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home range JULY 2018 • NEWS • HISTORY • PEOPLE • EVENTS • FOOD • AND MORE

A COMMUNITY PUBLICATION OF NUMBER 8 NETWORK

Calf Club 2018 –how now? What M bovis means for school ag days

Puketaha gold! Commonwealth medallist Julia Ratcliffe New beat for Gordonton principal 1

July 2018 . HOME RANGE


home range Home Range is a community magazine produced by Number 8 Network, based in Gordonton. Phone 022 050 2246 122 Woodlands Rd RD1 Hamilton 3281

Editor: Annette Taylor annette@number8network.co.nz Advertising: Annette Taylor annette@number8network.co.nz Design and production: Sandra Peek. Byword speek@byword.co.nz Assistant editor: David Riddell Proofreader: Judy McDonald. JM Proofreading Ltd judy.c.mcdonald@gmail.com Printer: Kale Print kaleprint.co.nz Online:

www.number8network.co.nz

ISSN 2624-0432 COVER PHOTO: Gordonton’s Summa Buchanan and her calf Hokey Pokey share quality time at home. Photo: Tracy Buchanan.

Welcome to Home Range Community website Number 8 Network has been serving stories to those living in the rural greenness north-east of Hamilton since 2011. It was created by journalists Annette Taylor and daughter Iris Riddell. Iris was studying journalism at Wintec and realised that she knew more about what was happening in Hamilton, than Gordonton, where she was born and raised. We decided to do something about it and Number 8 Network (N8N) was born. At the time someone asked how we thought we’d find enough stories to write about. That has never, ever been a problem. Someone is constantly, consistently doing awesome things. But an online news site doesn’t suit everyone. Sometimes it’s hard to beat the feel of paper in your hands, preferably sitting by the fire. Technology has transformed the media industry. When I started in journalism over 30 years ago I wrote my stories on a typewriter. While the media is moving more and more online, new technology also makes it possible for only a few people to produce small runs of a quality magazine.

Annette Taylor managers and staff, made me realise how hardworking and magnificent our local businesses are. They and others in the community, make this place truly magic. Stories and news will continue to be served online, up-to-date and regularly on N8.

Gordonton District Committee and Waikato District Council supported this new magazine right from the start.

Feedback is lovely. You can show your support by liking us on Facebook and sign up to our weekly emailer of truly local news.

Up until now, I’ve never sold a thing, ever. Approaching businesses to see if they wanted to advertise in the first edition of a magazine was a tad terrifying. The response was overwhelming.

We can even catch up for a cup of tea in one of the many cafes hereabouts.

The ads flew in and we had to increase by four pages. Astounding. Talking with owners, operators, general

Get in touch if there’s a story out there that needs writing. You can email or even write an old-fashioned letter – we love getting post. This is our home range. Our place, our stories. It must be time for a cuppa.

THE SERIOUSLY LOCAL QUIZ 1. What head of state visited a dairy farm on Woodlands Rd in 1968 (and was assassinated in 1979)? 2. What sort of bats are to be found at Pukemokemoke Reserve? 3. What event in Gordonton in December 1994 resulted in worldwide media coverage, including Ripley’s Believe It Or Not? 4. What is the name of the stream that runs through Puketaha and Gordonton? 5. The Topp Twins attended which local school? 6. According to Tainui tradition what item from the Tainui Waka gives its name to the Hoe-o-Tainui district? 7. In what decade was oil prospecting carried out around Puketaha and Gordonton? 8. What road gets its name from the depth of the drain dug alongside it? 9. Which American-produced TV show featuring zombies filmed some scenes on Middle Rd? 10. As well as being home to Commonwealth gold medallist Julia Ratcliffe, Puketaha was where another 2018 Commonwealth gold medallist went to school. Who is he?

For answers visit www.number8network.co.nz, click on the Home Range tab at the top of the page. HOME RANGE. July 2018

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NEWS

THE PAGE THREE TRACTOR

Give a little for Wyatt A Givealittle page has been set up for Wyatt Denfield, an 11-year-old Orini Combined School student diagnosed with leukaemia in April. Kristy Byrne, who set up the page, has known Wyatt since he was a toddler.

Ancient tradition meets Kiwi innovation

“He has always been a talkative, inquisitive, easy-going and helpful kid.” Wyatt lives with his father, Dean Rose, and partner Anna and her son Braxton in Orini – “a small but awesome community in North Waikato.”

Check out this machine. The Zealong Tea Estate impressed many at the Fieldays with their one-of-a-kind specially designed hydraulic tractor.

In mid-April he was diagnosed with AML, a rare type of leukaemia. “The next morning he was off in an ambulance to Starship Hospital. This means the next few months of his life will be full of tests, treatments and uncertainty.” It looks as if he will need to remain at the hospital for the next eight months. “The family are doing everything they can to keep positive and give Wyatt everything he needs. He is going to need someone with him all the time, putting the family under extra pressure income/employment-wise, things are uncertain at the moment,” she said. “It would be truly awesome if people were able to show their support by making a donation to the family.” To make a donation or to find out more, visit the Givealittle page: givealittle.co.nz/cause/ pleasehelpwyatt

Zealong worked with a French manufacturer of vineyard machinery to develop the large yellow machine, which can do just about everything on the Gordonton estate, except picking which is done by hand for just 60 days of the year. Nicknamed The Transformer due to its system of moving parts and attachments, this machine straddles two rows of tea as it trims, prunes, mows, weeds, ploughs or spreads fertiliser. Zealong R&D manager Fabien Maisonneuve says they had to think outside the box because of strict organic regulations. “We were unable to use conventional methods – for example, having to manually control weeds and having limited options for BioGro-

approved organic fertiliser. “We’ve ended up with a machine with a wider range of applications, less wear and tear and more power than the mechanical machinery traditionally used on tea farms.” The Transformer can be adapted to a range of crops, and received much admiration from vineyard operators and orchardists at the recent Mystery Creek Fieldays. “Most people’s initial impression was that it was a tea harvester, but once we put them straight on what the machine does, they were impressed with the variety of tasks and actions possible, the story of the machine’s development, and its complex hydraulic system – one hydraulic engineer saying he had ‘never seen anything like it’!” Zealong Tea Estate near Gordonton is New Zealand’s only commercial tea plantation.

5 1062 Gordonton Road, Gordonton Village (next to Firepot Café) Open: Wednesday – Sunday 9am – 3pm Phone: 8242018

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July 2018 . HOME RANGE


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HOME RANGE. July 2018

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NEWS

BIKES AND MUD FLY AT ORINI CHAMPIONSHIPS Cambridge’s Michael Cotter leads fellow Kawasaki man Damien King out of the first corner in this veterans’ race at Orini at the New Zealand Miniature TT Championships last May. The event wasn’t held the previous year as a suitable venue couldn’t be found, but Orini landowner Mark Fuller came to the rescue with his property on Rutherford Rd. Mark Fuller is a former national enduro and cross-country frontrunner and father of 16-year-old Zak Fuller, a rising star on the road-race scene. TT racing is like superbike racing on soil instead of tarmac – the racing is off-road and the competitors use dirt bikes or quad bikes, but, unlike motocross, there are no steep hills or skyward launch ramps to slow things down. The entry list for the Kawasaki-sponsored

Photo: Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com two-day event included the stars of motocross, cross-country, enduro and even

road-racing, All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and super motard.

Winter special for our local groups! Come and see the alpacas in the heart of Gordonton. • Hug and feed friendly alpacas and take special photos • Explore our shop with over 200 local and imported alpaca products • Alpaca themed activities to be enjoyed for all ages For bookings and more information phone 027 555 7887 www.cornerstonealpacas.co.nz • 49 Peach Road, Gordonton 5

July 2018 . HOME RANGE


NEWS

Fish hunting goes hi-tech in local stream Giant kokopu are New Zealand’s largest native freshwater fish other than eels, but few people have ever seen one. They are also the largest member of the galaxiid family world-wide, and one of the species whose young forms part of the whitebait catch. Their numbers have declined markedly and they’re now listed as ‘vulnerable’ – the same status as brown kiwi. And yet, though they have disappeared from many parts of the country, there are still good numbers in a small Gordonton stream. All told, they are a pretty special fish, says Niwa freshwater ecologist Paul Franklin. “They need our help. Over summer we undertook fish surveys and put little electronic tags – much like the ones that go in to cats and dogs – into the kokopu that we caught, so we can track them. We’ve subsequently been following their movements in a bid to try and identify if and where they might be spawning in the stream.” The team has been working at the Gordonton site over the last year. It is part of a larger project looking at giant kokopu spawning, which includes sites in the Hakarimatas and a Hamilton stream. “The spawning season is typically somewhere in the April to July period so we’ve been out several times in the last few weeks trying to track down potential spawning sites.” The work is weather dependent: the surveys are carried out after high flows, following heavy rain. “The fish lay their eggs in the bankside vegetation when river levels are high, and the eggs then develop out of water. They rely on more rainfall around four to six weeks later to re-inundate the spawning sites and allow the eggs to hatch. “Our efforts have been focused on the reach of the stream between the State Highway 1B bridge and Peach Rd, but we have also looked upstream of Peach Rd.” The potential spawning sites were near to aggregations of giant kokopu that were found using an instrument that detects their electronic tags. One challenge is telling the difference between kokopu eggs and slug eggs. “Eggs were found in the vegetation, but both look very similar HOME RANGE. July 2018

Stella McQueen searches for micro-chipped giant kokopu in Gordonton.

to the naked eye, so we have to follow their development to see if they turn in to fish before we can confirm!” There is research ongoing which involves training dogs to search for eggs but that is some way off, he says. “We’re hopeful something like that will work out in the future, but for now we are reliant on our team getting down on their hands and knees to search in the grass!” Paul says it has been known for some years that giant kokopu live in the Gordonton stream. “It is sometimes surprising what lives in our streams around us, and it is important that people are aware that despite appearances, these heavily modified streams can support important fish communities. “Giant kokopu like slow flowing streams with pools, as long as there’s some cover along the edges where they can hide. There are also plenty of eels present in the stream, and we’ve also caught inanga there.” They are generally diadromous, meaning they migrate between the sea and freshwater as part of their life-cycle. “However, in the Waikato catchment, it has 6

been shown that often giant kokopu don’t migrate to the sea, and instead use some of the lower Waikato lakes to rear in. We believe that many of the fish that we’re finding at Gordonton probably reared in Lake Waahi.” Response from landowners has been positive, he says. “Most show a keen interest in the fish that we find in their streams. Sometimes they are surprised what’s there though! There has obviously been a move by many landowners to fence off waterways, and even better, plant up their riparian zones in recent years, which benefits all streams. “We’re also starting to see more awareness of the need to avoid creating barriers in streams, such as weirs or badly installed culverts, that can block the movements of fish between critical habitats that they need to survive.” The project, funded by the MBIE Endeavour Fund, is set to run for another three years. “We’ll be continuing searching for evidence of spawning at the site over the next month or so. Next summer we will do more fish surveys and try to tag more fish for us to track in the next spawning season when we will be back to search for eggs again.”


NEWS

Japan calling Whitikahu School teacher Matt Clarke and Room One students saying “Kon’nichiwa!” to children at Odaka Elementary in Japan earlier this year.

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A 45-minute video chat between the two schools was set up by Iris Riddell, born and raised in Gordonton and now teaching English at Odaka, in Fukushima Prefecture, 16km from the disabled Nuclear Power Plant.

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It was such a thrilling moment when the Odaka 6th graders walked into the room and saw the big screen, filled with an image of grinning kids, waving from another hemisphere, says Iris.

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Excitement was also high at the Whitikahu end. “They were totally engaged by the thought of Skyping Japan and eagerly found out facts and practised really hard to learn some simple Japanese sayings to use,” Matt says. Odaka students were agog at the Kiwi kids’ bare feet – there is much protocol around shoes in Japan. Then Whitikahu ramped it up by running outside, through the playground and on to the sports field. “We can’t really do that here, and some of our sports grounds have artificial grass. This was pretty impressive for them to see!”

1034 Gordonton Road +64 27 777 8733 art@themandarintree.nz www.themandarintree.nz

Common ground was found and there were some moments of pure connection – “they exploded with joy when they realised they played the same video games and watched the same movies... everyone loves Star Wars!” she says. Sayonara Japan! See you later!

Three cheers for the Book Box! The Gordonton Book Box is stuffed full of wonderful reading – historic novels, novel novels, autobiographies, music CDs – you never know what you’ll find. And it’s had a make-over. Resene Paints (bless them) donated a ton of test pots and over the summer the little community book library was freshly painted and then artists set loose on it. Gordonton’s Queen of Calligraphy Marian Riddell unleashed her talent with brush and paint, writing what it’s all about in beautiful script. And Rosie Campbell, artist-about-town, painted a purple dragon on the spot, curled around what might be one of Gordonton’s old oak trees. The Book Box is open for business and all are welcome to help themselves. Since it was put up by community website Number 8 Network’s Annette Taylor in 2016, it has largely looked after itself. The idea is to take a book and leave a book. Sometimes there are too many books inside – in which case, please help yourself to two books and don’t worry about adding one. 7

July 2018 . HOME RANGE


COVER STORY

Ag Days – to be or The decision to eradicate cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis in New Zealand has forced a rethink on movement of animals between farms. Home Range looks at what this means for one of the highlights of the rural social calendar. Serious concerns have been raised over school agricultural days this year in light of the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. Ministry for Primary Industries Response Incident Controller Dr Catherine Duthie told Home Range the ministry didn’t want to be party poopers, but recommended schools thought very carefully about holding the event.

Robyne Mitchell, Emily’s mother, says not having a calf club at school is absolutely heart breaking. “It would have been my son’s last year this year. It’s been such a part of our lives for so many years, I actually don’t know what we will do in the afternoons.”

“Right now the disease is not widespread around New Zealand, and we’re throwing everything at getting rid of it. So we believe it’s sensible to avoid any unnecessary risk.”

It was a hard decision to make, and one he wasn’t expecting to make in his first year as principal of the school.

MPI advised farmers that they may want to reconsider any movement of animals that was not absolutely business critical.

“I had to turn to wiser heads than my own to inform this decision but at the end of the day the school and the community have spoken – there won’t be calves coming on to Gordonton School.”

“If, however, schools do decide to go ahead, there are some commonsense steps that MPI recommends, which will help to minimise any possible risk of infections being transmitted between calves being transported to schools, and to avoid them coming into contact with calves that may have already contracted the disease.”

Staff were highly supportive of the decision, when it was announced. “While there will be disappointment, no one could have foreseen the nationwide impact of this disease. And we have to tread cautiously.

As long as good hygiene and biosecurity procedures are followed, the risk of the disease being spread via shows and events is relatively low, but until tracing is completed it is still a potential risk.

“I’ve never been to an ag day, I don’t know exactly what I’m missing. It was one of the things everyone talked about in the lead-up to my taking the role, how exciting, entertaining and traditional these events are. Something unique to country schools.”

“Perhaps kids could be encouraged to hold a pet day, or bring other animals than calves to their special school day.”

Lambs, goats and other animals should be fine - “We will try and tailor some of the ag day experience around other associated activities. “I’m not a farmer, I live in town. I have to adopt a decision based on the information I’ve received and focus on the wellbeing of the school.”

GORDONTON SCHOOL Calves will not be a part of ag day at Gordonton School this year, says principal Keith O’Donnell.

HORSHAM DOWNS SCHOOL Horsham Downs School principal Steve Dunsmore said while he understands it will disappoint some families, the school will also not have calves at ag day.

“On the advice of the government agencies, and in consultation within our community, we made the decision with regret that such a long and established tradition of country schools has been impacted by M. bovis.”

HOME RANGE. July 2018

“We have a long tradition of a huge ag day at our school, it’s a huge

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COVER STORY

not to be?

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Emily Mitchell with her calf Mi Amor at Gordonton School calf club last year. event and we have a massive amount of community support among farming families who have lots of calves and willingly share them with the school. “We’re a thriving, growing country school and we want to maintain those traditions. And it’s a fabulous day out, we have massive support but we have to take a very precautionary approach.” Mr Dunsmore had been a principal in the Cambridge area. “I know the farmer who was adversely affected out of the blue, his daughter was at my school. We don’t want to adversely affect any of our farming families at all.” Goats, lambs and chickens are all fine. “There might be pigs and dogs and cats as far as I know. We’ll work with the rural community and want it to be a fun day, with lots of things going on. We want to celebrate New Zealand, and celebrate country schools.” Continued page 10>

wel.co.nz

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July 2018 . HOME RANGE


COVER STORY

Ag Days – to be or not to be? <Continued from page 9

PUKETAHA SCHOOL At the time Home Range was going to print, Puketaha School was planning on continuing as normal. “Ag day is running, as it does every year,” said Principal Geoff Booth. “Obviously M. bovis is a hot topic. As a school we’re saying each farmer can make their own decision.” The school had more lifestyle farmers who might attend, as they had less at stake than commercial farmers. “We will pay attention to the risk and tighten the activities on the day. We won’t allow the kids to pat the calves – which might be a way the disease spreads. If they come out, they can hang out with the lambs and goats.” He said Puketaha was a semi-rural school. “Ag day is important to our heritage and culture. Holding on to events like ag days is key to who we are. Last year we would have had about 15 calves, lots of lambs, loads of goats – it was a big day. So despite the lowering numbers of actual farmers, the culture of the day is still strong.”

ORINI COMBINED SCHOOL

For a history of Hamilton North Agricultural Group, visit Number 8 Network and enter Avril McBeth into the search box, top right.

Orini Combined School principal Emily Hargreaves said her school was meeting to decide what events would be held this year but there would be no calves on site. “Other activities are being investigated.” As this issue was going to print we hadn’t heard from Tauhei Combined School. Whitikahu School hopes to hold an ‘on farm’ calf judging competition and will have a day for lambs, goats and chickens.

‘Not all doom and gloom’

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The Hamilton North Agricultural Group (Calf Club) has been an annual event since 1952. Avril McBeth, who judged calves for 32 years, says it has gone ahead, rain, snow or shine. When asked how she felt about it not being held she said it was the right decision.

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“Even if we don’t agree, we have to manage the disease. You’ve got to give the government and Ministry every opportunity to stop it.” Avril, who recently stepped down from various committees – “At 70 I felt I was getting a bit old!” – said at first she felt gutted for the kids who would miss out this year. “They look forward to this, then it’s all off. Mind you, I think, children have to learn to deal with disappointment and deal with the fact that it’s happening because we’re trying to save the disease from spreading. It’s like they have to learn you don’t all get a red ribbon.”

Darrin John Paul 1060 Gordonton Road

She hopes that in a year or so Calf Club can resume. “It’s not all doom and gloom, we’ll probably know more in time, and hopefully can resurrect it. There’s enough interest out there that it will continue.”

07 824 7189 or 021 123 1874

Despite her extensive experience, Avril herself never had a calf. “Although all my children and grandchildren did. We had lambs on our farm in Gordonton when I was about 10.”

www.gordontonautomotive.co.nz HOME RANGE. July 2018

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COVERISSUES STORY

Former judge Avril McBeth: “Teaching children about animal care is part of the process.” Her husband Jim was a calf club judge, and his Uncle Ted before him. “They were judging at Waitetuna Valley and I had gone along for the drive. Turns out they were short of a calf judge so I was told to get my coat on and step into the ring - ‘I’ll show you what to do!’ said Uncle Ted.”

“I asked one little boy what he would do if he went out to do his calf and found lice on it – he looked at me with these real big eyes and said ‘panic!’. It was the way he said it, so hard case. “There have been some lovely moments with the little ones. I’d say to them, has your calf got any teeth, at the top? They’d run their tongue over their teeth, and say ‘oh yes’. And I’d say, well, you have another look, because they don’t, do they, they don’t have top teeth!

Calf club is special. “I think it’s the bonding of the child with an animal for a start, and having sole responsibility for the care of that animal, from feeding to cleaning and caring for it.”

“I’d ask what breed their animal was, and they’d say ‘sheep breed’. That’s why I did it, for the kids.”

Teaching children about animal care is part of the process.

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July 2018 . HOME RANGE


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Wally Smith Killing & Processing Ltd 07 847 5455 • www.wallysmith.co.nz HOME RANGE. July 2018

12


PEOPLE

A new beat for Keith The new principal at Gordonton School was a cop, has an Indian Scout motorbike and a black belt in Karate, and played Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. Keith O’Donnell takes time out of school to talk to Annette Taylor. THE FIRST WEEK on the job, which started with a powhiri, was a blur. “I met so many kids, parents, teachers, visitors and friends of the school that I lost count. It was great to receive such warmth and welcome from everyone.”

“I always believed it was better to be the fence at the top of the cliff rather than the ambulance at the bottom. In 2001 I left the Police and entered Massey University to become a primary teacher. Here, I felt, I could make a real difference.”

Born and bred in Whanganui, he spent 17 years with the NZ Police, and was a leader on the Armed Offenders Squad. This, he says, involved him in a range of critical incidents, including the Raurimu massacre in 1997.

After graduating, he taught for six years in Whanganui and then took on a role with Methcon Group, a company delivering drug and alcohol awareness education to secondary schools and community groups, with a special focus on methamphetamine.

“Policing is a job where every day you go to work and deal with negative things – victims, offenders, the disenfranchised, the forgotten, the bereaved, the hurt.”

While satisfying and useful, he missed the classroom and kids and returned to teaching at Hamilton West School, where he became deputy principal and completed a Master of Educational Leadership at Waikato University.

He was frustrated at the number of young people falling through the cracks and turning to a life of crime, and the police unable to stem the tide. A change in career beckoned. He enjoyed his role in training police officers in the correct use of firearms, special tactics and safety and decided to move into the education field.

During all this, he has played a wide range of sports, including softball, cricket, basketball, soccer and rugby, and stays physically fit. Continued page 14>

“I left the Police and entered Massey University to become a primary teacher. Here, I felt, I could make a real difference.” 13

July 2018 . HOME RANGE


PEOPLE

A new beat for Keith < Continued from page 13 “I’m a keen motorcyclist and love riding my Indian Scout, which my wife Mary says is ‘a little loud’.” The couple have five children, ranging in age from 16 to 32, and four grandchildren. He was also a semi-professional musician for 20 years, playing guitar and bass and singing lead vocals. “I tried my hand at theatre and a highlight was playing Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. I love seeing kids on stage performing – developing confidence and competence in the arts and I hope to share my enthusiasm with the students.” Working at a rural school always appealed. “They have a unique culture which isn’t replicated in city schools, along with a dedicated and willing community, keen to be involved. Gordonton School provides all of that – and is only 10 minutes from town. It’s the best of both worlds. “The first thing that strikes you about Gordonton is its setting, the trees, the grounds. As you enter it just gets better with friendly, smiling students and dedicated staff. “I also really like the fact that it’s a full primary school. That gives plenty of scope for developing student voice, agency and leadership responsibilities. I’ve been asked a number of times ‘why did you want to work at Gordonton?’ My reply is ‘who wouldn’t want to work here!’”

Keith, 1998, in the Armed Offenders Squad.

Keith will spend the first term getting to know the students, staff and community, as well as the practices and processes.

any time since Tomorrow’s Schools was implemented in 1989. “There has been tinkering over the ensuing years since that reform and we have seen ‘initiatives’ aplenty such as Charter Schools, National Standards and Innovative Learning Environments come and in some cases, go.

“As well as this the task of forming solid professional relationships with all the stake-holders is paramount for them also getting to know me. That way any changes or adjustments can be made from an informed perspective and focussed squarely on improving the learning outcomes for our students.”

“Simply put, a current education system exists to prepare today’s learners with the required knowledge, skills, dispositions and attributes to take their rightful place in what is undoubtedly an unknown future.

He feels lucky taking over a school in very good heart – “This is due in whole to the work of Principal David McNair, his staff and Boards of Trustees. His 21 years at the helm has grown the school and positioned it well for success. David left big shoes to fill but also a very fertile and promising context in which to set about filling them. I wish him well in his very well-earned retirement.”

“My over-riding mandate is to place and maintain Gordonton School at the leading edge of that process and maximise the potential of our students to embrace and conquer their own futures.” But today he is just happy to be at school. “Every day is different, I’ve been pinching myself since I arrived. It’s everything I’ve worked for and it’s very exciting.”

There will be challenges. “We are witnessing quantum changes in the educational landscape at all levels in our country, perhaps more than

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July 2018 . HOME RANGE


HISTORY

Sponsored by Woodlands Estate. info@woodlands.co.nz

Meet the 30s cool kids Mike Taylor has responded to N8N’s call for local historic photos and come up with this great pic of two lads out and about in Gordonton. Love the metal on Whitikahu road!

This photograph was taken on Whitikahu Road, Gordonton, in 1938. My father Alan, left, in his MG and his older brother Mac in the Riley. Within a few short years both men would be serving overseas during WW2. Alan in North Africa and Italy, Mac, a little later, in the South Pacific. Mac played 36 games for the Waikato rugby team between 1933 and 1946. In June 1972 Dad and I went to Wellington. Dad wanted to attend an army reunion for the 14th Light Anti Aircraft Regiment. Also in Wellington was Bob Gibbons, a friend of my father who had sold him the MG 34 years earlier. Bob had kept details of the car which he gave me on a tiny piece of paper. Fast forward 20-odd years. My father’s MG J2 was distinctive from other J2s because the later models, like his, had swept wings with running boards as opposed to the earlier model which just had cycle wings over the wheels. In the 1990s it was advertised for sale in Auto Trader. Every car was featured with a photograph. By a pure fluke I saw the advert which showed the rego as MG 4225. It was just a simple matter of joining the dots and making a phone call.

Victorian elegance in the heart of Gordonton

The car had found its way to Dunedin, but was dismantled in the 1960s. It ended up in the hands of Charlie Fulton, Oamaru, who did a full and very expensive restoration. I also tried to track down the Riley, but no such luck. In 1938 the MG cost £200. Today a restored MG J2 fetches around £40,000!

VISIT US TODAY 42 Whitikahu Road, Gordonton info@woodlands.co.nz – 07 824 3687

HOME RANGE. July 2018

N8N is looking for classic, local photos. If you have a gem that shows life in our patch in days gone by, send it through! We’d love to share it! 16


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July 2018 . HOME RANGE


PEOPLE

There’s gold in Puketaha! She won gold at the Commonwealth Games this year in Australia, but for Julia Ratcliffe, family and home are what’s important. Annette Taylor finds out more. A week after winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, hammer thrower Julia Ratcliffe was back home with her parents on the family’s lifestyle block at Seddon Rd, Puketaha.

around!”

Puketaha is a great place to be based, Julia says. “It’s so close to Hamilton but has the peace of the countryside. It’s always funny having the neighbours’ stock standing on the fenceline watching every training session with great interest!”

Hammer throwing is a pursuit of perfection, she says. “I like the hammer because it’s such an unnatural movement so it’s not something that anyone is naturally good at. You know that the people who excel at the hammer are the ones that have put in years and years of training. I love the technical challenge and that there is always something to work on.”

She learned to throw on the concrete pad out the back of Porritt Stadium, close to the family home in Hamilton.

Born and raised in the Waikato, Julia won the gold medal in the pouring rain at Carrara Stadium, Gold Coast, Queensland with her fifth throw of 69.94 metres. Australia’s Alexandra Hulley came close with a toss of 68.20m.

After leaving school Julia attended Princeton University in the US, majoring in economics and representing the university in the hammer throw and weight throw. She returned home after graduating and has been training in New Zealand since September last year.

“After the competition, we got to jog a lap of honour and the amount of Kiwi flags in the crowd was amazing! Friends that I didn’t even realise were on the Gold Coast were popping out of the crowd at the barrier to congratulate me. It was a truly special moment.”

The family moved to Puketaha three years ago – a bigger section was needed for her hammer throwing. “My parents wanted to live in the country and Dad was adamant we needed to pick a property with the right dimensions for a hammer field as well.

Parents Dave and Sue were in the crowd cheering her on, along with her best friend’s family. After the win, the 24-year-old ran to her father (and coach) in tears, and wrapped herself in the New Zealand flag.

“So while Mum was checking out the houses, Dad would be striding around the properties with a measuring tape!”

“Winning the gold was a dream come true. Two of my competitors had bigger distances than me on paper but couldn’t put together a decent performance on the night so it just goes to show if you turn up and put your best foot forward, anything can happen.”

She says her parents have been instrumental in her success. “They are my most trusted advisors and gave my sister and me a lot of their time to help explore and develop our passions as we grew up. “They instilled in us the importance of hard work and it was expected that if we were going to put our time or effort into something, we would do it to the best of our ability.”

After her performance, she watched the rest of the Kiwi athletics team and managed to catch the women’s Blacksticks win their final. “That was an incredible game!”

Dave, a former PE teacher, has always coached her. “We have learned a lot together and I’m incredibly lucky to have such a dedicated dad.

Julia is the current holder of New Zealand’s national record in the hammer throw, with a distance of 70.75 m set in July 2016. She won the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, in 2014.

“It was funny to see his reaction on the night – he always thinks about the next thing or how I could improve, so while he was thrilled he couldn’t help analyse everything and how it could have been better.

She has been involved in athletics since she was five. “I picked up the hammer when I was 11 or 12. So I’ve been throwing for just over half of my life.”

“It was great having Mum in the crowd as well. She’s the one who gives me the perspective when I forget how fortunate I am to be able to pursue my passion full-time.”

The name of the sport leads to a small amount of confusion, she says. “It used to be an actual sledgehammer! I get asked about this a lotall of the kids in high school thought I was that crazy girl throwing building implements HOME RANGE. July 2018

It had been a rocky road to the Games but family and friends made the difference. “I

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PEOPLE

Above: “Winning gold was a dream come true.” Left: “Puketaha is home and always will be.”

Photo: Macspeedfoto/Alan McDonald

new connections. “But Puketaha is home, and always will be, my parents will see me at holidays and other times.”

struggled with injury in the lead-up, but I had the greatest support network I could have asked for. Bringing home gold was the ultimate thing I could do to repay their kindness.”

Her advice to young athletes is that they don’t need fancy equipment, or to be naturally the fastest or strongest.

Since returning in mid-April with the gold medal Julia has spoken to a number of groups, including Women’s Refuge, primary schools, and youth athletic programmes.

“Get stuck in to as many sports as possible and practise every second you have. Do the sports you love but also try things that are out of your comfort zone. Don’t specialise too early; it is important to develop a wide range of skills, both physical and mental. The ability to work in a team and communicate with others is essential in both sports and life.”

“I’ve spent a lot of time sharing my experiences and lessons I’ve learned along the way with the community. It’s this time that makes it all worth it for me, being able to inspire others to take up sport or keep battling against their own struggles.”

Julia is now spending her days in the gym, maintaining her strength while she figures out her next move.

Julia will soon leave for Wellington to take a job at the Reserve Bank. “I’ll be joining the forecasting team, the people who write monetary policy statements. I’m super-excited to be getting into this, it’s what I studied at university in the States.”

“And making sure I don’t have any repeat injuries. I still have my sights set on Tokyo in 2020, it’s just a matter of which path makes the most sense to get me in the best position to get there healthy, happy and ready to smash it.”

She will continue to train in Wellington and looks forward to making

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July 2018 . HOME RANGE


COUNTRY COOKING

Sponsored by Prof’s@ Woodlands. 027 469 0694

Three cheers for Betty’s sponge Any master sponge maker is a national treasure in New Zealand. Betty Anderson was ours. “Every community has a sponge cake maker for functions – Betty was our one, you could always count on Betty.” So said John Bridgman, friend and former Gordonton District Committee chairman, at the funeral service for Betty Anderson in March. Betty wore many hats – she helped with many community events and was famous for the way she looked after the loos in Hukanui Park. “Photos of her and the toilets are now all around the world,” John said. But she was especially renowned for her cream sponges. Betty’s brother Pete Hope said his sister made the best sponges ever. And they had to be dropped on the floor. “One day I decided to make one. I rang Betty for her recipe and away I went, mixing everything together. When the time was just about up I rang again – stick a knitting needle into it, she said, and if it’s dry take the sponge out of the oven and drop it onto the floor. It stops the sponge from sagging in the middle. “My sponge was perfect, and I still have my 100% sponge making record, thanks to Betty.”

Betty’s sponge sandwich

Firepot

Tips: Use eggs that are at least a few days old, and not refrigerated. Grease tins and/or use baking paper on bottom of tins. Wait till sponge crinkles at side of tin before removing from the oven.

1060 Gordonton Road. 07 824 2006

4 large eggs ½ oz (15 g) flour 5 oz (150 g) sugar 1 tsp baking powder 3 ½ oz (100 g) cornflour Pinch of salt Separate eggs, beat whites with salt until stiff. Add yolks, then sugar. Beat until thick and creamy. Fold in sifted dry ingredients. Bake in two 8” tins, 150 – 160°C, fanbake 150°C for 24 minutes. Individual ovens vary, so keep an eye on it as the time nears. Drop sponge tins on the floor after removing from oven. When cool, remove sponges from tins, spread both with raspberry and whipped cream and sandwich together. Then get the kettle on and cut yourself a slice of Betty’s sponge.

Call in for a warming winter big breakfast! We are serving all day breakfasts and all day lunch. Or try our delicious homemade gluten free slices! HOME RANGE. July 2018

SHARE Home Range adores country cooking. If you have a treasured recipe from a grandparent or someone special, tell us. We’d love to share it. Email annette@number8network.co.nz 20


NEWS

Food that teases the senses Kate Wilson, from Prof’s@Woodlands Cafe, loves food that teases all the senses. “Flavourful, textural and makes you wriggle with delight. As an example, raw Bluff oysters with shallots and white balsamic vinegar requires no cooking but is sublime.”

1060 Gordonton Road, 1060 Gordonton Road, Gordonton Village Gordonton Village Get up front and personal with your food and Get up front and personal with your food and discover the true taste of New Zealand right discover the true taste of New Zealand right here at The Farm Shop. here at The Farm Shop. Rain or shine (for our daily country market has Rain or shine (for our daily country market has 4 walls and roof), 5 days a week 52 weeks 4 walls and roof), 5 days a week 52 weeks we're here to make it easy for you to do your we're here to make it easy for you to do your weekly grocery shop with goods from local weekly grocery shop with goods from local New Zealand growers and artisans. New Zealand growers and artisans.

Largely self-taught, Kate says it’s important to create the right expectations when cooking and realise that food alone is not the whole experience. “If you have the right environment – good friends, enjoyable ambience, funky crockery, sharing meals – it is all good.” Kate has shared Chilli Garlic Prawns, one of her favourite recipes, on Number 8 Network. Look for it online.

Local history served up in new book A book telling the struggles and triumphs of Gordonton residents from 100 years ago is almost complete. The project is part of the celebration of the centenary of Oaks Church, says coordinator Valerie Morgan. “Our history at Gordonton is actually very short. The contrasts between the lifestyles of those living a hundred years ago and now are huge. We have much to be thankful for as we stand on the shoulders of those who endured awful hardships, peat fires, boggy roads, stumpy paddocks, undeveloped unproductive land, poor communications, no electricity – it came to Gordonton about 1924 – rationing, wars, the Depression…”

seasonal fruit & vegetables, microgreens, seasonal fruit & vegetables, microgreens, jams & marmalades, jams & marmalades, chutneys, sauces, vinaigrettes & pickled onions, chutneys, sauces, vinaigrettes & pickled onions, fudge, chocolate, marshmallows & toffees, fudge, chocolate, marshmallows & toffees, homemade baking, travel sweets & nougat, homemade baking,& travel sweets & nougat, raw honey fresh nut butters, rawoils, honey & fresh nut butters, nuts, seeds & pasta, oils, nuts, pasta, cheese & yogurtseeds (dairy &and dairy free), cheese & yogurt (dairy and free), sausages, steak, bacon & freedairy range eggs, sausages, steak, bacon & free range eggs, salami, smoked fish & ready meals, salami, smoked & ready meals, wellness tonics, tea fish & coffee, real fruit juice, wellness tonics, tea & coffee, real fruit natural beauty & health products,juice, natural beauty & health products, natural cleaning products, natural cleaning products, homewares, gifts, crafts, knitwear & beanies, homewares, gifts, crafts, knitwear & beanies, petfood & petwares. petfood & petwares.

Centenary celebrations for the Gordonton Presbyterian Church get underway on Saturday 27 October, at the Woodlands Homestead.

To find out more, email Valerie jvmorgan@kinect.co.nz

Open Wed thru to Sat from 9am to 4pm Open Wed thru to Sat from 9am to 4pm and Sun from 10am to 2pm and Sun from 10am to 2pm Visit us at: www.thefarmshop.co.nz Visit us at: www.thefarmshop.co.nz Like us at: www.facebook.com/thefarmshopnz Like us at: www.facebook.com/thefarmshopnz Phone: 07 824 3555 Phone: 07 824 3555

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July 2018 . HOME RANGE


PICK OF THE PICS

Winter storm turns on sky spectacle

Garden Graphixâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Anthony Skinner took this stunning photo of this cloudscape above his studio at Wairere Nursery. After some research, we believe these are mammatus clouds. The name comes from the Latin for udder or breast, and they are usually seen hanging down from cumulonimbus rain clouds. SHARE

We love gorgeous photographs of our place. Send in any amazing snaps you take - the best will feature on this page in November!â&#x20AC;?

HOME RANGE. July 2018

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GORDONTON BAKEHOUSE & TAKEAWAYS

The best fish & chips for miles! 1060 Gordonton Rd (in village) Ph orders: 824 3938

Skilled Repairs & Maintenance for

hard working feet 93a Thomas Road, Rototuna Ph 07 838 0003 reception@waikatopodiatry.co.nz WAIKATO PODIATRY CLINIC

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Your Leading Sports Specialist & General Podiatry Clinic

Find out more about us at www.waikatopodiatry.co.nz

St Mary’s Church Gordonton meets 10am every Sunday saintmarysgordonton.azurewebsites.net

Gordonton Playgroup NEW FAMILIES WELCOME!

Your voice in the community GORDONTON DISTRICT COMMITTEE

• Every Wednesday and Thursday during term • 9.30am-noon at the old school at Hukunui Park, Gordonton Road • Tea & coffee for the adults while the kids enjoy their shared morning tea

Available for party hire too!

To book Gordonton Hall phone 824 3450

www.facebook.com/gordontonplaygroup

More info: Amanda, 021 122 1312; Kerry, 021 133 4961

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July 2018 . HOME RANGE


HOME RANGE. July 2018

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Home Range  

Community magazine for the rural area northeast of Hamilton, New Zealand.

Home Range  

Community magazine for the rural area northeast of Hamilton, New Zealand.

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