Sunday, November 28, 2021

The Nelson A&P Show - 20 - 21 November 2021 - Wood Chopping


Golden Edge Nelson A&P Show at Richmond Park

Nelson A&P Show

Axemen and Axe Women

The crowds that usually attend the large Golden Edge Nelson A&P Show at Richmond Park were absent this year due to Covid restrictions.

It hasn’t dulled the enthusiasm of the participants who come to the show to compete in various events. The Nelson show continued to go on for its 127th year.

For many participants, the Nelson event was one of the only shows left on the calendar for 2021 as most of them have been cancelled completely.

This year there were no children’s rides, no sheep to cuddle and no poultry.

The number of exhibits submitted by the school children in various categories (Children’s & Youth Schedule) was surprising and of high quality. 

Participants came from all over the South Island to attend the Nelson A & P Show even though only families of those people taking part could attend. 

Only Family members could attend

There has not been a year like this since 1893 when the Nelson A & P Association was founded, to promote and encourage agricultural and pastoral activities. 

The year of the influenza outbreak and during World War II there was a break in having the A&P show and now with the flip flop world we are living in there is a reduced event, no public could cheer on the participants, a lot of whom travelled a long way to compete in the events. 

It was pleasing to see such a large contingent of parents attending to support the participants young and older who took part.

It was a challenging year for the Nelson A&P Association, but they were able to run their annual Show despite being in a reduced format. Even though the show was cut in size the A&P Staff, Committee, Volunteers, Stewards, Marshalls and Judges, put a great deal of work into this year's event with the support of all the sponsors and clubs behind the scenes.

A lot of events were still put on, like Shearing and Highland Dancing on Saturday and the events happening all weekend; the Wood Chopping competitions, the TOTS mounted Equestrian Games, the animal competitions (including the normal Equestrian Section) and all the usual indoor competitions  - Cookery, Horticulture, Photography, handcraft, the children's Competitions and the Wine & Beer Competitions.

On Saturday the Show was quiet and by Sunday all the food stalls had gone except for the coffee vendor and there was just a slow trickle of visitors to see the Children's competitions.

Wood Chopping Competition:

The Nelson Axemen's Club are the organisers behind the Wood Chopping Competitions at the Nelson A&P Show. The Woodchopping event is the largest in New Zealand with local participants and men and women coming from all over the South Island and some from the North Island.

Woodchopping is a heritage sport that dates back to the 1870’s. Starting in the New Zealand forests which was an early breeding ground for some of the country's most rugged axemen and sawyers. Those pioneering athletes held contests among themselves to see who were the best at felling trees and processing logs. These events form the basis of the sport as it is known today.

Some say that as a sport, woodchopping is more traditional to New Zealand than rugby. 

Parts of the weekend's action can be seen on the Nelson Axemen’s Club Facebook page.

On their Facebook page the Nelson Axemen’s Club thanked their sponsors from this year's A&P show and to all their sponsors who give them continued support without which they couldn’t put on such events.

In New Zealand, the sport doesn’t have a big following, with just 300-350 odd competitors, and it needs more people to ensure it doesn’t die out.

Over the weekend at the Show it was great to see so many young men taking up the sport. Seven in the restricted division were there on Saturday and eight on Sunday.  Toby Godsiff-Sulden from Golden Bay (see Photo)  was one young man in the restricted division who was there all weekend. The youngest of the restricted is only 13.

Toby Godsiff-Sulden

These young men tore into the wood despite being significantly younger than any other axemen.  I think some of them have fathers who are woodchoppers as well.

The restricted young men taking part in the woodchopping during the A&P Show were J Airey, T Godsuff, B Fisher, A Greig, R Terry, L Greig, O Mackenzie and C Robinson.  

Throughout the weekend there were about 50 axemen and axe women taking part in the competitions.

The axe women taking part were Emma  Shore, Emma Ridell, Ash Bradford and Lae Nadler.

Nearly all races are run using a handicapping system whereby the better axeman gives a head start to their less experienced competitors. Each axeman is given a ‘mark’ which denotes the number of seconds he or she has to wait before they can start.

You hear the axemen starter call “Okay, axemen, are you all ready? Righto, axemen. Axemen, stand your blocks,” words that haven’t changed for decades. Then he counts off the starts: “One, two, three…”

Ross Birchfield, one of the starters during the weekend at the Show, a 48 year member of the Nelson Axemen’s Club, said “that the Creighton Brothers Memorial Standing final was won by Ray Briggs of Richmond.

1st Ray Biggs.   2nd Stephen Winter   3rd  Jesse Whitehead  4th Adam Lowe

Also the Alec Headley Memorial Chop final was won by Dave McEwen.”

1st Dave McEwen 2nd Ray Biggs. 3rd Kyle Hedley  Ribbons presented by Cheryl Hedley

Jigger board Chop:

In order to fell a large tree it was often necessary to get above the roots and other growth at the tree’s trunk. To do this the axeman would stand on a perpendicular board (jigger board) wedged into slots cut into the tree trunk. Several boards would be used to climb to the required height. 

In today’s competition 2 or 3 boards are used to climb to a maximum height of around 2.5 meters. This event requires a lot of precision and skill and is normally the last discipline an axeman learns.

On Sunday the axemen were competing in the jigger board chop in the rain which I’m sure took extra skill. The guys chop up the poles, boards going into axe notches, climb down retreating boards, then up again with new axe notches and finally chop off the top.

The wood chopping community usually attracts a large crowd but only family were there last weekend to cheer them on.

It attracts the public as it is a thrilling sport which takes a unique combination of athleticism and technique together with power and strength as well as the ever present danger element.

Menzshed  Volunteers: 

The guys from the menzshed were at the woodchopping all weekend helping to clear away the wood after every chop. It was a hard, constant and demanding job to make sure the grounds were clear for the next chop.

Menzshed Men cleaning up

Pigeon Post News 2021

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Nelson A&P Show 20 - 21 November 2021 - Richmond Park, Richmond, Tasman.

A Very Quiet Two Days at the Nelson

A & P Show Without the Public

The crowds that usually attend the large Nelson A & P show are absent this year due to Covid restrictions, nevertheless it hasn’t dulled the enthusiasm of the participants who come to the show to compete in various events.

The number of exhibits submitted by the general public and school children in various categories is still surprising and of high quality. 

Participants came from all over the South Island to attend the Nelson A & P Show even though no public could attend only families of those people taking part in events.

I don’t think that since 1893 when the Nelson A & P Association was founded, to promote and encourage agricultural and pastoral activities, has there been a year like this one with no public to cheer on the participants, no children playing on rides and no cues for coffee or food. It was pleasing to see such a large contingent of parents and friends attending to support the participants young and older who took part.

The President of the Nelson A&P Show Ted Ford said "Since 1893 there has only three interruptions to the running of the show, in 1918 the show was postponed to February 1919 due to the influenza epidemic which had resulted in the newly built Grandstand being used as a temporary hospital. The next two interruptions occurred in the 1940s when the show was cancelled due to World War ll as the 7th Squadron of the Independent Mounted Rifles took over nearly full use of the Showgrounds from 1942 until 1944 making the running of the Nelson A&P show unfeasible for 1942 and 1943."

The following are photos of three events that took part on the 20th - 21st  November 2021 A & P Show the Highland dancing, the sheep searing compition, and paintings and other mediums from children.

The Highland Dancing

 'Seann Triubhas'

In the late 18th century, the dance was performed to a fiddle tune called 'Seann Triubhas Uilleachan' (Gaelic for 'Willie's old trousers'), previously and more scurrilously called 'The De'il Stick the Minister'. When the dance began to be incorporated into Highland Dance competitions, which were usually played for by pipers, the tune was changed to 'Whistle O'er the Lave o't', which could be played on the bagpipe and is the tune commonly used for the dance today.

In contemporary competitive Highland Dance, after dancing three to four steps, the dancer will clap, which signals the piper to speed up the music.

The Seann Triubhas is now danced at most Highland Dance competitions around the world. Dancers usually start dancing it in the Beginner category at competitions, and continue to dance it up to Premier. This dance is also common in most Highland and Theory exams. Dancers wear the standard kilt outfit to perform this dance, though it historically had been performed in tartan trews as well. ( Ref: Wikipedia)

Jessica Radka (Under 14 Dancer) Christshurch


Emmgen Brown  (Senior) Christchurch.

Emily Smith (Senior) Christchurch.

From left to right: Emmgen Brown, Pete Greenslade, (Mail senior ChCh), Emily Smith,  Jessica Radka.

Highland Dancing Prizegiving, November 20 2021 Nelson A & P Show
Photo thanks to Anthea Lees.  The only extra name I have other than those named above is the fourth from the left in front in this photo: Sean Radka (Junior Dancer Christchurch)

The Highland dancing was very skilled and well performed. It would have been a hard job sorting out the winners as they were all superb dancers and I'm sure their parents are so proud.

The full results for all winners will be on the Nelson 

A & P Show web site from Monday on.

Other Highland dancing

Other Highland dancing

Sheep Shearing Competition

I was only at the shearing for the intermediate final on the 20th November 2021. Three shearers were competing one woman and two men. Jimmy Napier from Riversdale, Southland, Kimberly MacLean from Motueka, and Timo Hicks from Tapawera. They all had a hard job shearing very non-cooperative sheep but they all had the skills to achieve a hard shear.

Kimberly MacLean

Jimmy Napier (Standing in blue singlet at the rear) he has just finished.

Timo Hicks

Paintings and other mediums:

There have been hundreds of entries to the above competitions in the show from school children and very few people to see the very high quality of work.

Preschool First:  Zoe Allison

Animal Portrait Y 1- 3  First: Marion Hyslop

Y4 - 6 First: Charlotte Ching:

Still Life Y 4 - 6 First: Charlotte Ching:

Any medium not paint Y7 - 8 First: Emma Egan:

Any medium - not paint - Secondary First: Judah Ashton:

Painting - Secondary First: Carly Morgan:

Drawing - Secondary: First and Hall and Scott Trophy: Cassie Cameron:

Drawing Year 7 - 8 Emma Egan:

Primary - Intermediate - Secondary School Handcraft:

To be continued later in the week:
Pigeon Post News

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Lunar Spectacle not seen since 1212 - November 19 2021


Long Lunar Eclipse starting over the Richmond Rangers, Richmond, Tasman.
Photo by Stevan Poldar.

Last night stargazers were able to see the longest partial eclipse visible from New Zealand since 1212

This incredibly rare lunar spectacle, had not been seen in the sky in more than 800 years.

The longest partial lunar eclipse visible in New Zealand since the year 1212 started at 8.20pm NZT, when the shadow of the Earth began to move across the moon’s face. It was 97% covered with shadow by 10pm. At that moment, the lunar surface briefly turned red. The near-total eclipse finished its three-and-a-half-hour journey just prior to midnight.

Most of the eclipse was dominated by the shadow of the earth moving across the moon, with a brief period where it appeared as a blood micro-moon in the night sky.”

There are two main reasons this is a rare event, the first being that it is a partial eclipse, but also because of where the moon is positioned in its orbit.

The moon is at apogee, which means it’s at the farthest point from Earth in its orbit. The moon’s orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle, it’s an ellipse which means as it goes around, it comes a little bit closer and then, as it swings around, it goes a little bit further away.

The moon moves slower at this point, and this is why there was an unusually long partial-eclipse. 

The sky was clear last night, Friday 19 November 2021, for all to see, from Tasman and Nelson, the slow moving earths shadow crossed the moon. With binoculars it was exceptionally clear to see the blood micro-moon.

Pigeon Post News 2021


Friday, November 19, 2021

Radio - 100 years Old Today - 17 November 2021


Radio Hauraki’s boat Tiri on rocks 1968

Addition to last article 
In this article, the Pigeon has just landed with additional information which can’t be left out of the 100 years of NZ Radio article below, as it touched the hearts of so many young people in the 1960s.

Radio became increasing state controlled from the 1930s but the reforms into a private activity started in the 1960s.

It can’t be forgotten that those pirates of radio, Radio Hauraki were the forerunner of private radio as we know it today.

Radio Hauraki a New Zealand rock music station started in 1966. It was the first private commercial radio station of the modern broadcasting era in New Zealand. It operated illegally on a boat, the Tire, on the Hauraki Gulf in international waters until 1970, to break the monopoly held by the state-owned New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation.

Unfortunately, the Radio Hauraki’s boat Tiri was caught in a storm in January 1968, ran on to rocks and the final broadcast from the Tiri was "Hauraki News: Hauraki crew is abandoning ship. … (as I was listening to the programme at night I thought it was a joke from the pirates, but I could also hear water gushing) The "Tiri" crashed on to rocks, but was later towed back to Auckland and the broadcasting equipment was salvaged. However, the Tiri herself was beyond repair and was replaced four days later by the Kapuni, christened Tiri II by her new crew.

In April of the same year Tiri ll found herself beached again at Whangaparapara Harbour, a victim of the same storm that resulted in the Wahine disaster. After repairs she was back at sea in five days. Between this time and June 1968, Tiri II would end up beached at Uretiti Beach and caught several times broadcasting from New Zealand waters by radio inspectors. Just before Christmas 1968, Radio Hauraki became New Zealand's first 24 hour broadcaster.

In mid-1970, the state monopoly on radio frequencies was broken, with the New Zealand Broadcasting Authority finally allowing Radio Hauraki to broadcast on land, legally. The Radio Hauraki crew had spent 1,111 days at sea. The final broadcast from the sea-bound Hauraki Pirates was a documentary on the station's history until that point, finishing at 10:00 pm when Tiri II turned and headed for Auckland playing "Born Free" continually. During their final voyage back to shore, announcer Rick Grant was lost overboard.

Pigeon Post News 2021

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Radio 100 Years Old Today - 17 NOVEMBER 1921

Maud Basham as Aunt Daisy Radio Broadcaster


New Zealand's first identified broadcast of a radio programme was on 17 November 1921. It was made from the University of Otago by physic professor Robert Jack. The broadcast included music, such as the popular song 'Hello my dearie.’

Radio Dunedin (4XD) began transmitting in 1922 and is the longest continuously broadcasting station in the Commonwealth.

Nelson and Tasman's first radio station was Radio Nelson. The station was started by Radio New Zealand in 1932. The station originally broadcast on 1340AM.

Maud Basham, better known as 'Aunt Daisy' was a radio broadcaster and personality who broadcast for 27 years (1936-1963) every weekday morning to New Zealanders. ... In addition to her role as a pioneer female celebrity broadcaster, Aunt Daisy was also New Zealand's first celebrity foodie hosting a radio show focused on domesticity

.New Zealand was an early adopter of radio and a late adopter of television. Until the 1960s radio was the main non-print medium. Radio broadcasting began as a private activity. From the 1930s it came increasingly under state control. Reforms started in the 1960s too the1980s and now the industry by 2010 was once again overwhelmingly private.

Pigeon Post News

Monday, November 15, 2021

Calling all Gardeners in Murchison


Murchison Garden Club Competition

On the 27 November the Murchison Garden Club are having their Garden Competition which should be quite competitive as it will include a very wide rang of gardens.

Gardens will vary from town, country, commercial, vegetable, best viewed from the street and then the best street.

It sounds very exciting with a little compition in Town, if you would like to join in message the Murchison Garden Club Facebook page.

Pigeon Post News

Hamilton takes victory in Brazil after stunning drive from P10 and pass title rival Verstappen

Lusis Hamilton won Formula 1 in Brazil

 Lewis Hamilton won the Sao Paulo Grand Prix after a sensational battle with his rival Max Verstappen in an absolutely enthralling return to Brazil for F1. Verstappen finished runner-up ahead of pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton enjoyed a terrific start from P10 on the grid and was clearly on the charge, team mate Bottas – who lost the lead to Verstappen at the start – letting him for P5 by on Lap 5. Hamilton then took P2 off Perez in a duel that began on Lap 17 and culminated in a Lap 19 pass at Turn 4. The first stops took place around Lap 25 but the action built up to a terrific crescendo after Verstappen took a second stop on Lap 41, Hamilton on Lap 44.

The Mercedes driver bore down on Verstappen and despite being shoved wide at Turn 1 – the stewards noting but not investigating – on Lap 48, Hamilton didn’t give up, trying it again on Lap 58 only to meet a stubborn defence. A lap later came the winning pass with DRS on the run up to Turn 4, this time Verstappen having no choice but to concede. Hamilton ended up 10.4 seconds up the road in first place at the flag, cutting Verstappen’s championship lead from 21 points to 14 points.

Bottas, who took an opportunistic stop during the Lap 30 Virtual Safety Car period and another on Lap 41, finished third ahead of Sergio Perez, who started fourth, was up to second, but lost places to the two Mercedes. The Mexican however took fastest lap at the expense of Hamilton, on the final tour having pitted for softs on Lap 70.

But it was Hamilton who stole the show here in Brazil - recovering from his disqualification from qualifying on Friday and clawing his way back up to P5 from dead last in Saturday's Sprint, before he took another grid penalty for an engine change on race day. From P10 he put in the drive of his life - and pulled off an impressive move on his title rival Verstappen to seal the victory in front of an ecstatic crowd in Brazil.

Pigeon Post News

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Sunday, November 14, 2021

Bottas Won the Sprint in Brazil

 Bottas Won the Sprint over Verstappen

 Bottas won the sprint F 1 in Brazil. Valtteri Bottas won the Sprint in Brazil to take pole position for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz, as Lewis Hamilton recovered from last place to fifth with a scintillating drive.

Bottas, starting on soft tyres from pole 2, began with a huge launch off the line to get the lead off medium-shod Verstappen, who went wide in the opening lap but rescued P2 by re-passing Sainz soon afterwards. As those soft tyres began to drop off, Verstappen closed in on Bottas but ended up 1.1s off the Finn for P2 at the flag. Sainz, meanwhile, held off Sergio Perez for the final point by a second.

There was plenty of drama well before the Sao Paulo Sprint with Verstappen €50,000 out of pocket for touching and examining Hamilton’s wing in Brazil – while the defending champion was disqualified from qualifying, relegating him from P1 the back of the grid. Mercedes later tweeted that they would not be appealing the decision, adding: “We want to win these World Championships on the race track.”

Pigeon Post News

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