Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Living Legends

By Lucy Hardy

 

A massive thanks to everyone who has helped with the planting and maintenance of over 7000 native plants at the Living Legends site in the Orokonui Estuary, Waitati over the past 18 months. 

 

Now that we have so many plants in the ground, I am looking for groups who are willing to adopt a patch of plants to help with their ongoing maintenance. This will typically entail keeping an eye on the plants, hand weeding around them, turning over and replacing weed mats, and letting me know if there are any problems. I will be able to supply replacement weed mats and stakes if needed. If you are interested, drop me an email at lhardy@doc.govt.nz

 

There was another working bee on Sunday 30 September, to do some infill planting into the area which was planted up in 2011.

 


Monday, 24 September 2012

Notice: Daffodil Day

By Liz Sumpter

A big thank you to all who helped towards raising $625 for the Cancer Society. The people who baked, manned the stall and bought daffodils, baking and raffles.

The mystery basket was won by D. Green and Jean Strachan won the boronia kindly donated by Blueskin Nurseries.


Blueskin Garden Club

By Lyn Hastie
The 20th Blueskin Garden Club Spring Flower Show was a raging success, thanks to you all. The children, especially, whose entries never cease to amaze us all. The talent and creativeness is second to none.
A big thank you to the parents and teachers from Blueskin Bay who give their time and efforts allowing the children to play a large part in our show.
Despite the wind, rain, frosts and snow we have all experienced over the last few weeks you still came out with the daffodils, cut flowers, bulbs, shrubs and floral art, not to mention the handcrafts, home produce, men's section and the children. This year we had some different ideas for them and they came up trumps with sand saucers, shell and pine cone creations, bird feeders, wooden items, handcrafts etc.
The Waitati Hall was a busy buzz of noisy excited children, not to mention all the adults who have their annual catch up. The winners of the adult raffles were Rosalie Hines, Glenys Clements, Bernie, Craig, Christine Hardisty, Rosalie Cunningham, Anne Fitzgerald, Jan Boswell, Jago, Sarah Smith. Childrens raffle winners were Atawhai, Alice, Roland, Sandy, Ashlie, Maddox, Tamati, Maggie, Alex, Kahui, Rick, Zac, Maddy, Gerry, Rick, Max, Millie, Nisha, Tia, Jake and Baxter.
Trophy winners:
Child most points - Ashlie Carbines, closely followed by Maddy and Phoebe Ozanne.
Family most points - Mayhem family, closely followed by the Ozanne family.
Child's champion exhibit - Maddy Ozanne.
Best exhibit in the whole show - Vicky Patten Burrow's patchwork.
Best Bloom - Daphne Henderson's daffodil.
Floral Art - Rowena Park.
Most points in the flowering shrubs - Lyne Carlyle
Individual with most points in the show - Daphne Henderson.
Daphne, our president, during the presentations mentioned that our club is looking forward to taking part in next year's Blueskin A&P Show. There will be a spud in a container competition for all age groups with money to be won for the most and heaviest.
Also, we plan to have fun activities on site from our marquee. More details as they come to hand.
Once again thanks to everyone who came along and showed their support by entering, buying plants, raffles etc. Special thanks to all the clubbies who gave their whole weekend.
Our club members are off to Lawrence on Sunday to look at the daffodils at Weatherston's. Some will also be attending the National Daffodil Show in Dunedin. Our visit to Larnach Castle on 13 October has been postponed. This is due to many other activities on the same day.
If you would like to come along and join in with club activities you can contact our president Daphne Henderson on 482 2428 or secretary Lyn Hastie 482 2896.
 

Saturday, 22 September 2012

WAITATI SCHOOL: Kapa haka group

by Mandy Mayhem

These photos are of the Waitati School children at the recent Polyfest at the Edgar Centre. Waitati was the only school with genuine traditional piu piu skirts, crafted by the wonderful and talented 'Nanny' Janice Turei of Waitati.
Arohanui, Janice, and thank you so much.

WAIKOUAITI COAST COMMUNITY BOARD

by Gerard Collings, WCCB chair

It is pleasing to see that the Blueskin Library extension is now a reality with work scheduled to commence in October, to be completed in April next year.  All those who have been involved in bringing this project to fruition can be particularly proud of their efforts.  I would also like to extend a thank you to our Dunedin City Council (DCC) councillors for honouring their commitment to this project in somewhat difficult fiscal times.
The Waikouaiti Coast Community Board (WCCB) will be considering its options for public toilets in Waitati at our 26 September meeting.
As a result of necessary redesigning, physical works on Careys Creek bridge have been delayed.  It is now expected that the works will be finished closer to Christmas rather than early November as previously advised.
The WCCB has recently made a submission on the DCC's draft Social Wellbeing Strategy and the Otago Regional Council's Regional Passenger Transport Plan 2012. Copies of the board's submissions are attached to our September meeting agenda which is able to be viewed as indicated below.
Copies of DCC documents out for consultation are available from the council office and through its website http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/council-online/currently-consulting-on
 The next meeting of the WCCB is at 5.30pm, 7 November 2012, at the Warrington Surf Life Saving Club.  Members of the public are welcome to speak at the board's public forum, however those wishing to do so need to advise Wendy Collard, our Governance Support Officer (phone 474 3374), 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 libraries or through the DCC's website at http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/your-council/council-minutes .  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
Home
Work
Mobile
email
The Board



Gerard Collings (Chairperson),
4657604
4707494
0274848800
Alasdair Morrison (Deputy),
4822505
4822505
0274354384
Andy Barratt,
021890048

021890048
Andrew Noone
4657157

0274301727
Geraldine Tait,
4822517

0212175492
Les Pullar,
4658138

0274358020
Mark Brown,
4822833



WAITATI OPEN ORCHARDS

by Hilary Rowley

Here in the south we can grow all sorts of fruit trees and shrubs, but that does not mean we can actually harvest fruit from them. Frost and cold winds are your enemy here, and apart from sensible placement of your fruiting plants, and barrier methods there is not much to be done. The frosts we are having lately will damage fruit and buds on a poorly placed tree. Imagine frost forming like water pooling behind a dam, or in a hollow.  On a slope it will pool behind a wall or a hedge, or at the bottom of the hill. The flat land in Waitati gets much harder frosts than on the hills.  Movement stops frost from occurring so on a slope the air is flowing down hill and as long as there is nothing to dam it there will be less frost.  A fast-flowing river will stir up the air and create areas of less frost. In Central Otago some orchards use big propellers on frosty nights to stir up the air. Because the sea is such a big body of a certain temperature, places close to the sea get less frost.

Apples and pears, and plums are the toughest and can be planted in the less favourable places in your orchard, like at the bottom of the hill, or behind the house, while more delicate trees like peaches, nectarines, cherries and apricots should be further up the hill. It's a frosty night as I write, and we have covered our Moorpark apricot with frost cloth. I just lift it gently over the tree using long bamboo sticks, and can take it off again in the morning.  This would not be possible if we had let the tree get too tall, but it's short and wide, so it works.  The lemon trees get a sheet thrown over them on frosty nights and removed in the morning. Damage is also done by the sun hitting frozen growth on a fruit tree and thawing it too quickly. My really old Victorian gardening book states that this can be prevented 'by thoroughly watering the blossom or young fruits with cold water, applied with a garden engine, in the morning before the sun shines on them'. Now there is something to do before you go to work on a frosty spring morning.  Another method much loved in 19th century European gardens was to grow trees against a  sunny brick or stone wall, so the heat absorbed during the day would be released at night. I think a method of solar-powered frost fighting would be sensible, as it's usually a frosty night following a sunny day,so your solar-powered propellers, or solar-powered heating system would be at full strength.  I don't think these have been invented yet, but would be fun to experiment with.
  
Or, of course, you could not intervene at all, and in some years have no fruit on your delicate varieties and, if you are lucky, in some years have lots.

Friday, 21 September 2012

WARRINGTON PLAYCENTRE

by Lisa Hall


Kia ora, everyone.

 

Spring is here!  If you can't tell that by the unpredictable weather, surely you can by the smiles on everyone's face at the lengthening days, and the odd pasty leg that braves the sunshine.

 

We have had a fantastic month last month, passing our re-licensing inspection with flying colours.  A serious amount of work goes into preparing for these inspections, not only in ensuring our environment meets all the standard requirements but also chasing pieces of official-looking paper and making sure they are in the right places and are updated.  A huge amount of this fell on the shoulders of our esteemed President, Sam.  Her experience with playcentres over the years truly was a godsend for us, and we cannot thank her enough for all the hours she spent helping our centre prepare for this visit.  We were really blessed to have Marie Coll and Alan Somerville from OPA guiding us in their calm manner, and with such great positivity throughout the process.  Thank you also to the parents who all pulled together to help us achieve such a great outcome.  What an awesome wee community we have.

 

It's been thrilling to meet some new friends recently, too.  We welcome Georgina and Toby, Georgina and Rowan, Jo and Belle and Roxanne and Lennox to Warrington Playcentre.  Roxanne is also a past alumni of  our Playcentre.  It's great to meet you all and great to have so many younger cherubs joining our ranks – it makes for a great dynamic.

 

As this goes to print the Blueskin Flower Show will have been graced by some pretty fab sand saucers and creations from our kids.  It has been lovely creating things from our own blossoming garden, and that of Mary-Jane.  We have some very talented florists emerging.

 

Happy birthday shouts go to the 'Phabulous' Phoebe, Fantastic Flynn and Just amazing Jamie.  We all hope you celebrated with plenty of fun, giggles and cake.

 

If you are looking for fun, friends and lots of lovely learning come and join us on Wednesday and Friday mornings, 9:15 to 12:15.  We'd love to see you.

 

Ph 027 227 7329

'The Corner Dairy, number 1' shifts to Blueskin Bay Gallery

by Paul Cardno, the artist

Charles kicks off a new season at the Blueskin Gallery with 'The Corner Dairy, number1'. This was unloaded and installed from the back of a truck two weeks ago on a sunny Blueskin day. Activity is prolific in 'The Corner Dairy, number1' with numbered balls chasing each other forever more. This is not your normal dairy by any stretch of the imagination, but extremely appropriate for it to be placed in the Blueskin Gallery.

Jack helps Paul move 'The Corner Dairy, number 1' into Blueskin Bay Gallery, thanks Jack.

 

If you are wanting to buy lollies, newspaper or food then it's best to go across the road to the store. But if you are looking to see some kinetic art, then 'The Corner Diary, number 1' might be something that interests you and it certainly is something that has interested me.


This sculpture is a maze of wire tracks (82 meters in total) with 16 balls continuously rolling, looping, spinning, doing backflips, turns and twists. It's two metres high with the tracks painted blue and I have an Archimedes spiral in the centre (orange), that is motor-driven and takes the balls up to the top again, beginning their routine to the bottom again. I've spent some four years building this machine, the last two getting the balls to stay on the tracks long enough for me to release it to the public. I've had it in my workshop on Thornicroft Rd for months doing its thing, day in and day out, testing, refining and tuning. During this period I've called it an expensive alarm clock, as the timer on it would mean that it would wake Karen (my partner) and me up in the morning -- the workshop is right under our bedroom!

 

During the two years of tuning and refining I've added in some smarts to make it all run smoothly. Under the hood there are five micro-controllers, a cell phone, quite a few infra-red sensors and some small motors. Together these sense if the balls are running properly, and if not some of the motors are turned on to try and correct this. If this doesn't work then the sculpture is switched off and I get sent a txt message. This happens about once every couple of months (the cellphone is actually inside a round blue box about half way up the sculpture, put there because at my workshop in Thornicroft road this was the only place that I could get reception and still have the cable reach the bottom).

 

It's hard to describe, so I'm hoping that the photos will give an indication of what it's all about, and here are some of the things that I love about it: a) It's semi-chaotic, balls will just fall off for no reason (I did try to make them stay on then I realised that it was way cool to have chaos). b) It has a catapult, which fires all the balls that have fallen off, back onto the main track (powered by 240 volts it was one of the scariest things to make). c) There is a wire knot within the sculpture. I'm told that it's a trefoil knot. d) There is a ferris wheel. And e) there is lots of colour movement and noise.

 

Paul putting on some final element before it's switched on.

 

I've had this sculpture in Wall St Mall for the last several months and I'm really happy to bring it back to our local gallery for the next several weeks. If you are keen to check it out, the Blueskin Gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday, 10:30am to 4:00pm. I've really enjoyed making it, and I hope that you can get some time to see and enjoy it also.

BLUESKIN RESILIENT COMMUNITIES TRUST

by Scott Willis

 

The Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust (BRCT) office located at Waitati School is warmer thanks to a small working bee comprised of Carl Scott and myself (no more could have fitted in the roof space) and the wonderful support of Insulpro who made a donation of insulation. The next working bee to complete insulation underfloor is yet to be held.

 

Events with Nicole Foss we organised earlier in the year have stimulated some useful discussion/debate about the local economy, and soon a local symposium. When people roll up their shirt sleeves, ideas lead to action.

 

The trust's current projects (wind cluster, energy advice, solar) are all in good health and the AGM is coming up this month. It will be held on Friday, 19 October, from 7.30pm in Waitati Hall. All are welcome to attend. The AGM is about reporting on what we've been up to, looking ahead, changing some of the guard and having a chat.

 

Offers of assistance or interest in BRCT work are always welcome, and the trust is interested in supporting proposals that align with the vision of a positive, healthy, secure and resilient future for Blueskin Bay with sustainable resource use. BRCT trustees and officers are Ross Johnston, Chris Skellett, PJ Clarke, Tony Wilson, Gerry Carrington, and Kate Parker, with Jeanette Fitzsimons as the trust's patron. You can also discover more about the trust at: http://www.blueskinpower.co.nz/, or check us out on facebook.

 

Insulation (provided by Insulpro Ltd) in the BRCT office roofspace.

 

 

BLUESKIN BAY LIBRARY: Redevelopment moves into final phase

by Louise Booth

The contract to build the new Blueskin Bay Library has been awarded to Cook Brothers Construction, and heralds the beginning of preparations that will bring the Blueskin district a much-needed multipurpose community facility.

Cook Brothers Construction is a Dunedin-based company, who are thrilled to have been awarded the contract. 'It's always nice to work on projects that mean so much to the community. We're looking forward to a start, and delivering a successful outcome for all involved. Our build team is lucky to have such a peaceful place to show their skills off this summer', says Blair McGill, regional manager of Cook Brothers Construction.

Work is expected to commence in October 2012 and should be completed by April 2013. As well as a new library the redevelopment includes a community meeting room, public toilet and foyer space.

Library staff have begun the mammoth task of packing their collections of books, magazines, music and DVDs, ready for their temporary library relocation to the Waitati School. The library will operate from a former classroom on the school site, and Blueskin Bay librarian, Louise Booth, expects the temporary site to be a busy and popular place -- especially after school.  Louise, Averil and Kate look forward to seeing all our customers up at Waitati School later in October.

BLUESKIN ENERGY PROJECT

by Scott Willis

Home energy audits (free, until we reach capacity limit) for Blueskin residents are going very well. To sign up for an audit email register@blueskinpower.co.nz. You can also get quality energy advice each Monday and Tuesday by phone on 482 2207. This is a team effort from BRCT and the Energy Cultures Team at the University of Otago, with Chris Freear representing Blueskin. The solar project led by Chris Le Breton is making good progress as reported in the 'solar tube'. These are both wonderfully immediate parts of the larger energy project to build greater energy resilience for Blueskin and to provide as many opportunities as possible for people to be involved and take action.

 

The wind cluster project currently consumes most of our time which is not surprising for a project that aims to generate electricity equivalent to the annual demand of 1000 Blueskin households. I may be repeating myself, but what is foremost in our minds is to find a way of ensuring that the project achieves an appropriate return for the communities involved, because that will make other energy-saving projects (eg solar, wood lots, etc.) possible. We are seeking expert advice on what will provide that outcome and allow all the local investment we anticipate (we've received a number of enquiries). The fundamental issue relating to a wind cluster -- how much wind is there -- remains crucial. It is very exciting that Garrad Hassan (NZ's and the world's largest renewable energy consultancy) in addition to providing an expert opinion on existing wind data is providing use of a 30-metre wind measuring mast (supplied by Trustpower) which will give the type of data we will need should we seek additional financing. Once it is re-rigged and delivered we'll need a number of hands on deck to lift it into place; so please get in touch with me if you want to be involved.

 

The technical issues relating to wind testing, appropriateness of turbine model, other infrastructural requirements, etc. are only part of the picture but require significant work, and without the assistance of Garrad Hassan, Energy3, WindFlow Technology, PowerNet, Pioneer Generation and all the people in the community who help fix the little problems that occur from time to time, even this work would be an enormous challenge. A project of this nature also requires legal work, and it has been fascinating, and a little daunting, learning about the different bits of legal assistance we will need if the project gets the final big tick. On the planning side we've benefited from some early work by professional planners and are very lucky to have so many examples and people willing to share their experiences. The refined technical appraisal is the next significant area of work as it makes appropriate decisions possible. Community meetings to go over all these issues and more have been scheduled for mid-November. They are:

·        Long Beach Hall: Thursday 15th November, 7-9pm

·        Warrington Hall: Friday 16th November, 7-9pm

·        Waitati Hall: Monday 19th November, 7-9pm

Please put these dates in your diary! Visit us at: www.blueskinpower.co.nz , or at the office at 1121 Mt Cargill Rd, Waitati (on Waitati School grounds – after 3pm please). Telephone enquiries can be made on 482 2048  (re the wind cluster) and 482 2207 (for energy advice).

 

Chris Le Breton and a mysterious engineer type try to find a small gremlin in the control box of the wind tower.

 

 

WAITATI VOLUNTEER FIRE BRIGADE

by Deanne Burrell
 
On Saturday 25 August 2012 the Annual General Meeting of the Waitati Volunteer Fire Brigade was held at the fire station and a great night was enjoyed by all.  It was reported that for the 2011 year the brigade had attended 42 calls, which is a major reduction from the previous year.  Factors such as weather and road safety played a part in this reduction but we also believe that work undertaken by the brigade on community awareness has also contributed.  Since the previous AGM one new member had joined the brigade.  We would like to welcome Sam Todd.  Sam is our youngest member and shows great enthusiasm and motivation.
 
Congratulations to the following members who received awards on the night:
Fire Fighter of the YearSharon Brogan.  This award is decided by members of the brigade.  It is awarded to the person that the members feel contributed that little bit extra to the brigade during the year, so congratulations Sharon on an award well deserved.
Best AttendanceJeff Burrows & Lindsay Scott.  Jeff's and Lindsay's dedication and commitment to the brigade is constant and very much appreciated.
Incident Attendance – Seraya Figgins.  Thank you Seraya for the commitment you put into helping your community.
Piston Broke Trophy (oopsy award) Keith Templeton.  (run Jeff run) we will say no more!
 
PUT FIRE SAFETY FIRST THIS SPRING
Spring is here once again and here are some easy fire safety tips that will help ensure a fire-free entrance to this summer:
This year, while doing your spring cleaning, make it a priority to also conduct a spring fire safety check of your home to ensure that you and your home are as safe as possible.  You can reduce the likelihood of a fire in your home, and protect yourself, your family and your property from devastation by following these easy tips.
 
Practice spring safety while spring cleaning!
As you make your way from room to room with your feather duster, your vacuum and mop pay special attention to the following 'hotspots' and correct any potentially dangerous situations.
 
Electrical wiring, outlets and appliances
Overloaded electrical circuits, faulty electrical equipment and misuse of electrical equipment are common causes of fire.  If you have any concern about the performance of appliances like electric blankets, heaters, air conditioners or fans, have them checked by a qualified electrician.
Do not overload multiboards with double adaptors.  Remember -- one appliance per socket (multiboard or wall).
Ensure that leads on appliances are in good condition and not frayed.
Extension cords are not designed as permanent replacements to your home's internal wiring. Never put them under carpets or mats or use them while they are tightly coiled.
Turn off and, where practicable, unplug appliances when not in use.
Keep electrical appliances clear of water.
When buying second-hand appliances ensure that they have been tested by a licensed electrician or gas fitter and have been certified as safe.
Do not place fans, heaters, televisions or other electrical equipment in areas with restricted airflow as overheating may occur.
Confirm that no flammable materials are within one metre of an electrical heater.
 
Be smart! Use smoke alarms -- add smoke alarm maintenance to your spring cleaning list.
Smoke alarms are very easy to care for.  They require only two minor scheduled tasks:
1.  Replace the batteries once a year.  You may opt to schedule this yearly change to coincide with daylight saving, or perhaps schedule the change for an easily remembered day, such as your birthday or wedding anniversary.
2.  Keep them clean.  Just as you dust your bookshelves, make sure that your smoke alarm is free from dust and debris, as it may interfere with proper functioning.  A quick vacuum around the smoke alarm regularly will do the trick.
 
Plan your fire protocol NOW!  Planning now, can prevent tragedy later.
Now is also a good time to sit down with your family and devise an escape plan.  All of your family need to understand the escape plan and to practise escaping from each room in the house by the two exits.
Most fires start in kitchens (25%), bedrooms (13%), and lounges and family rooms (16%). Make sure your family practises escaping from these rooms every three to six months.
Remember, you need to:
Ø  Have working smoke alarms
Ø  Know two ways out of every room, if possible
Ø  Make sure that doors and windows needed for escape are clear and easy to open, and that there is a safe way to reach the ground from upper floors.
Ø  Keep keys in deadlocks at all times when home.
Ø  Have an outside meeting place, such as a letterbox or a special tree.
Ø  Make special plans for young children and older people.
 REMEMBER -- GET OUT! STAY OUT!
 
Currently it is a RESTRICTED SEASON.  Restricted season means that no fire may be lit in the open air without a permit.  A permit is required for all outdoor burning, other than gas barbecues and incinerators, at any time of the year.  All new permit applications must be applied for at least two weeks prior to the event and are subject to a site safety inspection.
If you intend to burn rubbish in a backyard fire then you need to be aware of the following:  These items can be burned -- paper, cardboard, plant matter and untreated wood.  The material must be dry.  The plant material must not be green, so you can't burn material just cut from living plants.  Wood must not be painted, varnished or treated, or contain glues or other plastics.  The fire must be 50 metres from any boundary, and the smoke must not be a nuisance to your neighbours.

Waitati School Quiz Night

By Sue Roberts-Blyth

Start gathering your wits and your team for the famous Waitati School Quiz Night!
This advance notice of the quiz night in November is to give you time to sharpen your skills and your pencils. 
Make a team of 4-6 people and be prepared for a fun, hilarious and competitive night out. 
More information in the next edition of Blueskin News or contact the school on 482 2888.



Blueskin Playcentre

BySue Bourne


The Blueskin Playcentre thanks all the supporters who contributed to its recent fundraising event 'A BIT OF A DANCE'.
Extra thanks to Geoff Greer (builder), Blueskin Nurseries, Bendon, Arthur Barnett and Blueskin Library for raffle prizes; 'Superglue' (the band) plus Andy and Dell for the D-Jaying, all giving their services for free.
A total of $747 was raised and a great time was had by all.




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From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media: voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff, Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point, Purakaunui), Dunedin, New Zealand. All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".


Waitati School pupil article

Room One Waitati School has been working on persuasive writing; here is an example.

 

By Angus McLean, Year Six


Hello room one! My topic is why you should care about global warming. Here are just a few reasons why you should.

My first reason is: It could cause severe flooding. Scientists think that it could cause lots of flooding because the arctic ice caps are melting and warmer weather produces more intense rainfall.

You may be thinking, "I could just move to another country!" Well, my next reason is: many people could migrate to other countries. In countries with a warm climate, the climate would get even warmer and would make the country too hot to live in. That way, overcrowding would become a big problem as people move to cooler countries like NZ.

My last reason is: There could be famine. Flooding could destroy crops in some countries and because of overcrowding; there wouldn't be enough land for growing food. But that's not all, pollution would kill off sea life.

So now hopefully, now you do care about global warming because, it's a big problem and YOU have to help stop it!!!



Thursday, 20 September 2012

OPINION: How far are we prepared to compromise?

by  Charles Abraham and Monica McEntyre 

 

We thought as representatives of the capital markets we should offer some comments on parts of Derek Onley's wide-ranging opinion piece last month (September, p.24).

 

In his piece Derek was critical of Windflow Technology and its involvement with General Dynamics as a way of raising much needed capital, and argued that an absolute line could and should be drawn about dealing with a company that had a connection with the military.  As consumers we can try to avoid supporting companies whose activities don't meet with our own personal beliefs. Sometimes it's clear. We can avoid smoking or consuming alcohol; but not always. How far do we dig into a company's other business activities before we buy a product?  For example, one of Korea's major car manufacturers also produces the main battle tank for the Korean Army.  Does this mean we shouldn't own a Korean car?  Do we boycott all Japanese companies because of whaling?  

 

Windflow Technology has followed a pathway familiar to many emerging companies in New Zealand, and indeed around the world, with need for capital to get a product from a bright idea to market. Derek has rightly asked about alternative approaches. Ultimately they all come down to someone prepared to put their hand in their pocket and back the idea.  Whether it is by way of a loan or a stake in the enterprise someone still has to facilitate the process. The capitalist system has flaws and can be abused, but generally works very well in matching those with free capital to those who need it. Yes, Windflow had a $7 million loss for the last financial year and needed to raise urgent working capital or otherwise face the real prospect of receivership.  Windflow's ability to raise the level of capital required cannot be correlated to the ability of someone on the median wage – quoted as $27,500 p.a.; the median income for Otago households is $66,000 p.a., slightly lower than the New Zealand household income of $75,000 p.a.   Windflow's, or for that matter any company's, ability to raise capital is not like an individual household trying to save.

 

Incidentally, New Zealanders currently hold $105 billion in deposits with the New Zealand banking system.  Perhaps raising $2 million from New Zealanders would not have been a big ask, except that New Zealanders seem all too reluctant to take a long-term view of their own companies.  All too often an investment is sold at the first indication of a capital gain.

 

Windflow has licensed its technology to a third party in an attempt to solve the problem that many other New Zealand manufacturers face, and that is the tyranny of distance.  It is simply beyond New Zealand companies to make big-box items, ship them round the world, and still be competitive.  A company that licenses its technology and exports it to the world does so for the survival of the company, to provide security for its staff, and ultimately for the benefit of the New Zealand economy.

The Solar Tube

by Chris Le Breton

 

I have been working voluntarily over the last month at the office of the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust, two to three mornings a week, making contact with people who had expressed interest in getting solar energy going on their houses.  If you could have solar, but you've got no money, would you like it? Which would you like -- PV? solar thermal? other? In Australia (which I cycled across last year) I got to know a solar town project where the whole community got fitted with solar PV in one go.  Would you be up for that here in the Blueskin area?   If so, I'd like to hear from you.

Early results from the survey indicate 90% interested in solar  photo-voltaic panels (to generate electricity), 10% interested only in solar thermal (to heat water), and 100% interested to learn more about a possible community solar scheme.  Soon we will be able to analyse the implications of this fully and examine the maths and the practicability of harnessing the sun's energy here in the Bay area.

To-date, I've spoken with 14/18 respondents, asking them a series of questions about their solar desires and needs. If you want to join, get in touch!  
solar@blueskinpower.co.nz

Monday, 17 September 2012

BLUESKINPOWER: Energy -- where does it go?

by Chris Freear


The graph shows the typical home's energy usage (all fuels – electricity, gas, wood, etc.)


Making your space heating more effective


Heat is sneaky stuff; it will (at every opportunity) slip through small gaps and escape – leaving you alone in the cold.  Here are some things you can do to help prevent this:

·        Block off unused fireplaces -- fill a plastic bag with scrunched up newspaper and stuff it up the chimney (remember to take it out again before lighting the fire).

·        Stop the draughts around doors and windows with self-adhesive strips from hardware stores.

·        Open curtains to let the sun in, and close at sunset to keep the heat in.

·        If you can, surround yourself with insulation by ensuring it is in the ceiling, under the floor and in the walls – if your house was built before 2011 it is likely that it would be financially sensible for you to increase the amount of ceiling insulation you have.

If you want to learn more and register for a free audit of your home visit: www.blueskinpower.co.nz