Tuesday, December 21, 2021



Nelson's Christmas Tree

On Christmas Eve December 24, 3048 in an undisclosed location in the Top of the South the following story was found in an archaeological dig in what looks like a plastic milk container near a secret stash of presents.

It reads:

Once Upon A Time when there was a great sickness, Santa Claus whispered in my ear that he was starting early this year, 2021,  to organise transport and stockpiling toys for all the children in the world. 

Santa thinks the demand for toys this year is going to be huge but he has his elves to help him to design, make toys and deal with the millions of requests from all of the children.

Children from all over the world needed more presents because with all the lockdowns, due to the big sickness, children had worn-out all of their toys.

Santa at Mitre 10 Nelson

Santa’s elves have been very very busy, making more and more toys. Bushy Evergreen, the elf in charge of Santa’s toy making machine, told me “it’s hard keeping up with meeting children’s endless demand for new toys in this time of the big sickness.”

Santa believes that there is such a demand for toys he has instructed his elves to call on the Richmond Menzshed workers to make a new toy making machine for elf Bushy Evergreen.

Christmas in Richmond Mall

Santa’s elves under the direction of Humphrey, the Chief Elf, has had to build a new factory in the North Pole to cope with the demand for toys and the new toy making machine.

Santa used to rely on big container ships to stockpile toys around the world to later pick them up with his magic sleigh on Christmas Eve. Due to the big sickness all the ships are delayed.

Tasman District Council Christmas Tree

As a result Santa needed a new bigger magic sleigh. Elf Wunorse Openslae, who is in charge of the reindeers and Santa’s magic sleigh, had the job of enlarging Santa’s sleigh, increasing it’s size and power, from 9 reindeers to 18 reindeers to cope with the extra load of presents. Of course, Rudolph the red nose reindeer who has the magic to guide all the reindeers and who is the most experienced is put up front to lead the way.

Because it has been so busy Mrs Claus has been called in to help Santa this year with all the presents. The creative young elf, Sugarplum Mary, has taken over Mrs Claus’ work in the kitchen making all the sweet treats.

Santa could not go in any Santa Parades as all over the world they were cancelled due to the big sickness which has made Santa and the children very sad.

Nevertheless, Santa’s elves have been extremely busy helping each shop owner in Tasman and Nelson to decorate their shops for Santa. Helping to put up big Christmas trees around the towns and cities of the Upper South Island of New Zealand so Santa will feel welcome when he does his rounds on Christmas Eve.

"Dear children" said Santa "didn’t worry about not having a chimney for me to slide down as Mrs Claus is coming to help me, due to the ultimate demand for toys, and she has a fairy wand to unlock the door of every house in the world."

All households have a Christmas tree so Santa can put presents underneath it. Santa told me “I don’t like beer very much anymore.” So children leave out yummy nuts and fruit for him and Mrs Claus to find under your Christmas trees to give them energy to keep going.

Some clever children asked their parents to plant a Christmas tree in a pot to make sure there was one for next year, because of climate change.


Children didn't queue to see Santa this year. Due to the big sickness Santa is very busy talking to all of you in little healthy dedicated Santa rooms all over the world to find out what you want for Christmas.

To help Santa, his good friend alf Alabaster Snowball, a very intelligent elf, kept tabs on the behaviour of all the children by an elaborate computer system which gives each child’s “naughty or nice rating”. Not surprisingly, due to the big sickness, all the children have been nice this year and Alabaster told Santa he would have extra work as there were no naughty children this year.

Around Nelson and Tasman, Santa likes cruising around the hills in his new magic sleigh before Christmas. He speeds along the Maitai Valley, zips along the Richmond Ranges, across the valley and up and over gliding down the majestic Takaka valley and hills.(he is really testing out his new sleigh)


He pops into local businesses buying a pie in Wakefield, a cup of tea in Murchison, an orange juice in Tapawera and an ice- cream in Mapua.  He has tried out the new traffic lights in Motueka and fed his reindeers nourishing and delicious cherries in Riwaka. He loves coming to the Top of the South. All the children are keeping a keen eye out for him.

The big question among all the residents is what is Santa getting for Mrs Claus for Christmas?

After Christmas it was thought that Mr and Mrs Claus would go home to the North Pole for a well-deserved rest, but in the days following Christmas all the children kept an eye out again as it was rumoured that Santa might have a fishing holiday in Golden Bay. He has a taste for snapper you see!

Sadly, due to Santa being overworked and underpaid, he forgot to leave a present for the Pigeon Post News Editor …. oh well there’s always next year.

The archaeologists have also found in the archaeological dig part of Santa's sleigh. It must have broken off the new up-graded sleigh making it tip out a pile of presents.

There was no reports of children not receiving any presents in the year 2021, except for me, so Santa must have made up time to deliver all his presents.

Of course by the time he had delivered presents to Tasman and Nelson he would be still going delivering presents on the other side of the world in another time zone.

Anne-Maree Therkleson Creative input
Pigeon Post News
Merry Christmas from the Pigeon Post Team - see you again in the New Year.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Tasman District Council requires library staff to be vaccinated 


Following consultation with staff, Tasman District Council has released its Covid-19 vaccination policy. 

Tasman District Council has had a difficult job weighing the pros and cons of this policy due to the fact that there are many people in places like Golden Bay that have low vaccination rates.

The new policy, which applies from Monday, 20 December 2021 says all high-risk roles require staff to be vaccinated. At this stage, all roles in the Council’s libraries are considered high-risk, meaning library staff will need to provide evidence of full vaccination by Monday, 24 January 2022. 

The Council is also currently considering the introduction of the My Vaccine Pass (MVP) for its libraries, with a decision expected later this week. 

The Council has also decided that if the region moves to the Red Traffic Light setting, mandatory vaccination for all staff will be required and MVP entry for all Council offices and libraries will be introduced. 

In finalising the policy, a range of important factors were considered, Tasman CEO Janine Dowding said. 

“These included the relatively high rate of community vaccination uptake for the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board (NMDHB) area, the current number of vaccinated staff and the Government’s additional vaccination assessment tool guidance that was released on 15 December. 

“Our obligations as an employer under the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) were considered, as were the obligations of every staff member to take reasonable care of their own health and safety and to ensure their actions don’t cause harm to themselves or others. 

“As an employer we would prefer all staff were vaccinated and we continue to encourage those staff not vaccinated to do so. The situation with COVID-19 can change very quickly and we need to be able to respond to any changing circumstances just as quickly.”

Pigeon Post News

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Takaka Hill Road Finished - Two Lanes Open


After four years, 28 million Dollars and some setbacks, work to repair damage from Cyclone Gita on State Highway 60, Tākaka Hill Road between Riwaka and Tākaka have been completed today.

The Tākaka Hill repairs team said that from today at about 3pm the hill road will be open to two way traffic.

Residents from Golden Bay will be so pleased that there will be no traffic lights on the hill anymore as now the first traffic lights they will encounter are the new sets in Motueka.

The Christmas holiday makers will have an easy ride to Golden Bay this year to the pleasure of businesses who depend on them for the summer season.

Waka Kotahi said today “the traffic light system on the Riwaka side of the hill will be removed and two lanes will be back in action after nearly four years on this rebuild project, following Cyclone Gita.” 

Takaka Hill site 11 February 2018

“The speed limit will be temporarily reduced to 30km for the busy holiday period, and to allow motorists to adjust to the road with two lanes; and again in the new year, when minor tidy-up works are being completed on the road sides. This will be done under localised traffic management, with minimal impact to traffic.”

Takaka Hill 13 December 2021

The Waka Kotaki and Downer team worked on 15 worksites in total, the first 10 more straightforward sites were tackled in the first two years, with the remaining five more complex and highly engineered sites designed only after geotechnical investigations. They've been under construction over the past 18 months. 

The first COVID-19 shutdown in April 2020 delayed the start on this work and pushed it into the winter months, affecting its final completion date. 

Takaka Hill 13 February 2018

Waka Kotahi said “the harsh conditions - it's very cold winter on the south side of the hill - and complexity of work required in these steep gullies have been extremely challenging for the crews.”

Takaka Hill 13 December 2021

The NZ Transport Agency said “please take extra care driving this narrow and windy road. With multiple bends and no median barriers to safely separate oncoming traffic - we ask everyone to please stay alert and keep left.” 

The Team thanked everyone for bearing with them as “we know these last few years have been tough on everyone who uses this key and only route in and out of Golden Bay. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding.” 

Waka Kotaki “wish you a very merry Christmas and a wonderful, safe New Year."

Pigeon Post News

(Julie & Mark we will see you more often!)

Friday, December 17, 2021

Police Pre-Christmas Warning

File Photo

Police would like to remind people not to send gift-cards, vouchers and money through the mail, in the lead-up to Christmas.

“We’re starting to head into what is traditionally the busiest time of the year for items being posted, and unfortunately we do see more instances of mail theft,” Police Investigation Support Unit Constable Cheyenne Welsh says.

“These kinds of presents are usually sent in cards and letters – which aren’t tracked, unlike larger parcels.”NZ Post encourages Kiwis to check its Web site before they send something to see if it is prohibited.

If a parcel is stolen after NZ Post completes delivery of the item, the theft becomes a Police matter and people will need to report the theft to the Police.

The Police advise to get packages delivered to a place where someone will be home to receive them, or to a work address if you are an essential worker.

If you do have deliveries made to your home, make sure you're going to be home to sign for them, or have a secure location where they can be left.

Make sure your delivery instructions are clear and ask for packages not to be placed at your front door, or on top of an apartment building post box.

If you're not going to be home when the parcel is delivered, arrange to collect your parcel from the depot, or have the parcel redirected to the address of someone you trust.

Be smart when disposing of packaging, so passers-by can’t see if you've been buying expensive items.

Report any suspicious behaviour to Police. For example; if you see a car following a courier van, or an unexpected visitor knocks on your door asking for someone you don't know.

If you see any suspicious activity, such as people loitering around vehicles or looking into car windows, please contact Police immediately by phoning 111.

Pigeon Post News

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Tasman District Council Planning Consent Delays


The Tasman District Council has announced that it is having delays in processing applications for Planning Consents.

The Council advised that due to a combination of high demand for services and staff shortages, the Council’s  consents team have had to set some realistic timeframes in order to assist planning for their customers.

The Council states that “along with other teams across the country, our consenting services have been affected by a shortage of experienced planners. Over 1,000 consent applications have been lodged since the start of 2021, which has presented significant challenges to our expected timeframes.”

In the weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday period historically the Council sees an increase in applications and duty planner requests being made to the Council as many of their customers seek information and consents before they head into the Christmas break. 

The Council said “we are already entering the busy pre-Christmas holiday time of year with an existing backlog of applications and duty planner queries. With the current staffing constraints, we will not be able to meet all the demand prior to the Christmas break.”

“For anyone who lodged a consent application or requested duty planning advice after 22 November 2021, it has been logged and assigned to a planner and will be responded to in the order they were received. However, it is unlikely that these will be processed until at least 17 January 2022. Our pre-application service will also not be available over this period.”

The Council stated that the situation is below the level of service they want to deliver and they know that the service is below what the Tasman community deserves but Council believes it is important to provide clarity and as much transparency as possible about their current timeframes so people can plan for and understand the potential delays. 

The Council said “we are working hard to manage the matters within our control to reduce the impacts to our customers and we ask for your patience at this time.”

Pigeon Post News

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Covid update: 75% of eligible Māori population now fully immunised; 103 community cases; 61 people in hospital, 3 in ICU - 12 December 2021

Covid-19 Réponse Minister Chris Hipkins

The press release from the Ministry of Health has the following information as of 12 December 2021.

There were 15,910 total vaccine doses administered yesterday, including 2,698 first doses; 8,446 second doses; 216 third primary doses and 4,550 boosters. To date, 94% of eligible people in New Zealand have had their first dose and 89% are fully vaccinated.

More than 91% of the eligible population who are now fully vaccinated have downloaded a ‘My Vaccine Pass’.

Nelson-Tasman update

The vaccination rates for Nelson-Marlborough DHB: First doses (94%); second doses (88%)

Cases of Covid-19 in hospital for Nelson-Marlborough DHB one.

Wastewater detections there were no unexpected results to report.

There is one case to report today in Nelson-Tasman, and the case is linked to other cases.

This case has yet to be included in the formal reporting to the Ministry of Health and will be added to our tally tomorrow.

Anyone in the region with any symptoms that could be COVID-19 is urged to get a test, even if they are vaccinated.

Locations of interest are regularly added to the Ministry’s website, so we ask people living in Nelson-Tasman to check these daily.

Check www.nmdhb.govt.nz for where you can obtain a Covid-19 test.

Covid pop-up testing centres and others are mentioned below:

Testing is free for people with COVID-19 symptoms in the Nelson Marlborough region. If you are unsure of whether you should get a test, call Healthline for advice: 0800 358 5453.

***Pop-up testing centres are not for members of the public who wish to book a COVID-19 test for travel purposes. If you need a COVID-19 test for travel purposes, you need to book this through your GP.***

Here are your options for testing:

Community Based Testing Centre (CBAC):

Nelson: Saxton Field parking area, Suffolk Road, Stoke:

  • Monday: 9am to 6pm

Richmond: Richmond Showgrounds, 359 Lower Queen St:

  • Monday: 9am to 6pm

Motueka: Motueka Recreation Centre, Old Wharf Rd

  • Monday: 10am to 3pm

At your regular GP clinic (your family doctor): 

Appointments are needed, but there is no charge for testing. Phone ahead first if you are planning to visit your doctor and request a test.

All GP practices in the Nelson Marlborough region are offering COVID-19 testing except for Tima Health in Nelson and Havelock Medical Centre. You can view a full list of GPs offering COVID-19 testing and their opening hours on HealthPoint.

Please note: during times when there is a confirmed case in our region, you might be redirected to a CBAC (Community Based Testing Centre) instead

After-hours clinics:

Nelson Medical & Injury Centre:

  • 98 Waimea Rd
  • 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week
  • Ph: 03 546 8881

Urgent Care Centre, Blenheim:

  • Wairau Hospital (near ED), Hospital Rd
  • 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week
  • Ph: 03 520 6377

After-hours centre information for Golden Bay, Motueka and Murchison is available inline at www.nmdhb.govt.nz

Pigeon Post News

Verstappen snatches pole from Hamilton in thrilling Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying


Max Verstappen won qualifying for first place in 2021 Formula 1 World Championship racing early this morning NZ time

After 21 races, it all comes down to this – a one-race shoot-out between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton for the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship early this morning. 

They’ve had their ups. They’ve had their downs. Both on equal points but Max Verstappen grabbing thrilling first position in practice for Championship race early this morning.

Max Verstappen took a crushing pole position – with the help of a tow from Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez – to seize the advantage over rival Lewis Hamilton for the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Dutchman clocked a brilliant 1m22.109s on his first run to take a 10th pole position of the season, with Hamilton 0.371s off the pace to end up second with Lando Norris a surprise third place.

Max Verstappen

Red Bull sent Perez out on track first in Q3, ahead of Verstappen, with the Mexican towing Verstappen down the long straight before bailing out of the way before Turn 9 and sacrificing his own lap.

Verstappen made the most of the boost to slot into provisional pole, with Hamilton locking up at the hairpin and ending up nearly half a second adrift.

Mercedes sent their cars out first for the second run, but with Hamilton ahead of Bottas as they turned down the opportunity to try a tow. Hamilton improved, but he was behind in all three sectors and instead will start on the dirty side of the front row alongside his title rival in P2.

However, like his team mate Bottas, Hamilton will start on the more durable medium tyre that should allow him to run deeper into the race before stopping. The Red Bulls, however, will start on the soft tyres, Verstappen moving to that rubber after he flat-spotted his medium tyres in Q2.

Perez will start fourth, ahead of a very quick Carlos Sainz, who appeared to have made big gains after a difficult Friday, with Bottas down in sixth in his final Grand Prix for Mercedes ahead of a move to Alfa Romeo.

Pigeon Post News

Friday, December 10, 2021

GOLDEN BAY - Minority of 'Offensive, Selfish, & Abusive' Market goers refused to comply with new orange alert level


Tākaka Village Market


Tākaka Village Market

Last Saturday was the first day the Tākaka Village Market operated under the country's new traffic light system.

A minority of market goers would not comply with the new orange alert traffic light system and were offensive, selfish and abusive to stall holders, the public and to the manager.

The operator of the market, Golden Bay Councillor Grant Knowles, has put the Golden Bay Community on notice that if they don't comply with the rules that are set down for the market, then the market will have to close.

This all comes after last Saturday's market when market goers abused stall holders, many visitors selfishly flouting the rules, one market goer swearing at a 15-year-old stall worker when she asked them to sanitize their hands.

Would you want your children selling goods at the market with this disgusting and abusive behaviour happening?

Grant himself was sworn at when asking people to consume their takeaway food and drink away from the market.

Everyone selling food or coffee asked people as they gave them their takeaway package to please consume it away from the market, as it could cause the market to lose the privilege of operating. 

Another patron wore a Star of David in protest at the rules and as a protest against “segregation”, in reference to the badge Jewish people were forced to wear under Germany’s Nazi regime from 1939 to 1945.Some didn't wear masks, while others abused stallholders especially when they were asked to take their takeaway food outside the market to eat.

Grant said "I am most disgusted in the person who came wearing a yellow star of David. This is extremely offensive. You and your revolting behaviour are not welcome here."He continued "he's very disappointed at the way a minority of members of the Golden Bay community (most of whom he knows) abused the requirements with which the market must now safely operate."

Grant has tried his utmost, to accommodate all sections of the Golden Bay community, after interpreting the rules, to make the market as safe and easy for the traders to operate and for the people of the Golden Bay community to buy their produce and enjoy the village market. 

Grant Knowles has done his utmost to accommodate all sections of the Golden Bay Community

The police turned up as there had been a complaint and this could have had the market closed and Grant holding a $15,000 fine.

Grant stated that "the actions of a few could cause the livelihoods of up to 50 people to be lost this summer and I’m sure I don’t have to explain what that would mean for many families here in the bay."

Most people in the bay community " would like to continue to hold the village market, however if this selfish behaviour continues, I will be forced to close it for the safety of the community. There can never be any excuses for this behaviour." 

Grant would like to continue with the market this weekend. He said to the community, "be Kind, Wear your mask, Social distancing at 1m, Sanitising hands, Signing in, No food and drink to be consumed at the market (the Village Green is just 20m away to have drink and food) and we can continue to run the Village Market." 

All the stallholders would like to continue with the market coming up to the summer season so lets hope the bay community can give a positive response this weekend and the following weeks.

Tākaka Village Market

Pigeon Post News

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Hamilton beats Verstappen in controversy-filled first ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix


Hamilton wins

Title rivals draw equal on points

Lewis Hamilton won a controversial debut Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from pole position ahead of Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas amid two red-flag stoppages. The result means the two championship protagonists go to the Abu Dhabi finale level on points.

Celebrations for Hamilton

Hamilton led Bottas and Verstappen – who shrugged off his qualifying crash – at the start but on Lap 10, Mick Schumacher spun and hit the Turn 23 barriers. The Safety Car soon turned into a red flag, crucially giving Verstappen a free stop in the pits, while the Mercedes had stopped under yellows.

The Lap 15 standing start saw Hamilton lead, but Verstappen went wide and off-track at the first chicane, cutting back across Hamilton, who dropped to P3 behind Alpine’s Esteban Ocon (who also enjoyed a red flag tyre change and the subsequent advantage). However, there were two separate incidents behind in which Sergio Perez was collected by Charles Leclerc and Nikita Mazepin collided with George Russell – so another red flag was called.

A cacophony of bargaining calls by the Red Bull and Mercedes pitwalls followed but the Lap 17 restart would see Ocon start ahead of Hamilton then Verstappen in P3. In that restart, the Dutchman made a terrific move using his brand-new medium compounds down the inside of the opening chicane for the lead while Hamilton found himself impeded by Ocon, who like Verstappen missed the Turn 2 apex, passing the Alpine a lap later.

Three Virtual Safety Car periods followed from Lap 28 to Lap 36 after which Hamilton was in DRS range of Verstappen. The Mercedes driver attempted a move on Lap 36 on the main straight but the Dutchman braked too late for comfort, running wide at Turn 2 and retaining the lead. He was instructed to give P1 back and on Lap 37 the Red Bull driver slowed – only for Hamilton to get caught off guard and clip the rear of his rival, taking front-right wing damage.

Hamilton faced the toughest of opponents in Verstappen on Sunday

Cue more calls to race control from Red Bull and Mercedes. Meanwhile Hamilton closed in and looked to get past the Red Bull on Lap 42 but Verstappen pushed him wide and continued on. This time, the stewards stepped in and put a five-second time penalty on the championship leader.

Hamilton came across Verstappen at the final corner on Lap 43 and pushed him wide at Turn 27, taking the lead and putting in fastest laps to boot for an eventual winning margin of 10s over his rival – equalling the championship points tally.

Ocon, who had benefitted from a stop during the first red flag, missed out on a podium by just a tenth of a second having lost P3 right on the line at the chequered flag. That put the Alpine driver fourth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo of McLaren, who started 11th but enjoyed a rapid start and a red-flag pit stop for P5.

In sixth was Pierre Gasly, who lost places at the start but made them back in the second race restart for AlphaTauri – keeping the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in P7 and P8 respectively.

Antonio Giovinazzi started 10th but ended up ninth ahead of Lando Norris, who started on softs but pitted during the first Safety Car to end the race on hard tyres.

Abu Dhabi hosts the season finale, and with Hamilton having taken 26 points to Verstappen's 18 here, the championship protagonists are now equal on 369.5 points.


Verstappen after the race

Pigeon Post News

Ministry of Health have plans in place for Holidaymakers

Golden Bay

If covid-19 hits holiday makers in Tasman or Nelson the Ministry of Health and the DHB have undertaken significant preparation and planning work to manage localized outbreaks that may occur according to a Ministry of Health spokesperson.

The holidays are fast coming up and the influx of holidaymakers into our region is going to flow fast. There are parts of Tasman and Nelson that have low vaccination rates so if Covid-19 is brought into these areas or if it is caught here it is likely to spread to visitors and residents.

As we move away from the elimination strategy, particularly during the summer holidays when a significant number of people are traveling throughout the country, the preparation by the Ministry of Health is essential.  

Aucklanders from December 15th will be able to leave their region for any reason providing they can show their vaccine pass, or evidence of a negative Covid-19 test done no more than 72 hours before crossing the boundary.

The Ministry of Health spokesperson has advised “if a person tests positive for COVID-19 on holiday, away from their normal place of residence, the immediate health and welfare needs of the individuals (s) will be assessed.”

“Their personal safety, wellbeing and public health assessment will determine whether they are considered ‘safe’ to stay put, return home or if alternative accommodation is required.”

Alternative accommodation in the region has been organised and if alternative accommodation is required, an appropriate option will be  identified by the local COVID Care Coordination Hub.

Golden Bay
For privacy reasons, the Ministry is not releasing information on the privately-owned facilities that are being considered, or have been contracted to provide alternative accommodation. Where necessary, a person may be transferred to a managed isolation facility.

The Ministry of health spokesperson went on to say “it’s also important to note that the COVID-19 Protection Framework is designed to respond to localized outbreaks and manage risk to particular regions, as well as providing a number of protective measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19 including testing and vaccination requirements.”

Ministry of Health spokesperson

Pigeon Post News

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