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The Perfect Win-Win

June 18, 2019 June 2019 No Comments

“I hope this works!” A trust-building exercise on the Discovery Course. Photo courtesy of Discovery.

Challenges come in many different forms.   For the 200 people who entered the Skyline Challenge this year it was the opportunity to test themselves physically on South Wairarapa’s very hilly farmland.  Some rode, some ran and some walked.  There were tumbles, trips and probably some cussing but also a lot of satisfaction from making it to the finish line.

For the Martinborough Lions who created the event and run it each year, the challenge was to give entrants a great experience and to raise money for worthy local causes.  Working with just a small team of volunteers and with the help of Huri Huri they raised more than $4000.  “Helping the community is what Lions is all about.” says Event Coordinator Graeme Thomson “We are lucky to have such helpful farmers and generous sponsors.”

The Martinborough Youth Trust will be the immediate beneficiary.  Sue Sullivan and Pat Church set up this charitable trust to fund local teenagers on residential life skill courses.  So far they have helped over 70 young people. ”We chose the 13-18 age group because it is a formative time and having more tools to handle life’s challenges is really valuable.”   … Continue Reading

South Wairarapa Rebus Club

June 18, 2019 June 2019 No Comments

At the 24 May meeting of the South Wairarapa Rebus Club, Joe Howells of Green Jersey Cycle Tours, Martinborough, shared recollections of his Himalayan Motorcycle Trip in 2018. Members were impressed by the detail of some of his observations – he was certainly not just a thrill-seeker wanting to cross a dozen mountain passes higher than the summit of Aorangi Mt Cook; he absorbed the atmosphere, he communicated it.

Joe was one of 14 riders on an organised 12-day/1400 km. motorbike tour on elevated and rough roads in two regions of the Himalaya Mountains with a combined land area about that of Northland.  The roads were mostly built by the Indian Army to provide access to disputed border areas. They are poorly maintained through its ‘Border Roads Organisation’.  There are underlying regional tensions and refugees here, close to the disputed borders between India, China & Tibet.

In these regions altitude sickness is a dangerous, possibly fatal risk especially for unseasoned foreign visitors. Joe acclimatised gradually over three nights at increasing altitude and stuck with the tour recommended diet, avoiding meat, eating local vegetable meals, drinking tea and had no problems.

  The motorbikes were 500cc single cylinder Royal Enfield Bullets made in Chennai to a modified mid-1950s design in factories abandoned by their UK owners at the time of India’s independence. They were solid, easily maintained and well-suited to the conditions. Indian mechanics in small roadside stalls knew these machines intimately. … Continue Reading

Medici lectures

June 18, 2019 June 2019 No Comments

Our town, our people, their stories celebrated in 2019 Medici Lecture Series

Sophie Hensley kicks off the series on June 5 with a lecture on a “A dog’s role in international Disaster Rescue Work.” She tells how rescue teams use dogs to help find people who have been trapped after a disaster. Her lecture is based on her experiences as a dog handler with the International Disaster Response Team, Rapid UK. She has trained with dog teams in the USA, Oman, Finland and Peru as well as responding to earthquakes in Haiti, Pakistan and Iran.

One June 12 Michael Arapoff tells the personal story of his father’s survival in the turbulent times between the Wars. Johann fled St. Petersburg in 1917 to escape the Bolshevik uprising. He travelled to Vladivostock and then into the Far East before boarding a ship to France and finally arriving in Berlin in 1919. He lived as a Russian Exile until 1943.

Clive Paton has called his lecture “Tonganui-Big South” which is a visionary concept of a major conservation project to bring birdsong back to the South Wairarapa. It involves the local community and committed landowners from Pukaha to Palliser and from Aorangi to Zelandia. With the survival of our native species under threat and increasing numbers of pests and predators the project is a beacon for hope. This lecture is on Wednesday 19 June.

The final lecture on 26th June will be given by Jim Dennison and Leanne Williams from the “Crystal Chain Gang” who are glass casters and is entitled “Light as a feather”. Operating from local premises they have established a critically  acclaimed practice that is supported by art galleries and private collectors throughout New Zealand and overseas. Working with glass the aspect of light has always been paramount and this practice has evolved to capture it in their bespoke chandeliers one of which is being designed for the Waihanga Centre.

The Café opens at 6 p.m. and the lectures are due to start at 6.30. A complementary glass of wine and nibbles will be served. The charge is $20 a head.

Maree’s musings

IS THERE A ROBOT FOR THAT?

Recently I’ve been able to get back to my customary daily walks after a period of enforced inactivity (a warning to my readers: avoid coming down with sciatica – it’s ghastly!). The return to exercise is bringing me much joy. There’s nothing like getting out on a glorious Martinborough morning and getting some exercise too. One such occasion recently – a Saturday – I came across about half a dozen others doing just that: we exchanged the usual greeting (“Cracker day!”) and continued on our ways. 

However, for me, there was a little heartbeat of sadness: the others were all accompanied by a dog or two. After 40 odd years, I no longer own one, and the walk got me thinking. Maybe I could invest in a toy one? Not a ‘toy breed’ as such, but an artificial one. A ‘robodog’! I confess the remainder of my walk that day passed in a thought blur as I mused on how that could happen. Modern society is awash with labour-saving technology; from relatively simple things like the pop-up toaster to automatic garage doors and so on; and there are robots slaving away in sometimes surprising environments. So why not a robot dog?

Later, I googled (smartphone – there we go again) ‘robot’ and discovered it derives from the Slavic word robota which means work. Of course that word was not part of my Whippet’s vocabulary ( they’re the laziest breeds on the planet), but she did have her uses. Not many, I must confess. Dogs are a great conversation opener for a start, and naturally a robot version would work superbly with that, but without the drawbacks associated with the usual living model. For starters, there could still be the motivation for exercise, which might need working on initially. To help with that, however, there’s the thought of controlling your (and ‘her’) pace and without having to stop every metre or so for a sniff or a pee. No racing up to other dogs, attempting to chase cats or chooks or absolutely HAVING to eat that discarded pie-crust while almost dislocating your own shoulder into the bargain. And no need to incorporate a ‘motion’ while in motion if you get my drift. … Continue Reading