Wainui Hall: a community hub pg3 Vehicle review: the Amarok pg6 Pasture care and weed control: those sodding thistles pg9 Horsinâ€™ around: Dad, can I have a pony? pg12 Landscaping: from tiny acorns grow pg13 Bees: hope in the Varroa mite fight pg15
Six of the best… editorial
We’ve managed to pack six good stories in this month to cover a wide range of interests and we still didn’t have enough room… … so we’ve decided to extend the first story via our website. From time to time something appears out of the blue and you wonder where it came from. I had one of those moments when the PR agency for Volkswagen emailed and asked if we’d like one of their Amarok utes for a week to review. Hmmm … often that kind of offer comes with an implied obligation but, no, we could say what we liked! This month Helen Martin continues with our series on community halls. I didn’t grow up in this district, but I do like finding out how our communities here formed and how the halls become a focus for so much rich history. Quite by chance, one of our long-standing supporting advertisers in this magazine, Julie McKechnie, was one of the main sources for this story… Julie and her husband Grant own McKechnie Nurseries in Coatesville. No doubt there are a lot of local families
RURAL LIFESTYLE ISSUE 47
with deep roots across the Rodney district. On that note, this month Grant McKechnie explains more about how we can plant our own deep roots …the kind that create rich autumn colours.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the winner of the Uniden Phone is now posted on our website… thanks for your entries.
The subject of buying a pony will come up in our household again before long, and now armed with Sandy Reid’s article I can at least give a more informed answer to our daughter about how old she has to be and what has to be in place before we head down the road to buy or lease a pony. Do take a moment to post any questions you have on www.ruralifestyle.co.nz and Sandy will get back in touch and answer you directly.
Enjoy the read.
Dave Beattie provides expert guidance on managing pasture over this lean time and on how we can improve its quality as it bursts through in spring, and Logan Tudehope has been researching the plight facing our bees, finding a remarkable prospect of hope from the UK. Do keep your feedback coming and remember, keep telling the advertisers you saw their advert in Rodney’s Rural Lifestyle Magazine. That way they’ll keep supporting us, which means we can keep providing you with articles.
Neville Walker – Editor & Publisher
Letters or enquiries to Rodney’s Rural Lifestyle, RD Marketing Ltd, RD1, Kaukapakapa. Phone 09 947 3580. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising enquiries: Marlene Brown 021-854-946 Rodney’s Rural Lifestyle ©2011. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form without permission of the publisher is prohibited. No responsibility accepted for any direct or indirect consequences arising from reliance on any content within Rodney’s Rural Lifestyle. Editor: Neville Walker. Sub Editor: Helen Martin. Writers this issue: Helen Martin, Logan Tudehope, Sandy Reid, Grant McKechnie, Dave Beattie, Neville Walker. The respective copyright holders mentioned on pg10 can be found on Wikimedia. Designer: Dan Stenhouse, Bgraphix. Printing: PMP maxim.
Wainui By Helen Martin
The community hall at
The background to the stories of our local halls always starts many years before they were built, and the Wainui Hall is no exception.
logs were rafted across to Freemans’ Bay, where two of the sons established a timber mill. And so, as the years passed, Wainui’s great forests gave way to farms and orchards.
Owned initially by Maori, Wainui (big water), was sold to the Crown in 1854 for 800 pounds by Ngati Rongo Chief, Te Hemara Tauhia1 and was soon settled by European immigrants.
As in all growing country communities, the locals saw the need for a central hub. Wainui Hall was built in 1912 of timber supplied by locals and on land loaned by Alan’s great uncle, Edward (Ted) Scott. After the hall burnt down in the mid-1920s, local residents, including Alan’s father John, once again gave time and materials to rebuild it.
Talking to Wainui locals Alan Scott (93) and Joyce Scott (88), I learn that Alan’s grandparents Thomas and Eleanor Scott and their five sons and daughter, having emigrated from Donegal, Ireland, arrived in Auckland on 11 March, 1864. From there they went by cutter to Riverhead then walked to Wainui, where several other families were already established. Taking possession of land they had received through a land grant, the Scotts found there were no roads and the land was wild covered in fern, manuka, giant kauri and other natives. Writing about the history of Wainui in 1929, Doris Scott (later Doris Cutting) noted, “When Mr Scott came to look at his grant he came down the valley by falling on the tea tree and so forming a rough track.”2 The family set to and made a living cutting timber, using bullocks to transport the logs to the Wade River. From there the
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Alan spent a lot of time there with his parents as a child, remembering it as an important meeting place for the district’s families. After he married Joyce, who was not a Wainui local, she became very involved in the hall committee and their seven children spent many happy hours at the hall. In 1936, the Women’s Division of Federated Farmers (WDFF) began meeting in the local church, then later moved to the hall and Joyce, who joined in the 1950s, remembers it as a very active group, most of whom walked long distances to the meetings. Their goal was to look after the district’s women and children. One of the activities the WDFF was known for was its adult education classes,
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check out the local talent. As with other country halls at the time there was to be no alcohol consumed on the premises, so the men gathered outside to drink, says Doris’s son, Brian Cutting, and there were sometimes tensions as they competed to prove their worth. “A few years back a man went missing from a dance,” Joyce tells me, “and he was found later in a chicken pen at Silverdale.“ Raewyn Mowday (left) and Julie Scott dressed in costume for Christmas Tree Night at the hall, in about 1960.
including the well-attended dressmaking class. Also popular for years was the WDFF’s drama group, described by Joyce as “A wonderful thing for country women which enabled them to congregate and get to know one another and have a lot of fun.” Everybody knew everybody. Other regular hall events included annual flower shows, Plunket meetings, Christmas concerts, weddings, Lodge meetings, garden parties and, of course, the dances with their great homemade suppers and memorable times. Some of the dance goers would be people making the rounds of dances in Silverdale, Wainui and Kaukapakapa to
People would hire the hall and come from as far away as Browns Bay and Whangaparaoa for their 21sts, but eventually the committee stopped hiring it out because cleaning up after them was too much like hard work. In later years Joyce was President of the WDFF and enjoyed presiding over coffee mornings, where people would come from other districts to listen to speakers. “We had to work hard, milking cows etc, but it was a good life, the kids all took part, and we had good times,” she says.
The Scotts’ daughter Julie has some vivid childhood memories. “Each year we looked forward to Christmas tree night at the hall with great excitement. There was a huge, beautiful Christmas tree up near the front and Santa Claus gave each child a gift from the tree. We’d play organised games in the hall and sometimes we’d dress up in fancy dress.” To this, Brian Cutting adds ”When we were cleaning up the next day, if we were lucky we’d find a present that had been left out!”
As commitment to maintaining the hall waned with people ageing or moving away, it was eventually taken over by the local council. The hall is now home to a playgroup twice a week and is used by groups ranging from Tai Chi to the National Party. Many thanks to Alan and Joyce Scott, Julie McKechnie (née Scott) and Brian Cutting for their valuable contributions to this article.
Julie also remembers school plays, and later on dances “when all the boys sat on one side of the hall and the girls on the other, hoping like mad we wouldn’t be the last girl left sitting when the MC said ‘Gentlemen, take your partners for the next waltz’.“
References: 1. www.puhoihistoricalsociety.org.nz/Survival.htm 2. Doris I. Scott, History of Wainui, 1929. Teachers’ Training College project.
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control By Dave Beattie
Pasture care and weed
Now we’ve entered the coldest part of the year, most of us tend not to hang around in the paddocks pondering our pasture condition... it’s more a matter of ‘get out there, get the grazing areas rotated and get back inside’. But now is a good time to be thinking about getting on top of weeds as we head into spring. At this time of year, thistles are on the top of the hit list. Common thistles in our area are Scotch, Nodding, Winged and Californian Thistle. We will deal with the latter in spring, as that is when it is best controlled. Thistles are unsightly, spread easily and are not grazed down by stock (with the exception of goats, which find them more palatable when in flower*). Scotch, Nodding and Winged Thistles are all biennial, meaning the plants germinate (usually in autumn), accumulate food reserves in the first year, then flower and produce seed in the second year. Under ideal growing conditions it is possible for them to flower and set seed in one season. Once the seed is set it dies. Germination in autumn often occurs in pasture which has been disturbed through over grazing. Maintenance of a good grass cover at this time of year will reduce germination. Thistles rely heavily on seed production to survive, so if you can control them before flowering you can significantly reduce infestations on your property. Cooperation with your neighbours is also important, as the wind can carry weed seed large distances. Small infestations can be grubbed, but ensure you remove a portion of the tap root by grubbing or digging out below ground level so the dormant buds are removed, otherwise regrowth will occur.
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Nodding thistle is aptly named due the weight of the seed head causing it to ‘nod’. (© Olivier Pichard).
Californian thistle (Cirsium arvense) is one of the most common thistle species in NZ. (© H. Zell).
or quad bike may be necessary for larger infestations, but at this time of year a utility may not be able to get onto the paddocks without getting stuck and making a mess. For larger jobs it may be necessary to use a 4x4 tractor, or for small blocks use a quad bike
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Scotch thistle. (© Bjoertvedt).
set up with spray equipment – this will lessen the damage to your paddocks. In the process of targeting thistles you can also be dealing with other problem weeds which germinate in autumn, such as buttercup, dock and carrot weed.
Effects of pugging When there is a lot of rain the soil surface can be easily damaged (pugged) by the hooves of heavier cattle. This usually happens when we carry larger stock on our properties over winter – ideally you need to plan to have larger animals off the property before it gets too wet. Next year I plan to have them off my place in late June/early July at the latest, when the grass growth starts to slow. Pugging destroys soil structure, reducing drainage and air movement and creating poor growing conditions. This opens the grass cover (sward), allowing weeds to establish in spring. The effects of pugging can hinder grass quality and production for several seasons. In next month’s issue we’ll discuss how to help your pasture recover from pugging.
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* For an excellent reference site for weed control using Goats see section J1 at www.acga.org.au/goatnotes. Another good source referenced for this story was weeds.massey.ac.nz Dave Beattie is a Registered Chemical Applicator (Rural Agricultural Contractors Assoc) with Regevegation Specialists.
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Nasty accidents have happened because simple procedures were not followed. Get your child some lessons from a riding school or an experienced adult. It’s helpful if you are there too, so you can both learn together. Make sure the teacher gets across that having a pony isn’t just about riding, but also about grooming, feeding in all weathers, and giving the pony plenty of attention It's also important that the person teaching explains safety around horses. They are big animals that move quickly and if frightened or spooked they can react by kicking, bolting or biting. The need to take precautions regarding cover removal, tying the pony up correctly and handling of the pony’s feet should be taken extremely seriously. Your child should be able to catch and, with some help, saddle the pony and be able to walk, stop, turn and possibly trot on their own.
pony? Dad, can I have a
Before you purchase your pony, sort out its paddock requirements. Most ponies do not need a lot of grass. A small paddock or fenced off area is usually adequate for a pony under 14hh. A smaller paddock is safer for catching and riding a pony without fear of it taking off. (They love the freedom of a big open paddock). A diet of hay with small amounts of grass is sufficient until you get to know the pony’s needs.
By Sandy Reid
You have bought a block of land in the country, you have some sheep, a few cattle and a goat and everything seems perfect. Then the kids announce they want a pony! This can strike horror into the hearts of parents who have had little or no experience with our equine friends. Having been through this I can offer a few words of advice that may help. How old are your children? They need to be old enough to have the physical strength to ride and the concentration to take in what is being taught. I believe that seven is young enough to start learning to ride, nine is even better.
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RURAL LIFESTYLE ISSUE 47
Once basic riding and handling skills have been mastered, you have the option of purchasing or leasing a pony. It is asking for trouble to purchase a young pony thinking the child and pony will grow up together. A much safer option is an old ‘schoolmaster’. It does not matter if the pony is in its twenties so long as it’s healthy and quiet. These ponies are like gold as they are generally not advertised, but are passed on through families or pony clubs. Be prepared to spend between $1000 – $2000 on this sort of pony regardless of its age. Gear can usually be purchased through Trade Me or any reputable saddle retailer. Happy horsin' this month!
If you have more questions about getting your child started with their first pony (for example leasing), feel free to post your questions via “comments” to this article on the website www.rurallifestyle.co.nz and Sandy will respond to you directly.
By Grant McKechnie
From tiny acorns
Cambridge is renowned for its beautiful old oaks, and so is Hawkes Bay — but Rodney can grow the majestic trees too, and what better place to plant them than on your lifestyle block or farm, where there’s plenty of space. The big oaks are great as statements at your entrance way; place one either side of your gate. They’ll also line your drive, give shade for the animals in the paddocks or create a focal point at the bottom of your lawn. They’re nice beside a pond, and an excellent choice for woodland plantings.
Oaks are tough trees, able to stand quite a bit of wind and not particularly good soils. They’ll also take dry to quite damp sites, but like most trees, they do best in good soils with some summer moisture.
HOURS Mon–Fri - 8.30am - 5.00pm Saturday - 9.00am - 5.00pm
THE LIFESTYLE BLOCK SPECIALISTS
• Hedging • Shelter • Natives • Landscape plants • Bulk pricing available for most plants • Revegetation natives & planting service
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Let Grant & Julie help you select the best plants for your place! Robinson Rd, Coatesville. Ph/Fax 09 415 8806. firstname.lastname@example.org www.mckechnienurseries.co.nz RURAL LIFESTYLE ISSUE 47
Proof Sheet for Ad Booking # The scarlet oak’s red autumn colour.
The English oak’s summer leaves.
from green to brown in autumn, and hang on into the winter The English oak (Quercus robur) is the big, round-headed tree No.go of Pages: before they drop. Its narrow form makes it a good choice for lining you see as you drive through Cambridge. Short-trunked and longthe drive if space is an issue. lived (100 years-plus), it has large mid-green leaves which turn From: yellow in autumn. At 10 years, it will be about 10m x 10m in size, Most readers will be familiar with the English oak and will also but will continue to grow to around 20m x 20m in time. Phone: recognise the pin oak (Quercus palustris), which has a distinctive form, with a strong central leader and neatly tiered horizontal A variation, Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’, the upright English oak, Fax Number: branches. The bottom branches tend to sweep downwards to is tall and narrow, similar to a Lombardy poplar. Its leaves tend to the ground, but they can be trimmed off (limbed-up) if you’re Size: planting beside the drive, or for some other reason need to keep a clear space between the ground and the lower branches. The is correct: Proof Sheet for Ad name Booking # means ‘of swamps’, and it will grow on species palustris Proof Sheet for Ad Booking # poorly drained soils, but not in standing water. The pin oak’s Date: Attn: Date: leaves turn rusty orange/red in autumn, fading to brown before Attn: Date: Company: No. of Pages: dropping. Company: No. of Pages:
Less well known are the scarlet and red oaks which, like the pin oak, are from North America. Both form very big, round-headed Region: Fax Number: Region: Fax Number: trees, similar in shape to the English oak. Scarlet oak (Quercus • We specialise Price: Size:in taxation advice and Price: Size: coccinea) has big leaves and reputedly the best red autumn colour services to farmers and lifestyle Advertisement is iscorrect: Yes Alterationrequired required correct: Yes m Alteration ofm all the oaks. Red oak (Quercus rubra) has even bigger leaves •Advertisement We specialise in taxation advice and services block owners. Signed: Date: Signed: Date: (close to 30cm long and 15cm wide) and good red autumn colour, to farmers and lifestyle •block owners. Expert knowledge on the taxation fading • Expert knowledge on theof taxation of and subdivisions. to a dullish red or bronze. landsales Planner:
landsales and subdivisions. •• WeAdvice on the best structure Herefor in Rodney, we might not be able to match the south for andand • We specialise specialiseinintaxation taxationadvice advice • Advice on the best structure for you - lifestyle services to and you Company, Trust, Partnership. services to-farmers farmers andlifestyle depth of autumn colour, but the oaks will give you a pretty good block owners. block owners. Company, Trust, Partnership. • Expert knowledge on the taxation
show. Don’t be afraid to plant in groups of threes or fives or more knowledge on the taxation Withers & Co Ltd• ofExpert landsales and subdivisions. of landsales and subdivisions. Withers & Co Ltd • Advice on the best structure for of the same variety for greater colour impact, and remember that 23Neville Neville Street • you Advice on Warkworth. the best for - Company, Trust,structure Partnership. 23 Street, PO Box 113, you - Company, Trust, Partnership. on lifestyle blocks and farms we can paint with a broader brush. PO Box 113, Warkworth. Withers & Co Ltd Phone (09)Withers 425 8599 & Co Ltd 23 Neville Street Got an otherwise wasted hillside? Plant some bold splashes of Fax (09) 425 7565 Box 113, Warkworth. 23PO Neville Street Freephone: 0508 948 4377 PO Box 113,0508 Warkworth. Freephone: 948 4377 Email: email@example.com colour with big groups of oaks. Fax: (09)Freephone: 425 7565 Fax: (09) 425 7565 0508 948 4377 Serving Rural Clients Serving Rural Clients (North & South Is.) Since1969 www.withersco.co.nz Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: (09) 425 7565 & South Is.) Since1969 Serving Rural(North Clients Email: email@example.com (North & South Is.) Since1969 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org All the varieties I’ve mentioned here are deciduous.
RURAL LIFESTYLE ISSUE 47
• We specialise in taxation advice and to farmers and lifestyle • services We specialise in taxation advice and block owners. services to farmers and lifestyle • Expert knowledge on the taxation block owners.
• We specialise in taxation advice and
Rt Hon John Key MP for helensvi lle
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Hope in the Varroa
fight! By Logan Tudehope
Following on from our story in the March issue concerning the threat that neonicotinoids pose to the global bee population, there is fresh hope on another battlefront for these industrious insects. The Varroa mite has been plaguing bees all over the world for some decades and arrived on our shores in 2000. Now a British beekeeper is breeding the Swindon Honeybee, which has developed a behaviour to combat the invasive pest. Ron Hoskins, a 79 year old beekeeper from Swindon in Wiltshire, first took an interest in bees as a child when he was evacuated at the start of World War II and sent to live with a beekeeper. Ron's been keeping bees himself ever since, and for the last eighteen years has concentrated on researching a mite-resistant bee. The Varroa mite does its damage by sucking the fluids from bee larvae, which, if it doesn't kill the larvae, will stunt the growth of the bee's wings, preventing it from flying and therefore providing any useful labour in regard to the foraging and pollinating activities of the hive. The Varroa mite will also attach itself to the neck region of adult bees, hindering their work and productivity. Ron Hoskins found that the Varroa mite had developed resistance to some chemicals which had been successful in the past. He also found that the chemicals were having some negative side effects on the bees themselves, not the least of which the fact that they were damaging the sperm of the drones and causing them to 'fire blanks'. He decided to cease the use of chemicals and concentrate on other means of managing the varroa mite problem. Ron soon noticed that one or two of his hives were considerably less affected by Varroa mites than all the others. Upon closer inspection he found that the bees had learned to 'groom' eachother
RURAL LIFESTYLE ISSUE 47
The National Beekeepers' Association has big concerns over pesticides containing neonicotinoids, Clothianadin and Imidacloprid which bees can pick up from pollination.
and remove the mites. They were also evicting from the hive, larvae infested with the mite. Ron has since both bred and artificially inseminated the bees from these hives with the rest of his queens and his entire population now comprises only the Swindon Honeybee. The bee population in the United Kingdom has dropped by 60% since 1970. It is widely accepted that the bulk of this loss comes as a result of the arrival of the Varroa mite in 1992. The economic value of the pollinating work bees do globally lies between 250 and 300 billion NZ dollars. One third of everything humanity eats is dependent upon the pollinating work of bees. A great many of the oxygenproducing plants on the planet also owe their existence to the pollinating work of honeybees. Ron Hoskins is now trying to breed his Swindon Honeybees with virgin queens from hives all over the UK, in an attempt to restore the British beekeeping industry. If his results are good, requests will come from other beekeepers around the world. The idea is not new however. American beekeepers have been trying to breed a resistance to the Varroa mite into their honeybees for many years, with limited success. The asian honeybee carries a cleaning gene and beekeeping in that
RURAL LIFESTYLE ISSUE 47
The Varroa mite will hinder productivity of adult bees and also kill larvae or at least stunt growth of the bee's wings, preventing it from flying.
part of the world has certainly been less affected by the Varroa mite than elsewhere. However, asian honeybees are almost preoccupied with cleaning eachother and find little time for much else. Consequently their pollinating efforts are not particularly efficient and their honey is low in both yield and quality. It is hoped that Ron Hoskins' bees may prove more successful on account of the fact that the bees developed the behaviour on their own and therefore Ron is simply accelerating natural evolution. Here in New Zealand, bees contribute around five billion dollars to annual GDP through their pollinating work. The Varroa mite is certainly a problem and perhaps in the future Ron Hoskins' work can be of some benefit here as well. The New Zealand Beekeepers Association is very familiar with the Varroa mite issue and is currently focussing heavily on building awareness of the topic of our last bee story â€“ namely the suspected dangers for bees surrounding the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. The NBA believes it is irresponsible not to investigate the matter further, and are urging ERMA to consider a modified re-assessment for neonicotinoids as hazardous substances. Two neonicotinoidcontaining pesticides, Clothianadin and Imidacloprid, have been approved in New Zealand for use on maize, sweetcorn, cereals, brassicas, potatoes, pumpkins,
squash and grass seeds. Obviously clover grass seeds would fall into this list. Given that clover honey is the lion's share of our honey industry, and created by bees which pollinate clover, the NBA has grave concerns regarding the ongoing integrity of our industry. The methodology of the NBA stretches well beyond negotiating with the various regulators. In July of last year the NBA presented two beehives to Auckland City, which have been operating well ever since on the balcony under the clock tower of the Auckland Town Hall. The fact that neonicotinoids are only an issue in rural areas, where most of the country's beehives also are, has raised the profile of urban beekeeping. The NBA came up with this clever initiative to grow awareness of the important role bees play in today's world. The two hives house over 100,000 bees and are known as 'sentinel' hives, due to the fact that they are close to a major port and would hopefully be an early warning system of new-arrival pests and diseases before they could become established in the bulk of hives nationally. The two sentinel hives have already produced their first harvest of around 100kg of honey. Some of the pots are for Mayor Len Brown to give as civic gifts to visitors, with the remainder being sold by the Auckland Beekeepers Club to fund the project.
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Need Sales? Talk to us now... Deadline for September issue is 22 August. Deadline for October issue is 23 September. For rates and availability, email email@example.com or phone 09 947 3580 / 021 377 580 or Marlene on 021 854 946. Don’t delay – space is limited.
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Phone Orders Welcome! (09) 425 7754 Prices valid until 27 August 2011 or while stocks last. All prices include GST unless otherwise stated.