Thursday, 24 May 2012


by Sue Hensley

A fantastic milestone was reached with the reintroduction of two
takahe in late May. These endangered birds number a mere 260 of which
only 45 pairs are successful breeders. The survival of this species is
still in the balance. The captive breeding programme has been fraught
with numerous challenges and their sole wild habitat in Fiordland's
Murchison mountains is extremely inhospitable climate-wise and under
pressure from stoats.

Our new residents, Quammen and Te Hoiere, are captive-bred older males
with unsuccessful breeding histories, which is why DOC has made them
available to Orokonui as "takahe ambassadors".

They were initially released into a small enclosure to become familiar
with the area and then released at large. In their previous home -- Maud Island in the Marlborough Sounds
(rather a chilly transition to Orokonui) -- they showed that they were
at ease with people and so we hope they will feed out in the open
grassy areas and happily coexist with Orokonui's visitors.

This is the first autumn for three years there have been no rats
trapped. It is usually about this time that juveniles from any
residual population start roaming and begin to appear in our
monitoring system so this is an excellent sign and we hope this nil
result will be repeated when the tracking cards go out.

A wheelchair is now available at the Visitor Centre thanks to Anisha
at reception who saw the need and organised a raffle to raise the
necessary funds. Ruth Pankhurst won the raffle and Orokonui won the

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Big Fat Solstice Feast

by Lucy Jack

Get your dancing shoes on, and bring all your friends... the BIG FAT SOLSTICE FEAST is on its way. This year's line-up is still being finalised but we have our fingers crossed for Tahu & Rosa, Swampy, Kill Martha and an additional secret guest. Keep your eyes peeled on the chalk board, folks!

Come down to the Waitati Hall on Saturday, 30 June at 8pm for a night of feasting and merriment. Tickets are $10 on the door. Bring a potluck plate to share in the feast and BYO tipples. Dress code this year is 'nautical but nice', with multiple invaluable prizes on offer. Warm up and shake your booty to some fat village tunes with your favourite folk.

And don't forget the Little Fat Solstice Feast for little people! We are inviting all the little people to take part in our fantastical lantern parade around Bland Park. Please meet with your lanterns and lots of warm clothing outside the Waitati Hall at 5.30 pm on Saturday, 30 June. The Invulnerable Countess of Mayhem will lead the procession and we will make sure there are a few extra lanterns to go round. Afterwards, we will all go into the hall for a spot of shared food; so bring a potluck plate. Tahu will read us a story and we can dance to some music together. See you all there!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Blueskin Energy Project

By Scott Willis

Keeping warm and healthy as the cold bites is not always simple, especially if a household is in economic stress. Having good, unbiased information is an important first step in making sound choices, however. Thanks to a new contract with the Energy Culture's team at the University of Otago, we'll begin work in June on a Community Energy Advice trial, so keep your eyes on "Blueskin News" and subscribe to the email to stay informed. This is about making houses warmer, healthier and more energy efficient.

This month is about wind generation and technology. All wind turbines, whether small household turbines or larger community-scale turbines, need to suited their site to be effective. Wind turbines usually operate 75-90% of the time, but not at full capacity as wind is not constant. They also have an optimal operating range – they only produce electricity once wind gets to a certain speed and cut out when it gets too great. Too many days of high winds for a low-range turbine will wear out parts (like using a Honda Civic to tow trailer loads of gravel each day), and likewise, too many days of low wind for a high range turbine will under-utilise it (like owning a four-wheel drive to go to the supermarket). The trick is to find the right balance. However, now that we're experiencing wilder weather thanks to a changing climate, a greater degree of unpredictability (or 'risk') has entered the equation. No one knows how to model for climate change within the financial model of a wind cluster. The approach we're taking with the Blueskin wind cluster is to seek a slightly over-engineered turbine (the Christchurch made 'Windflow 500') for the site, in order to contain the risk of wilder weather and ensure low maintenance costs. Certainly, everyone will understand that when you build 'above spec' it costs more, even when using locally built machines. However, seldom do people or even professional industry developers give enough weight to the risk of building just enough to meet specifications, often to their regret. We can avoid spending generation income on turbine repairs, or having generation down for maintenance with the right choice of turbine.

Next comes the price we get for our power because we will have to sell into the market. This is where a community scale project has the advantage over household scale generation: we gain bargaining power.

Early bargaining discussion has begun and once we know for sure the realistic price we can get we add the figures to the spreadsheet, sign agreements, seek resource consent, raise capital, and, assuming the Blueskin community still wants it, begin construction. That only sounds so simple because I've avoided some of the detail. Feel free to get in touch if you want to know more.

The website is where you'll find fresh information as it comes to hand, and don't forget to complete the Blueskin Bay Energy Survey received either in your mailboxes or via the BEP Update.

Contact Scott on 482 2048 or by email

Blueskin Garden Club

By Lyn Hastie

Blueskin Garden Club members have been out and about recently.
Lots of us attended the Anzac Day Service at Waitati, Eunice Hoogsteden and Glenys Clements arranged the floral displays in the hall as well as making several wreaths. Members also served morning tea.
We held our AGM last month over a meal at the Careys Bay Hotel. Furs and fascinators were the dress code, the weather was cold that night and perfect for a fur coat.
Our longest serving member (19 years), Glenys Clements was thanked for working tirelessly for the club in many capacities. Glenys was presented with a brooch and a big thank you.
Our new committee is president Daphne Henderson, secretary Lyn Hastie, treasurer Marilyn Richardson and committee members Marg Meder, Janice Henderson, Lyne Carlyle, Lesley Smith, Rowena Park and Norma Dick.
We have planned another interesting year of speakers, trips and a hands-on workshop.
Our next meeting will be held on Thursday 14 June, at 7.30pm in the Warrington Hall. Speakers will be from Youthgrow in North East Valley where they have a nursery and work with young people.
We will have the usual raffle, competition for best bloom and vege/produce and supper. All are welcome.
Maybe you are new in the area and would like to meet some of the locals. Come along and join us.
Any queries to Lyn Hastie 482 2896.

Improved Medical Response for Blueskin Bay

By Charles Abraham


The Waitati Fire Brigade is now carrying a defibrillator (AED) and other medical equipment on its truck. This allows us to offer higher levels of medical assistance to members of our community.

Until now the brigade has been limited to providing support to the St Johns ambulance service. Brigade members have undergone further training to back-up St Johns in "collapse" events where ambulance officers are unable to respond quickly enough. In time, as we take on new skills the range of incidents we attend will increase.

However, this does not mean the fire brigade will replace St Johns. We will be called only where St Johns is unable to attend within its own prescribed call-out timeframes. Our role will be limited to providing first aid support until St Johns arrives.

If you need medical assistance you should still dial 111 and ask for an ambulance.

We also need to stress that the additional equipment and training costs for medical response needs are meet by the community.


by Gerard Collings, chairperson
As for the rest of Dunedin, this year's Long-Term Plan process has provided its challenges; the Waikouaiti Coast Community Board has (quite rightly) had to justify proposed expenditure within our area. While we were in no doubt of the need for the expansion of the Blueskin Bay Library, there was a concern that it, too, might fall victim to the Dunedin City Council's cost-saving red pen.  However, councillors have continued to confirm their support for this project, which is not only recognition of the need for the expansion but also an acknowledgement of the community's efforts in obtaining the necessary local share of the funding.  As we start getting closer to bricks and mortar it is appropriate to express a word of thanks to those who have continued to provide support for the project, and in particular the fundraising committee, being: Stuart Strachan (chairman), Alasdair Morrison, Andrew Noone, Marshall Seifert and Des Smith. The development associated with the library expansion will further enhance a key community facility within our area.

We have been advised that the Harvey Street footpath is scheduled for completion by the end of June, along with the placement of new signage on the Coastal Scenic Route, and the playground equipment upgrades in Waikouaiti, Karitane, Seacliff, and Warrington.

The DCC is currently consulting on the draft Dunedin Economic Development Strategy 2012-2022, submissions close with the council on 15 June 2012. Copies of the draft strategy and other DCC documents out for consultation are available from the DCC office and through the website

The Waikouaiti Coast Communty Board's next meeting is at 5.30pm on 4 July 2012 at the Dunedin City Council, Dunedin.  Members of the public are welcome to speak during the board's public forum, however those wishing to do so need to advise Lynne Robins our Governance Support Officer (phone 477 4000) before 12 noon on the day prior to the meeting.  Remember, you can view the board's meeting agendas, reports and minutes at either the Waikouaiti or Blueskin Bay libraries or through the DCC's website at

Members of the board are only too happy to hear (by phone or email) from members of the community about any issues within our area.

Board Contacts





The Board

Gerard Collings (Chairperson),




Alasdair Morrison (Deputy),




Andy Barratt,




Andrew Noone




Geraldine Tait,




Les Pullar,




Mark Brown,






Anzac Poem


by Naomi Ashby-Ryan

I see a field full of mourning poppies swaying in the breeze to remember those who died before them
I hear the distant cries of dying men calling for their homeland and wishing they were a million miles away
I smell the dust and smoke filling lungs with despair
I taste the trampled ground that so many have crossed to only find death on the other side
I feel the last trumpet blow for those who died for my freedom

Blood Red Poppy


by Elsa Neuman


A blood red poppy

pushes through scarlet soil

the beauty of the battlefield.


Stained corpses pile

three bodies high

the misery of war

broken by a single flower.


A crimson river flows

life for

a blood red poppy.





by Jasmine Johnson


I see the poppies growing

I imagine the sound of guns


I smell the poppies as I walk past

I feel sadness in the air.



Anzac Poem


by Lichen Sorrel


I see... flames, smoke, empty bullet

shells, grenade pins and barbed wire.


I hear... deafening gun fire, war cries and

exploding shells.


I smell... smoke, grenade gas and the

gagging smell of old grotty trenches.


I taste... mud, dirt, gun powder and the

great taste of an ANZAC biscuit sent from



I feel... scared, important and intimidated

by the enemy lines.



A Crow Flies


by Ruby Harris


A crow flies,

Poppies sway,

All on a mournful day.


The canon blows,

Trumpets cry,

All on a mournful day.


People gather,

Memories shared,

All on Anzac day.

Monday, 21 May 2012

By Lynnaire Johnston, President, Blueskin News

The Annual General Meeting of Blueskin Media will be held on Tuesday June 26 at Blueskin Library from 7.30pm.
The meeting is open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend.
Blueskin Media publishes Blueskin News and is looking for assistance on the editorial team. Currently the News is published with the assistance of two editorial and two design staffers, plus one advertising/financial staffer. All are volunteers.
The team would like assistance with proofreading which occurs once a month, close to publication date. If you have a spare couple of hours at this time, have online capability and are a whizz with words, we would like to hear from you. Please contact the president, Lynnaire Johnston, on 482 1364 or email

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Warrington Hall for Hire

By Lyn Hastie and Ruth Porteous
Warrington Hall is situated on Stephenson Street right next door to the Warrington Playcentre. A well maintained facility, it has recently been repainted indoors with new lino in the kitchen. There is a new storage facility for the chairs and trestles which has freed up the stage and other areas. 
The kitchen is well equipped with a stove, microwave, pie warmer, zip water heater and plenty of trestles, chairs and crockery etc.
The hall is available for many and varied functions. Do you have a family gathering coming up, a wedding, birthday party or work do? The possibilities for the use of this great facility are endless.
The hall is wheelchair-friendly and there is plenty of parking close by. The stage is perfect for entertaining and the local school has held many a production on it.
Our next project is to improve the facilities for the cleaner and to beautify to hall frontage. The mainly new and keen committee members are eager to see this wonderful community facility utilised a lot more.
If you would like to have a look around, find out about our competitive rates or make a booking, please contact one of the following people: Rowena Park 482 2667, Ruth Porteous 482 2849 or Lyn Hastie 482 2896.

Friday, 18 May 2012

WAITATI SCHOOL: What have we been up to?

by Lauren Ashford (Year 5) and Cam Hassall (Year 6)


Some of the Year 7-8s from Waitati School were chosen to make their Blueskin Bay fish pie in the Maggi cooking showdown!  They were taken to Christchurch on 25 May and filmed on the Erin Simpson show!


I have been playing in the hockey team, and yesterday we won 4-1.  We had only ever played one other game.  Wicked!  The first hockey game we had didn't go too well and none of us had played before.  But it's all about having fun!


Adair entered a competition where you had to make an origami apple, take a picture and send it to the people who were doing the competition.  The first 35 school pupils to send the picture to them would win an apple tree. It was great for us to have a new apple tree because a few cows got out and damaged some of our apple trees and broccoli plants.  Luckily one of our school mums had frozen some of the earlier broccoli crop so we were still able to have broccoli soup for our Friday lunch that day.   


On Friday we located the missing bike pump.  Ben and I went to the sports shed and got some rugby balls, soccer balls, basketballs and netballs.  We had to pump balls up all morning before school but in the end it was worth it. Now we can continue our learning in P.E.


This week we all made planets including Pluto.  This is how we did it; first we blew up some balloons, then we papier-mached them.  Finally we painted them.  We are learning about the systems on Earth that work together, and interesting facts about space.


We welcomed Te Ao Marama Tawhara to our teaching staff last month. Marama is teaching Te Reo on Monday afternoons for students who wish to have some extension in Maori language. 


Every three weeks the School Council meets up.  Two people represent each class.  They talk about issues such as whether we should get a school pet or not, and fundraising for our school and other charities. 


by Sam Ashdown


Playcentres are organic creatures, families and children come and go, adding, adjusting, enhancing and improving the centre, its energy and its rhythm. As our children grow the centre grows with them. Through peaks of activity when the roll is so high we wonder how we can adequately meet everyone's needs, to the troughs when the roll is so low we wonder how we can stay in existence, with everyone doing a little, the wonderful entity that is Playcentre prevails.


At Warrington our hardworking and graciously giving adult members have been slowly but surely chipping away at the list of jobs we have had to get done in preparation for re-licensing by the Ministry of Education in August this year. We have replaced our gates which were entirely too easy to climb over and escape from; our thanks to Mark Horsefield for his time fitting these for us. We then set about replacing our ancient swing set which required a whole new soft fall area and two new standard compliant frames, and then a selection of interchangeable swinging attachments fabricated and fitted by AJ Grants. A wonderfully well supported working bee before the Easter break saw our old tyre retaining barrier around our outdoor play equipment renovated and raised in height, ready to take the 20 cubic metres of play-grade bark chippings we will have distributed by the time this goes to press, to bring this area up to ministry standards. Phew!


Then just for fun we have renovated the sad little piece of wasteland that was behind our building into a "Wild Things" garden area. This project began over a year ago and involved a certain amount of earth moving, a drainage coil and a weekend with a compacter to create a path. Once these hard landscaping jobs were out of the way the fun began, planting out native trees and shrubs, creating a den and filling the area with multi-sensory outdoor accessories. This particular project has been a joy to watch evolve and to me epitomises the sense of shared ownership we enjoy through playcentre. Over the weeks members have quietly brought along something new, a new plant, some shells to decorate the fence or just their time to weed and take care, and while no one person has taken control or responsibility for the area it has become a beautiful addition to our centre's environment, which will continue to mature and grow for future generations of families.


 All of these projects have involved a fair amount of work but of course a fair amount of funding also, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank the following organisations for their support through grants: Foodstuffs and the Honda Tree Fund provided the funds to develop the Wild Things area. Then to: Bendigo Valley, the Lion Foundation, Pub Charity, Oceana Gold, the Otago Community Trust, Dunedin Casino Charitable Trust, and Alexander Macmillan, thank you. All of these organisations have contributed to our playground upgrade. These funding opportunities have enabled us to keep Warrington Playcentre moving forward and we are entirely grateful that they are there to be drawn from. We are extraordinarily lucky to have a parent member who has thrown herself into administering and co-ordinating the applications and accountability for these grants; she has our heartfelt gratitude for her tenacity and skill. For myself, a self-confessed "form-a-phobe", I am a little in awe of people who can do this.


So, renovations and projects aside, we continue to provide two sessions a week. On Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9.15am – 12.15pm our doors are open and the place is alive with chatter, laughter and stealth learning through play. Since January we have seen three of our children move on to join Room 3 at Warrington School, with three more on regular visits before joining their buddies full time by June. It is always a bitter-sweet moment saying goodbye as children leave us for school. Their personalities, skills and talents are much missed, but it is offset by the joy of seeing children who are secure in their ability to manage themselves away from home, confident and trusting of the adults who care for and educate them, with some strong friendships in place, move on with excitement into the next phase of their learning and growth.


As a centre we enjoyed running a treasure map game at the Waitati A&P Society Show, and we are practising hard for the Warrington Matariki celebration where we have been invited to join in the musical programme which follows the parade. We always have a great time when we get out and about. Most recently we have explored Evansdale Glen, picnicking, floating and racing sticks in the river and playing hide and seek. We also had a wonderful autumn walk through the Truby King Reserve at Seacliff, picking blackberries and learning how to play conkers.

Following a joint training opportunity earlier this year our Otago Playcentre Advisor, Allen Somerville, who supports several centres in our immediate area from Waitati to Maheno, has instigated the opportunity for members of all these centres to meet as a "cluster group". As small rural centres we share similar challenges with keeping our centres alive and thriving and I find the idea of sharing our problems and successes a really exciting prospect. Long live Playcentres.


by Hilary Rowley
There is some WOO action coming up. Anyone wanting to be part of the interesting bunch of people pottering round with fruit trees in the streets of Waitati, should get down to the area known as the Riverside Patch on Orokonui Road at 10am on Saturday 16 June. This is a lovely place beside the river, and will be gorgeous in future years when the fruit trees have grown, and it has a lovely cleared picnic spot. Take your garden tidying tools and the makings of morning tea.  If the weather is bad on the Saturday, the Sunday is the replacement day.
Wise words from Jason (the WOO orchard guru) are: don't prune yet, wait a bit until Jason runs one of his pruning workshops later on and learn all about the fine art (or is it a craft?) of getting your fruit-bearing plants in the best possible shape for the next season. The thing to do in the fruit orchard now is to divide, spread and plant perennial orchard companion plants. These attract beneficial insects, aid in pollination, and keep infections at bay. Try sweet cicely, creeping and Russian comfrey, feverfew, nasturtium, alyssium, chives.  This will attract humans to your orchard too, by making it a luxuriant, relaxing place.
Two pruning jobs which can be done now are grapes and raspberries. It's much easier to prune raspberries when the old fruit stalks can still be seen on the canes. The aim is to prune out anything that has fruited this summer. You start by looking at the tops, then cutting off the old cane at ground level, but after a while it becomes easy to spot the old canes just by their colour at the base. Any canes that are still fruiting can be left, as they will probably fruit again in early summer. Chop up your prunings and use them as kindling. Don't leave them lying about to spread disease.
Grapes need to be pruned back quite harshly. You basically have the long leaders that you are training along your wall, deck or wire and prune each branch back to within two buds of the leader. These buds will bear your fruit next year. I recently read that if you have more than one main leader they must be at about the same height as each other, otherwise the lower one will not fruit. If you want to train layered branches of grapes across a wall, you will have to do it with more than one plant.
Sitting on our bench at the moment is a big pile of grape bunches grown outside in North East Valley with no frost protection. They are a variety called Siebel, a Canadian wine grape which seems a very hardy variety. We have some growing in Orokonui that have fruited already, though it will be a long time before we can make wine. I will try and distribute some cuttings to WOO members if anyone is interested.