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Weather: Heavy rain warnings for Westland, Fiordland, Otago headwaters from Tuesday
Weather: Heavy rain warnings for Westland, Fiordland, Otago headwaters from Tuesday

08 April 2024, 5:50 AM

West Coast Emergency Management teams are ramping up ahead of a major weather system set to bring days of heavy rain and strong winds to southern parts of the country from Tuesday morning.In its latest forecast, MetService meteorologist John Law said a low pressure system would arrive from the west on Tuesday morning, affecting Fiordland, Westland south of Hokitika and up into the ranges. The front will stall over the West Coast through Wednesday and Thursday.Orange heavy rain warnings are in force for Westland, south of Hokitika, from 9am Tuesday until 6pm Thursday, and for Fiordland - about and north of George Sound - and the headwaters of Otago lakes and rivers from 9am Tuesday until Wednesday morning.In addition, heavy rain watches are in place from 9am Tuesday until 6pm Thursday for the Grey District and the Westland District north of Hokitika, and for Fiordland south of George Sound for most of Tuesday.The headwaters of Canterbury Lakes and rivers are also subject to a heavy rain watch from 9am Tuesday until Wednesday evening."We will continue to see that wet weather feeding in from the Tasman Sea, and it's that prolonged nature which is giving us the most concern for those areas around Westland, particularly south of Hokitika and up into the ranges, where we could find as much as 600mm-800mm of rainfall."There will be lower volumes closer to the coast, but those areas as well as the Otago lakes and rivers could still see around 200mm-300mm of rain, Law said.Civil defence teams were taking a precautionary approach as Westland prepared for the deluge, with local coordinators being contacted to check-in, and testing of alternate communications in some areas.West Coast Emergency Management (WCEM) will meet with local authorities on Tuesday morning to assess the forecast and update plans.It has not ruled out activating an Emergency Operation Centre if the situation deteriorated.WCEM group manager Claire Brown said: "The West Coast is not unaccustomed to large rainfall, however we are wanting people to keep an eye out and to take care".People in the area should keep up to date with the latest information and take precautions, she said.That included reviewing emergency plans for their home or work, and ensuring anyone travelling the region's roads and highways had water, food and warm clothing with them.People are encouraged to keep up to date with the state highway conditions and plan ahead on the NZTA website.NZ Transport Authority Waka Kotahi said it was monitoring the conditions closely."Early forecast rainfall totals in the region are significant, and may impact parts of the state highway network, including the possibility of surface flooding and debris on road surfaces," a spokesperson said.State highway closures were possible given the severity of the forecast but crews were ready to respond, Waka Kotahi said.Strong wind watchesStrong wind watches are also in place from 6pm Monday until 6pm Tuesday for Fiordland and for the Canterbury High Country for 24 hours from noon on Tuesday.The strongest winds on Wednesday would likely be about inland Otago and Canterbury, the Marlborough Sounds, Wellington and southern Wairarapa, the forecaster said.Reproduced with permission

Roadworks Update 8/4/24
Roadworks Update 8/4/24

07 April 2024, 8:22 PM

Please see the areas of the Southland state highway network where you are likely to experience delays this coming week due to programmed works. Please note: The work on SH1 Clyde St in Invercargill has both the north and southbound lanes closed now.Southbound traffic use Earn/Nith Streets.Northbound traffic use Bond/Annan/Crinan streets.Heavy traffic on Bond St heading south to use Annan/Crinan and then Earn/Nith St detour. Highways South work with traffic management in place (all with temporary speed limits):SH1 Bluff highway between Avon road and Bayview Road, temporary traffic lights for pavement repairsSH1 Clyde St between Earn and Nith streets, lanes closed in both directions (see above) *ongoing for 3-4 weeksSH1 East Road near Racecourse Road, temporary traffic lights for pavement repairsSH1 Woodlands-Invercargill highway near Kennington, temporary traffic lights for pavement repairsSH6 Athol-Five Rivers highway near Bixter Road, temporary traffic lights for pavement repairsSH93 Old Coach Road near Three Stones Road, temporary traffic lights for pavement repairsSH93 Old Coach Road near Jeff Road, temporary traffic lights for pavement repairsSH93 Old Coach Road near Hurst Road, temporary traffic lights for pavement repairs SH96 Winton-Hedgehope highway near Deveraux Road, temporary traffic lights for drainageSH96 Winton-Wreys Bush highway near Mayfield road, temporary traffic lights for drainageSH97 Mossburn-Five Rivers Road near Ellis Road , temporary traffic lights for pavement repairs Third party work and events with traffic management in place this week (all with temporary speed limits):SH1 Gore St Bluff, northbound lane closed with detour via Lee/Barrow/Palmer for demolition workSH1 Gore St Bluff between Shannon and Suir streets, traffic lights for cycle path work SH1 Bluff highway at Kew, stop/go for asset inspectionsSH6 North Road near McIvor Road, lane drop for utility inspectionsSH96 Glencoe highway near Te Tipua, stop/go for tree trimmingSH96 Glencoe highway Waitane, stop/go for cycle race **Sunday April 7th only Useful links:NZTA Journeys website - https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/journey-planner Freight Impact Register - https://www.nzta.govt.nz/commercial-driving/trucks-and-tow-trucks/potential-restrictions-affecting-freight/ - download and filter the region for ‘Southland’. This will indicate any upcoming work in the next fortnight which have closures, detours or width restrictions for freight.

The race to save a treasured lagoon
The race to save a treasured lagoon

05 April 2024, 4:00 AM

A Southland wetland home to a plethora of native birds, fish and plants is walking a tightrope of ecological health.Spanning an area of more than 3500 hectares, the Waituna Lagoon forms part of the much larger Awarua Wetland, located southeast of Invercargill.The site made history in 1976 by becoming the first in the country to be recognised under the Ramsar convention — an intergovernmental treaty for conservation, which deems the lagoon a wetland of international importance.But in recent months, it has gained notoriety for the wrong reasons.The Waituna Lagoon has been battling an outbreak of toxic algae Cyanobacteria, requiring emergency works from regional council Environment Southland in January to manually open it to the sea.If left unattended, the bacteria could have proven harmful to humans and some animals, such as dogs and livestock. Te Rūnanga o Awarua chairperson Dean Whaanga says both the health and abundance of mahinga kai at the lagoon is a good indication of how it's doing. Photo: ODT/SuppliedAlthough the move to flush it out was supported by the Department of Conservation, freshwater science lead Nicki Atkinson explains such decisions come at a cost.“Two things really affect lagoon health,” Atkinson says.“One is the opening, and how frequently and when it’s opened. The other is the nutrient loads that come in from the catchment.“We kind of have to fix both of those problems in order to restore it.”Atkinson says although the lagoon is resilient, nearby farming has created issues.Fertiliser and cow manure has seeped into groundwater and washed into waterways, producing a nutrient buildup which has damaged the natural environment.In a worst case scenario, it manifests in a bloom like that of the past few months.“The indications are that at the moment, it is too much (nutrients), and we’ve got probably a legacy of nutrients going in there as well, stored up in sediments and things.”Managing the area under current conditions is a balancing act, and while opening the lagoon reduces the nutrient load, it also jeopardises rupia — an aquatic plant crucial to the lagoon’s ecological wellbeing.For that reason, both DoC and Te Rūnanga o Awarua have previously advocated for the area to only be opened at higher levels.There are bright spots, however.Restoration work taking place on the back of the lagoon’s problems has given iwi an opportunity to reconnect with the place in a new way.That's according to rūnanga chairperson Dean Whaanga, who is optimistic good things are still in store for Waituna.Some of the health indicators released last year were the best on record, he says, and the area had been on “a good trajectory”.“But these things come up. Deal with them, take learnings.”For him, both the health and abundance of mahinga kai was a good indicator of how well the lagoon was doing.“We’re really keen on having a healthy lagoon, and we think by having a healthy lagoon, everything else will fall into place as well.”So what’s next?Atkinson says DoC is working collectively with Environment Southland and the rūnanga to sort out a consent for the lagoon's long-term management.But she warned it could take some time before the impact of the last few months is fully known.“It might take . . . almost a year to know the impact of that algal bloom and emergency opening.”Another bright spot - early indications are positive.Environment Southland chief scientist Karen Wilson said algae levels had mostly returned to mid-2023 levels since opening the lagoon, which was now in a "brackish", or slightly salty, state.It was not practically possible to close the opening following the January work, but the lagoon had taken care of this itself, and was now fully closed off.As far as Atkinson is concerned, any sort of return to a natural state is something worth celebrating.“It’s got a lot of threatened native birds and fish and plants," she says.“We don’t have that many coastal wetland systems left in New Zealand.“More than 90 percent of our wetlands have been drained, and a lot of those are in a coastal environment.“So there’s not many places left like that.”LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air

One last look before museum's demolition
One last look before museum's demolition

05 April 2024, 3:16 AM

Te Rūnaka o Awarua kaiwhakahaere Dean Whaanga and Invercargill City Council mana whenua representative Evelyn Cook, of Waihōpai Rūnaka, led mana whenua, past and present museum staff, trust members, and the project team on a final walk-through of the ground floor of Southland Museum and Art Gallery last week (25 Mar), ahead of the building's demolition this month (Apr).The occasion was also used as a whakawātea - to clear the way for demolition, and also included a poroporoaki ceremony.The building's demolition will make way for the new Te Unua Museum of Southland which is set to open in late 2026.An artist's impression of the new Te Unua Museum of Southland. Graphic: ICCA new facility has already been built at Tisbury to store the museum's current collections, while the museum's resident tuatara - currently residing in a secret city location - will be relocated to a purpose-built enclosure within Queens Park.Whaanga said it was a time for reflection and to farewell the whare.“There’s a lot of memories in this place and a lot of energy. Energy still reverberates through here, but this house has done its mahi.”Southland Regional Collection Manager Wayne Marriott said he was thinking of all of the people who had been through the doors and all the things that had happened over the building’s many years.“There was a heck of a lot of fun in this place, it buzzed. We’re going to say goodbye to a building, a building that has stood the test of time and now is our opportunity to say haere rā.”Invercargill City Council Chief Executive Michael Day said he had memories of visiting the museum as a child.“For me, this place has great memories. This has memories for Southland and I hope we all treasure those memories and take those with us. Those memories will continue and it’s not a building that continues with those memories, it’s us as people.”Te Unua Museum of Southland Director Eloise Wallace said she first visited the old museum in the 90s as a teenager, long before starting her journey into museums.“I remember it was humming and there was something new around every corner."“Coming back here many years later to Southland charged with developing and operating Te Unua is really exciting."“I want to acknowledge the building and what it has given to Southland, and the people who have been associated with this place for so many years and all of their mahi to make this place magic."“Those memories will remain on this site and weave their way into the new building that rises.”An artist's impression of the new complex for Invercargill's tuatara. Graphic: ICCThe end of the collection move and start of demolition marked a significant milestone for the project, Wallace said."We are now looking ahead to Te Unua Museum of Southland, which when completed in 2026, will offer an incredible modern museum facility, embodying state-of-the-art design and innovative experiences," she said.Acknowledging the community's bond with the old museum, Wallace said, "We understand it may be confronting for many locals to see the pyramid come down."It has been an icon and a fixture in the lives of Southlanders for many years. However, this is an important milestone in our move towards a new space. So, in many ways, this is an exciting step.""However, we won't close this chapter without giving residents the chance to say goodbye in their own way. Keep an eye out for Council's Memory Lane initiative coming soon."City Councillors inspecting the museum's new storage facility at Tisbury. Photo: ICCThe Memory Lane initiative invites Southland residents to share their memories of the museum through stories, photos, audio messages, and handwritten notes.Contributions can be made via Invercargill City Council's social media channels or at designated drop-off points and will commemorate the museum's rich history and impact on local lives.

ILT celebrating a coal-free future
ILT celebrating a coal-free future

05 April 2024, 12:15 AM

ILT achieved a remarkable milestone this week in its sustainability journey, celebrating the conversion of the boiler at the Ascot Park Hotel to a biomass boiler.The commissioning of the boiler marks a pivotal moment in ILT's commitment to environmental awareness and represents a significant stride in reducing its carbon emissions.Paddy O’Brien, chair of ILT, expressed immense pride in reaching the milestone."This project was not just about installing a boiler; it was an opportunity for us to continue our sustainability journey. Our approach towards sustainability has always been one of continuous improvement and this was a giant leap for us.”Chris Ramsay, ILT’s chief executive shared Mr O’Brien’s sentiment.“The Ascot Park Hotel is now coal free, marking a complete elimination of coal usage by ILT.”The $1.881 million project, co-funded by EECA (Energy Efficient and Conservation Authority), in partnership with Great South, has seen the hotel transition from coal to wood chips, resulting in a remarkable 98% reduction in carbon emissions, equivalent to saving around 1000t of CO2 per annum.Project Manager, Paul Elliott of OceanOne said this project was a significant achievement for ILT.“It shows their commitment to reducing carbon emissions and sets a great example as industry leaders in innovation and sustainability.It also sees collaboration between local businesses as ILT has entered a woodchip supply contract with AWT Ltd. This supply contract ensures that the woodchip supply for the hotel is from Southland and supports the region’s economy,” said Mr Elliott.The project’s completion ahead of schedule is attributed to a successful partnership with lead contractor CH Faul. The local company has strong expertise in this area connecting with Austrian based manufacturer Fröling, to supply two state of the art 500kw biomass boilers. The industrial grade units were installed by the end of February, with commissioning following shortly after.Mr Ramsay said the hotel remained open and fully functional during the project.“This was crucial for us and is a credit to Paul, CH Faul and all the other contractors involved,” he said.“Maintaining the hotel’s operations directly contributes to our overall profits, which are invested in the community. It’s incredibly pleasing to complete this project, while simultaneously continuing to give back to the community. Our donations have already surpassed $7.5 million this financial year to 29 February 2024.”The boiler conversion is part of ILT’s broader sustainability strategy, which includes initiatives such as solar panel additions to ILT Head Office and the nursery development, demonstrating the organisation’s commitment to improving energy efficiency where possible.It also signals the organisation’s ongoing investment in Ascot Park Hotel, its premier conference and events centre, including the recent upgrade to the reception and foyer area plus regular room refurbishments.Published by arrangement

Books littered 5km down Invercargill road
Books littered 5km down Invercargill road

04 April 2024, 8:25 AM

Dozens of books have been dumped along five kilometres of road in Invercargill over the long weekend (30 Mar).Invercargill City Council parks and recreation manager Caroline Rain said a ranger discovered the pages and covers ripped from printed books on Saturday afternoon."Unfortunately, more litter of the same type was deposited again along Daffodil Bay Road the following day. This was approximately 5km on both sides of road," Rain said."Due to the sheer volume of book material and with light cover over the long weekend, more staff were going to be needed [after the Easter break] to make a dent in what was a huge task."It was estimated it would take 80 to 100 hours of staff time to pick up the litter."The community came together to help, she said."This would have taken our team considerable time and effort to remove and prevent them from undertaking more productive work."We are exceptionally grateful to the group who organised themselves through a Facebook post and arranged a clean-up of this area. Thank you for your support."Numerous fines had been handed out for dumped rubbish found at Sandy Point in recent months, Rain said."However, in this case there has been no way of identifying who was involved," she said."Sandy Point Domain is highly valued by the local community and visitors to the city. This act of senseless and destructive littering could have had a long-term effect on the environment beyond being visually distressing."Reproduced with permission

DOC spent nearly $500,000 to kill one stoat in Fiordland
DOC spent nearly $500,000 to kill one stoat in Fiordland

04 April 2024, 8:06 AM

The Department of Conservation (DOC) spent nearly half a million dollars on an operation to kill one stoat.In August 2022 a male stoat was identified on Chalky Island/Te Kākahu-O-Tamatea, in Fiordland which has been predator-free since 1999.Select committee documents show from the time the animal was detected to its capture eight months later DOC spent $483,260.These include costs such as incident management team costs, staff time, conservation dog handlers, helicopter and boat expenses.The Government agency spent just over another $210,000 on ensuring the island was pest free by installing surveillance systems and doing biosecurity planning.In the documents DOC explained that had the stoat not been caught it could have killed Kākāpō chicks, nationally endangered Ted Te Kākahu skinks and Little Spotted Kiwi chicks.Auckland University Professor of Conservation Biology, James Russell told RNZ the fact Kākāpō have been reintroduced to the island makes it a "precious place.""That isolation that has protected the birds is also what makes some of these operations so expensive such as doing a predator incursion response."Russell said he supported DOC's decision to spend the money on the stoat eradication."We have to decide, do we want to keep investing in this and push through these reinvasions and hopefully work towards a predator free New Zealand or will we just kind of draw the line and say we're not willing to spend any more money on these predator incursion responses."He said islands around the country have seen similar stoat incursions."On Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands in the Hauraki Gulf they had no less than four stoat incursions over a year in 2021."Russell said the animal can swim or hitchhike on peoples' boats.He said half a million dollars does sound like a lot of money but people should remember that DOC manages 33 percent of the country on half a percent of the government's budget."When we are looking at some of the challenges and the responsibilities we have to our native birds and reptiles of New Zealand I think we really should feel that DOC's pretty hard done by."Russell told RNZ with government departments facing restructures they should be trying to help DOC as much as possible.The Conservation Minister has been approached for comment.[4 APR: The Southland Conservation Board came out in support of DOC's efforts including the capture of Chalky Island's rogue stoat which they called valiant, and said should be applauded.They said Chalky Island was at one of the most remote corners of Fiordland, accessible only by boat or helicopter, and its very isolation underpined its suitability as a sanctuary island for some of our most endangered native bird species.Even a single stoat can imperil the survival of a species, they said, and the extinction of several species of native birds is believed to be due to stoat predation.]Reproduced with permission

Labour MP slams Invercargill Mayor over youth offending stance
Labour MP slams Invercargill Mayor over youth offending stance

04 April 2024, 7:41 AM

A southern MP has slammed comments by the mayor of Invercargill that minors guilty of serious crime should be treated the same way as adults.On Wednesday, Mayor Nobby Clark told RNZ it made no difference if someone was 11 or 12 years of age when it came to justice for “adult crimes”.“They’re just absolutely bulletproof,” he said, while criticising the Youth Aid system.Invercargill Mayor Nobby Clark announced a public meeting this week to address youth crime in the city. Photo: ODT/SuppliedHis remarks followed an announcement that same day he would hold a public meeting this weekend to address issues with youth crime in Invercargill.Labour MP Ingrid Leary has hit out at the mayor’s stance, saying there was no evidence that treating children as adults in the justice system worked to prevent crime.“In fact, the opposite is true,” she said.“The earlier young people enter the justice system and prisons in particular . . . the more likely it is they’ll go to long term adult offending.”Leary has been acting as a buddy-MP for Invercargill since MP Liz Craig's departure from Parliament last election. National holds the Southland seat.Community groups and businesses had spoken to Leary about what was happening in the city.She welcomed the public discussion on Saturday — and planned to attend — but said deprivation was at the core of the issue, as evidenced by a recent project called the Invercargill Initiative.The Te Rourou One Aotearoa Foundation led-project found 23 percent of young people in the southern city experienced exclusion and disadvantage, which was higher than the national average."This is more than just youth offending, and more than just a Police issue. This is about deprivation.”Invercargill National MP Penny Simmonds also planned to attend Saturday’s meeting, which she said would be an opportunity for people to discuss a joint approach for addressing the city’s problems.Simmonds said local Police had told her youth offending in Invercargill was no worse than elsewhere in the country, but that a small number of young locals were causing most of the issues.The city’s new mall had also been a target, she said.“The coalition government has already made it clear that we want to crack down on serious youth crime.“This includes the establishment of military-style academies.”Southland area commander Mike Bowman said Police were generally supportive of any initiatives or discussion around issues such as youth crime, and would have a representative at the meeting.There was public concern around youth crime in Invercargill, and the Police would work alongside community partners to do their bit, Bowman said.Mayor Clark was approached for comment but did not respond.Saturday’s meeting will be held at Invercargill’s Civic Theatre from 7pm.LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air

‘Pushing the rates burden north’: Invercargill councillors debate bus fares
‘Pushing the rates burden north’: Invercargill councillors debate bus fares

04 April 2024, 7:36 AM

Public transport fares could be set for a shake-up in Invercargill on the back of a Government decision to withdraw subsidies.On Wednesday, city councillors discussed their response to the Government’s announcement it would no longer fund free public transport for users under 13, or half price fares for those under 25.The changes are set to take effect from the start of next month, and in the case of Invercargill, leave a $95,000 hole.Council strategic asset planning manager Doug Rodgers said some other councils were keeping “some but not all” of the benefits — which they would now have to foot themselves.Rodgers presented several different costings available to the council which ranged from $59,000 to $141,000 per annum, depending on what kind of subsidy it wanted to foot moving forward.Councillor Lesley Soper said it was a known fact the council was struggling with low numbers on its public transport network, and advocated for reduced fares for young people.“On that basis alone, I’m very much attracted to the keeping the fares free for the under 12 year olds, and half price for the next bracket,” Soper said.“We just have to be serious about the fact we cannot sustain another drop in the usage of our public transport.“This is the age group we want to get into the habit of using public transport and seeing it as a viable option.”According to council data, a total 140,000 passenger trips were logged on the city’s network every year.Councillor Darren Ludlow said it was important to encourage young parents with children to use it.The decision around subsidy was a tough one because the council needed to keep a lid on expenses while also being aware of the increase in household expenditures, he said.Mayor Nobby Clark questioned the need to subsidise the teenage age bracket, saying it was possible the council would end up “pouring a lot of money in, but not getting a lot of benefit for a very small group”.He called for more data on patronage before a decision was made.Councillor Trish Boyle advocated for people who had come to the city from a refugee background and tended to live on the outskirts of the city.“Their only transport is by bus, and they use it frequently,” she said.“And perhaps mayor I could take you for a ride in the morning and you could see a few people on the bus.”With most elected members speaking in favour of retaining a subsidy of some kind, deputy mayor Tom Campbell said he wanted to “pour a little bit of cold water” on what he was hearing.Campbell said the council risked unfairly penalising ratepayers if it sought to plug the gaps left by a lack of taxpayer funding.“This might be the first of a number of things we see coming through where Government has decided we can’t afford.“If every time we step up … then all we’re doing is pushing the rates burden north.”Councillors ultimately moved to continue subsidising the network out of its own pocket for two more months during which time staff would prepare a follow-up report with more data.LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air

55 years of Fiordland's Medical Centre chronicled
55 years of Fiordland's Medical Centre chronicled

04 April 2024, 6:56 AM

A new local history book The Fiordland Medical Centre – a History, researched and written by long-time Te Anau residents, Lathee and Bill Verrall and published by The Friends of the Library will be launched at the Te Anau Club this Friday (5 April).As the title suggests, the 240-page volume chronicles the history of the Fiordland Medical Centre from 1968 when John Moore became the first doctor based in Te Anau, before the Medical Centre was even built in 1969, to 2023. Te Anau doctor, Steve Hoskin, came up with the idea of documenting the history of the Fiordland Medical Centre and was looking for the right person to do the job. The retired couple Lathee and Bill Verrall had the skillset required.Both were associated with Fiordland College for many years, Bill as the principal and Lathee as an English teacher.Mrs Verrall has published an autobiographical book about growing up in the Maldives, and during the Covid lockdown coordinated and compiled Fiordland in lockdown, a collection of stories by Te Anau residents.The couple volunteered for the medical history project as an act of appreciation for the community’s involvement with the Fiordland in lockdown production, and decided to do it as a community service. “I did all the research, putting together the timeline and organising interviews,” Mrs Verrall said. “We both went to interviews together and both took notes, which we then used to produce the first draft. Bill did most of the polishing and writing for the final draft. I’m very happy that Bill and I worked together well. The whole project was very interesting, and we got to meet many wonderful people,” she said.Fiordland Heath Trust members along with funders and around 200 residents turned out at the opening of Fiordland's current medical centre on 16th October 2010. Photo: Advocate SouthThe book includes the stories of all doctors, nurses and medical staff to date, and is organised around a chapter dedicated to each person.In addition, there are three chapters for each of the Ambulance, the Search and Rescue and the buildings.The biggest challenge, according to the authors, was finding the information and tracking down the people, many of whom have left Te Anau.The project took 3 years to complete due to interruptions by Covid and an overseas trip the couple undertook last year. The book was printed by the Quenstown-based Print Central.“I think that it’s a book people will enjoy reading. The history of the Fiordland Medical Centre is unique in that it owns its own building and has nine doctors, when most rural communities in New Zealand struggle for doctors or even have to close because of that. This is a magnificent example of a success story,” Mr Verrall said.What makes it so successful, according to Mr Verrall, is not only Te Anau’s beautiful location and outdoor opportunities, but also community support, greater variety of work, and staff initiatives, such as Dr David Hamilton’s turning of the Medical Centre into a teaching practice, where young doctors come for their practical experience.The Verralls are very happy with the finished product and are grateful to the Te Anau community for their help and support.In particular, they would like to thank Marilyn Hunter, the chair of the Friends of the Library, for publishing the book, Diane Ridley for her knowledge of the Medical Centre history and Ian Campbell for preparing all the photos for the book.The Fiordland Medical Centre – a History will be launched at the Te Anau Club on Friday 5 April at 7pm.Books are $40 and will be available at the launch, at the Te Anau Library or by emailing [email protected]

CLASS ACTION: Mossburn School
CLASS ACTION: Mossburn School

03 April 2024, 8:14 PM

Kia ora Southland App readers,Welcome to Term 1 at Mossburn Primary School - and what a fantastic term we are having with the most amazing tāmāriki, parents, BOT, PLC and staff. Our year started out with a PB4L Refresh - ensuring that there is consistency across the classes and positive behaviours reinforced.The tāmāriki are eagerly receiving stamps on their CHARM Cards, with some tāmāriki already completing 5 charm cards (that’s 50 times they’ve been noticed displaying our CHARM values (Communication, Honesty, Attitude, Respect and Manners)!The teachers are loving using our new home/school communication app (HERO). There’s been lots of learning for both the teachers and parents in how to use it effectively, but we seem to be getting there slowly. The Mossburn Flower Show gave the tāmāriki the opportunity to show off their creative flair, with various art and flower creations being entered.It was fantastic to see everyone’s work on show when we visited the Community Centre on Friday afternoon.Many thanks to the organisers/volunteers who help to make this event so successful year after year.Sand saucers for the flower show  We worked hard practising our skills and techniques for athletics in the lead up to Mid Dome Athletics which means that 14 of our tāmāriki will be heading off to Northern this Wednesday. Congratulations to Harry Heenan (10), Sophie Anderson (10) and Kaitlin Smith (8) who were age group champions!We were also pretty chuffed that our relay took out bragging rights over Lumsden and Garston, winning the staff/parent relay (the most Important event of the day)! Harry, Sophie and Kaitlin       Age Group Champions        Earlier in February we had a working bee followed by a whānau bbq and were humbled by the number of parents/grandparents/members of the community who turned up to help give the school a bit of a spruce up.We are so lucky to have such a supportive community.We welcomed our new families to our school at the bbq and had a great catch up with everyone. The idea of trying to instil a bit more pride and rivalry within the three houses (Braxton, Hamilton & Weydon) saw the creation of Friday afternoon house competitions/activities.It is great to see the older tāmāriki being so supportive of the younger tāmāriki, and using their problem solving skills. The 3 houses competing against each other in tunnel ball.Last week we had The Life Education Bus, and the tāmāriki all loved catching up with Harold.Our focuses were on healthy eating and resolving conflict. This week we are lucky enough to have Brittney from Johnston Waters giving swimming lessons to all of our tāmāriki. This is kindly sponsored by our PLC (Parent Liaison Committee & the Mossburn District Charitable Trust). Thank you Fiordland Advocate and our sponsors for enabling us to share our Term 1 with you all.We look forward to catching up again in Term 2. Until then, Mā te wā, Tracey DoakOn behalf of Mossburn School

Community banding together after threats, intimidation at library
Community banding together after threats, intimidation at library

29 March 2024, 8:20 PM

Mataura residents are coming together to address anti-social behaviour from rangatahi.Teenagers have been intimidating Mataura Library staff and customers for months, forcing it to reduce its opening hours from this week and roster staff on duty in pairs.The behaviour was mainly verbal intimidation and threats by a group of young people under 18."Obviously that is not ideal. We want libraries to be places where people can hang out and connect. But we also want those people to feel welcome and safe when they do," the council's library manager Emma Sherie said.An emergency meeting was held on Thursday where the community discussed the behaviour and possible solutions, she said."It was a really productive meeting with some really good outcomes. What quickly became clear is that there are many layers to this issue that can't be solved with one single solution."It is a community issue, and one which I'm delighted to say an entire community has put its hands up to solve," Sherie said.Mataura Ward councillor Neville Phillips attended the meeting, which he said had a strong turnout."Most of the residents were upset when we did find out what was happening in the library and service centre. It's a space for everybody, it's not just a space for one group," he said.Those involved tended to head straight to the library from the school bus, which was why the library's hours had been shortened to close at 2.30pm, Phillips said.Firstly, a meeting would be held with the young people and their parents to try understand the behaviour, he said."We have got to ask the kids ... the children are bored, they've got nothing to do probably, so we've got to get them those solutions, find solutions to help them out."Some of the solutions [raised at the emergency meeting] included trying to find a space of their own and that will be my job, I'll work away on that, trying to find a space for them to learn things," Phillips said.He intended to report back to the community on how the search for a youth space was tracking in the next fortnight.Anti-social behaviour from young people was not an isolated problem, Phillips said."It's not just in Mataura, it's happening throughout the whole of the country. I think we just need to harden up ourselves and find these young children and give them a better life," he said.A national Education Review Office report released on Thursday found a quarter of principals had seen students harm others or damage or steal property at least every day.While the community worked on resolving the behaviour, the library and service centre would continue to operate on the reduced weekday hours of 10am-2.30pm.Reproduced with permission

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