Archive for February, 2012

Fernside an International Sporting Venue?

29 February 2012


This week, the North Canterbury Clay target Association’s range plays host to the Australia/New Zealand Police, Defence and Emergency Services Clay Target Championships.

It is part of a larger sports tournament, most of which is taking place in Wellington.

It is good to be able to play host to such an event here, given the help those Australian services gave Canterbury after 22 February.

The Pines and Kairaki Beaches Association – 90 Years Old and Counting …

29 February 2012

The Association held its AGM last night – something like its 90th or 91st – they’re not sure. There was a good turn-out.

Nothing unual about that, you might think.

But this is a community that was badly hit in the Septemebr and subsequent earthquakes. All of Kairaki has been red-zoned and the southern half of The Pines.  People have left the community, others are planning to leave.  The shop, a centre for community contact, has closed. The committee itself has lost membership during the year through people leaving.

Yet, the vacancies on the committee were easily filled. No arm-twisting, no shoulder-tapping – people just put up their hands and volunteered.

They talked about what they were going to do over the coming year. They established a new “Friends” category for membership so that former residents and landowners with the interest of the community at heart could retain their connection and continue to contribute. 

This is a community that is picking itself up and moving forward.

Flaxwood Festival was not to be Missed

27 February 2012

The recent Flaxwood festival in Flaxton was a great afternoon.  Carolyn Schuitman and her team did a great job rasing a lot of money for a variety of charities, including the Woolston Brass – who, incidentally, are as good a Big Band as you’ll find anywhere.








Boys’ Toys / Gear for Girls was on This Weekend

26 February 2012

Boys’ Toys / Gear for Girls was on at the Rangiora Showgrounds this weekend –  a new event on the calendar.

There was lots on: trick motorcycles, World War II battle re-enactments, rally car action (pictured), displays and stalls of many kinds.

Definitely something to watch out for next year!

Corners of Waimakariri: the Oxford War Memorial

25 February 2012

The Oxford War Memorial is on Main Street in a part of Pearson Park that is often used for community events.


Rangiora Photographic Society’s Exhibition is on this Weekend

24 February 2012

22 February: A Day for Reflection

22 February 2012

We Cantabrians have, hundreds of times, told each other what we were doing, what we thought, what we did on 4 September 2010, 22 February  2011, 13 June 2011, 23 December 2011.  “4 September”, “22 February” and so on are how we name those earthquakes. We all know what years we are talking about.

But most of all, 22 February.  I was in Paper Plus, Rangiora, to buy my weekly copy of the Listener – and said to the shop assistant “well that was the worst one since 4 September” and bought the magazine as I headed back to the office.  Already, the staff were setting up the Emergency Operations Centre. A TV was wheeled in and the horror of what was going on in Christchurch rapidly unfolded. The streets of Rangiora rapidly emptied, shops shut up – and when I got down to Kaiapoi, found the same thing had happened there.

Spending the rest of the afternoon and into the evening in Kaiapoi and Pines-Kairaki there were relatively few people on the streets anywhere.  Apart from in those houses that had been abandoned after September, I came to the conclusion that most people were inside watching their TVs – or struggling to get home from their Christchurch workplaces.

One of the young girls in the video shown at the service this afternoon said we in Canterbury are only two degrees separated from each other.  I personally knew only one person killed that day and had met one other – but I know a number more who lost family or friends.  Most of us are like that and that is why we felt the loss of the 185 so deeply.

Another thing about 22 February is that along with the buildings, at least one illusion was shattered: that we had survived the big one, and that the aftershocks would get progressively less severe. We were wrong – and 13 June and 23 December have further eroded our confidence.  Or maybe not.  It is human to hope and I think most of us still have that.

One of the moving events this afternoon was the release of 185 Monarch butterflies.  One settled and sat for quite a while in front of me, so I photographed it with my phone (it’s above).

I like to think it was Paul’s.

Why Were the Barriers Extended in High Street Rangiora?

21 February 2012

Recent evidence before the Royal Commission looking into the 22 February quake in Christchurch has suggested that some post-September barriers were too close to the buildings.  As bricks fall, they sometimes bounce or roll.

An engineering reassessment of the Lambert building resulted in the barriers being pushed out further.

The barriers outside Robbie’s have also been pushed out a bit, although the strengthened lower storey means that only the upper storey is at risk, and this is likely to fall straight down.

22 February, 12.51pm.

21 February 2012

Many people will be observing two minutes’ silence at that time.

Two minutes silence will be observed by Council  staff at the following places at 12.51 on Wednesday 22 February to honour those lost in the 22 February earthquake.  You are welcome to join them.

  • The lawn at the Waimakariri District Council Service Centre, Rangiora 
  • The lawn at the Waimakariri Districy Council Service Centre, Oxford
  • Darnley Square, Kaiapoi by the playground

The memorial service being held at North Hagley Park is screening live at the Kaiapoi Baptist Church, Kaiapoi Club and Oxford Working Men’s Club from midday to 1.30pm.

Marilyn and I will be at the service in Christchurch.

The Prime Minister has asked that flags be flown at half-mast tomorrow.

Woodend Volunteer Fire Brigade Celebrates 50 Years

20 February 2012

Last weekend, the Woodend VFB celebrated 50 years as a local brigade.  Before 1961, they had been a fire party, like that at Waikuku Beach these days.

They celebrated with a tour of their engines, plus quite a few from neighbouring brigades, through the town.  There followed an open day at the station. 

It is not generally known that the majority of firefighters throughout New Zealand are volunteers, just like these men and women.

We depend on the volunteer fire brigades to keep our communities safe – and, unlike most other volunteers, these folk are on call night and day.

There are a number of Volunteer Fire Brigades in our District: Kaiapoi, Rangiora, Woodend, Cust and Oxford, plus fire parties in places like Waikuku Beach and Pines Beach.

$65 000 Raised for New Kaiapoi Rugby League Pavilion

20 February 2012

Last Friday, the Kaiapoi Rugby League Club, which because they now incorporate Rangiora, play as the Northern Bulldogs, ran a highly successful fund-faising luncheon at the Kaiapoi Workingmen’s Club.

As you can see in the heading, they raised an amazing $65 000 from ticket sales, an auction (mainly of Rugby League memorabilia) and donations.

The guest speaker was Ricky Stuart (pictured) – ex-Canberra Raiders, ex-Kangaroo, ex-Kangaroo coach and now coach of the NSW State of Origin team. His was an entertaining talk, full of insights about the game.

Sir Peter Leitch (aka the Mad Butcher) came down from Auckland, and there were a number of ex-Kiwis present.

A great afternoon!

Residents Angry About BMX Proposal

17 February 2012

Existing and soon-to-arrive residents of the Sovereign Palms subdivision at Kaiapoi made their feelings well-known last night at a public meeting called by the Council.  They clearly do not want a BMX facility near them.  The proposed track will replace the one destroyed on the Kaiapoi riverbank by the September earthquake.  The original site cannot be used – changes in the land level have meant that it is now often under water.

The meeting was part of the consultation being undertaken prior to a resource consent application being made by the council on behalf of the BMX Club.

As with the proposal to relocate the Riverside Bowling Club to Hinemoa Park, the Council is in a very difficult position.  We are anxious to get community facilities and clubs up and running in Kaiapoi again.  Finding places to put them that are close enough to Kaiapoi so that residents (including children) can get to them easily but which don’t have neighbours living nearby is next to impossible.

Our hope is to use land that the Council already owns. We could buy land – assuming we can find a willing seller – but is there such a place that isn’t close to people’s houses?  Given the well-known pressures on the budget, buying land is not an attractive proposition from a community point-of-view.

Abandoned Red-Zone land is sometimes suggested. That is not an impossible idea but there are two difficulties. The first is that the Government has not decided what to do with the land (they are gradually taking it over as people move out).  That decision might be some time off.  The other difficulty is that the land has been classified as highly vulnerable to liquefaction and lateral spread.  It is one thing to put, say, a rugby field on it, quite another to put a facility that involves expensive buildings or earthworks.

We need ideas!

Serious Repair Work on the Rangiora Library Started Today

16 February 2012

A lot of noise and a lot of dust …

Are There Alternatives to Rates as a Source of Local Government Funding?

16 February 2012

The Shand Committee of Inquirydid have a look at some of the alternatives – see$file/FullReportPartThree(11).pdf

This inquiry took place in 2007.

Waimakariri Gorge Bridge Deck Renewal to Start 29 February

16 February 2012

The long-awaited replacement of the deck on the Waimakariri Gorge bridge is planned to start on 29 February.  Most of the work will be done at night-time, so the bridge will be open during the day. At night, there will be certain times that traffic will be able to pass.  It will be at the same times every night and these will be well-advertised.

This is a joint project of the Waimakariri and Selwyn District Councils.

Boys’ Toys / Gear for Girls at Rangiora Showgrounds Coming 25-26 Feb

15 February 2012

Kaiapoi Business People Meet About Building Safety

14 February 2012

As their Rangiora colleagues did last week, Kaiapoi business people met tonight hear and talk about building safety.

The most important thing to remember is that earthquake-prone does not mean immediately dangerous. If engineers consider that a building is dangerous, the Council has to close it to the public.  If it is judged to be earthquake-prone, that means that the building does not meet the required 34% of new building standard. There are a lot of commercial and public buildings like that.  If truth be known, probably a lot of houses are too, but they don’t have to be assessed.

At tonight’s meeting, a number of those present were upset by the Northern Outlook‘s headline from two Saturdays ago, saying that it did not reflect the article that followed, giving a wrong impression of the situation in Waimakariri.

Come to The Main Event – Rangiora 3 March!

13 February 2012

Waimakariri Confirms Earthquake Recovery Milestones for 2012

11 February 2012

Key milestones for the Waimakariri District Council’s Earthquake Recovery Programme during 2012 were recently confirmed by the Council’s Earthquake Recovery Committee.

 The overall recovery programme is divided into a number of constituent programmeeleme nts covering:

 • Managing, with the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), the transition of red zone areas as settlement of the Government offer proceeds;

 • The permanent repair of damaged infrastructure in confirmed green zone areas;

 • The permanent rebuild and restoration of damaged community facilities and reserves;

 • Progressing implementation of the Kaiapoi Town Centre Plan and continuing business support initiatives;

 • Accelerating new residential development close to Kaiapoi and considering the implications of the earthquakes’ impact on the town’s overall urban form;

 • Continuing to engage with and keep the community informed about earthquake recovery issues and plans, and support households and existing and new   communities through the transition.

We are also focused on identifying and progressing opportunities for legacy and ‘kick start’ projects with and through CERA.

 We will be continuing to represent the District’s interests through the considerable recovery strategy and planning activity by CERA across economic, social, land and infrastructural areas.

 The Earthquake Recovery Programme identifies the major initiatives for the Council in 2012 across all these elements and sets milestones for each, including an estimated time for completion.

Group of Rangiora Shops Classified Dangerous and Are Now Shut Down

10 February 2012

A group of Rangiora shops were shut this evening after consulting engineers retained by the Council and by the building owner, classified it as a dangerous building in an earthquake that was less than moderate.  Adjacent shops also have to be closed because they are in the drop zone.

The shops affected in the building are Graeme Smith Unichem Pharmacy, Annah Stretton’s and Flight Centre.  The adjacent buildings are Rangiora Digital Photo Lab and the Union and Floor Pride shops.

The Council is very aware that no-one wants our two town centres in Kaiapoi and Rangiora shut down, so we will be investigating different ways of helping businesses to relocate from dangerous buildings if they wish to.  We offered this in Kaiapoi after the September quake, and the i-site and the Little Rooster, fo a while, took this up.

Waikuku Artists Incorporated – 2012 Exhibition on this Weekend at Waikuku Mill

10 February 2012

Prone or Dangerous? And Does the Council Have a Hidden Agenda?

9 February 2012

The differences between safe, earthquake-prone and dangerous are differences of degree – it all depends on the size of the earthquake. 

In Christchurch on 22 February, the earthquake went beyond the design standard of many buildings. 

The anticipated quake on the Alpine Fault, while further away from our District that the 2010 one under Darfield, could be over magnitude 8 and last for 3-5 minutes.  The 7.1 Darfield quake lasted for about 40 seconds.

I will enter an earthquake-prone building.  I will not knowingly enter a dangerous one.

Does the Council have a hidden agenda to close down our commercial centres?  No – but if engineering assessments reveal a building to be dangerous, we are obliged to act accordingly.  The bottom line is that people are entitled to know the state of the buildings they are entering and make their own choices. 

Sefton Tug of War is Coming, Sunday 20 May

7 February 2012

Check out their website.

This is a great event, raising funds for the Sefton School. Be warned: it might be fun, but its VERY competitive!

Waitangi Day in Kaiapoi, 2012

7 February 2012

Waitangi Day was celebrated in Kaiapoi yesterday as Waimakariri’s community day with lots of good humour and entertainment.

King Arthur III and Alf’s Imperial Army led a parade to Trusselot Park and the band rotunda where some bogus treaty allegedly pulled out of the sea and purportedly granting all the land to him was put before the local “tribe”.  The best moment came when their chief for the day David Brennan, announced that King Arthur was now responsible for his EQC Claim.  Take that!

The response, of course, was waiata and haka, and some serious speeches from Upuku Runanga Rik Tau and the politicians. And then it was on with a concert and entertainment – on a lovely warm day.

I think we have to accept that there will often be protest and argument at Te Tii marae up north, especially on the day before – maybe that’s just the way we do it.  And then on the day itself, there is a mixture of ceremony and community enjoyment around the country.

People sometimes say that ANZAC Day is our real national day. My feeling is that we have two, commemorating different things.  If the Americans can have two (Independence Day and Thanksgiving), why can’t we?

Art Deco Still Lives in Waimakariri

5 February 2012

The earthquake loss of Kaiapoi’s Riverside church (formerly the Rialto Theatre) was very sad.  Fortunately we still have some art deco left in the District, such as the former Salvation Army building in Oxford, now Emma’s Bookshop – open this morning for Oxford’s Day in the Country.

Muscle Car Madness Descended on Rangiora

4 February 2012

The annual Muscle Car Madness event descended on Rangiora last weekend, and for a few days the streets were full of hot rods and American classics – along with noisy exhausts and drivers slightly bemused by Rangiora’s one-way system.

As an owner of an old Ford, I have to show you another one – a 1958 Thunderbird.

The Whale is Saved! Waikuku Rescue Hits the Headlines!

3 February 2012

World War I NZ Soldier to be Re-Buried in Belgium

2 February 2012

We have received the following message from Freddy Declerk of Zonnebeke, Waimakariri’s sister district in Belgium.

The remains of soldiers from World War I battles are frequently found on the past battlefields of Flanders and France.

Dear Friends, 

Mayor  Dirk Cardoen and I from Zonnebeke will attend the reburial of a NZ soldier, tomorrow Friday at 3 PM local time.

The soldier is from the Rifle Brigade and died on June 7th 1917 during the attack on Messines.

We will have a wreath on behalf of the people of Zonnebeke and Waimakariri.

The NZ Minister of Defense will attend together with the Defense Chief, a Belgian Minister and other dignitaries.

 Kind Regards from the cold Flanders Field ( – 6 C°  but with the wind it feels as – 15 C°)

 Kind Regards/Vriendelijke Groeten

Freddy Declerck

Genootschap Passchendaele Society 1917 vzw


 Tel 057 48 94 02

GSM: 0474 91 32 46

Earthquake-Prone Buildings

1 February 2012

The unsettled ground that we have been living on since 4 September 2010 and the experience of Christchurch on 22 February 2011 have changed a lot of community attitudes towards earthquake-prone buildings.

The problem isn’t new, and the Council was about to reconsider its existing policy when the 4 September quake struck. It is probable that some of our buildings have been earthquake-prone since the day they were built and that what has changed is that better knowledge and community attitudes have led to increasingly stringent regulations.

Robbies in Rangiora (formerly the Junction Hotel) has been getting a lot of publicity this week, but we could remember that the large fancy parapet that you can see in the photo fell off in an earthquake on Christmas Day, 1922.

There are a number of buildings of concern in the District, including both Kaiapoi and Rangiora (but also beyond these).  Some commercial building owners in the District have received notices from CERA asking for engineers reports by a certain date.

The Council is very conscious of the need for public safety but also that we do not want the commercial hearts of our towns shut down. We will be working alongside building owners and their tenants to help them get the necessary engineering assssments and carry out strengthening if it is needed.  We are also thinking about temporary accommodation for businesses.

The community is walking a tightrope on this one.

Summer Reading Programme is Great for Kids

1 February 2012

The Waimakariri Libraries run a great Summer Reading Programme across the holidays and it was a priviledge to be able to hand out certificates to all those who had completed it.

As well as me, Bubbles the Clown was also present – and she was much more fun than me!

Obviously, one young chap didn’t think much of the formal bit and tried to escape!

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