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Book reviews for hot summer days

February 13, 2024 February 2024, Regular Features Comments Off on Book reviews for hot summer days

By Brenda Channer – Martinborough Bookshop

The hot days of summer are prime reading times for me. 

Rebecca Yarros’ ‘Fourth Wing’ is a science fantasy novel pitched at 18-25yr olds _ but a ripping good read for anyone over the age of 16. 

The story of Violet Sorrengail, a candidate striving to become a dragon rider, an elite group tasked with keeping the borders of Navarre secure from known and unknown forces who would invade and destroy them. 

The obstacles – physical, mental and romantic that she must overcome are considerable and Yarros does a good job of pacing the story to maintain tension and of introducing twists and turns in the plot. 

It’s great summer reading for those who like world building, action, a bit of romance and getting in on the first of what promises to be a good series.

A good crime thriller is never far from my chair. 

‘Days of Innocence and Wonder’ by Lucy Treolar is not your typical thriller. It is told mostly in the first person as a narrative tale with occasional sidebars from an unknown narrator. An interesting device which is a little unsettling as I am sure it was intended to be. 

‘Till’ is a young woman on the move. Not exactly on the run but not wanting to be found. She tentatively settles in a disused railway station in a small town, desperate to belong but always poised to run. 

When she was 5 years old, her best friend was taken by a stranger and never seen again. This event has coloured the following 18 years of Till’s life and it is this trauma that is eventually resolved in a brutal and final showdown. 

The story jumps about in time and reveals the clues the reader needs to put the events into perspective in a piecemeal fashion, but it is moody and dark which appealed to me. Curl up at night to read this one.

From the Mayor

November 3, 2023 November 2023, Regular Features Comments Off on From the Mayor

Martin Connelly

I want to spend some time on the role of the Community Board. Not every council in the country has community boards. The South Wairarapa has three: Greytown, Featherston andMartinborough. 

Community Boards provide a mechanism for bringing council decision-making closer to citizens and communities, enabling community input on community services. An effective board enables decision-making to better respond to local needs.

Martinborough has a particularly energetic Community Board and I urge any of you with concerns about council services or ideas for improvement, to engage with your Board.

To demonstrate how this can work: earlier this year your Board came to the council with a proposal for improving the way the Pain Farm is managed. The council listened and set about turning the Board’s ideas into reality. The results should be evident next month.

Having a local Community Board provides an opportunity for residents to improve how the council operates in Martinborough. And not just in Martinborough village, for the board has held drop-in sessions throughout the district.

At the end of September your Community Board held a very well planned “Community Emergency Hub Open Day”. This brought together many local groups and emergency services. This day was part of the Martinborough Community Resilience Project. I am aware that not everyone thinks being prepared for a disaster is so important. But disasters do happen, and when they do it will be our neighbours and local community that will supply help first. 

I thank the Community Board for what it does to help us all help each other.

Alongside Masterton and Carterton, your Council has just released a “Proposed District Plan”. The Resource Management Act requires councils to have a District Plan, and to review them every 10  years. We developed ours jointly with our two neighbouring councils.

In simple terms, a District Plan controls what people can do on their land and how that land can be developed. The purpose of the Plan is to manage the natural and physical resources of the South Wairarapa to meet the needs of current and future generations. 

The Plan tries to balance the need for growth with good environmental outcomes. For example, it has rules regarding the minimum size that sections can be subdivided into, and it also has rules protecting natural features and heritage buildings.

While the Plan is district wide, it also has sections relevant to each part of the region. For example,

there is a list of notable trees in Martinborough. A notable tree is a tree that the community (or sometimes the Nation) regards as having special importance. Having it listed in the District Plan offers it some legal protections.

You can see the proposed Plan here: https://www.wairarapaplan.co.nz/ 

It is possible that there will be aspects of it which some people do not approve of. People can make submissions on the Plan. The submission form is at: https://www.wairarapaplan.co.nz/feedback along with the address to email your submission to. 

Closing date for submissions is December 19, 2023.

How Well Do We Know People in Our Community?

November 3, 2023 November 2023, Regular Features Comments Off on How Well Do We Know People in Our Community?

Gemma Wilkie loves to dance.

Gemma Wilkie

Gravesend in Northwest Kent was home. 

Gemma grew up in the small suburb of Northfleet. Her mother was a teacher, and her father a maintenance fitter for a Lead and Silver Refinery. We went to local schools, but my passion was dancing. I just loved it.

I began dancing at two and half or three. I learned Ballet, Tap, Modern and Jazz. 

At 18, I elected to undertake a BA Honours Degree in Dance and Related Arts at the University College Chichester. 

I had no idea what I wanted to do but the idea of travel, a tan, and being somewhere exotic was appealing so I got a job with a Package Holiday company. I worked in Ibiza, Cyprus, Corfu, and Lanzarote. My role was to provide entertainment to the holiday makers. There were games such as shuffleboard, darts, pool, water polo. For evening entertainment, we were tasked with creating shows.

While I was having a great time we were paid a pittance. It was time for a change. 

Every year as children we had gone on holiday to Florida. We visited all the film studios. At MGM we had a backstage tour where I found out about Green screens for the first time. They showed us how a scene in “Honey! I Shrunk the Kids” was created. 

My sister and I were placed on a massive bumble bee. We were blown about by a huge wind fan  and were required to scream at certain times. Then they showed us how the green screen was altered to show us zooming through a garden. It was mind blowing. I knew what I wanted to do.

A short editing course was my starting point. Then a one-week special course giving an overview of planning, storyboarding, finding locations, creating a short film, composition, and editing. I was hooked.  … Continue Reading

Star Book Review

November 3, 2023 November 2023, Regular Features Comments Off on Star Book Review

‘Vincent and Sien’ by Silvia Kwon  

Reviewer: Brenda Gale

Silvia Kwon is a Korean born Australian writer with a background in art history and publishing which makes her rather uniquely suited to the subject matter she has chosen in her new book.

1882 in The Hague, and Vincent van Gogh had committed himself to becoming an artist, spending years drawing in charcoal and pencil to ‘perfect the line’ before even picking up a paintbrush. 

He subsisted on an allowance from his younger brother and in today’s parlance would probably be described as neurodivergent. 

It was during these years that he met Sien, a pregnant, illiterate working girl. Their relationship lasted approximately 18 months and was largely based on each fulfilling the base needs of the other. Vincent’s for a model, sex and the fantasy of the perfect family and Sien’s for food and shelter.

These are the known facts about this pairing but Kwon has taken these bare bones and imagined their meeting, their time together, the family dynamics to which they were both beholden and the society in which they were embedded.

All of these things worked together to doom this pair and although they both knew it to some degree, they plunged into an intense relationship anyway. 

The book becomes a little repetitive in the middle as the author strives to have the reader understand just how different their worlds were. However, it makes for a rich tale of longing, hope and ultimately, tragedy. 

‘Vincent and Sien’ is for fans of historical fiction and those for whom Vincent van Gogh remains a troubled enigma all these years after his untimely and tragic death.

Available at your local bookshop.

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Sports

Martinborough WFC: First-ever home game

The all-important stats: Result: Irrelevant, but Martinborough Women scored at least 2 good goals. Enjoyment factor: as a spectator 10/10 Enjoyment Factor: as a player: 11/10 Effort and commitment: off the scale. Possession: Marty 58%; the opponents in Green: at times a bit less Shots on target: 3; goals 2. …

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Regular Features

From The Mayor

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