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FROM LITTLE ACORNS ...
The Wakatipu Basin has undergone dramatic change over the years and there
is little evidence these days of the native vegetation which blanketed the
region when the early pioneers arrived. An action group of dynamic and
passionate people, under the umbrella of the Wakatipu Reforestation Trust,
wants to redress the balance and just over a year ago the concept of a
community native plant nursery was floated. Spearheaded by well-known
conservationists Barbara and Neill Simpson the nursery has become the
focus for a dedicated bunch of volunteers anxious to see Queenstown's
indigenous vegetation thrive again.
"Once we launched the idea the project really became self driven," says Neill.
"The Queenstown Lakes Council has donated the site at Kelvin Heights where
we are growing several thousand plants. We have had excellent financial
support particularly from the Jean Malpas Trust. Jean was well known in the
Queenstown community and the nursery has been named in her honour."
The philosophy is to provide free or low cost native plants for community
planting in key areas.
"This will not only restore our natural heritage but also bring back native
birds. The aim is also to provide a source of native or exotic trees to replace
Douglas firs where their seedling spread threatens conservation land."
Education is an important role for the nursery and Neill says they are working
with schools and offering local residents advice on native plantings, as part of
the drive to restore and highlight some of the outstanding natives which once
flourished in the area.
WANAKA JETSPRINT WILL DECIDE NATIONAL TITLE
Wanaka will be buzzing when the high speed National Jetsprint Champion-
ships six series final hits town on Easter Friday (April 18).
Up to 50 teams from around New Zealand and Australia will race their super-
charged V8 jet boats against the clock, in a knock-out format at the purpose-
built Oxbow Adventures Aqua Track, in a bid to win the national champion's
title. The Wanaka event is the last of a six-part series that's been taking place
around the country since December 2013.
It's the only event of the series to be held in the South Island and organisation
is being spearheaded by Southern Jetsprints.
Committee member Brent Scammell is a navigator on the 1250hp boat Mack-
raft. "It's a pretty exciting sport to watch," Brent explains. "The power of the
boats is massive. Some of the boats are 1500hp which is huge. They're pulling
eight G's round some corners which is higher than in Formula 1."
There are three different classes for boats according to their engine capacity
and they must navigate a series of islands set in a sequence. If the driver fails
to take the right corner the team is disqualified.
Last year was the first year the event was held at the Oxbow Adventures Aqua
Track in Wanaka and competitors were keen to return, says Brent.
"They were pretty impressed with the circuit last year."
SHOWCASING KIWI MADE
A demand for genuine New Zealand made designer clothing and gifts was
the incentive for fashion retailers Delvine Wallace and Bruce Gibbs to create a
unique boutique store stocking only high-end New Zealand products.
Their store Te Huia, named for the beautiful now extinct native bird, was
opened three years ago in Arrowtown and has evolved into a sought after
destination for 'Kiwi made' goods.
"We were constantly being asked for clothes made in New Zealand and that
was the catalyst for establishing Te Huia. It's a store that celebrates our design-
ers and artists and showcases a unique Kiwi aesthetic," says Delvine. As the
owners of six existing fashion businesses in Arrowtown and Queenstown Delvine
and Bruce were well placed to source the very best in New Zealand made luxury
brands."We spent a lot of time sourcing luxury brands that we could rely on to
consistently deliver a high quality product. We chose Paula Ryan as our main fash-
ion brand because of her exceptional attention to detail, quality, fit and fabrics."
"Our skincare and body products are by Linden Leaves and we have an
exclusive selection of fine jewellery by Arrowtown artist David Hargreaves."
There's also a specialised range of New Zealand possum fur rugs, cushions
and throws that have a big following.
"People really do want to know and understand where these products are made
and the story behind them. Our team is very proud of the fact that everything
in Te Huia is 100% New Zealand made and they enjoy passing that on to
Barbara and Neill Simpson
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