. Waiting in vain for the police, the man attempted to telephone several friends to seek assistance, including his daughter in Australia. She then phoned NZ Police, who advised her to tell her father to turn on all the lights. This appeared to scare the intruders away.NZ Police told the Wānaka App that Wānaka police officers went to the man’s property at 7.34am that morning.Three days later, night-time intruders were again detected by the property owner, who telephoned 111.He told the Wānaka App that he was advised there were no resources available to attend.He said he would never forget seeing the door handle slowly turning on the door to his outside porch.“I thought to myself, I could be in for a bit of a fight here.” Fortunately his friends, whom he had sought assistance from, arrived in their vehicle and the intruders left.A NZ Police spokesperson told the Wānaka App a unit had followed up at 11.35am and provided “prevention advice”.Wānaka Police Senior Sergeant Fiona Roberts told the Wānaka App that the man had been spoken to by Wānaka police and she had spoken to a family member following the incidents, and that they were her priority.She declined to comment on the incidents through the media.The man told the Wānaka App the police advised him that they would undertake an internal investigation of the incident.The property owner said local police advised him they would have attended the incident if they had been aware of his 111 call for assistance.The man’s son questioned if police were “actually protecting the community if they could not respond to an attempted robbery taking place at 3am from a 111 call for assistance”.“... the town and the people of Wānaka deserve better than this,” he said.The Wānaka App asked NZ Police who made the decision whether or not to call out local police to such incidents, and why the decision was made not to call the police out in this case.NZ Police did not respond to the questions.

Sports groups, SAR benefit from funding
Sports groups, SAR benefit from funding

17 July 2024, 5:04 PM

Recent grants from the Otago Community Trust (OCT) will support a local cross-country skiing event, a football club and snowsports organisation, among others.Five organisations received support in the OCT’s May and June latest funding rounds, with sports organisations making up the majority of recipients.A $40,000 grant to Snow Sports NZ will help the organisation continue its work to increase youth participation in snow sports and enable more kids and people with disabilities to get involved with competitive snow sports. “Our enduring partnership with Otago Community Trust remains an essential cornerstone of the snow sports competitive pathway in New Zealand,” Snow Sports NZ CEO Nic Cavanagh told the Wānaka App.He said the funding will be applied towards its competitive pathway, helping with the costs associated with retaining and training staff, officials, volunteers and judges. Nearly all of a $6,500 grant to the fast-growing Wānaka Associated Football Club (AFC) will be spent on gear and equipment, Wānaka AFC club manager Simone Sippola said.The club now has nearly 500 junior players and the grant will provide new goals and balls for them, Simone said.“We are spread across multiple training and playing locations because we're so big now, so we need resources like goals and balls across both.”A $5,000 grant for Aspiring Gymsports will help with the costs of installing heating at its premises within Paetara Aspiring Central.Through sponsorships and grants from several organisations, including the OCT, it has now raised enough to cover the $55,000+ cost of heating, Rae said.Meanwhile a $6,000 grant will help make the Snow Farm’s annual ‘Merino Muster’ event possible this year.The long-running, family friendly event is taking place on August 31 and it includes five races: The prestigious 42km Merino Muster, 21km Snow Rake, 14km Double Fleece, the 7km Straggle Muster, and the 1km Mini Muster for the under 10s.The last of the five OCT grants from May and June will go to Wānaka SAR, with $11,436 granted to support the volunteer-run organisation’s search and rescue services in the Wānaka area.The OCT is a philanthropic organisation which makes grants to organisations, events and initiatives which are of benefit to the Otago community.It is committed to supporting diverse sporting activities across the region, a statement from the trust said.PHOTO: Garrick Cameron

Crimeline: ‘Stupid’ behaviour on roads
Crimeline: ‘Stupid’ behaviour on roads

17 July 2024, 5:00 PM

Road policing has been a major focus for police locally over the past week with incidents involving speeding, drink driving and driving inappropriately for the conditions.One tourist was apprehended driving at a speed of 179kph and a second tourist who underwent breath testing blew 956 micrograms of alcohol per litre (mcg), close to four times the legal limit. They were two of “many” road-related incidents in the past week, Wānaka Police Senior Sergeant Fiona (Fi) Roberts said. “People are being stupid on our roads.” On Tuesday (July 16) police “were actively trying to prevent further incidents patrolling Cardrona Valley and Crown Range with red and blue lights trying to slow traffic down” after the de-icing agent which had been sprayed on the road was washed away in rain, which went on to freeze.“People need to slow down,” Fi said. “Drive to the conditions – it is winter and this is an alpine environment.”Drivers should expect freezing fog (which occurs when mist or fog freezes instantly on exposed surfaces in temperatures under zero) and black ice (a thin coating of clear ice on a road’s surface) which is “practically invisible to drivers”.They should also watch out for bridges, which often maintain black ice for longer, and rural roads, where ice can wear away more slowly because they have less traffic.“Stopping distances can increase in the wet, ice, and snow,” Fi said. “This means you need more time to react, so make sure you slow down in bad weather and watch your following distances.”Combining speeding or drinking with the current conditions is “like playing Russian Roulette”.Last week Wānaka Police arrested and charged a man for cultivating cannabis. It shows that “these things don’t just fly under the radar,” Fi said. Fi said there was also an ongoing issue with people getting scammed after trying to buy firewood via Facebook Marketplace. She said Wānaka Police are regularly receiving reports of people paying for firewood but not receiving it.“When the buyer tries to contact the person who they made the payment to, they are disappointed to find that either the Facebook account of the ‘seller’ has disappeared, or they’ve been blocked, or their messages are ignored,” she said.Operation Hannah also kicked off in the last week.It is a multi-site operation targeting vehicles in and around ski fields including passenger services vehicles, the Impairment Prevention Team, and the Commercial Vehicle Unit. Fi highlighted Street Smart, a driver education programme targeting younger drivers to develop skills, knowledge and experience to make better decisions on the roads. Otago Lakes Central area road policing manager Senior Sergeant Steve Watt “is fully behind the initiative supporting the great work by road safety advocates Greg Murphy and Tony Quinn of the Tony Quinn Foundation and Street Smart.”The programme is being run out of Highlands Motorsport Park and involves a young person and their support person being put through their paces over a day-long programme, Fi said.Learn more about it here.Call 111 when you need an emergency response from police, fire or ambulance.Call 105 to report things that don’t need urgent police assistance.Call *555 to report road incidents that are urgent but not life-threatening.To make an anonymous crime report contact Crime Stoppers.PHOTO: Wānaka App

Most fee increases approved by councillors
Most fee increases approved by councillors

16 July 2024, 5:06 PM

Increases in fees and charges for council services have been carefully considered, Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) says.Councillors adopted the fee increases at a council meeting at the end of June, following community consultation, and the new charges came into effect at the start of the month. Most fees for the council’s popular sport and recreation services - including swimming at council pools, hiring meeting rooms, sports courts and venue spaces, and using health and fitness facilities -  increased by no more than four percent.A single-trip swim pass at the Wānaka Recreation Centre pool has not increased for adults, and beneficiaries, seniors and children will pay an extra twenty cents; renting its outdoor artificial turf costs users no more than four percent more.The cost of hourly sports courts use at Paetara Aspiring Central has increased by three percent; and venue rental for the Luggate Memorial Centre, Hāwea Flat Hall and Lake Wānaka Centre is up by 3.2-3.8 percent depending on the length of the booking. More substantial increases have been applied for landing fees at Wānaka Airport (up between 15 and 30 percent) and for jetty permits, private moorings and commercial moorings, which are up 186 percent, 100 percent and 72 percent respectively.Three councillors voted against a $500 annual fee for jetty permits, private and commercial moorings: deputy mayor Quentin Smith (Wānaka), Nikki Gladding (Glenorchy), and Esther Whitehead (Queenstown Whakatipu).The increases are lower than those initially proposed (the highest under the proposal was a 220 percent increase for private moorings), and QLDC chief executive Mike Theelen noted that moorings received the most feedback during consultation.“It’s important fees and charges are kept up to date and reflect the costs of delivering activities and services on behalf of the community,” he said. “In most cases, what people pay is a contribution towards the whole cost rather than the full amount.”Other fees and charges have also increased across environmental health, parks and reserves, libraries and planning and development.“An important factor behind the changes is recent higher inflation that has seen people in our district and around the country paying more for a range of things from groceries to power,” Mike said.“Council is not immune from this. The process has been considered carefully by elected members and council officers with these pressures in mind.”Fees and charges make up approximately 15.5 percent of council’s sources of funding over the next ten years, Mike said.“Without these increases, an increase in rates equivalent to $1.15M – or nearly one percentage point – would have been required, shifting more of the cost onto all ratepayers and away from those who directly benefit from using these services,” he said. Find the full schedule of new fees and charges, which took effect from July 1, here.QLDC’s user fees and charges are reviewed every year.PHOTO: Supplied

‘As many views as possible’ sought on Long Term Plan
‘As many views as possible’ sought on Long Term Plan

16 July 2024, 5:04 PM

Queenstown Lakes District mayor Glyn Lewers is encouraging more people to make a submission on the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) draft Long Term Plan (LTP) 2024-2034. Consultation opened on June 27 and to date just over 150 submissions have been received; with submissions due to close on July 28, there are two weeks left for people to have a say.“I’ve enjoyed getting along to drop-in sessions and markets over the past two weeks, talking to our communities about council’s priorities for the next decade and what it means for the rates you pay,” Glyn said. “I’ll be joining councillors at more sessions through July and look forward to seeing more of you out in the community, but my key message to you all is to get your submission in.” The draft LTP proposes an average rates increase of 15.6 percent for local ratepayers.It includes a $2.4B capital programme, predominantly focused on Three Water compliance activities; a proposal to bring forward investment in community and sporting facilities, including sports fields in Wānaka and clean energy upgrades at the district’s aquatic facilities; and a proposal to introduce a targeted rate on Queenstown town centre properties.Elected members including councillor Nikki Gladding and deputy mayor Quentin Smith have also urged ratepayers to read about the draft LTP and make a submission.Read more: ‘Like a warm fish milkshake’ - feedback invited on LTPThe Let’s Talk online consultation hub details upcoming opportunities to discuss the LTP with elected members and supporting information to help ratepayers understand the proposal.They include an online dashboard mapping where capital investment is proposed in the district; a financial strategy setting out how the council funds its activities on behalf of the district; and a 30-year infrastructure strategy, proposing a long-term view of infrastructure requirements.“We need to hear the views of as many different people as possible as this plan affects everyone who lives, works or owns a property in our district,” Glyn said.“It explains how we plan to manage the challenges and opportunities of our fast-growing population and deliver the infrastructure and services we need.” The consultation document has been delivered to letterboxes across the district and can be found, along with more detailed information and a submission form here. PHOTO: Wānaka App

Regional tourism groups join forces
Regional tourism groups join forces

16 July 2024, 5:00 PM

A new, streamlined services model will help the district’s regional tourism organisations (RTOs) deliver more value for members, Lake Wānaka Tourism’s (LWT) board chair says.LWT and Destination Queenstown (DQ) have announced the new model for the 2024/2025 financial year, under which the RTOs will retain their own brand, governance and operations but take a regionwide approach to some functions.Those functions include human resources, administration, finance and others, where shared services will help the organisations gain efficiencies and improve structure, DQ CEO Mat Woods said.It will also help them to “maximise value, provide the environment for collaboration, create an improved structure to deliver on [Destination Management Plan] projects at a region wide level, and lead to alignment and efficiencies across conventional marketing work”, he said.Read more: New tourism plan adopted for districtLWT board chair Calum MacLeod said the streamlined model would mean more value from the targeted tourism levy and the member dollar would go further.“Shared services and sharing capabilities will lead to shared expertise across the region rather than doubling up on key capability areas,” Calum said. “As sister regions, more can be achieved by working together and taking a collaborative approach.”Gizelle Regan, who has moved into the head of destination role at LWT (which replaces the chief executive role Tim Barke departed from in April) says the shared services model will also bring more opportunities for members.“Critically LWT members will get access to a wider range of services as part of this model which they can’t currently afford independently,” she said.Both office locations will remain as they are currently to ensure a local RTO presence in both communities and the Wānaka iSite, which LWT owns, will remain a standalone and independent business.The shared services arrangement will be reviewed twice annually to ensure it is delivering benefits for both RTOs.Read more: Milestone for regenerative tourism initiativePHOTO: Lake Wānaka Tourism

Forest kindergarten well received
Forest kindergarten well received

15 July 2024, 5:04 PM

A new forest kindergarten in the Upper Clutha prioritises getting children into the outdoors, expanding their imaginations and encouraging learning through exploration.The Forest Explorers Kindy launched in May and its first cohort (group of four students and one educator) spend their time exploring local areas, using nature as a classroom - rain or shine.Hāwea mother Prairie Pritchett enrolled her daughter Adella in Forest Explorers Kindy after she struggled to settle in at another childcare provider.It’s “a huge relief” to see her daughter thrive in the new environment, she said. Prairie said the small, tight-knit group and the opportunity it provided her daughter to spend more time outside were both huge drawcards.She is so passionate about the service that she has joined Just Like Home (a home-based care facilitator that Forest Explorers Kindy is a branch of) to help it develop and grow. Just Like Home owner Jeanette Fotheringham said the first cohort of the kindy, which is for children from ages three to six, “filled up really quickly”.She said the service, which combines the principles of forest kindergarten and home-based care, had been “very well received” by local families. An additional educator who will start the kindy’s second cohort in term four is already fully subscribed and there is a waitlist for the service, she said.Jeanette and Prairie are hosting an event for potential educators who want to learn more about what being a Forest Explorers Kindy educator looks like and whether it is right for them.Anyone who is interested in attending can get in touch with Prairie on [email protected]: Wānaka App

Contracting Out Agreements - Beware of Common Myths (Law blog)
Contracting Out Agreements - Beware of Common Myths (Law blog)

14 July 2024, 8:00 PM

Life can be unpredictable, and relationships are no exception!Here in New Zealand, there are default rules that determine how your property is split if your relationship ends. But you and your partner can modify the rules and how they apply to your property, by entering into a Contracting Out Agreement (also called a pre-nup). Why would you want to modify the rules? The rules may not reflect what you think is fair. At the time of separation, people are often shocked to find that property they thought was theirs, now has to be shared with their partner. Here are some commonly held misconceptions:Myth 1: The house is in my name, and I bought it before I met my partner so I will get to keep it if we separate!If you’ve been in a de facto relationship for 3 years or longer, the family home (that’s the home you live in with your partner) becomes relationship property. Whether it’s in one or both your names, it doesn’t matter. And yes, even if they haven’t contributed a single dollar towards the purchase or upkeep of the property!  Myth 2: I am the only shareholder and director of my business, so my partner has no claim to it. If you started your business while you and your partner were together, it is almost certain to be relationship property, and they will be entitled to a 50 percent share of your business if you separate.Myth 3: My KiwiSaver is not part of our relationship property. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Any contributions you make to your KiwiSaver account while in a relationship is in fact relationship property so your partner can ask for half of the funds if you separate. Myth 4: My inheritance is safe from any relationship property claims. Sometimes but not always. Your inheritance is your separate property unless, you have agreed to mix it in with your relationship property – for example, repaying some or all of the mortgage on your family home. Then you have likely consented to it becoming relationship property so you can’t then ask for it back if you separate. Myth 5: My home is in a trust so my partner can’t touch it. Trusts can offer significant protection against relationship property claims. But there are ways that trusts can be vulnerable in a separation, particularly if the trust was established during the relationship or if your partner is named as a beneficiary of the trust. In the final analysisEvery relationship is different. A contracting out agreement allows you to customise your arrangements based on your specific needs and circumstances. Whether that’s blending families; safeguarding inheritances; or planning for future ventures.A tailored Contracting Out Agreement can provide peace of mind for both parties.Level 1, 62 Ardmore Street, Wanaka,

Urban intensification proposals to be considered by panel
Urban intensification proposals to be considered by panel

14 July 2024, 5:06 PM

Commissioners have now been appointed for a hearing on the controversial Urban Intensification Variation (UIV).The panel will include Jane Taylor (chair), Ian Munro, and councillor Lyal Cocks, with the hearing expected to take place in 2025, Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) said.The UIV proposes growth ‘out and up’ - increased building height and density - in locations around the district, including parts of Wānaka and Hāwea. The divisive proposal attracted more than 1,200 submissions during the initial feedback process.Read more: Strong opposition to urban intensification variationUnder the proposal, the regulations for Lower Density Suburban Residential (LDSR) zones would change to allow for building height up to 8m in most cases, and in Medium Density Residential (MDR) zones heights of 11m (+ 1m for pitched roofs).It would also allow for heights in the Wānaka CBD of 16.5m (up from 12m).The UIV is an outcome of the previous government’s 2020 national policy statement on urban development (NPS-UD), which directs councils around the country to remove some planning rules and plan for growth.The new government’s ‘Going for Growth’ housing plan proposal isn’t expected to have an impact on the UIV process, a spokesperson from the QLDC planning team said.“The intensification requirements for Tier 2 councils [which include Queenstown Lakes] remain the same, so there are no implications for the UIV,” the spokesperson said.The proposals under ‘Going for Growth’, which the National Party says will fix New Zealand’s housing crisis, include freeing up land for development, removing planning barriers, improving infrastructure funding and financing, and providing incentives for supporting growth.The QLDC spokesperson said consultation on the details of the proposals won’t happen until next year, but they have the potential to affect “future workstreams like District Plan work and/or QLDC’s Future Development Strategy/Spatial Plan work”.A date for the UIV hearing will be set in due course.Find detailed information on the proposed UIV and how it would work: Urban intensification: Growth ‘up and out’ proposedPHOTO: Supplied

Luggate Red Bridge closures extended
Luggate Red Bridge closures extended

14 July 2024, 5:04 PM

The daytime closure of the Luggate Red Bridge will be extended by one week, New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA) says.Work on the bridge, which includes maintenance and traffic signals, began in June and it was expected to include two weeks of daytime closures (9am-5pm) on weekdays during the school holidays.With more timber running boards on the bridge deck of the 100-year-old bridge needing to be replaced than originally estimated, the closures will now extend an additional week to July 26, NZTA Lower South Island system manager Robert Choveaux said.School buses and emergency vehicles will still be accommodated at short notice, NZTA said.The detour route for light vehicles.Road users who usually cross the bridge weekday daytime hours will need to continue to either take the detour routes listed below or travel outside of the closure times until after July 26.Light vehicles (cars and vans) can travel via Kane and Camphill Roads through Hāwea Flat. It will add 25-30 minutes to the journey. (Camphill Road Bridge on the detour route isn’t approved for HPMV or 50Max.) HPMV, 50MAX vehicles and HPMV Higher Mass permit holders can travel via Kane, Cemetery, Domain Roads and Capell Ave - SH6 via Albert Town to SH84. Overweight permit holders need to refer to their permit and confirm an alternate route according to their permit type or travel outside of the closure times.Aspiring Highways maintenance team maintains the state highways in Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes District for NZTA. “We thank the travelling public and freight operators for their patience and understanding,” Robert said.The Luggate Red Bridge is a key link between Tarras, Cromwell, and Wānaka.PHOTO: Supplied

Rams run riot in semi-final rout
Rams run riot in semi-final rout

14 July 2024, 5:00 PM

The Upper Clutha premier rugby team (the Rams) ran in nine tries in a one-sided semi-final clash against Maniototo in Wānaka on Saturday (July 13), securing a place in the final of the Central Otago Premier Rugby Competition with an emphatic 58-8 win.The Rams entertained a large crowd at the Upper Clutha Rugby Club displaying its exciting brand of running rugby in a high-quality performance.“I thought we played really well,” Rams’ head coach Alex Dickson said.“We want to play quick ruck speed, we can use our speed in our backs, that’s our game.”Alex said the death of Upper Clutha Rugby Club life member Colin Clark provided extra motivation leading into the match as did media reports the team had peaked too early.A minute's silence to remember Upper Clutha Rugby Club founding member Colin Clark preceded the match.The match was a foregone conclusion by half time with the Rams leading 25-3 and Maniototo receiving a red card to leave the side a man down for the second half.To Maniototo's credit they played with a fierce commitment, contributing to an entertaining match, but they met a side playing at its best.Rams’ No. 8 Jake Burtenshaw carried strongly as did lock Andrew Horne. The mobile Horne had an outstanding match and will be a critical ball carrier in this week's final.In the backs none were better than second-five Oliver Stirling, making a number of tackle busts and defending strongly. Left wing Tomas Jarman was elusive and bagged a hat-trick of tries.This week’s grand final (Saturday July 20) will see defending champions Alexandra play the Rams after they upset Wakatipu 24-21 in Queenstown. The match will be a repeat of last year’s grand final which the Rams lost 32-24.Rams’ supporters will be hoping its side can go one better this year.The final will be played at the Upper Clutha Rugby Club in Wānaka, 2.30pm kick off. Rams' Points: Tomas Jarman (3), Oliver Stirling (2), Eseroma Viba, Ben Mckeich, Milan Martinovich, Jake Burtenshaw.Conversions: Brady Kingan (5).Penalty: Brady Kingan.PHOTOS: Steve McArthur

Musical playground billed for Wānaka
Musical playground billed for Wānaka

12 July 2024, 5:06 PM

A local organisation is planning to build a musical playground in Wānaka. Wānaka Musicians Society chair Janet Dolan said the playground “will consist of specially designed outdoor musical instruments which can be played individually or together”.Musical playgrounds, which are popular overseas, are generally located in public spaces like parks and are designed to encourage greater involvement in music-making and musical experiences in young people.Janet said some musical playgrounds are designed to cater specifically to very young children but it “depends on the instruments you put in”.The society hopes to create a musical playground which will appeal to a wide range of ages.The Wānaka Musicians Society has been operating for more than 30 years and it is behind the annual Stars in Your Eyes event.Money raised from Stars in Your Eyes will help to fund the project, Janet said.“We have already allocated $20,000 from our savings and we hope to commit a further $20,000 from this year’s show profits,” she said.As for the location of the musical playground, Janet said the society is open to ideas. “We don’t have a space in mind. Someone had suggested Lismore Park, another Eely Point.“It really just depends on what fits in with the community plan…as long as it’s accessible for the community.”She said the size and range of instruments in the playground would depend on the space allocated for it.Wānaka Upper Clutha Community Board (WUCCB) chair Simon Telfer and member Chris Hadfield have agreed to work with the society to help identify a suitable location.PHOTO: Supplied

Community fund helped recovery from pandemic - report
Community fund helped recovery from pandemic - report

12 July 2024, 5:04 PM

The Connecting Communities Fund was “inspiring, moving and meaningful”, an independent report has found.The fund supported 556 not-for-profit groups across Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago between November 2021 and its final round this May.Each of the eight funding rounds provided successful applicants with up to $1,000 to go towards community-led wellbeing activities which encouraged people to connect, look after themselves and each other, and have fun.They included a huge range of local events and initiatives from Community Link’s WanaSoup to youth-led weekly pickleball sessions, ‘Make it M!NT’ upcycling workshops for people with intellectual disabilities to a pride flag mural at Te Kura o Tititea Mt Aspiring College, among many others.“The highly visible initiative…extended the reach of mental wellbeing activities across the communities,” report author Dr Delwyn Goodrick said.Delwyn, a psychologist who has been working as an academic and evaluation practitioner for the past 25 years, praised Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group, which delivered Connecting Communities.“Being rural and heavily reliant on tourism, Southern Lakes communities were hit particularly hard by Covid-19 and Te Hau Toka’s work has been important in supporting recovery,” he said.“Community ownership and participation have been key and the programme has demonstrated the power of collective action. Health promotion initiatives were undertaken with, and by the community, to strengthen mental wellbeing. Actions were informed by evidence. “The range of initiatives and groups supported ensured that mental wellbeing messages reached far and wide across communities.”Connecting Communities was supported by the government’s Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan until funding ended in May.Te Hau Toka chair Adell Cox welcomed the report and said she was “humbled by what’s been collectively achieved”. “It shows that building community capacity and resilience by giving people the tools, education and support to look after themselves – and others – is critically important in helping them recover from adversity.”She said the lessons learned would help shape future programmes to respond to emergencies or unanticipated events.A total of $504,000 was allocated across the duration of the Connecting Communities Fund.PHOTO: Supplied

Tournament culmination of training for local netballers
Tournament culmination of training for local netballers

12 July 2024, 5:00 PM

Four senior netball players from Te Kura o Tititea Mt Aspiring College (MAC) are on their way to the Netball NZ U18 National Championships in Dunedin this weekend - the culmination of years of training and commitment.MAC year 13 players Sophie Walsh, Millie East and Coco Bentley and year 12 player Ella Asberg are members of the Central Lakes Under 18 representative team that will be attending the tournament, along with three players from Dunstan High School, three from Cromwell College, and two from Wakatipu High School.“The girls have been building towards this for the last few years in their senior A environment,” Central Lakes Under 18 co-coach Megan Anderson told the Wānaka App.The national tournament is “the perfect environment” to showcase Central Otago talent, she added.The dedicated team has formed “strong bonds”, says co-coach Megan Anderson.The under 18 environment is “where the Silver Ferns are selected”, she said, and there will be people there who are involved in the National Netball League (for players over 18). Megan said there will also be selectors at the tournament looking for players for the New Zealand Secondary Schools team.At the most recent tournament in Eastern Southland the Central Lakes team won all its games.“From the dedication and intensity at practices and pre-national tournaments the girls are coming together really well,” Megan said. “There are some strong bonds forming.”MAC players Sophie Walsh (GA) shooting for goal, Ella Asberg (WA), and Millie East (Centre).“I’m pretty happy with how we’re tracking.”She said there are challenges for rural teams, not the least being bringing together players from such a wide region.“The biggest challenge is helping to form those connections within the team so that it’s seamless on court… But they’ve all been dedicated to making that work.”This is the second year the Central Lakes team has been selected from across the Upper Clutha, Central Otago, and Wakatipu.Megan said being selected to the team was an achievement, and the new, wider region means strong teams are being put forward for tournaments.The Netball NZ U18 National Championships will take place from July 15-17 at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin.PHOTOS: Prue Walsh

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