News from the local area as we get it. Got a story? Let us know!
More than 50 international travel agents experienced Wanaka’s best offerings last week as part of Tourism New Zealand’s ‘Mega Famil’.
Agents from the United Kingdom, Europe, North America and Australia tried scenic helicopter flights, jet boating, a four wheel drive tour, a lake cruise and visited Mou Waho Island.
They also visited Wanaka Airport operators, watched the Revealing Lake Wanaka short film series at Cinema Paradiso and dined at Whare Kea Lodge.
Edgewater general manager Leigh Stock hosted some of the agents and said they had “an absolute pearler of a day’’.
The famil was a great opportunity to give our trade visitors a taste of fine southern hospitality, Leigh said.
Ridgeline Adventures operator Mark Orbell said advertising couldn’t buy the level of exposure achieved during the visit while Eco Wanaka Adventures host Chris Riley said the local community’s pride and willingness to share the region with visitors left such a lasting impression he was sure we’ll all see the benefits of the visit in the near future.
Lake Wanaka Tourism general manager James Helmore said the group already promotes the region heavily to international markets but this was no substitute for personal hosting.
James said from feedback already received, Wanaka was a real highlight for the travel agents and they were busy telling people about their stay on social media.
There were 400 travel agents visiting the country on several different itineraries. They also attended formal trade training sessions in Auckland.
(Caption: Travel agents from the USA on a trip to Mou Waho Island, Lake Wanaka).
The Kahu Youth Trust is hosting an Inspire Wanaka event at the Lake Wanaka Centre on June 6.
The trust wants to raise funds to help pay the rent on its venue, The Crib, in Russell St, and to make the organisation more sustainable.
Five speakers and several musicians are being lined up, including speaker David Musgrave, the creator of Waihi Bush flax seed oil, and Te Reo Maori teacher Jeromy van Riel.
Youth worker Angie Griffith said about 100 people use The Crib on a regular basis every week, with some returning up to three times a week.
Tickets are $35 and can be purchased from The Crib, the Wanaka Medical Centre and the Federal Diner.
(CAPTION: Kahu Youth members on a recent outdoor activity)
One-on-one chain fitting tuition is being offered in Wanaka next month.
The workshops are being offered by the Queenstown Lakes District Council to help first time chain users and refresh the memories of those who may not have used chains for a while.
Transport manager Denis Mander says good numbers attended last year and two workshops would be offered on the corner of Ardmore and Helwick streets in Wanaka on June 14 and 15 from 11am – 2pm.
No appointment is necessary and people could turn up any time during the workshop.
The council’s daily road reports begin on Monday and will be posted on the council website from 7am every day and can also be found on social media sites.
Denis advises people to always carry chains and check conditions before leaving home.
Just one day after summiting Mt Everest, Lake Hawea climbing guide Dean Staples summited the fourth highest peak in the world, Mt Lhotse, with Adventure Consultants’ client Thomas Stromstedt.
Dean and Thomas both climbed Mt Everest on Monday, with Dean achieving a New Zealand record of nine summits of the world’s highest peak.
They did not return to Everest Base Camp and carried on to the neighbouring Lhotse yesterday, where Dean’s boss Guy Cotter of Lake Hawea has also been guiding.
Another of our local climbers, Mike Roberts, also did an Everest-Lhotse double this week.
Mike has now climbed Everest seven times, after going up Everest on Saturday and then on to Lhotse on Monday.
Meanwhile, Queenstown climber Mark Woodward hopes to match Dean’s nine-climb record of Everest this week.
Lhotse is 8,516m above sea level and Everest is at 8,850m.
It costs about $29,000 US to climb Lhotse with Adventure Consultants, and $65,000 to climb Everest.
The weather this week has reportedly been stunning and many people are going for the summit.
According to June’s edition of the National Geographic, 547 people summited Mt Everest last year, a 56% success rate.
(CAPTION: MIKE ROBERTS)
More houses sold in the Central Otago Lakes region during April, compared with April last year, according to statistics released by the New Zealand Real Estate Institute last week.
There were 128 sales in the district during April, compared with 115 in April last year.
While sales volumes improved by 11 per cent, April’s median prices dropped across the region by 10 per cent ($47,500) and there was a slight improvement in the number of days taken to sell a house.
The median price in our region in April was $422,500 compared with $470,000 in April last year.
Houses sold in 57 days, compared to 55 days last April.
The data reflects the national trend reported by the institute for a strong volume of sales and an ease in median prices after hitting a record high in March.
The institute’s chief executive Helen O’Sullivan said the Auckland and Christchurch markets were driving the national median price, which the Reserve Bank had noted in its recent monetary policy statement.
The national median house price in April was $390,500, down 2.4 per cent from $400,000 in March.
Wanaka residents can learn more about dyslexia – a condition that most commonly affects fluency and reading ability – when a new film is screened at Cinema Paradiso on Sunday.
The film has been released by the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand and is called “The Big Picture – Rethinking Dyslexia’’.
Jo McArthur is a member of a group organising and promoting the screening and says it is a non-profit event for people interested in the challenges faced by dyslexics.
“The Big Picture’’ was directed by Robert Redford's son Jaimie, who is dyslexic.
It highlights myths and stigmas about dyslexics and reviewers have said it is entertaining and enlightening.
The USA now accepts 20 % of the population are affected by dyslexia. In New Zealand the conservative estimate is closer to 10%.
The film runs for an hour from 4.30pm on Sunday. Entry is by gold coin and funds will go to local schools to help support dyslexic students.
Lake Hawea mountain guide Dean Staples successfully summited Mt Everest yesterday, achieving a record for the most summits on the world’s highest mountain by a New Zealander.
Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first climbed Mt Everest 60 years ago, on May 29, 1952.
Dean is Adventure Consultant’s lead guide on Mt Everest this year.
His summit success was shared by seven Adventure Consultants clients, including Dean Hall of New Zealand.
Dean’s two assistant guides, Lydia Bradey of Lake Hawea and Ang Dorjee Sherpa, of Nepal, also summited.
Adventure Consultants were assisted by 17 Sherpas, many of whom also made it to the top of the world.
The climbers said in dispatches yesterday that they had descended down the mountain to a camp and would rest overnight before making their way back to Everest Base Camp for a party.
(CAPTION: Dean Staples)
An emerging sports hydration company, SOS, has signed a partnership agreement with the Winter Games NZ this year.
SOS is a sports drink and used for athletes and other people engaged in an active lifestyle.
The sports drink was developed by a New Zealand and Unites States team. Co-owners and advisory board members New Zealand triathlon Olympic gold medallist Hamish Carter, Indycar champion Scott Dixon, and four-time sailing Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie.
SOS co-founder James Mayo said while there are plenty of sports drinks around, there is nothing like SOS because it replenishes water and electrolytes very quickly, tastes good and adheres to World Health Organisation standards.
James described SOS as a “drinkable IV’’ (intravenous drip).
SOS saw the Winter Games NZ as an ideal opportunity to begin promoting the product in New Zealand, he said.
Winter Games NZ chief executive Arthur Klap said the event strived to provide a platform for innovative New Zealand businesses to reach influential trade contacts, through the games’ business show case with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
The Winter Games is an important pre-Olympic qualification event and runs from August 15-25 in Wanaka, Queenstown and Central Otago.
(CAPTION: Arthur Klap. PHOTO: Otago Daily Times)
Dates for the Southern Lakes Multisport Club’s winter kayak series have been announced.
Club spokesman Bill Godsall said paddleboarders are also welcome to enter the races to be held around the district from June to August.
The dates are: Sunday June 9 at Frankton Beach (a 12km race with a shorter distance available for learners); Sunday June 23 at the Butchers Drive boat ramp in Cromwell (an 8km race); Sunday July 7 at the Wanaka foreshore (a 15km race from the beach to the Outlet and back with a shorter option for learners); and Sunday August 4 at the Lake Hayes rowing club for one or two laps of the lake.
Each race starts at 10am.
Up to 1600 new housing lots could be available near the Clutha River Outlet in the future, if the proposed Northlake Special Zone plan change is accepted.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council has requested further information from the applicant before the strategy committee decides to accept, adopt or reject the plan change at its next meeting on June 4.
Planners for landowner Michaela Ward Meehan of Sydney have applied for a private plan change affecting about 222ha of rural general and rural residential-zoned land between Aubrey Rd and the river.
The purpose of the special zone is to offering a range of housing choices and lots sizes, with an average of about seven dwellings per hectare. There will also be a neighbourhood commercial component.
Ms Meehan owns the majority of the land - formerly known as the Urquhart block - and is working with three other landowners on the plan change.
Resource consent for 64 lots on 30 hectares of the former Urquhart block was granted in 2006 after the land ownership changed. That subdivision is now known as Northlake and construction is underway.
The land subject to the private plan change is presently zoned partly rural general and partly rural residential. This area has been identified by the community as suitable for future urban growth and has been provided for in Wanaka’s structure plan.
(PHOTO: a Northlake subdivision open day)
Wanaka Olympian triathlete Nicky Samuels has won the Columbia Triathlon.
Nicky’s win on Sunday night, New Zealand time, comes on the 30th anniversary of the race, which is the second round of the international 5150 triathlon series. The series does not permit drafting in the cycle leg.
Nicky and fellow Kiwi athlete Anna Cleaver were out of the water together after the 1.5km swim, in just over 19 minutes but Anna appeared to be working hard and suffered mechanical issues early in the bike, forcing her to pull out.
Nicky did not look back and powered away over a hilly and challenging bike and run course to finish in 2hr 01min 39sec.
Her 40km bike time was an impressive 1hr 03min 57sec, which she backed up with an even more impressive 36min 40sec split for the 10km run, leaving second-placed Meredith Kessler of the United States trailing three minutes in her wake. Canadian athlete Angela Neath was third.
Bevan Docherty was second in the men’s race, which was won by United States athlete Hunter Lessi.
Nicky’s husband Steve Gould said Nicky is now travelling to Europe for the third round of the ITU World Series race in Madrid, Spain. She will then prepare for the Commonwealth Games trials in the United Kingdom in September.
Her race report should be on her website soon (www.nickysamuels.com).
(CAPTION: Nicky wins the Columbia Triathlon in the United States. Photo: www.tricolumbia.org)
Applications for three vacancies on the Snow Sports New Zealand board close at 4pm today.
The vacancies have been created as a result of the terms of office expiring for chairman Tony Hannon, an Auckland merchant banker, and Wanaka-based members Guy Alty and Ross McRobie.
Two vacancies are for appointed members and one is for an elected member. Both Tony and Guy want to stand again.
The appointments panel comprises chairwoman Jane Huria, Michelle Trapski and Greg Knowles. They are keen to hear from people with experience in sponsorship and marketing.
Application forms can be downloaded from the Snow Sports website.
Snow Sports NZ’s new office is at 78 Anderson Rd, Wanaka.
(PHOTO: Tony Hannan)
When Julie Nicholson launched Funny French Cars with just one Citroen in 2007, everyone told her it would take five years to build her vineyard and scenic tour business. And so it has proved.
But what they - and Julie - probably did not expect is that she would also be the proud owner of 12 Citroens.
The Citroen fleet owned by Julie and her husband Deane Weastell now have five 1980s Citroens based on the classic 1948 design. The fleet also include the roomier 1954 Citroen Big 15, which is ideal for wedding parties. And now, they also own a 1970s beach buggy-style Citroen Mehari.
Julie loves off roading, so from June, she and her Mehari will be taking tourists through Mandy and Jerry Bell’s Criffel Station deer farm and up a rough mountain road to the air strip at the end of the Pisa Range.
There Julie will be offering a taste of France - coffee and crepes – made al fresco in mountain paddocks with views to Hawea, Wanaka and Tarras. Further thrills can be added on, such as a scenic flight in a Tiger Moth.
With her five year milestone dreamed and achieved, Julie is well placed to analyse tourism trends in our district and she has found her business does reflect the positive local trends reported recently.
Julie said her main clientele are Australians. Many New Zealanders are back touring after the recession and a lot of her clients are honey-mooners.
Tourists from the United States are returning “thick and fast’’ and have jokingly accused her of “photoshopping’’ the scenery.
She is also getting tourists from a variety of European countries, though not as many as in pre-recession times.
Julie does not have many Chinese tourists travelling with her yet, and those who do have not developed a palate for Central Otago red wines. Many Chinese women do not drink and just enjoy the scenery, Julie said.
Julie says many passengers tell her they stay for two nights in Wanaka solely to do a tour with her. This makes her feel honoured and privileged.
“We must do our best to fulfil or exceed their expectations and this often proves to be achievable with our outstanding scenery, the delicious wines and the personalities behind the boutique wineries that we tend to visit,’’ Julie said.
The search is on for Central’s best young driver, with the first day of competition at the Highlands Motorsports Park last Wednesday being hailed a huge success.
Event convenor Jo Robinson said yesterday 24 participants aged between 18-25 entered the Cromwell-based competition.
The winner will be announced after the second day of competition on Sunday May 26.
Jo is also Central Otago’s community road safety advisor and said the event was open to people living or working within the Central Otago District Council area. It is not open to school pupils.
Contestants were rotated through four different stations, with each station covering different topics and skill sets.
The highlight was track driving with qualified instructors Grant Aitken of Grant Aitken Motorsport and Graham McNabb of Two Wheels Unlimited, Jo said.
“Grant firstly showed the participants what was required and then they had to take charge of the vehicle and complete an emergency stop. Graham had the participants driving the Track B circuit. They were in an automatic car but were having to use the car gears rather than brakes. That test brought some nerves at the beginning but some huge smiles at the end,” Jo said.
Other activities included changing a tyre, fitting snow chains, comparing legally and illegally modified vehicles and reversing covered and uncovered trailers.
(CAPTION: Mathew Owen (left), Jarred Kent and Alesha Romano (rear) identify illegal modifications to a car. )
Wanaka runners Mike Coombe and Kelly Spaans emerged as the most consistent athletes in this season’s Kathmandu Riverrun Trail series, claiming the overall series titles on Saturday.
The four race trail run series began in November and finished on Saturday with a 14km race from Glendhu Bay to Wanaka along the Damper Bay/Waterfall Creek tracks.
More than 100 athletes entered on Saturday. The event included a 5km race for juniors.
Dougal Allan won the men’s race in 52mins 08secs, with Thijs Hubber of Queenstown 41 seconds behind and Ben Logan third in 57min 04 secs.
Mike was fourth, claiming the veteran men’s title and the overall series title in 57mins 25secs. It is the third time he has won the overall series.
The women’s race was won by French athlete Clelia Bonnet in 1hr 02mins 46secs, with Kelly Spaans of Wanaka second and Maria Walsh of Timaru third. Eveline Coombe was fourth and won the female vet division in 1hr 05mins 48secs.
In the 5km race, Janus Staufenberg (13) of Wanaka was first male in 18 mins 21secs, while Emma Smith (14) of Cromwell was first female in 21mins 28secs.
(Caption: Riverrun series winners Mike Coombe and Kelly Spaans with the John Pawson Series Trophies.)
The fourth and final race of the Kathmandu Riverrun Trail Series will be held in Wanaka tomorrow.
Athletes can choose a 14.1km race from Glendhu Bay to Roy’s Bay or a 5km race from Roy’s Bay to Waterfall Creek and return.
Walkers can enter both courses but will have an earlier start for the 14.1km course.
Race director Victoria Murray-Orr said the third series has proved popular with runners of all abilities and ages.
The race determines the overall series winners with the fastest male and female runners claiming the Pawson Adventure Fund series trophies, a cash prize and Kathmandu sports jackets.
Entries on the day are possible.
CAPTION: Braden Currie during last year’s race.
One of New Zealand’s most endangered skinks, the Otago skink, lives on the Grandview Range, near Lake Hawea and Wanaka.
Until very recently, it was feared that within a decade skinks could dwindle away to a point from which they could not return.
The Grandview population’s survival chances has now taken a turn for the better after a new five year sponsorship deal was struck recently between Auckland Zoo and the Department of Conservation.
The zoo’s conservation fund is providing more than $17,000 to control predators and monitor the rare skink and already 19km of trap lines and 168 traps have been laid in high tussock grasslands on the range to protect 580ha of the skink’s habitat.
The success of DOC’s skink programme in eastern Otago shows how important predator control is for the survival of Otago skinks and other native reptiles, says Auckland Zoo’s New Zealand fauna curator Richard Gibson.
Richard says Auckland Zoo is very excited to be playing a part in what is hoped will be an equally remarkable recovery of western populations in the Grandview Range.
Richard says it will be a long-haul project and entirely dependent upon the “tireless commitment and cooperation’’ of DOC, local community volunteers, landowners, and the zoo.
The project would not have been possible without the support of the adjoining landowners, Richard said.
The traps were checked for the first time last week and nine ferrets, one stoat, four hedgehogs, three mice and one possum were netted, which Doc’s Wanaka Area Office manager Paul Hellebrekers said was a “pleasing result’’.
(Caption: (from left) Paul Hellebrekers (Doc Area Manager) Sharon Haarsma, (Doc ranger), Flo Gaud (Doc ranger) with volunteers Marilyn Barlow, Jim Miller, John Barlow, Dave Kerr and Eric Latta on Grandview Range last week. PHOTO: Doc)
Audience and performer feedback is now being sought for the 2015 Festival of Colour.
It has been nearly a month since the fifth Festival of Colour but planning has started already for 2015.
Surveys have been distributed but festival general manager Lindsey Schofield says if anyone wants one but has not received one, then they should email email@example.com.
Lindsey said the festival was pleased to be able to donate more than $7,000 to Wanaka Rotary from the ticket sales for the Art at Home tour organised by the Rotarians.
This will be used towards a local sculptural installation.
Wanaka Wastebusters wants to know who its friends are, so will hold a special general meeting at 7 pm on Tuesday May 21 at the Lake Wanaka Centre to form a new group – the Friends of Wanaka Wastebusters.
An executive committee will also be elected.
The decision to form the Friends group evolved from last year’s annual general meeting, when people voted to divide Wastebusters into two parts.
There will be a company doing all the day to day business and a Friends of Wanaka Wastebusters society, which will own the shares, appoint the directors and make sure the company stays true to the original values.
Rules for the Friends have been drafted and are available on the Wanaka Wastebusters website.
Anyone wanting to put their name forward to the Friends group can contact Wastebusters deputy chairman Dominic Stayne or general manager Sue Coutts.
Meanwhile, Wastebusters has now collected 975 televisions for recycling through the taxpayer funded TV Take Back programme, saving Wanaka ratepayers community $19,500 in recycling fees. People are being urged to bring in their old TVs soon, as just 200 sets are left in the quota before the recycling fee goes back up from $5 to $25.
The Longview Environmental Trust and Roys Peninsula land owner John May have constructed a 1.3km walk to the Lake Wanaka shoreline from Emerald Bluffs.
The lake access track borders 85ha of former farmland that is part of the trust’s sustainable sub-division and ecological restoration project.
Other work at Emerald Bluffs has included planting more than 100,000 native trees, removing more than 10,000 wilding pines, the restoration of sand quarries and pest control.
Motorists are being advised to make sure they keep chains in their cars in case they are needed on the Crown Range Rd.
Winter weather has kicked in and ice and snow has already been encountered on the alpine pass between Wanaka and Queenstown.
The council’s transport Manager Denis Mander says there were a few days last week where the conditions caught out some unprepared people.
Denis said the Crown Range is a mountain road and subject to snow and ice all year round.
It was better to have chains in the boot than take a chance and travel without them and then regret it, he said.
People who lack confidence driving the Crown Range in winter should consider taking the slightly long alternative route to Queenstown via Cromwell and the Kawarau Gorge, Denis said.
Contractors will be spreading grit regularly on the road and the council will be running free chain fitting workshops in June, with dates and venues to be announced shortly.
There was a 23 per cent increase in visitor guest nights in Wanaka for March, according to the latest tourism statistics.
Lake Wanaka Tourism general manager James Helmore says the results stem from record guest nights during the summer quarter.
The majority of Wanaka businesses he had spoken to had been very busy and were happy with the summer, James said yesterday.
The Statistics New Zealand commercial accommodation monitor shows that compared with March 2012, Wanaka guest nights rose 23 per cent to 64,958.
Hotels had the largest increase in guest nights, followed by motels.
International guest nights rose 16.8 per cent to 36,430, domestic guest nights rose 31.8 per cent to 28,528, and the average length of stay rose from 1.87 nights to 1.99 nights.
The statistics are compiled from responses filed by accommodation providers. The response rate from Wanaka was 81 per cent.
Nationally, there was also an improvement. Accommodation providers reported 3,399,000 guest nights spent in short term commercial accommodation around the country, an increase of 327,000 nights (10.7 percent) from March 2012.
Queenstown reported a 15.3 percent increase. Manawatu was the only region to record a decrease in guest nights – down 8 per cent.
Adventure Consultants guides have been interviewed for a climbing film being made at Everest Base Camp by renowned German climber Reinhold Messner.
Company director Guy Cotter said in a dispatch from base camp this week he was taking a short nap in his tent when fellow Lake Hawea climber Dean Staples told him Reinhold wanted to talk to him.
Reinhold was the first person to climb all fourteen 8000m peaks without oxygen, so Guy felt said it was “a bit of a surprise to think he was here to see us!’’
He got up and within minutes was on camera discussing modern expeditioning with Reinhold and his camera crew.
Adventure Consultants is guiding teams on Lhotse and Everest, with both expeditions based at Everest Base Camp.
Reinhold was keen to talk to German members of Adventure Consultants’ teams as well as Lake Hawea climber Lydia Bradey, the first woman to climb Everest without oxygen in 1988.
Reinhold climbed Everest without oxygen a decade before Lydia
Guy said Reinhold’s documentary will screen on ServusTV in Austria on May 23 and on ZDF German TV on May 29.
Meanwhile, Guy is preparing to lead a summit attempt on Lhotse, departing around May 20.
(CAPTION: Lukas Hochmeister, Reinhold Messner and Josef Hochmeister at Everest Base Camp. PHOTO: Adventure Consultants)
At least 260 competitors took part in the ‘Mitre10 Wanaka Rogaine' at Timburn Station in the Lindis Pass on Sunday, with adventure racers Nathan Fa’aave and Dougal Allan emerging with 3800 points and the title in the 12 hour event.
The rogaine was offered in six or 12 hour options, and there was also a three hour option for families and less experienced teams.
Highland Events organisers Ed Stevens and Terry Davis said the rogaine attracted one of the biggest fields ever and they were impressed with the world class quality.
Nathan, the reigning adventure racing world champion, and Dougal were always going to be hard to beat, they said.
Jim Cotter and Milan Brodina were second and Matt Bixley and Nick Williamson were third.
In the six hour race, Walter Clarke and Jon Kingsford were first, Hayden McCoy, George Rob and Nick Adkins were second and Peter Blair and Dallas Bean were third.
(IMAGE: Timburn Station rogaine course)
The latest report on the financial performance of the four Wanaka and Queenstown camping grounds will be presented to the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s finance committee today.
The report shows an overall improvement in the camps’ financial situation, when considered as a group, by the end of March.
The council’s holiday parks manager Greg Hartshorne reveals that the camping grounds had “clawed back some of the lost ground reported for the year to 31 December’’.
The council was now $67,000 ahead of budget compared to March last year. This represents a 6.24 percent improvement, before interest and depreciation are considered.
The camps are now “almost exactly on budget’’ and Greg hopes the remaining three months of the financial year will remain strong.
The report notes occupancy levels are up at the Wanaka Lakeview Holiday Park, where units were recently relocated from Queenstown. The Wanaka camp was ahead of budget by $23,000 to the end of March.
The Glendhu Bay Lakeside Holiday Park was down on budget by $36,000 but had operated favourably during January and February. Income was up by $31,000 compared to the same period last year.
The Glendhu camp has a new sewerage plant and the council is chopping down some trees that have been deemed dangerous.
The recommendation is that the report be received. No further action is required by the council at this time.
However, the council is considering whether to lease the four camp sites to private operators.
Up to 10 expressions of interest have been received and the council is now assessing those proposals, with a decision expected in June or July.
Our neighbours in Cromwell and Alexandra are being asked to give their council its annual performance appraisal.
A residents’ satisfaction and opinion survey is being sent out in the mail to a random sample of more than 3000 residents.
The sample has been extracted from the electoral roll and the survey is being conducted by Dunedin-based market research company, Advanced Business Research Limited.
Deputy mayor Neil Gillespie, of Cromwell (pictured), says the survey is an important avenue for the community to give feedback on how the council is going.
Neil says feedback is valued and will help the council identify where it needs to do better.
He is encouraging those who receive the survey to fill it in and return it by June 7.
A report will be presented to the Central Otago District Council by August.
The organisation responsible for our popular network of recreational walking and cycling tracks won the Delta Innovation in Sport award at the Otago sports awards in Dunedin last Friday.
The tracks trust has built more than over 100km tracks since 2006 and has many partners, including the Department of Conservation, the Te Araroa Trust, and the Clutha Matau-Au River Parkway Trust.
The most recent new track to open was the Newcastle Track, on April 15, providing locals and visitors with a round trip from Albert Town to Luggate along both sides of the Clutha River.
The trust’s tracks are also used for sports events such as Challenge Wanaka, the Riverrun Trail series and Mal Law’s recent 7 in 7 Challenge.
The other finalists in the innovation category were a ‘rugby player head camera’ developed by Otago Polytechnic’s Hayden Croft, and Athletics Otago’s event management team.
The overall award was won by Olympic gold medallist rower Hamish Bond, of Dunedin, for the fourth time.
Wanaka freeskier Beau James Wells was a finalist in the Otago Daily Times Class Act junior sportsman category, which was won by sprinter Andrew Whyte of Dunedin.
Alexandra cyclist Sophie Williamson picked up the Otago Daily Times Class Act junior sportswoman award.
(CAPTION: The Newcastle Track. PHOTO: DOC)
Submissions to the Queenstown Lakes District annual plan close today and at least 119 submissions have already been made, according to QLDC communications manager Meaghan Miller.
The majority of submissions have been made on line, following a campaign to encourage more people to go on line and help the council save resources and costs in processing paper-based submissions .
Annual plan hearings have been scheduled for May 29 and 30 and the plan should be adopted on 25 June, 2013.
Several from Wanaka will be about library services, following lobbying efforts by the Protect Wanaka Library group.
Library supporter Kate Bariletti spent Friday at the library helping people prepare submissions while others protested about library staffing cuts outside the Lake Wanaka Centre on Saturday as QLDC chief executive Adam Feeley talked to the national community board conference inside.
Concerns were also raised by Protect Wanaka Library members last week that council staff had been told they could not make submissions.
However, Wanaka Community Board chairman Lyal Cocks told Radio Wanaka yesterday staff can make personal submissions as residents and ratepayers, “on the basis the submission does not create a conflict of interest, or contravene the impartiality, integrity or interests of the organisation and or any staff member’’.
New Zealand’s longest running multisport race, the Coast to Coast, has been bought by Queenstown company, Trojan Holdings Ltd.
Trojan Holdings is associated with the Davies family and is a major shareholder in NZSki Limited (owner of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Mt Hutt), The Hermitage Aoraki Mount Cook ,Glacier Explorers and Ultimate Hikes.
Race director Robin Judkins founded the Coast to Coast 30 years ago and many Wanaka athletes have taken part in the race and achieved top places.
This year’s Longest Day champion was Braden Currie and Dougal Allan was third, while Ailsa Rollinson was second in the women’s race. All three are from Wanaka.
Robin said in a media release this weekend he loves the event “to bits’’ and was really excited about its future. He intends to still be there in a supporting role for years to come.
The Arrowtown Rugby team’s fitness showed through in the second half of Saturday’s game against the Upper Clutha side at the Wanaka showgrounds, giving the visitors a 25-10 victory.
Rugby commentator Mike O’Connor said the home side was determined and defended gallantly but some “ordinary’’ tactical kicking and not finding touch from penalties meant Arrowtown maintained the lead.
The Upper Clutha player of the day was Nick Thomson, who was never far from the ball.
Mike says if the Wanaka-based side can iron out its basic mistakes, it has a chance in its away game against Maniototo next Saturday, “down in hillbilly country’’.
Northern Irish actor James Nesbitt is seeking Wanaka’s Perfect Woman at the Bullock Bar next Friday as part of a television programme being filmed by UKTV.
James was the dwarf Bofur in Sir Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit and is an award-wining actor. He is married and has two children.
Bullock Bar manager Brendon Quirke said yesterday he was approached by UKTV to present an “inside taste’’ of the long-running Perfect Woman competition devised by former publicans Stew and Liz Burt as a cancer charity fundraiser.
A start list of 10 competitors would be announced next week and the competition would include some of the shorter crowd-pleasers, such as hammering a nail.
Brendon said James would be a “fly on the wall’’ and there would be a couple of cameras in the bar. He hopes James might try an activity himself.
The event is open to the public and starts at 8pm.
Brendon said he understood the Perfect Woman competition was one of several things James found interesting or funny about New Zealand while he was working on The Hobbit.
Snow Park general manager Sam Lee has decided not to open the Pisa Range terrain park to the public this winter, because of funding and resource issues.
Sam recently took back control of the park from Robin and Sean Synnott, following the end of a three year management contract.
Sam said in a media release this week he and his family had hoped to get back on their feet sooner but needed more time.
They had to be socially and fiscally responsible to their customers and trading partners, Sam said.
Sam said it was one of the hardest decisions he had ever had to make but he knew he could not provide a world class terrain park this year.
He has not ruled out operating on an ad-hoc basis and plans for this would be released when there was more certainty.
Snow Park accommodation is still available, including for events and functions.
The Snow Park operates on the Waiorau Run on the Pisa Range.
The Lee family have owned the land since 1922.
Sam’s parents John and Mary founded the Cardrona skifield (now owned by the Veall family of Australia), the Snow Farm cross country facility (now owned by the Pisa Alpine Charitable Trust) and a vehicle proving ground (now owned by the Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground).
The Lee family developed the Snow Park in 2002.
There have been several expressions of interest from outfits interested in buying Cardrona Alpine Ski Resort and the due diligence process is now underway.
The skifield’s Australian owners, the Veall family, announced to the Australian Stock Exchange earlier this year that it hoped to sell the skifield by June 30.
The sale is part of a company-wide restructuring and streamlining being undertaken by the Veall family before it lists on the Singapore Stock Exchange.
The restructuring is a reaction to the global financial crisis and aims to improve Veall Ltd’s operational efficiencies and financial performance.
Veall Ltd owns assets and subsidiary companies in several countries.
Wanaka police are still seeking information about a fight between two women on Ardmore St early last Monday morning.
Snr Sgt Allan Grindell said yesterday no-one has come forward to identify either of the people who were caught on CCTV fighting outside Betty’s Liquor and the adjacent Minimart.
Allan said it was clear from the footage a woman had suffered a head injury when she hit the ground and the police wanted to find out if she was okay.
The two women had walked off so it did not appear the injured woman had been knocked unconscious, he said.
Enquiries with medical centres and St John Ambulance had not provided any information, Allan said.
Allan said one woman appeared more aggressive than the other and the pair had been involved in an animated discussion as they walked up Post Office Lane towards Ardmore St, before they started pushing and shoving.
Allan described the fight as “round house punches, mostly ineffectual’’.
(PHOTO: Allan Grindell)
Wanaka’s search and rescue volunteers have been recognised for their efforts in trying to save the life of Dunedin school boy Dion Latta last year, during one of the most difficult operations members have undertaken.
Wanaka Police SAR coordinate Sgt Aaron Nicholson and Wanaka LandSAR chairman Roy Bailey accepted the New Zealand Search and Rescue Certificate of Achievement in Wellington on Tuesday night on behalf of our local volunteers.
Dion became trapped by his leg in a waterfall in the Motatapu Gorge on New Years Day, 2012.
The 15-year-old John McGlashan College pupil hung upside down under the waterfall for about three hours before he was rescued and flown to Dunedin Hospital by rescue helicopter, but he died the next morning.
The coroner David Crerar said at a hearing in December last year he had never before been presented with such harrowing evidence.
Wanaka’s LandSar team has previously won NZSAR supreme awards for a difficult canyon rescue near Makarora in 2011 and the deep water retrieval of pilot Morgan Saxton from Lake Wanaka in 2009.
(CAPTION: LandSar volunteers help Dion Latta in the Motatapu Gorge. PHOTO: www.stuff.co.nz)
The driver who crashed into two parked cars on Totara Tce on February 15 has been convicted of dangerous driving, the Otago Daily Times reported yesterday.
Michael Kanara (39) of Lake Hawea admitted the offending in the Queenstown District Court this week and will be sentenced on June 17.
Kanara was driving an Isuzu Big Horn about 11.55pm in a 50kmh zone on Totara Tce, when he collided first with a Toyota Celica and then a Peugot 307.
He left the scene afterwards and the police appealed for public help in identifying the driver.
Kanara has been remanded on bail and his conditions include not being allowed to drive.
Alternative folk songwriters and singer Nadia Reid and Ivy Rossiter of Luckless are bringing their Ballads and Badlands Tour to Wanaka this month.
The Auckland-based musicians are celebrating New Zealand Music Month by paring their baggage down to one station wagon and touring the South Island to sing to whoever will lend them an ear.
Nadia was raised in Port Chalmers, near Dunedin, and Ivy describes herself as a “musical nomad’’.
Their Wanaka gig is at the Federal Diner on Tuesday, May 14.
Challenge Wanaka has three new Australian neighbours, following last night’s announcement the Challenge Family is returning to Australia with three new half distance triathlons.
Challenge Forster will be held on November 24, Challenge Melbourne on February 2 next year, and Challenge Bateman's Bay on March 16. Entries open on Friday at 9am.
The half distance triathlons comprise a 1.9km swim, 90km cycle and a 21.1km run and offer prize pools of up to $30,000 in Australian dollars.
Challenge Wanaka race director Victoria Murray-Orr has been working on the Australian publicity campaign in her role as Challenge Family communications and marketing manager and is in Australia for the launch.
The Challenge Family previously launched a long distance race in Cairns in 2011 but the race ended up in Ironman hands, forcing Challenge back to the drawing board.
Challenge Family chief executive Felix Walchshöfer, of Germany, said the return to Australia was a significant milestone.
Felix says athletes had sent messages every day asking when Challenge would be back and he was delighted to announce a return with three very different races.
Challenge Forster (north New South Wales) has strong roots in long distance triathlon, Challenge Bateman’s Bay (south New South Wales) has a great location and athlete experience while Challenge Melbourne brings athletes to one of Australia’s iconic cities, Felix says.
There are now 21 Challenge events around the world. The brand was born in Roth, Germany and Challenge Wanaka was the second race to be created. Other Challenge Family races take place in Germany, Austria, Canada, UK, France, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Thailand and Taiwan.
(PHOTO: Felix Walchshofer with his mum Alice and sister Kathrin)
The New Zealand community board conference has attracted 195 delegates to Wanaka this weekend for a wide range of presentations and workshops.
The conference starts with cocktails at Edgewater on Thursday evening and continues at the Lake Wanaka Centre on Friday and Saturday, finishing with a barbecue.
The Minister of Local Government, Chris Tremain, is speaking on Friday at 11.15am. He will also meet with members of Lake Wanaka Tourism and the Wanaka Chamber of Commerce.
Other guest speakers include Wanaka Wastebusters general manager Sue Coutts, who will talk on Friday at 3.15pm about local economic development and how community boards support social enterprises in their communities.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council’s chief executive Adam Feeley teams up with Local Government New Zealand’s chief executive Malcolm Alexander to discuss local democracy and how it is powering community and national success.
Canadian farmer Leona Dargis will also give presentations at the conference.
(PHOTO: Chris Tremain)
Wanaka police are seeking public help in identifying the female participants in a street fight outside a shop on Ardmore St early last Monday morning.
The incident was caught on CCTV and reveals two members of the public offered help to an injured woman, who apparently sustained a cut to the head and left a substantial amount of blood at the scene.
Const Pete Reed says in this week’s Crimeline the two women came of Post Office Lane and it seemed one took a disliking to the other and wrestled her to the ground.
Pete says one of the women was injured when they hit the ground and two other people came out of Post Office Lane and offered to help her.
He would like to know if anyone has any information that would shed light on the participants.
Neither Const Reed or Snr Sgt Allan Grindell were available for further comment yesterday because they were at a training day.
Up to 50 people attended the Wanaka Rowing Club’s boat naming ceremony at the Wanaka Showgrounds on Sunday.
The 4pm function was held outside in persistent drizzle under a temporary marquee and umbrellas because the guests could not fit into the Wanaka Showgrounds wool shed where the homeless club stores its equipment.
Refreshments were served outside under the balcony of the nearby showgrounds administration building, while two fires in braziers helped keep the puddle-hopping crowd warm.
The club’s new double race boat cost $9200 and has been named “Rotary Club of Wanaka’’ after the Rotarians raised $4600 towards the purchase.
Rotary president Rosie Burridge acknowledged the multiple achievements of Wanaka rowers in national, regional and secondary school competition and said it had been a pleasure to help.
The Rotarians would get involved in working bees on a future club house, as soon as a suitable site was confirmed, she said.
Rosie and rowing club captain Amanda Inkster then popped the top off a bottle of champagne and Rosie sprayed the boat and the guests.
“This is an awesome little group,’’ Rosie told Radio Wanaka afterwards.
“They’ve had such amazing growth from just one member to the present 60 members. More than 200 people have gone through this club, as kids have come up through the ranks and gone off to varsity.’’
Wanaka Rowing Club members recently claimed the national under-19 men’s coxed four title, while Riley Bruce (15) is the New Zealand under-16 secondary schools singles champion.
Winter Games NZ, the Adventure Film Festival and Auckland Airport have teamed up to provide big screen entertainment in August.
The new commercial partnership was announced last week alongside a preview of some of the films to be screened at Cinema Paradiso and two Queenstown venues during the games.
Included in the programme is Where the Trail Ends, a film is about an ambitious search for un-ridden mountain biking terrain around the world. Pretty Wise showcases eleven snowboard athletes, including New Zealander Jake Koia.
The festival is being promoted at Auckland Airport, increasing the exposure of both the Winter Games NZ and the Adventure Film Festival.
The Winter Games Festival Manager Malcolm Blakey says the airport’s involvement is a great boost and will help the event continue to grow.
Entries have also opened for the festival’s feature film and short film competitions.
The Otago Regional Council has not yet decided whether to support the Tarras Water Company’s new irrigation scheme, but its long term plan to 2022 proposes an investment of $3.5 million.
If the regional council approves the investment, it could account for 2.4 per cent of the proposed general rate increase for the next year.
The draft 2013-14 annual plan reveals next year’s general rates will increase by 5.34 per cent.
The general rate take is budgeted to be $5.02 million (excluding GST), compared to $4.76 million in 2012-13.
Submissions closed last Friday (May 3) and a hearing for submitters has been scheduled in Dunedin from next Monday (May 13).
The draft annual plan also provides for Plan Change 6A to the Otago Water Plan, which focuses on controlling contaminants discharging from rural land to waterways.
ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead said the water plan change would be implemented over several years and he was confident it would improve water quality where it had deteriorated.
The draft annual plan also programmes about $8.6 million for flood and drainage schemes, most of it to be spent in Dunedin.
Crown Range Road users will need to add about 10 more minutes to their journeys, following the commencement of road works between the Cardrona Hotel and Eastbourne Rd, on the Arrowtown side of the mountain.
Queenstown Lakes District Council infrastructure manager Erik Barnes says there are four sections of road where land stability is being worked on and the road will be reduced to one lane in places.
Motorists will encounter traffic lights and short delays, Erik says.
He suggests adding about 10 minutes onto travel times “to be on the safe side.”
The work has started and is scheduled to end in mid-June.
The Protect Wanaka Library group will make another presentation to the district council urging it to reconsider changes to Wanaka library staffing levels and to consult the public before any changes are made.
A resolution to that effect was unanimously supported by 150 people who attended a public meeting last Friday.
Protect Wanaka Library is also asking supporters to make annual plan submissions before May 13, confirming they are willing to continue paying $82.79 per year in rates for the current level of library service.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council is introducing changes as part of a wide-ranging council review across all services.
It was revealed on Friday in a memo by chief executive Adam Feeley that, “if costs stack up’’, a single building housing all council services and the library “would be ideal’’.
But at the moment the council does not plan to shift all its customer services from the Ardmore St building into the library, Adam says.
About 2.45 full time equivalent library positions will be lost in Wanaka. At present there are 7.25 FTEs and after the changes there will be about 4.8FTEs.
Most of the remaining librarians’ job descriptions will be altered to include general council customer services. Some functions, such as book buying, will now be delivered by Queenstown librarians.
The head librarian will work from Queenstown and the present Wanaka library manager will be replaced with a service centre coordinator, who will have some library duties.
Speakers at the meeting included library supporters Prue Wallis, Sue Coutts and Nicola Martinovich, and Wanaka Community Board chairman, Lyal Cocks, who presented Adam’s memo.
Mr Feeley and mayor Vanessa Van Uden have declined to consult the community, saying it is not necessary because it was an operations review and Wanaka will not receive a diminished library service.
Protect Wanaka Library says the Wanaka library is being relegated to “the status of an outpost’’.
There are concerns more job losses could follow the introduction of self-check out systems, resulting in a decline in services.
Adam has also suggested ratepayers might like to call for a strategic review of the library. This was something he was not briefed to do by the council and he thinks it would be “wonderful’’ to do a more comprehensive review if the council wanted it.
Adam confirmed some changes to the original library proposal were made following staff submissions.
While the council service centre will now remain in Ardmore St, some general services, such as rates payments, would be made at the library.
Two FTE roles have been put back into district-wide library resources and there would be a longer transition process.
Adam’s memo does not rule out further modifications but makes it clear the council accepts there are better alternatives than the status quo.
The Upper Clutha Rams rugby team was too strong at home for the Queenstown Wanderers on Saturday, winning the game 35-7.
Wanaka rugby correspondent Mike O’Connor said Queenstown’s second side put up a brave effort for the first half hour, before the home side began to take control.
The player of the day was Scott Cunningham, playing on the blind side flank, who “popped up all over the paddock and made life awkward for the Wanderers backline’’, Mike said.
The bar will need to be lifted this Saturday against the formidable Arrowtown side. The game starts at 2.30pm at the Wanaka Showgrounds.
The perception district mayor Vanessa Van Uden had a conflict of interest following the appointment of her husband to manage Lakes Environmental has resulted in councillor John Mann replacing her as a company director.
Lakes Environmental is a council controlled company and is being merged with the council following an operations and staffing review.
Ms Van Uden was appointed as a director after the company board resigned in March.
When Lakes Environmental chief executive Hamish Dobbie resigned at the beginning of April, Ms Van Uden’s husband Peter Laurenson was appointed interim chief executive.
Initially, the mayor denied an actual conflict of interest existed, although the council’s chief executive Adam Feeley acknowledged the perception of a conflict existed.
Her resignation follows a two minute extraordinary full council meeting this week to consider a report by the council’s regulatory manager Roger Taylor, which stated the perception of a conflict existed.
Lakes Environmental’s directors are now Cr Mann, Adam Feeley and the council’s deputy chief executive Stewart Burns.
A rare car, believed to be the only one of its kind left in the world and worth more than $1 million, will go on public display at Wanaka Airport on Sunday.
Warbirds and Wheels Marketing Manager Ed Taylor says locals can have a look at the 100-year-old De Dion for free on Sunday between 8.30am and 11am, during the Car Lover’s Brunch at Warbirds and Wheels visitor attraction.
After Sunday the car will be on display inside the visitor attraction.
The 1913 Model DZ De Dion Bouton, with an estimated value of more than $1 million, is on long-term loan to Warbirds and Wheels.
When it was built, the car was known as the ‘Colonial’ model, as the chassis and running gear were built to withstand tough terrain in the French colonies, such as Algeria.
World War 1 broke out the next year and many of the De Dion models were fitted out as gun trucks, ambulances and armoured cars.
The owner of the De Dion, Peter Le Gros of Auckland, says this particular vehicle ended up as a working vehicle on an Australian sheep station some 200 miles north of Melbourne.
“Because of the very low ratio, powerful 3 litre engine it was used for all sorts of tasks on the station including pulling out tree stumps.”
By the end of its working life it was not much more than a chassis and an engine in parts.
The vehicle changed hands a few times before it came into the possession of Charlie Edwards of South Pacific Airlines of New Zealand.
Peter bought it from Charlie’s estate in 1989 but it took him another four years to restore.
This is the first time the car has been displayed publicly in the South Island.
Wanaka girl Holly Wigg came home with a silver and a bronze medal this week, after competing in the NZ Open Karate Champs in Christchurch at the weekend.
Holly was competing in a very competitive 12-13 year age group, which included competitors from Australia.
She won a silver for Kumite (fighting) and a bronze for Kata (form).
The Protect Wanaka Library group is holding a public meeting at the Presbyterian Hall at 1pm on Friday so people can learn more about changes proposed for the district’s library services.
The Protect Wanaka Library group is holding a public meeting at the Presbyterian Hall at 1pm on Friday so people can learn more about changes proposed for the district’s library services.
The organisers are also seeking public support for a call for more community involvement in the council’s decision-making process.
Despite public calls for consultation under the Local Government Act, the council’s mayor Vanessa van Uden and chief executive Adam Feeley have said, in a open letter published on the councils’ website, that consultation is not legally required.
The council released the final outcome of library staffing this week, with Wanaka’s 7.25 fulltime equivalent library staff to be reduced to 3.8FTE staff.
Protect Wanaka Library spokeswoman Nicola Martinovich says many people have signed a petition this week but some were only just hearing about the proposed changes emerging from the council’s services and jobs review.
Nicola also urges people to make submissions about library services during the annual plan consultation process, as Wanaka’s opinion would then go on the public record.
Annual plan submissions close on Monday May 13.
The Rob Roy bridge over the Matukituki River will not now open until Thursday next week, as a result of delays caused by complex construction issues and weather.
It is the second time the Department of Conservation has had to delay re-opening the bridge, which had been scheduled for completion on April 23.
Doc community services manager Annette Grieve apologises for the further delays, saying the bridge work has been more complex than initially anticipated.
Weather conditions have caused further delays to the compliance signoff by the engineer.
The Little Mt Iron and Albert Town fire drill on Monday night has been hailed as a success by residents who took part in the exercise.
A borrowed mobile tsunami siren was used in the exercise and a petition is now underway to get a permanent siren installed for Mt Iron area on the outskirts of Wanaka.
Seventeen homes were “evacuated’’ during the exercise and rural fire fighters from the Department of Conservation monitored the response.
Resident Kris Vollebrecht said all those in the target area heard the siren, although they were listening out for it.
Kris says it was heard from the Riverside subdivision in Albert Town to the Aubrey Rd garden centre in town.
Cell phone texts were also sent out, but coverage, audibility and delay of signal meant the success of that system was limited.
Drill participants and Mt Iron residents are now being encouraged to come in to the DOC office in Wanaka to fill in a short questionnaire about the exercise.
The petition can be found on www.change.org (search for Mt Iron Wanaka) and is also available at Wanaka Physio, Ray White Real Estate and on Facebook.
The kanuka reserves have been identified as a vegetation fire risk to houses near the urban boundary.
In March, a fire in the Hikuwai Reserve threatened homes and a wind-borne spark caused a destructive house fire a block away from the blaze.
(CAPTION: Firefighters at the Hikuwai fire in March.)
A final report on the future structure of Queenstown Lakes District Council reveals 40 full time jobs will be axed and a “transition manager’’ will be appointed to oversee the changes.
Up to 100 staff will be affected by the jobs and services review, according to a report released yesterday to staff and the public.
A draft report had identified the loss of 41.82 full time positions, affecting 80 staff members, from a total of 334 staff.
The council’s chief executive, Adam Feeley, says the overall direction for change has been maintained in the final report but care has been taken to ensure the scale and timing of change can be managed without adverse effects on services.
Adam says staff consultation had been extremely valuable and the draft report had been modified to reflect the feedback.
The transition manager’s role is a new, dedicated position to bring about the changes.
While the council had refrained from public comment on the draft report during the staff consultation phase, it decided to make the final report public immediately because it wanted to set the record straight on the performance of the council and its two companies, Lakes Leisure and Lakes Environmental.
Adam says the three organisations – which will be merged - measure up very well to comparable local authorities but the council was not content with the status quo and was committed to lifting performance.
Key recommendations included:
Integrating the operations of Lakes Environmental engineering team with the Infrastructure Services team of the council;
Creating a new legal and regulatory team to manage all of the council’s regulatory and enforcement functions;
Bringing the consenting activities of Lakes Environmental and the planning functions of the council under the responsibility of a single general manager.
Adam said it had been a difficult few weeks for staff, after the draft report was leaked to the media, and he wanted to acknowledge their professionalism.
(CAPTION: Adam Feeley (left) sits next to mayor Vanessa van Uden at a recent Wanaka Community Board meeting)
A “military-style weapon’’ is suspected of firing a bullet at a rare World War 2 Russian Yak 3 fighter plane based in Wanaka, the Otago Daily Times has reported.
Police are investigating the incident, which was reported by retired pilot Arthur Dovey last week.
The Yak 3 is stored in a Wanaka Airport hangar. The bullet reportedly pierced the hangar wall and hit the aircraft’s transponder box, causing about $2000 worth of damage
The aircraft has been displayed at four Wanaka airshows. The small and light Yak 3 aircraft was nicknamed the “dogfighter supreme’’ in engagements against the German Luftwaffe.
Constable Martin Barham told the ODT the bullet appeared to be a ''.223 military round'', requiring a special firearms licence endorsement. Investigations are continuing.
The Banff Mountain Film Festival has sold out the 400-seat Queenstown Memorial Theatre for tomorrow night’s screening of nine films.
Queenstown has been chosen to launch the film festival’s nine centre tour of New Zealand and the programme includes five of the festival’s best films, including Crossing The Ice, which won both the peoples choice award and the grand prize.
In Crossing the Ice, Australian adventurers, James Castrission and Justin Jones, tackle the perilous 1140km journey across Antarctica to the South Pole and back again, completely unassisted, dragging their food and shelter behind them.
All proceeds from the festival go to New Zealand Alpine Club.
The films are Gimp Monkeys (climbing), Unicorn Sashimi (skiing and snowboarding), Wide Boyz (climbing), Wanna Ride (speedriding), Crossing the Ice (ice trekking), Industrial Revolutions (mountainbiking), Dream Factory (skiing and snowboarding), On Thin Sea Ice (skating) and Reel Rock Honnold 3.0 (free climbing).
Wanaka country singer-songwriter Jody Direen has had a hectic couple of weeks settling into the Nashville music scene.
Jody is no stranger to Radio Wanaka listeners and has stayed connected with her local fan base through social media during her first weeks in a foreign land.
Jody says she had a “crazy, high-pressure start’’ to her trip, working “full on’’ as her music industry network urges her to write songs and meet as many people as she can.
Jody says networking in the industry is a full time job in itself but she has started song writing sessions with Australian musician Matt Scullion, who has penned several number one hits in Australia, particularly for Lee Kernaghan.
She has renewed her acquaintance with Mike Zimmerman, who she met in Australia last year. Mike is Kenny Rogers’ drummer and they have written a song called " My Little Secret".
She has met many other music industry stalwarts, including an influential networking contact, Chris Oglesby.
Jody said Chris had given her excellent feedback about some of her songs, helped jack up more song writing sessions and given her a list of key industry people to contact.
Entertainment Industry contacts she made through Bear Grylls Ventures in Wanaka have also been helping her.
Jody says her Nashville sojourn is her one shot and she is being given amazing opportunities so she must perform and impress. While she feels paranoid someone will tell her she does not have what it takes, she says: “I am doing my best to embrace it and roll with it’’.
Wanaka kayaker Bob McLachlan and his Wild Descent team mate Keith Murray clawed their way back from a tough first day to take a close second place in the inaugural four day kayak race on the Clutha River last week.
Bob and Keith were among 27 teams taking part in the 261km race, which started at Albert Town on Thursday and finished at Molyneaux Bay, near Balclutha on Sunday.
The early pace setters, Australian and Kiwi duo Matt Blundell and Michael Snell, won the race after dictating the pace on the first day.
Bob and Keith were slowed down when their rudder broke during a collision with another boat in a rapid and had to switch boats.
They proved they were a match for the leading pair over the next three days, battling their way back up the field in what race organiser Warren Bates described as a “stunning comeback’’.
Despite some “mad sprints’’ and “fierce battles’’ between the leading teams, Matt and Michael’s determination resulted in a seven minute victory over Bob and Keith.
Wanaka Olympian Nicky Samuels was placed second in the very competitive first round of the 5150 triathlon series in St Anthonys, Florida, at the weekend.
Alicia Kaye of the United States was first, beating Nicky by 34 seconds. Third placed Emma Moffat of Australia was another 13 seconds behind.
The 5150 triathlon series is a 1.5km swim, 40km cycle, 10km run but cyclists are not allowed to draft during the cycle leg.
Fire sirens will blare out over Little Mt Iron tonight in a drill being planned by the Department of Conservation and the volunteer fire brigade.
The drill is planned for after 6pm and sirens should be heard from Kanuka Rise and Mt Iron Heights to Aubrey Rd and Albert Town.
The drill is part of the various fire fighting agencies response to increased risks to people and property by vegetation fires along the town’s urban boundary.
The purpose is primarily to test the response to the fire siren and while residents have been briefed, some people may wonder what is happening.
Residents of Albert Town, Aubrey Rd, Hidden Hills may use the opportunity to meet on the Aubrey Rd/ Kanuka Rise corner and sign a petition calling for the installation of a warning siren for the area.
A Mt Iron fire emergency response plan is also being drawn up by fire fighting agencies.
The initiative follows a recent fire in the Hikuwai Reserve at the bottom of Gunn Rd, which was reportedly caused by children.
The fire destroyed a large area of kanuka bush and threatened houses on the reserve boundary.
A wind-borne spark jumped a block and destroyed a house in Bernard Rd.
Yesterday’s South Island digital television switchover has been hailed a recycling success and there is still a chance to continue recycling for $5.
More than 450 TVs have been dropped off for recycling in the district and Queenstown Lakes District Council solid waste manager Stefan Borowy says the scheme has been a “win for everyone’’.
People can continued to recycle their old TVs for just $5 but are being advised to get in quickly, because once the QLDC quota of 1,251 sets has been filled, the recycling fee reverts to $25.
Stefan says the Government’s TV TakeBack offers a saving to the consumer and is also beneficial to the environment by making sure that hazardous materials, such as lead, don’t end up in landfill.
Wanaka has recycled the majority of sets, with at least 281 collected here compared to about 183 in Queenstown.
There are five drop off points: Wanaka Wastebusters, Wanaka and Queenstown Smith City, Frankton Transfer Station, and Queenstown Noel Leeming.
(CAPTION: Scott Opetaia of Wastebusters, with a recycled TV.)