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High standard at ‘celebration of dance’
High standard at ‘celebration of dance’

19 April 2024, 5:04 PM

A four-day dance competition and ‘celebration of dance’ which ended on Monday (April 15) attracted 118 dancers from Wānaka and beyond.More than 550 items were performed at the Lake Wānaka Centre over the course of the competition, which was the first major event organised by the recently formed Tititea Performing Arts Trust.The trust was created by local women Gillian White, Leigh Cohen, Maxine Frazer, and Maria Hearle with the goal of creating an annual event that fosters a welcoming, supportive and enjoyable culture for performers from all backgrounds, geographical areas and abilities.  Read more New performing arts trust encourages love of danceMaxine said a large team of local volunteers and generous sponsors and donors made the inaugural event possible.Almost 120 dancers performed at the Lake Wānaka Centre during the competition.“This has been a real community effort,” she said. “It has been wonderful to see dance parents, enthusiasts, supporters and local businesses come together to help bring the event to life.” In addition to creating a Wānaka-based competition, the event also succeeded in its goal of promoting wellbeing and learning for young dancers, Maxine said.“Competitors were given detailed feedback, support, guidance and even impromptu mini workshops from our highly experienced adjudicator,” she said.Categories included ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz, self choreography and more.“This included technical guidance on dancing safely, advice on looking after your body, tips to reduce pre-performance nerves and encouragement to focus on finding joy in dance.“There was an excellent atmosphere across four days. We were delighted to see dancers from across the South Island supporting and encouraging each other right throughout the competition.”Awards were given for achievements in a range of dance categories across all age groups, with the youngest dancer having just turned five. Categories included ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz, self choreography and many more. Most were solo performances with a number also involving duos and groups dancing together. In addition, four dancers received National Young Performer classical nominations to perform in the National Performing Arts Competition in Palmerston North in October, alongside other classical nominees from across the country. The competition also promoted wellbeing and learning for young dancers, organisers said.At the final prizegiving on Monday evening, professional adjudicator Sarah Knox said the standard of dancing had been very high and commented on the atmosphere of collaboration, inclusiveness and support at the competition.Maxine said she and the other trustees are gathering feedback from dancers and parents to identify any refinements for future years’ competitions. “But first, we’re all taking a short break - we have some sleep to catch up on.”PHOTOS: Supplied

‘Up there with the best in the world’ - young Wānaka sailors
‘Up there with the best in the world’ - young Wānaka sailors

19 April 2024, 5:00 PM

Three young Wānaka Yacht Club (WYC) sailors have achieved top-three finishes at New Zealand’s premier youth sailing competition, the New Zealand Youth Championships, held in Auckland.Mabel North achieved third place in the lasers (in a one-person, single handed boat) and Thomas Juczyluk and Oliver Wyeth took third place in the 420 class (in a two-person, two-sail centreboard dinghy).“Wānaka Yacht Club sailors are now right up there with the best in New Zealand,” WYC youth sailing coordinator Roger North said. “It’s a testament to their passion and tenacity.”He said the competition environment in Auckland (which ran for four days concluding on Thursday April 18) was “incredibly welcoming”. Roger said the young sailors have put in a huge amount of training to achieve these results.“They train every sailable day, sometimes seven days a week if the weather is good,” he said.A very supportive group of volunteers at the local yacht club have also played a significant role in the young sailors’ success.“They’ve been on the receiving end of so much help and kindness,” Roger said. “We’re grateful to the yacht club and the many people that showed us guidance along this journey.”The busy local club now has eight young sailors on their way to New Plymouth for the New Zealand Secondary Schools Teams Racing Nationals 2024, which begins on Sunday (April 21).Teams racing - which can be compared to tactical chess on water-features “short, epic battles” between multiple boats and it’s “lots of fun and lots of shouting”, Roger said.Groups are split into gold, silver and bronze fleets and last year members of WYC, representing Te Kura o Tititea Mt Aspiring College, won the silver fleet so “top ten in the country for schools will be our goal this year”, Roger said.The sailors have held 250 races since last September in preparation for the competition. “It’s what you see happening on Lake Wānaka every Sunday afternoon,” he said. The teams racing nationals will run until Friday (April 26).Read more: Inspiration for young Wānaka sailorsPHOTO: Roger North

Angela Blackmoore murder: Pair sentenced to at least 10 years' jail
Angela Blackmoore murder: Pair sentenced to at least 10 years' jail

18 April 2024, 11:59 PM

Angela Blackmoore's murderers stole a young mother's bright future and the life of her unborn baby, the High Court has heard.Upper Clutha resident David Hawken and Rebecca Wright-Meldrum today received life sentences for their roles in the almost 30-year-old slaying in Christchurch.Hawken, 51, received a non-parole period of 10 years, while Wright-Meldrum, 51, will also serve at least 10 years behind bars.Blackmoore was bludgeoned and stabbed 39 times in her Wainoni home while her two-year-old son slept in a nearby room on August 17 1995.The 21-year-old was pregnant with her second child at the time of the attack.Her friends and family waited almost 25 years for answers until Jeremy Powell confessed to the killing in 2019.The cold case breakthrough led to Powell's life imprisonment a year later and police laying charges against Hawken and Wright-Meldrum.Powell was a key crown witness in the four-week trial late last year.Powell told the court Hawken ordered Blackmoore's murder and offered $10,000 to him and his then-girlfriend Wright-Meldrum to carry out the hit.Angela Blackmoore who was stabbed multiple times in her Christchurch home in 1995. PHOTO: Supplied / NZ PoliceBlackmoore's partner at the time of her murder, Laurie Anderson, told the High Court today that Hawken and Wright-Meldrum had robbed Blackmoore of her future, robbed him of the love of his life and robbed Blackmoore's young son of his mother."I used to rub her tummy at night knowing we were making this beautiful baby," Anderson said."We were planning all the things we were going to do together as a family."Hawken's evil plans had destroyed the life Blackmoore had worked to build after turning her life around, Anderson said."If it wasn't for you, Angela would have been happy and getting on with her new life. If I could I would let you rot in jail for the rest of your life ... you are sheer evil."Their decision to keep their roles in Blackmoore's murder secret meant many of her loved ones, including her parents, had died without knowing the truth of her death, Anderson said."I will always miss Angela. She's the love that will never leave me."David Hawken. PHOTO: Pool / Iain McGregor / The PressBlackmoore's son, who was 2-years-old at the time of her murder, said his mother's death and the circumstances which led to it, had robbed him of a normal life.It was especially distressing knowing he had been robbed of the chance of being a brother to Blackmoore's unborn child."Vengence for my fallen brother is best served by a life-long hell," his victim impact statement said.Blackmoore's cousin Jill Purvis asked Wright-Meldrum how she could betray the trust of a friend."What made you think you had the right to take part in the murder of a young mum?" Purvis said."How dare you betray a friend in such a cruel way."Angie's life was worth more than any amount of money."Another cousin, Leanne Keen, said she had dedicated her life to bringing those responsible for Blackmoore's murder to justice since she was a teenager."I'm disgusted by your lack of remorse and your attitudes while sitting in the dock, shaking your heads while evidence was being presented against you," she told the two murderers."You are stealers of life.""Rot in hell the pair of you. The pain, anger and stress you have put us through has been hard to contend with. I really haven't got the words to describe it."Anderson's niece, Stacey Brosnan, said the pair had "destroyed so many lives and you just don't care"."Angela and baby may be gone, but she will never be forgotten," Brosnan said."You may have taken her away, but you will never take the memories away."Jeremy Powell told the jury in Hawken and Wright-Meldrum's trial that Hawken threatened to kill his family if he did not murder Blackmoore, and boasted about his numerous gang connections.Powell claimed he was reluctant to carry out the killing, but eventually succumbed to Hawken's threats.Powell explained that he killed Blackmoore several days later and felt panicked before, during and after her murder."I remember hitting her two or three times with a bat, I remember the bat breaking," Powell said.Powell said he hit her with a bat first because he wanted to knock her out "so that she wouldn't feel anything"."I didn't want to hurt her," he said.Wright-Meldum, who was a friend of the Blackmoore's, was described by the prosecution as essential in securing access to the Wainoni property on the night of the murder.Hawken never paid him after the killing, Powell said.It took the jury two days of deliberations to decide on Hawken and Wright-Meldrum's guilt.

Freshwater ‘freak of nature’ found in Lake Wānaka
Freshwater ‘freak of nature’ found in Lake Wānaka

18 April 2024, 5:08 PM

A team of NIWA scientific divers have found a freshwater freak of nature in Lake Wānaka.They have unearthed plants that comprise moss and liverwort species, which are collectively known as deep-water bryophytes when found deep within lakes.The plants - a globally rare plant community, with New Zealand being one of the few places worldwide to support blankets of these species - were first discovered by NIWA divers in Otago’s lakes in the 1980s and 1990s.This year, Otago Regional Council (ORC) commissioned NIWA to undertake a submerged plant survey in lakes Wānaka, Hāwea, and Whakatipu, hoping to build upon the knowledge gained over three decades ago and establish a regular monitoring protocol.NIWA freshwater ecologist Mary de Winton was part of the dive team that first studied the bryophytes in the 1990s.“I was apprehensive about whether we’d find them again because climate and lake catchments have changed a lot in 30 years, but we were delighted to see the plants still thriving down there.”  NIWA scientists say the “freak of nature” survived because of the extreme transparency of our lake water. Bryophytes are usually found in moist environments like damp forest floors and shady rock faces, but the scientists saw them in Lakes Wānaka and Whakatipu up to 50m down.“It’s a really unusual place for them to grow, but we think they were washed into the lakes aeons ago and have found a niche in the quiet twilight depths. If it wasn’t for the extreme transparency of our lake water, we don’t think this ‘freak of nature’ would have survived,” Mary said.ORC lake scientist Hugo Borges said the survey was a success, with more work planned later in the year.“We haven’t done a full analysis yet, but we successfully revisited all sites and found deep-water bryophyte in some of them. We used a remotely operated vehicle to explore the lakebed, so have hours of footage to study – this will give us a better understanding of the extent of bryophytes coverage, which we can compare to the previous surveys,” he said.NIWA and ORC have scheduled a dive programme every three years to monitor Otago’s submerged plant communities. The results of the study will provide a baseline to monitor the health of this unusual community, which will be crucial for tracking environmental change, while the depths they grow down to will provide an indicator of the long-term clarity of the lakes.“Despite being simple organisms, deep-water bryophytes play a vital role in ecosystem functioning by providing habitats, improving water quality, and aiding biodiversity. They are highly sensitive gauges of water transparency, light transmission, sedimentation rates, temperature fluctuations, and changes in dissolved gases, all of which give us clues into the health of our freshwater environments,” Hugo said.Light levels where deep-water bryophytes are found have been estimated at less than one percent of the sunlight falling on the lake’s surface. A record of 128m for deep-water bryophytes was described for an Oregon lake in the year 2000.PHOTOS: NIWA

International music event mooted for Three Parks
International music event mooted for Three Parks

18 April 2024, 5:00 AM

Wānaka could play host to an artist “in the sphere of Dolly Parton” at a music event mooted for next summer.Alex Turnbull and Harry Gorringe presented their idea for a day-long concert featuring at least one top international act at Three Parks to the Wānaka Upper Clutha Community Board (WUCCB) today (Thursday April 18).Alex and Harry are respectively the founder and general manager of the successful and long-running Rhythm & Alps festival, which takes place in the Cardrona Valley each year. They said they envisioned a concert with somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 people at the outdoor space between the Wānaka Recreation Centre and New World Three Parks.Alex and Harry said they had been speaking with agents worldwide about possible performers.“I don’t want to speak too much about which acts…but if you imagine in the sphere of Dolly Parton, something like that,” Harry said. “I think the impact of an event like this would be profound.” Alex said the artists they were looking at were “pretty high level artists that are worldwide icons or heritage icons”.They pictured a one-day event with a focus on the 40 years and older market which would likely take place between late January and March.“I think [the Three Parks site] provides a great opportunity to have something that is inside the confines of Wānaka, one that doesn’t require us to bus people long distances to events,” Harry said. The first concert would be a pilot that would test the viability of a returning event, they said.Harry said the pair had approached Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) staff, who had recommended they speak with the board before formal planning with the council begins.For the most part WUCCB members were broadly supportive of the event but said they would like to ‘iron out’ some details regarding transport, crowd management and the like.Go deeper: The man behind R&APHOTO: Supplied

Clear health goals the target for advocacy group
Clear health goals the target for advocacy group

17 April 2024, 5:06 PM

A public hospital half an hour’s drive from Wānaka, no gaps in after hours health care, and easy access to GPs: Wānaka’s new lobby group has set some clear goals for the Upper Clutha and the group’s founding members mean business.Health Action Wānaka (HAW), has received a “strong and positive response” to its launch, with an increasing mailing list of subscribers and many community members getting in touch to offer their knowledge, experience and skills, Monique Mayze (a communications practitioner and Food for Love board member) told the Wānaka App.The other HAW steering committee members are Lucy Middendorf (local business owner and Community Networks board member), Nicky McCarthy (dietitian and Food for Love board member), retired GP Brigid Loughnan and social worker Heather Clay.The group was formed to provide a community-led voice to ensure the people of the Upper Clutha receive “the health services they deserve both today and in the future”, as members of the Upper Clutha community step up pressure on officials to improve access to local health services.HAW founding members attended last month’s meeting to discuss the pressure on local health services (organised by the Wānaka Upper Clutha Community Board), which filled the Lake Wānaka Centre.Read more: Community sends resounding message to health officials“Our steering committee is embarking on a 'discovery phase' of engaging with stakeholders across the system, including meetings with representatives from Central Otago Health Services, WellSouth and Te Whatu Ora,” Monique said.“We want to better understand the community's needs, the barriers to delivery, and what different stakeholders in the health system are willing to do to help meet the needs of our community.”The group’s website outlines its short and long term goals. Within six months, HAW wants delivery of extended (6pm to 8.30am) publicly funded after-hours healthcare for the community; and the opening of Wānaka's primary birthing unit in Albert Town.Read more: Renovation work begins on future Wānaka primary birthing unitWithin 12 months, the group wants a publicly funded blood-collection centre established in Wānaka so locals no longer have to pay for blood tests that people in other locations can access for free; increased resources to reduce wait times to see GPs; improved access to mental health services; and increased ambulance services to manage demand - especially during periods with high numbers of visitors.Within ten years, the group wants to see a fully publicly funded hospital built in Cromwell to service Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes’ growing population.Monique said these objectives are based on HAW’s current understanding of the community's needs and the healthcare system and they may change over time in response to community feedback and further research.To gather information to lobby for these goals, HAW is asking people to get in touch and share their stories about barriers they've faced when seeking healthcare services.People can visit the 'Resources' page of HAW’s website to access a google form where they can submit their story (anonymously if they wish).PHOTO: Wānaka App

Crimeline: ‘People are pushing it’ with drink driving
Crimeline: ‘People are pushing it’ with drink driving

17 April 2024, 5:04 PM

A police impairment prevention team which deployed in Wānaka last Friday (April 12) administered 694 breath tests to drivers across two policing checkpoints.Five of those drivers were over the legal alcohol limit to drive and each of them was around “one more mouthful” away from a more serious charge, Wānaka Police senior sergeant Fiona (Fi) Roberts said.“All of those drivers were at infringement level but every one of them were within 25 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath from a summons to court and inevitable minimum six months loss of licence,” Fi said.“People are pushing it.”Fi said the police were made aware of a driver in a parked van who was warning drivers away from one of the checkpoints.She reminded the public that the police do breath testing with community safety in mind.“The people who come through our checkpoints are your mums, dads, kids, grandparents, your builder, plumber, firefighter, mechanic, your teacher and you. We would love to test 5,000 people in a night and charge nobody.”“It isn’t worth the personal risk or the risk [to] the people close to you, to roll the dice by driving home when you’ve had a few.”Safe driving these school holidaysDriver behaviour of all kinds is front of mind for Wānaka Police as the busy school holiday period begins.“Expect to see high visibility during the school holidays, a lot of people will be on our roads including overseas visitors..,” Fi said.She encouraged drivers to take their time and drive to the conditions.Police are focused on four key behaviours: restraints (wearing seatbelts), impairment (drinking and driving or using drugs and driving), distractions (like using the phone while driving), and speed.Earthquake preparednessFi met with Queenstown Lakes District mayor Glyn Lewers last week about AF8 (resilience planning for a magnitude 8 alpine fault earthquake) and she has another meeting with Civil Defence Emergency Management and other agencies coming up.“This is something that has lived in my mind having lived through the Christchurch earthquake,” she said.She encouraged residents to undertake some planning for the event of an AF8 by doing a check of supplies and coming up with a plan for their household.“I’d like for Wānaka to be resilient not reliant,” she said.Find more planning advice on the AF8 website.Apple Watch error callsFi also asked Apple Watch owners to call the local police station right away if they find their Apple Watch has alerted emergency services in error.Apple Watches have the ability to detect car crashes and they automatically alert emergency services if one is detected, but sometimes these calls can be made in error. She said last week police travelled up and down Cardrona Valley Road after an automated call was received from an Apple Watch, but they did not find any crashed vehicle or occupants.It saves on police resources if people get in touch quickly if they realise an alert has been sent unnecessarily, she said.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

Who holds Wānaka’s purse strings: Board seeks control over asset fund
Who holds Wānaka’s purse strings: Board seeks control over asset fund

17 April 2024, 5:00 PM

The Wānaka Upper Clutha Community Board (WUCCB) is pushing for control over an asset fund worth more than $3.4M which is earmarked for the Upper Clutha. The Wānaka Asset Sale Reserve Fund was established when $15.6M was raised by the sale of Scurr Heights land owned by the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) in 2016.The fund was to be used to fund capital expenditure which “benefits the residents of the Wānaka ward”. The fund now sits at around $3.4M (although some imminent land sales may bolster that figure).Control of the asset fund is one of the few items planned to be discussed at today’s WUCCB meeting in Lake Hāwea (Thursday April 18).Wānaka’s swimming pool was part funded by the asset fund. PHOTO: Wānaka AppThe only agenda item is a report from board chair Simon Telfer, which says the board “is continuing to advocate for greater empowerment over the Wānaka Asset Sales Reserve Fund”. “While the reserve's purpose will stay the same we would like the spending/investment of the funds to be delegated to the board and for it to allow greater partnership with local community groups for delivery,” Simon said.QLDC guidelines say the fund may be used for projects which increase the level of service for the Wānaka ward (excluding services required because of growth, otherwise funded from development contributions and depreciation) and may include repayment of debt on projects which have increased the level of service for the ward.The fund contributed $2.4M to Paetara/Aspiring Central. PHOTO: Quentin SmithThe funds may not be used for operating expenditure or to purchase assets which are primarily acquired for speculative purposes.Simon said the board was looking at potential control of the fund as “an opportunity from community, for community, by community, with community”.He said QLDC chief executive Mike Theelen has confirmed the issue will be discussed further in May. Since 2016, $6M of the fund has been put toward the Wānaka Recreation Centre swimming pool, $4M contribution to the purchase of Mt Iron (from an approximate purchase price of $8M), and $2.4M towards the new Paetara/Aspiring Central Youth Centre (including a $1M loan being repaid over ten years).More controversially, $1M was put towards Luggate’s new hall, Whare Mahana, to cover a project shortfall; and $500,000 was granted to the Wānaka Community Hub.When the fund was established, QLDC councillor Lyal Cocks joked that “Queenstown people can keep their sticky mitts off it”. By 2020, he had raised concerns that QLDC staff wanted to allocate $1M of the fund to the Luggate hall build, saying “this fund was never intended to become a slush fund to cover budget shortfalls”.During that discussion then-councillor Quentin Smith said the board needed to ensure the remainder of the fund would be spent “incredibly wisely.”Then-community board member Jude Battson said the remaining money in the fund should be spent on “something that will be around forever”, suggesting an arts centre as an appropriate project. Quentin said the money could also be used if the council had to purchase land at Sticky Forest.In 2022 QLDC controversially recommended a $500,000 loan to the Wānaka Community House Charitable Trust (now known as the Wānaka Community Hub - a group neither owned nor operated by the council) be converted to a grant from the asset fund to help resolve the group’s financial challenges. The board was split on the appropriateness of the grant, but it was eventually approved.Read more: Potential sites identified for Wānaka arts facilityCommunity Hub’s funding fate to be decided

Have your say on proposed rates hike
Have your say on proposed rates hike

16 April 2024, 5:06 PM

Upper Clutha residents can speak with Otago Regional Council (ORC) councillors about their Long Term Plan (LTP) at a drop-in session in Wānaka tomorrow (Thursday April 18). The regional council has proposed a programme of works in the proposed LTP which would mean Otago ratepayers would need to fork up for an average rates increase of 18.6 percent in 2024-2025.Across Queenstown Lakes the increase could be much higher as the result of a targeted rate for public transport (PT); while public transport is only being proposed for Queenstown, under the current proposal Upper Clutha ratepayers would be subject to the targeted rate.In a statement ORC said a home worth $1.2M in Queenstown Lakes could face an increase of $125, but Queenstown Lakes deputy mayor Quentin Smith said average ratepayers would face "a substantial increase".The ORC has created an online rates estimator which indicates that a Wānaka property with a capital value of $1.69M could face an increase of more than $270.Search your own property here.Quentin told the Wānaka App last week he expects the community to “push back hard” on the Upper Clutha’s inclusion in the targeted rate.“It is incongruent that Wānaka and the Upper Clutha are being asked to contribute to PT through ORC rates when we have no PT services provided for us,” he said.“PT would be fantastic for the Upper Clutha, and even more so in time, but it does come at a significant cost, not one that we should be burdened with without access to the services.”Other factors driving the proposed rates increases include flood protection and drainage programmes and environmental project funding, ORC chair Gretchen Robertson said.Thursday’s drop-in session will provide a chance for residents to share their views and learn more about the LTP proposal.“We need to know now whether you agree or disagree with these proposals,” Gretchen said.The drop-in session will take place between 4pm-7pm at the Lake Wānaka Centre.Residents can also have their say on the LTP by making a submission, which Gretchen encourages.“There are options up for discussion and we’re urging people in the community to make submissions now as the work programmes being discussed will have effects on them for the next 10 years ahead.”Submissions can be made on the ORC website until April 28.PHOTO: Wānaka App

Artists in residence this week
Artists in residence this week

16 April 2024, 5:04 PM

The Wānaka Autumn Art School has kicked off for 2024 with students diving into their choice from a broad range of artistic disciplines from painting to indigo dyeing, and memoir writing to book arts.The once-a-year art school gives people the opportunity to step away from their everyday lives for five days and focus on learning or fine-tuning a skill or interest, with help from experienced tutors. Robyn van Reenen and Dennis Schwarz retired from organising the event in 2022, and Liz Hawker and Susan Manson are now in their second year as its new coordinators.Susan told the Wānaka App they like to “mix up” the classes on offer each year and this year new classes include pencil drawing and memoir writing (which returns after a break).Two tutors have travelled from Australia for the art school, and there are “a handful” from the North Island, with the remainder coming from the South Island.“It’s very rare we have tutors from Wānaka because we want to expose people to new artists,” Susan said. Classes are on average about 90 percent full this year, with mixed media (a type of visual art combining multiple media or materials) the first to sell out.“We’re very happy with the number of registrations this year,” Susan said. Like previous years, the art school offered a handful of scholarships, and the junior scholarship recipient is Te Kura o Tititea Mt Aspiring College (MAC) student Ryan Stenbridge, who is taking pencil drawing.The senior scholarships went to Emma Edwards and Anna Scott Walker, who are both in the mixed media class.The art school will open its doors to the public at lunchtime on Friday to give them the chance to see the creations made over the course of the week.The Wānaka Autumn Art School is a non-profit event run by the Upper Clutha Community Arts Council and surplus funds provide scholarships for young artists and the betterment of the arts in the Upper Clutha Community.To visit the art school on Friday, head to MAC between 12.30-1.30pm and follow the art school signs.PHOTO: Supplied

MAC 1st XV primed for season
MAC 1st XV primed for season

16 April 2024, 5:00 PM

The Southern Schools Rugby Championship kicks off in May and the Te Kura o Titiea Mt Aspiring College 1st XV (MAC) team held a training camp over the past weekend in preparation.The side will be coached by Jason Clarke and Wayne Enoka and will field an experienced lineup. Wayne said he is excited to see what they can produce.“The boys are training exceptionally well,” he said. “I think we’ve got a lot of year 13s this year and they want to leave their mark on MAC rugby.”Wayne said the training camp, which was held in conjunction with King’s High School (Dunedin), was an opportunity to develop the players and coaches by drawing on the resources at King’s High School as well as the skills of Otago rugby regional development coach Will Henry.“The purpose was more of a development, training and learning for the players and coaches,” Wayne said.“We’ve decided we’ll make it an annual thing, so we’ll do it with King’s every year.”Approximately 28 MAC students attended the camp which included game time against King’s High School’s 1st XV & 2nd XV.Top coaches imparted their knowledge to the players.In a boost for rugby at MAC, Otago Rugby Union coach developer Aaron Callaghan has worked with the coaches to prepare the 1st XV for the season, which Wayne said “is huge for us”. “Being able to have him on board and to have that experience is amazing for the boys,” Wayne said.The format for the Southern Schools Rugby Championship is 18 schools competing across two divisions; a top six and then two second tiers of six each. After a round-robin the respective winners of each second tier will play for promotion to the top six before the commencement of the second round. After the second round teams will enter a finals series based on their finishing position in the second round.In round one MAC will play in the second-tier Maroon Pool featuring Central Southland College 1st XV, Dunstan High School 1st XV, Southland Boys High School 2nd XV, John McGlashan College 2nd XV, and Waitaki Boys High School 1st XV.MAC’s first match is on Saturday May 11 at MAC at 12.45pm against Waitaki Boys High School.Photos: Mandy Enoka

It can be difficult deciding who to trust with your money (Investing blog)
It can be difficult deciding who to trust with your money (Investing blog)

15 April 2024, 8:00 PM

By Amanda CleaverFinancial Adviser With financial scams on the increase, it can be difficult deciding who to trust with your money. It’s a big decision picking an investment partner, especially considering the wide range of investment companies and services available. One of the most common things I hear is how much our clients value being able to meet face-to-face with a real person based in Wānaka. With an office in Wānaka since 2016, Milford prides itself on our commitment to our clients and to the Wānaka community. Here are a few steps you can take to form a sound investment partnership.Set your goalsBefore deciding who to invest with, it’s worth identifying your investment goals. What are you trying to achieve with your money?Two common goals are:I’m still working but I want to understand how much I need to save for my retirementI’m retired and I want to draw an income to cover my expenses But there are a range of other goals you could also have. For instance, you may want to set up an education fund for your children or perhaps you’ve come into some money and you simply have no idea I how to best invest it. The key is taking the time you need to consider and identify your goals, being as specific as possible.Consider the optionsNext, get an understanding of the different types of companies you could work with and if they have the products and services you need to help you reach your individual goals.Begin by doing a little research. Here are a few questions to ask about the investment companies you are considering:How have their investments performed over the long term?Are their fees transparent?Do the staff invest their own money in the same funds as you?Do they offer financial advice?Can you view your investment details at any time?Do they clearly explain their investment decisions?How often will they contact you?Different people like to interact in different ways and on different schedules, so these questions can help you assess whether the relationship would work for you. This step is all about understanding your options and finding a partner who is a good fit.Check inOnce you’ve identified your goals and found the partner you believe will help you get there, you can start investing. But try to avoid falling into a ‘set and forget’ mindset. We suggest a ‘set and review’ mindset instead. You don’t need to monitor your investments constantly but it’s worth a regular check-in. You should definitely review your investments when your life circumstances change.This will help ensure your investments are still aligned to your goals. It’s also a chance to assess whether your investment partner is doing a good job. If they’re not, you can always go back to step two and reconsider your options.Peace of mindAlthough it can be challenging, finding the right investment partner can be very rewarding – financially and by providing peace of mind. That, in turn, can give you time to focus on other things that really matter in your life. Use these three tips as a guide and, before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your financial goals.If you’re not currently a client of Milford’s and you are struggling with any of these steps, we have a team of financial advisers based in Wānaka who would be happy to meet with you, in person, free of charge.If you would like to talk with any of Milford’s Wanaka-based Wealth Management team, please feel free to get in touch on 03 443 4695. Financial Adviser Disclosure Statements are available on request free of charge. Disclaimer: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Milford Funds Limited is the issuer of the Milford KiwiSaver Plan and Milford Investment Funds. Please read the relevant Milford Product Disclosure Statement at milfordasset.com. Before investing you may wish to seek financial advice. For more information on our financial advice services please visit milfordasset.com/getting-adviceLevel 1/19 Sir Tim Wallis Drive, Wānaka Tel: 03 443 4695

‘Great ideas’ in waste diversion sought
‘Great ideas’ in waste diversion sought

15 April 2024, 5:06 PM

The 2024 Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) Waste Minimisation Community Fund (WMCF) is now open for applications.The ongoing goal of the fund is to support community efforts that help move the Queenstown Lakes towards becoming a sustainable, zero-waste district.It aims to help individuals, community groups, businesses, Iwi/Māori organisations and education providers develop initiatives that reduce or divert waste from landfill and encourage community participation in waste minimisation.This year, a funding pool of $50,000 is available for community projects that encourage enduring change in waste behaviour, and $10,000 for commercial waste minimisation or resource recovery projects.“Whether you're a grassroots community group, a local business or school, or an enthusiastic individual with a great idea that supports reducing waste at the source and or diverts material from landfill, we want to hear from you,” QLDC senior sustainability advisor Kath Buttar said.“We want to support projects that prevent waste in the first place as well as projects that focus on keeping resources in circulation through re-use, repair, and repurposing of materials.”The WMCF was founded in 2018 and it has supported a range of projects.Last 15 projects were supported across the district spanning food rescue, textile waste reduction, composting and reuse initiatives.They included Mountainside Educare’s waste minimisation programme, the reuse initiatives at Wānaka Community Workshop and Fabricate and Kids First Kindergarten’s Hāwea composting project, among others.Applications for the fund will be open for five weeks, closing on May 17.Learn more about the initiatives supported by last year’s funding here and learn more about QLDC’s Waste Minimisation Community Fund here.PHOTO: Fabricate

Multi-year wellbeing funding opens
Multi-year wellbeing funding opens

15 April 2024, 5:04 PM

A Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) fund designed for community groups and not-for-profit organisations which promote community wellbeing has opened.QLDC community partnerships manager Marie Day encouraged eligible groups to apply for the Community Fund 2024-2027, noting applicants will be able to request up to three years of operational or project funding.“We welcome applications from new or established groups and not-for-profit organisations in the district,” she said.“Successful past recipients have included those that reflect the diversity of our community. “These include those working in social services, environmental protection, arts, culture and heritage through recreational projects such as building tracks and trails.”  Marie said QLDC had a new online platform this year.“This will help simplify the application process with those seeking funding able to use this site to apply, see the status of their application, submit any required additional reporting and more.” The platform will also host the QLDC Events Fund, QLDC Community Fund (which are both now open) and the upcoming QLDC Waste Minimisation Community Fund (which opens next week). “I’d encourage anyone keen to find out more about these funding opportunities and how to use the new application platform to head to the community funding page on our website,” Marie said.The Community Fund application process has now been separated from the recently deferred Long Term Plan (LTP). “The LTP will be open for submissions later in the year but applications for funding are being considered now,” Marie said. “This is to ensure that community funding can be allocated in the usual timeframe, with approved grants paid out from 1 July onwards.” Applications for the QLDC Community Fund 2024-2027 close on Tuesday 7 May. They will be reviewed in May and successful applicants notified in July. Full details including funding criteria, key dates and how to apply is available here.PHOTO: Wānaka App

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