Friday, June 17, 2022

Tasman District Council - Outstanding Community Service awards 


From the left Tasman District Council Mayor Tim King,  Mr Peter Carmody and Waimea-Moutere Ward Councillor Anne Turley.  Photo: Tasman District Council

Outstanding Community Service awards 

In Tasman District Council series recognising exceptional members of the community who have been awarded one of our Outstanding Community Service awards, today we meet Peter Carmody.

Peter arrived in Brightwater from Christchurch in 1988 working for NZ Police and has been an active member of the community ever since – he’s been on the Brightwater Community Association for more than 20 years. He was nominated for his award by Councillor Anne Turley.

In the late 80s and into the 90s he ran a group called the Sunday Clinic helping men who had problems reading and writing. Anne says his guidance helped them master skills which saw the men grow in confidence and prosper.

Throughout the mid-90s Peter worked with disadvantaged youth, gaining sponsorship to enable them to participate in sport when their families couldn’t afford the costs themselves.

He coached J.A.B rugby and served on the Wanderers Rugby Club committee.

Anne says Peter has a long-term involvement in the community’s ANZAC Day commemorations and was instrumental in moving the Brightwater service off Lord Rutherford Road to the much safer area inside the Memorial Gates at Brightwater Hall.

She says he managed to get a stainless-steel flagpole donated and a memorial seat placed in the vicinity so people could sit and reflect at any time.

A couple of years ago he set about raising funds for the purchase of a community sound system and in just three months raised $10,000 – Peter now assists in setting it up at community events and ANZAC services.

During a stint stationed in Murchison after the Kaikoura earthquake, Peter saw a need for better lighting for the vehicles used by the first responder emergency medical teams. Another fundraising scheme was launched and he quickly rustled up $3,000 to purchase and fit the lights.

Anne says Peter has demonstrated his community spirit over many years in multiple areas of the Tasman District.

Tasman District Council Communications.

Pigeon Post News

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Drop-in funding sessions Tasman: Murchison, Richmond, Golden Bay and Motueka


Logo: Tasman District Council

Event by Tasman District Council 
All welcome

If you are a community organisation take note:

Tasman District Council, the Department of Internal Affairs and the Rata Foundation are on the road and travelling to Motueka, Richmond, Murchison and Tākaka to support community organisations who are looking for funding.

We will be there to answer any questions you have about the different funding schemes and provide you with the resources needed to make a funding application. Nelson City Council will also be attending the Richmond session.

If your community organisation needs funding and support, come along to:

Murchison Sport Recreation and Cultural Centre: Wednesday 22 June, 12pm – 2pm.

Richmond Library: Thursday 23 June, 10am – 12pm.

Golden Bay Rec Park Centre: Wednesday 29 June, 12pm – 2pm.

Motueka Library: Thursday 30 June, 10am – 12pm.

For more information contact Lani Evans at

Pigeon Post News

Tasman cave closes to save spiders

DOC has closed a cave in the Ōparara Basin in Kahurangi National Park for a year to protect rare spiders which live in it.

 The Nelson cave spider/Spelungulae cavernicola. Photo: DOC

Crazy Paving Cave is home to the rare and unusual Nelson cave spider/Spelungulae cavernicola. With a leg span of 13cm and a 3cm long body it’s New Zealand’s largest spider.

Senior Biodiversity Ranger Scott Freeman says surveys have shown spider egg sac numbers decreasing in the cave which may be due to the number of human visitors.

“The number of spiders seen have actually increased from about 2019 onwards, possibly due to a decrease in visitor numbers associated with COVID. However, only one egg sac has been seen since 2018." 

“Breeding is the real long-term driver of the population so we want to close the cave to see if this will allow breeding to improve. Closing the cave means we can monitor the spider population’s response to the removal of human visitors.”

Nelson cave spiders are also found in Golden Bay.  They are protected by the Wildlife Act 1953.

They live near cave entrances rather than deep in caves and dine mostly on cave wētā finding their prey by vibration.

The young are born and raised in egg sacs which hang from the cave ceiling of the cave almost like small golf balls. Each sac can contain up to 50 small spiders.

The young are born and raised in egg sacs Photo: DOC

Nelson cave spiders are thought to be directly descended from the earliest true spiders and may be the missing link between primitive spiders - from the time of Gondwana 350 million years ago - and modern spiders. 

Scientists have estimated that baby Nelson cave spiders take two to three years to mature. Most other spiders complete their entire life cycle in a year.

Crazy Paving Cave will close for visitors from (1 June 2022) for 12 months.

Futher information

Crazy Paving Cave gets its name from its floor of ancient, fragile, fine deep sediment which has dried out slowly, cracking and curling into what looks like large, distorted paving stones.

It’s a dry cave where the sediment has stayed in place unchanged for hundreds of years. It’s like a time capsule holding information about what life was present when water once washed into the cave.

Pigeon Post News

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

As winter bites, NZ urgently needs a COVID action plan for schools – here’s how to do it

 Covid in schools 

Amanda Kvalsvig     Senior Research Fellow, Department of Public Health, University of Otago

With protections against COVID-19 transmission incomplete in early 2022, the government’s policy of keeping schools open through the Omicron outbreak has left communities exposed to widespread infection and disrupted learning.

With winter here, an action plan for schools is urgently needed to protect children, staff and their families from COVID-19 and other seasonal respiratory infections.

During term one, the Ministry of Education advised schools to reassure parents that transmission in school settings would be low. COVID-19 in children had been described in news reports as an “asymptomatic or mild illness” for most, with full recovery likely after a few weeks.

These assurances seemed overly optimistic. Children aged 5 to 11 only became eligible for their first vaccine dose two weeks before term began, key ventilation and monitoring equipment had not been delivered, child-sized respirator masks like the KF94 were not widely available, and younger school children were not required to wear masks.

Furthermore, the international evidence was clear that longer-term symptoms of COVID-19 infection such as long COVID were a real and rising concern, and that Omicron was spreading in school settings.

Twitter RNZ@radionz

“Class cancelled: Staff absences 'through the roof' at schools due to illness surge”

Putting school communities at risk

Schools around the country have been cancelling classes because of a surge of Covid-19 and winter illnesses among staff.

This decision to prioritise school attendance without also providing strong protections and transparent outbreak information has caused significant educational disruption. It has exposed students, staff and families to both immediate and longer-term risks, including long COVID in children and adults.

These disruptions raise serious concerns for the well-being of the country’s pandemic generation now and in the future.

Lack of government leadership has placed an unnecessarily heavy burden on school staff, who have had take on a pandemic management role in addition to their many existing commitments, and on Māori and Pasifika households who are more at risk of severe outcomes.

And, as the recent Human Rights Commission inquiry reports, immune-compromised or disabled people have been put at risk and adversely affected by the lack of support in education settings, including children being unable to attend school.

The current situation is unsustainable. Children with persisting symptoms from Omicron infection are already being seen. Teachers are reported to have higher rates of infection than the general population.

Teachers in the UK are reported to be leaving the profession, citing lack of protective measures in schools and the impact of long COVID on their capacity to work. These reports should be ringing alarm bells in New Zealand.

People working in schools in the UK  have revealed they have been left with no choice but to leave their jobs after lack of support for Long Covid effects


“Teachers suffering from long covid plan to quit 'in droves' over 'shocking' treatment

People working in schools have revealed they have been left with no choice but to leave their jobs after lack of support for long Covid effects.”

The change we need to see

Schools play a vital role in protecting the well-being of children, staff and families. An action plan would ensure the right resources and information are in place.

Even during the worst infectious disease outbreak in a century, this would mean children can thrive and learn, school staff are safe and supported, and the risk of bringing infections home to older and younger family members is as low as possible.

We have previously recommended a range of measures to uphold children’s right to health and education. A key point is that resources and support should follow children and whānau, rather than the reverse.

At the height of an outbreak, some children may be better off in school, others at home. The highly supportive, collective leadership in kōhanga reo shows how much is possible when the pandemic response is centred on people rather than on the school system.

The action plan for schools should provide protection from COVID infection and reinfection and from winter infections such as flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The plan should prioritise children’s well-being, including supporting mental health and access to learning.

A co-ordinated child data system should be established to close some critical knowledge gaps about direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic on children and their families. This knowledge will enable government, schools and whānau to use the best available science to protect children’s well-being.

Schools as role models

Sending a child into school during an outbreak requires a high level of trust from caregivers that the school environment will be safe. Families have been given repeated reassurances, but the rhetoric hasn’t been backed up with effective action.

Accurate and transparent communication is now needed to restore trust. Currently, school communities lack the information needed to make good risk assessments. For example, many are unaware of long-COVID risk or of reinfection occurring just weeks after an initial infection. And there is no systematised way to inform parents about local case numbers.

Schools should be models of science-informed best practice for their communities. They can empower students to contribute to the pandemic response by modelling key values, such as wearing a mask to protect others.

Building on the success of sun safety and hand washing messaging, schools can lead a transformative change in indoor air quality, with students as citizen scientists helping to monitor CO2 levels in classrooms.

This generation of children will experience recurring pandemics and epidemics during their lifetime. It’s vital they understand how effective public health measures can be.

Winter 2022 and next steps

The immediate focus for winter should be on a “vaccines plus” approach that aims to minimise infectious disease transmission in schools. Specific aims include:

Optimal indoor air quality: this includes heating, ventilation and filtration with real-time monitoring to guide action.

Routine (ideally mandated) mask use indoors: high-quality masks provide protection against emerging COVID variants and other respiratory infections, regardless of immune status.

High vaccination coverage: intensive health promotion from trusted community leaders to ensure families are well informed and to counter disinformation; and urgently addressing the high inequities in vaccine coverage.

Effective isolation and quarantine: supporting students and staff to stay at home if they are symptomatic, if they are close contacts of a COVID case or other infection, or if they need to shield whānau during a major outbreak.

Adequate sick leave and testing provision: for all school staff (teaching and non-teaching) to enable them to stay home while infectious and to support a full recovery, with aligned rapid testing strategies; these measures also apply during outbreaks of RSV, measles, meningococcal disease or influenza that are increasingly likely as border protections are removed.

An epidemic management contingency plan: the education system needs to explicitly plan for short circuit-breaker closures when case numbers reach defined thresholds, with a shift to high-quality remote teaching and additional community support as needed.

Monitoring and evaluation: data collection is needed to identify what is working well and what needs improvement, and to guide operational decisions such as intensifying ventilation if CO2 levels are above certain thresholds, or temporary closure if infections and absenteeism reach certain levels.

Timely information, communication and support: school communities need to see evidence that their well-being is paramount and the goal is not simply protecting the status quo.

Overall, the Ministry of Education’s approach needs to shift from insisting on in-person school attendance to supporting the well-being of children, staff and families wherever they are.

Pigeon Post News

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Future Development Strategy recommendations refine Nelson Tasman growth objectives

The Tasman Nelson map shows the proposal of the Future Development Strategy as a whole.
You can view a larger version here: or on the Nelson City Council web site here:
Photo from Tasman District Council's FDS web site.


Deliberation hearings on the Nelson-Tasman Future Development Strategy 2022-2052 (FDS) have now concluded.


The FDS is important as it is a guide for future housing development and intensification in Nelson-Tasman.

The FDS Subcommittee, consisting of six elected members from Nelson City and Tasman District Councils and an iwi representative, considered the submissions at meetings on May 31, June 1 and June 2.  These meetings were open to the public via Zoom.

Future Development Strategy meeting. Photo from Tasman District Council You Tube.

There were 558 submissions from the community during the consultation period in March and April 2022.  The officers’ report to the Subcommittee commented on the submissions under 14 main themes.  The report also outlined the officers’ analysis, responses and recommendations for changes to the final FDS.


In moving ahead with the strategy, the Subcommittee has considered the FDS objectives are aspirational and implementing the FDS will require balancing and trade-offs between strategy objectives.

Key recommendations that emerged from deliberations included retaining the draft FDS core spatial proposal of consolidating growth largely along State Highway 6 from Atawhai to Wakefield, but also including Māpua and Motueka and meeting the needs of Tasman’s rural towns. The recommendations also include retaining the high growth population projections.

When making its decisions, the Subcommittee considered modelling of vehicle GHG emissions from the various areas being proposed for residential development.

A large number of submitters expressed concern about the impact on GHG emissions of the Councils enabling development in areas where residents would need to travel by vehicles to work and school.

Due to a high number of submissions on the split between intensification and greenfield development and some reworking of the capacity provided for housing, an increase in the amount of intensification, infill and development of vacant greenfield zoned residential sites is recommended.

New infill housing just off Salisbury Rd., Richmond Tasman. Photo Ray Therkleson.

The region-wide split is now:

  • 67% intensification, infill and development of vacant greenfield zoned residential sites
  •  33%  new managed greenfield sites not yet zoned and new rural residential sites.

In terms of the split by councils, Nelson could deliver:

  • 56% through intensification and infill development of existing built-up urban areas.
  • 20% of new housing via greenfield development on currently rural zoned land
  • 24% on zoned but as yet undeveloped residential land

Residential intensification being developed on Ajax Ave Nelson. Central. Photo Ray Therkleson

Townhouses and apartment being built between 44 - 48 Halifax St., Nelson Central. Photo Ray Therkleson

Townhouses and apartment being built between 44 - 48 Halifax St., Nelson Central. Photo Ray Therkleson

Tasman could deliver:

  • 47% of new housing via greenfield and rural residential development on currently rural zoned land, 16% on zoned but as yet undeveloped residential land
  • 37% through intensification and infill development of existing built-up urban areas.

Infill residential development on the corner of Queen St and Oxford St Richmond containing 7 residential properties. Photo Ray Therkleson.

Infill residential development on the corner of Queen St and Oxford St Richmond containing 7 residential properties. Photo Ray Therkleson.

The Subcommittee clarified that the rate of intensification assumed is not a target, and that the Councils will aim for a greater proportion of growth to be catered for by intensification.

In response to submissions, a number of new, amended and excluded sites were also recommended during deliberations.

In Nelson, this saw the expansion of areas N-011 (Saxton) and N-112 (Orphanage West) by adding two additional areas called N-115 (Saxton Extension) and N-116  (Orphanage West Extension) while leaving the area N-011 as a single residential greenfield expansion area with any other land use to be considered as part of a plan change or resource consent application.

Tasman amendments included removed sites in Tākaka, Eighty-Eight Valley and Teapot Valley, added sites in St Arnaud, Tapawera, Motueka, Brightwater and Motueka Valley and excluded sites in Tākaka and Brightwater.

Sites relating to the secondary part of the proposal - a new community near Tasman village - have been recommended to be removed from the final FDS.

Among the reasons for changes to recommended sites were ecological concerns, landowner opposition, greenhouse gas emissions, new sites proposed through submissions scoring better than previous sites assessed and alignment with boundaries of sites proposed in Tasman’s current growth plan change.

Recommendations will now go to the Joint Committee of the Nelson City and Tasman District Councils on 27 July 2022 to consider adopting the Subcommittee’s recommendations.

Following this, the FDS is proposed to be adopted by the end of August.

Recordings of the deliberation hearings can be viewed on the Tasman District Council Meetings - YouTube channel.

For more details on the FDS, go to or

Editor's Comments

The Tasman and Nelson Councils and Planners have thankfully taken into consideration climate change in their decision making process and have decided to concentrate future development both residential and industrial in areas already developed.

The removal of a new community near Tasman Village is a good idea concentrating only on existing urban areas with infill housing and more intensive housing in certain areas.

The percentage of greenfield land development or rural land development being 47% in Tasman seems rather a high number. In Richmond any further ad-hock low density residential development like in the Berryfield Drive area would be very undesirable in my opinion, completely destroying prime horticultural land that can never be replaced.

A terrible mass of low density residential development in Appleby. Photo Ray Therkleson.

Tasman District Council have one opportunity in a lifetime to create a leading New Zealand climate sensitive future city of Richmond with more creative intense residential development.

In regards to the other Planning issue Reimagining Richmond South the Council will need to pull something revolutionary out of the bag for this area to cope with climate change and preventing excessive loss of fertile land.

Pigeon Post News.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Tasman teens get to the USA for a science and engineering competition


Caitlin Pilcher and Thorben Therkleson at the International SeaPerch competitions at the University of Maryland, Washington DC.

Two teenagers Caitlin Pilcher and Thorben Therkleson, from Waimea College, traveled to Washington DC to compete in the International SeaPerch competitions last week.

They called themselves the Narwhal - Matariki Team and were able to compete as they became the Tasman winners of the NZ AquaBots National Competition.


The International SeaPerch event is large with many schools working all year around with their students on their AquaBot and tactics. Our Tasman team found out less than 2 months ago that they could go and compete. 

Their parents are so proud of the effort that the team has put into the event and thanked again all those who supported the team.

One can just see the ROV’s (remotely operated vehicles) doing the obstacle course in the pool at the University of Maryland.

During the competition the team Narwhal showed grit and determination to complete seven of the possible nine tasks in the mission course and raced through the obstacle course.

The lane judge said “they should be very proud of their results and the team should be proud of their calmness under pressure.”

Caitlin Pilcher and Thorben Therkleson

The final results are in for the International SeaPerch competition and our Tasman/Nelson tamariki team did amazing!

Waimea College Team Narwhal competed against 60 other high school teams from America and around the world. With just weeks to prepare, they placed in the top 10 in 2 out of the 4 categories.

These are their final results:

28th in Engineering Design

5th in Team Video

9th in underwater Mission course

34th in underwater Obstacle course

Caitlin Pilcher and Thorben Therkleson practicing before the competition in Washington DC.

This truly has been a pivotal learning moment for these young adults, representing Aotearoa on the world stage.

Caitlin Pilcher and Thorben Therkleson checking out the  competitors at the event.
Now they are up the road from Washington taking in a wonderful experience of being in New York City before flying home.

A diver retrieving an ROV that has broken down

If you would like to know more information about SeaPerch Google

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Changing visitor needs brings new planning for future visitor information services for Nelson


Changing patterns of visitor behaviour and the lack of international visitors over the past two years has led the Nelson Regional Development Agency (NRDA) to rethink how visitor information services are delivered in Nelson and pause the physical information services delivered through the i-SITE at Millers Acre, Nelson, for up to 24 months.

Bookings and sales have been the basis of the i-SITE business model since it opened in 2005, however this is no longer a viable business model. Over the past ten years there has been a substantial decline in visitor volumes and decreased bookings at the i-SITE as changing visitor needs and behaviour, particularly moves online, have meant in-person information and bookings have become less relevant to many visitors. The change and decline have sharply accelerated since COVID-19, to a point that services can no longer be sustained on the current model.

Although borders are reopening it isn’t expected that there will be a high demand for the i-SITE services this coming summer. Current predictions estimate the country won’t see a full return of our international visitors until 2024/2025.

The temporary closure will give the NRDA time to look at what visitors want and review how to encourage them to support our visitor sector and the community while they’re here.

“It is time to review and rethink the provision of visitor information to be fully relevant to our future visitors as we plan for their return over the coming 18 months. Pausing the i-SITE, gives us the time to seek a new solution for visitors that will better fit their future needs while ensuring a new operation will be financially viable” says Fiona Wilson, CE of NRDA.

Tracee Neilson, Visitor Destination Manager at NRDA says “Nelson has an opportunity to do something innovative in delivering visitor information; ideally encouraging visitors to explore more and care more while they’re in our region. 

During the pausing of the physical i-SITE we can revamp our visitor services to provide innovative and cost-effective services that will benefit both visitors and locals. We now have the time to better understand future visitor needs as we are already aware that visitors are pre-booking more of their itineraries before leaving home.” 

While the i-SITE has always been a small part of interaction with visitors to the region, the key priority for Nelson Regional Development Agency is connecting with them prior to getting to the region at the inspiration/decision making phase. 

The NRDA already works internationally to influence these pre-booked itineraries so that more local businesses are included, and more time is allocated to Nelson Tasman. 

The focus over the next 12 months will be to continue to support our tourism businesses and build on strategies to influence via online and digital marketing that the NRDA delivers for the region. 

Many other towns and cities across New Zealand have already made the difficult decision to close their i-SITEs, some permanently and some temporarily, demonstrating a currenttrend in behaviour within the visitor sector due to various reasons. Christchurch, Oamaru and Invercargill are just a few examples of i-SITEs which have stopped operating over the past few years. 

“Our current and past staff at the i-SITE have done an amazing job to provide information and booking services through very challenging times.  The team will be fully supported as we work through the coming months” Fiona Wilson, CE of NRDA adds.

The Department of Conservation Visitor Centre at Millers Acre will continue to operate at the current site and is unaffected by the i-SITE closure. The Motueka i-SITE, Takaka and Murchison information centres are run independently from the Nelson i-SITE and this decision does not change their support for the visitor experience in Nelson Tasman region.

The i-SITE will close its doors on 30 June, however the phone line (03-548 2304) and email address ( will continue to operate and be managed by NRDA. Over the next few months, the NRDA will be working closely with the Nelson City Council to ensure visitor services in Nelson during this time can continue. A detailed transition plan will be announced in the coming weeks.

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