Category Archives: Stories

New Plymouth Skateboarder avoids WOF

A New Plymouth skateboarder has dodged a hefty fine for not having a “warrant of fitness” for his board.

Boltme, who changed his name via deed poll as a teenager, was riding in the CBD, forbidden under New Plymouth District Council bylaws, when he was pulled over by police and given a ticket.

But instead of a ticket for breaking the bylaw, he was shocked to be fined $200 for having no warrant of fitness for his board.

The 33-year-old father of two challenged the ticket and last month received a letter from police conceding the officer got it wrong.

“That is not to say that you did not commit an offence whilst riding your skateboard on a road. It is simply that you did not commit the one recorded on the notice,” the letter said.

Boltme said he was not impressed with the attitude of the officer who gave the choice of having his board confiscated or paying a fine.

“He didn’t think I’d fight the ticket, even when he was writing it I said ‘I don’t think you can do this’, but he still wrote it,” Boltme said.

“They let me off the ticket but it’s not fair, they should at least have said sorry.”

While the New Plymouth skating bylaw does allow for the confiscation of skateboards, it does not include provision for the issuing of fines.

However, under the Land Transport Act a skateboard is considered a vehicle and police can issue fines for various offences including riding a board “carelessly or without reasonable consideration for other persons”.

New Plymouth police road safety supervisor Sergeant George White said the incident was nothing to do with the bylaw and it was most likely a mistake on the police officer’s part.

“The officer would have got a note on their personal file saying he’d made a mistake and to be more careful next time.”

Mr White explained that in general police dealt with skaters depending on their attitude.

“Normally we stop them and have a chat to them and tell them to not ride their skateboard in town. If they’re repeat offenders or grumpy about it, we take the board to the council and they can pay to get it back.”

At last week’s council meeting it was decided not to bring forward any review of the skating bylaw as it is due to be reviewed in 2015.

New Plymouth’s art shop offers a new way of teaching

Metro Plaza is going to be introduced to a fun art shop that will focus on art for visually disabled people.

Behind the project is Pauline Harper who is visually impaired herself with an eye sight of only 3 per cent.

Her main focus has been on the class that she has been teaching at the foundation of the blind for the past 18 months and said that lack of room and facilities made her take action,

“That’s what has basically pushed me to doing this because we were very limited what we could do there, with the days we could use. We weren’t allowed to leave stuff out.”

Ms Harpers said that the Metro Plaza was the perfect place for it,

“The environment here instantly gives you the feeling of a safe environment and I need that for the people to work in. You’ve got really good bus access to this place.“

The shops name is Hands on Art which ties in to Ms Harpers goal of getting people to express themselves,

“It kind of goes hand in hand with the hands on art. Most people paint what they see but we’re painting with what we feel, also most of our art is touchable which is a huge difference from the average piece of art.”

She hopes to get holiday programmes going and workshops for kids from 11-2pm and 3.15 to 5.15pm.

The main opening for the gallery side of the shop will run parallel with blind week on October 20th,

“All the students I have at the moment are all doing work focused on their lives, what it’s been like living with a vision impairment and so that will all be on display at the opening.”

Although the main focus is for visually impaired artist Ms Harper says that anyone is welcome to come along and have some fun.

Source: Taranaki Daily News

New Plymouth ‘Survivor guilt’ a common corollary of suicide

New Plymouth co-organiser of World Suicide Prevention Day Kaysha Penniall says she too has battled suicidal thoughts.

“I’ve had eight friends and one family member that have committed suicide. I felt sad they didn’t feel that they could ask for help,” said Ms Penniall who is behind an event planned for the Huatoki Plaza on Monday.

“I was crying and felt like what’s the point of going on? They did it so what’s to stop me from doing it?”

Ms Penniall said people often suffered a form of “survivor guilt” when people near them took their own lives and asked themselves “what could I have done or why did they do that?”

The registered nurse who works for Harmony House said she was able to step back from the brink with the help of friends and her GP who explained that it was normal to have such feelings.

“The thing is when people commit suicide it often causes their family or friends to feel suicidal to. It’s a huge issue, and it has a ripple effect.”

The Huatoki Plaza event will include music and sausage sizzle, but also information stalls and expert presentations.  This will be followed on Friday, September 14 by a forum at the council chamber.

Ms Penniall said she hoped to encourage people to ask questions about suicide. “We’re hoping to support and inform people that have lost somebody or know of someone who is struggling.”

One of the main aims was to give the public an idea about the warning signs.

Ms Penniall said when people at risk of suicide started to say they were feeling better that was often when they were most at risk.

 “When they’ve made the decision, they often feel a lot of relief and they seem a lot happier,” she said. “If I wasn’t convinced or relaxed about the person then I would still ring the crisis team, ambulance or police.”

Ms Penniall recommended the websites QPR (Question Persuade Referral) for people who thought they knew someone who was suicidal, and Bereaved by Suicide for those struggling with the loss of a loved one.

She said it was important people left behind after a suicide got counselling, went to a GP and didn’t blame themselves.

“When someone’s suicidal, they’re not thinking of anybody else. They’re unwell and they aren’t thinking straight.  I don’t believe people do it to get back at anyone, often people don’t want to die. They just want the pain to stop.”

Ms Penniall said the grieving process was different because there was no closure but that it did get easier.

“It’s different for everyone but as the years go by you think of them more fondly, instead of (feeling) the sharp edge of grief.”

Source: Taranaki Daily News

Top tattooist drawn back to New Plymouth to finish the job

People were queuing up to get work done at New Plymouth tattooist Gene Martin’s new studio before it even opened last week.
Mean Team Tattoos, at the corner of St Aubyn and Cutfield streets, had more than 400 likes on its Facebook page before the first customer walked through the door, with many people requesting work from the artist.
Martin, who is renowned for his detailed work, returned from Hamilton to meet the demand for his work here and to right some wrongs.

“When I left town I let a lot of people down and many were disappointed that I left them with unfinished tattoos,” the 37-year-old said.

Martin, who has been tattooing for about 20 years, said the most important thing for someone contemplating getting a tattoo was to get the right advice.
It was important that people felt comfortable when it came to getting a tattoo.

“They should feel happy and excited and if they don’t feel that way then chances are they’ve got the wrong tattooist or the wrong idea,” he said.

“I want people to have the best tattoos they can have, even if it’s not from me. Don’t be shy to hunt down that right person to get the right tattoo.”
Some of Gene’s art work from his Facebook page
Source: Taranaki Daily News

New Plymouth’s first respite centre

Carers at Harmony House Te Whare Marire – a new centre for New Plymouth residents battling mental health and addiction issues – have “walked the walk”.

The Whalers Gate facility which opens today (August Friday 17) is the first peer-supported respite centre in the city.

“We’re not there as councillors, we’re there to let people rest and families also. It’s a place of safety for them,” said team leader Karen Wehle.

“That’s the message we’re trying to get across with this, we’ve walked the same walk. Everyone’s story isn’t the same but the journey to recovery is.”

Ms Wehle, a trained mental health support worker, said she has had her share of struggles with “mental un-wellness”.

“Having peer support from people who had had their own experience of a mental illness or addiction gave me hope and encouragement rather than service providers who had not experienced it themselves,” she said.

The new centre which has three floors and four bedrooms will cater for anyone from 16 to 65.

It will be staffed by a team of about 10 volunteers, most graduates of Witt’s Mental Health Support Worker Certificate, and one person will be on duty 24 hours seven days a week.

Like Minds Taranaki manager Gordon Hudson said he was pleased the project had got off the ground.

“It is a first for Taranaki, putting as it does, people with personal experience of mental illness at the forefront of ownership and decision making – where it belongs.  

“There is an acknowledged real need in Taranaki for peer-led and peer-managed services for people with experience of mental illness,” he said.

Taranaki DHB Mental Health and Addiction Services support the centre’s concept and the Ministry of Health had acknowledged the need for it, Mr Hudson said.

Ms Wehle hoped Harmony House would be a benefit the community as a whole and help reduce prejudice surrounding mental illness.

 “I think there’s still a lot of stigma and discrimination around mental health although it is getting better.”

Karen Wehle says that the team have walked the walk

Puke Ariki celebrate Switzerland National Day

The aroma of cheese fondue and the sound of yodelling filled the Puke Ariki foyer last week as part Swiss national day celebrations.

Co-organiser Sam Hagmann said the event was a good way to celebrate Swiss culture.

“To bring my heritage together in this place and share it with the community here and my kiwi friends was great,” he said.

“It’s a good way for me to re connect with my heritage to because I haven’t really celebrated the 1st of August since moving here.”

Mr Hagmann also treated the crowd to an alphorn performance alongside Sonic Delusion’s

From Left: Maurice Paurini (Bass), Sam Hagmann (Horns), Ryan Carter (Drums), Andre Manella (Vocals, guitar) Severin Theibaut (Keys)

Andre Manella on clarinet and political activist Urs Signer on guitar.

“It’s got a very strong connection to the mountain, when I play I feel the connection to the earth, I let the energy rise through the ground and through me and the instrument.”

Okato couple Christine and Christof Frey, who moved to New Zealand 12 years ago, said they did not normally celebrate Switzerland’s national day but the Puke Ariki event seemed a good way to acknowledge it.

“We’re not part of the Swiss community as such, we might meet the odd Swiss people but it’s not as if we’re searching them out,” Mrs Frey said.

“It’s nice to catch up, it sort of doesn’t make sense to move to a new country and then congregate with the ones from the old.”

Mrs Frey, who owns a blueberry orchard with her husband, was happy with her choice to resettle in New Zealand.

“I miss certain parts of it (Switzerland), you sort of remember what you grew up with, but the opportunities you have here you wouldn’t have in Switzerland. You would not have been able to buy land unless you inherited it.”

Taranaki Smokefreerockquest 2012

Progressive instrumental metal band Noriac was the surprise winner of the Taranaki Smokefreerockquest at the TSB Showplace on Saturday night.

The four-piece from Francis Douglas Memorial College won over the judges and a packed house with their textured guitar melodies and the impressive work of lead guitarist Ryuki Hon, 14, whose playing replaced vocals.

Hon and fellow band members Luke Burn, 16, drums, Caleb Brbich, 16, bass, and Fraser Walker, 17, rhythm guitarist, said they were surprised at their win.

“We’re really stoked and proud that we did so well without a vocalist as that’s a part of the main points. I think we’re the only band to get through who were instrumental,” Walker said.

Walker described the band’s sound as “djent” which is a spin- off from progressive metal and he hoped people would find their style new and interesting.

“We plan to do gigs with bands that we’ve met and also record some tracks for a good quality video to send in to the national finals.”

Second place went to metal band Wake of Destruction, made up of New Plymouth Boys’ High School and Hawera High School students Oscar Alty, vocals, Calvin Tait, lead guitar, Sherwood Matheson, guitar and bass, Sam Evans, drums, and Paul Tarrant, guitar and bass.

Noriac and Wake of Destruction each won prizes of musical equipment and qualified to compete for one of eight spots at this year’s Smokefreerockquest national finals.

Third place went to Astral Lake, from Spotswood College and Coastal Taranaki School.

Rockquest Promotions founders and directors Glenn Common and Pete Rainey said the Taranaki finalists would have to work hard and draw on their creativity to make the most of the opportunity Smokefreerockquest offered.

“In August judges will be selecting the eight finalists from DVDs of their own original music,” Mr Common said.

“There are a range of skills they’ll need to pull this together. Creativity and musical ability are important, but they also learn to work together as a group and have to be well organised to produce the video footage that could be their next step towards Kiwi music success.”


Other regional awards won on Saturday night:

Apra Lyric Award: Andrew Hockey of General Vibe, Francis Douglas of Memorial College

Lowdown Best Song: Soon to Remain, New Plymouth Girls’ High School

The Mainz Musicianship Award: Luke Burn, the drummer from Noriac

Smokefree Award For Women’s Musicianship: Lydia Hayles, bassist from Little Nemo, New Plymouth Girls’ High School

Skinny People’s Choice as voted by text: The Usual Suspects, Opunake High School.

Last years winners national winners of the competition, Velvet Regime, released their first video just recently

Skunk pizza hoping to make a difference in Taranaki Smokefreerockquest

Smokefreerockquest has embraced the power of the web to choose this year’s Taranaki regional finalists.

“The process was a bit different because contestants uploaded videos on YouTube and posted the link to us, but it was judged the same as if would be if it was a live heat,” said regional organiser Dan Kendrick

“Logistically it became impossible for live heats, so we decided on holding them online,” Mr Kendrick explained.

Twelve bands from Taranaki high schools have been selected to perform in the finals on Saturday June 16 and they will have seven minutes to show the judges what they’ve got,

Image Mr Kendrick said.

One band hoping to make an impact at the regional final is Skunk Pizza from Inglewood High School, who got Google Generator to choose their oddball name.

Band members vocalist Libbyanna Cruickshank, 17, Kelvin Sadler, 16, guitar, Tyler Jackson, 17, bass, and drummer Rory Gordon, 18, were confident of their ability.

 “Rockquest is a good way of showing our own music and with Libby’s vocals and our individual skill on our selected instruments we hope it will give us a good chance of winning,” said Tyler.

He said after the competition Skunk Pizza hope to organise some gigs and do some recording.

The top three bands at the regional finals will be chasing awards for overall and woman’s musicianship, best song, best lyrics and the people’s choice award which is chosen via text.

The top two bands can then send in a video to compete against the other regional finalist to find the eight bands who’ll playoff at the national final at Claudelands Arena in Hamilton on  September 22.

Mr Kendrick encouraged music lovers to get along to the Taranaki show and support the bands.

“It’ll be a great time, great diverse music and there will be giveaways and prizes. If you have friends involved you can vote for them via text. It’s a full production show and just a fun environment.”

The Smokefreerockquest Taranaki regional finals will be held at the TSB Showplace on Saturday  June 16, from 7pm, tickets are $20 from TicketMaster or at the door.

New Plymouth Buy & Sell Facebook page continues to scam users

Taranaki teenagers Stephanie Herbst and Aaliyah Ormbsy are warning online shoppers using the popular Buy & Sell New Plymouth Facebook page to be wary after they were ripped-off using the site.

The New Plymouth Girls’ High School students each responded to a listing for an iPhone 4S at the bargain price of $400, and transferred money into the account of an out-of-town seller calling themselves Twiggy Lovee.

But the phones never arrived.

“I decided to buy the iPhone online as an impulse buy. After earning my own money for the week I had $500 and thought this was a good opportunity,” said Miss Ormbsy who had previously paid cash on delivery when buying goods from the site.Image

“I wish that I had been more cautious,” the 17-year-old, who paid the full amount, said.

Miss Herbst transferred $200 after arranging to pay the balance when the phone was delivered but never heard back from the seller.

“The next day she (the seller) blocked me on Facebook but I still have her bank details and messages though,” she said.

The 18-year-old said her experience had made her wary of buying things over the internet.

“It made me realise how important it is to see the product before you buy it, to make sure it is real.

“It also made me re-think about trusting people that you don’t know. I’m a pretty trusting person, I never would in a million years think someone was even capable of doing that to another person.”

Both girls have reported the incidents to police.

“They said I would be contacted to obtain a statement but I have not heard from them since,” said Miss Ormbsy.

Comments about scams and rip-offs have become a regular sight on the Buy N Sell New Plymouth Facebook which has amassed 8000 members since its launch in April last year.

Founders of the not-for-profit site Ric Tucker and Tam Wallace were aware there had been some problems with scams, but said that users of the Facebook page had a responsibility to exercise caution.

“I don’t think it’s a smart idea to pay someone via bank transfer, someone you don’t know, unless you’re absolutely definite that you’ve got their address and that you know their real name, said Miss Wallace.

“We just don’t recommend it,” she said

Mr Tucker said the idea of the page, which has a lengthy Complaints, Rights and Rules section spelling out how to trade safely, was to help local people who wanted to swap or sell items.

“The problem is that people seem to be more trusting then they should be. It seems to be that the people giving out their bank details are the ones scamming, people do it on TradeMe as well,” said Mr Tucker.

Westown police Sergeant Terry Johnson said although he had received only two specific complaints about Buy & Sell New Plymouth he was handling an increasing number about online scams in general.

Mr Johnson encouraged people to look out for warning signs.

“Look at the account history of the seller’s trades, sometimes they get friends to fake feedback. Another thing is to be careful of photographed computer images (of goods) that have been taken off the internet.

“If the seller doesn’t allow pickups that should also be a warning sign,” he said.

Mr Johnson said people also had to be careful they were not buying stolen goods.

“I’m aware that the Facebook page is a growing area and people may be getting rid of stolen property and that’s when it becomes an area of interest of the police.”

Mr Johnson said buyers needed to exercise common sense,

“People need to take ownership. You wouldn’t go up to a stranger and give them $500. Yet people are doing it online and putting money into their accounts.”

Mr Tucker and Miss Wallace are now recommending their Facebook fans start using an official website they have set up that allows users to give feedback on traders.

“We made it for the members of the (Facebook) group to try and help them to have some kind of security and to have more options, because then you can give other verified members proper feedback just like TradeMe, and it’s free.”

Miss Wallace said even though there had been cases of fraud on the site they had got lots of positive feedback about how useful it’s been and it’s been attracting about 40 new users a day.

 “A lot of people love it; we’ve had people that have been there from the start and they’re veterans of the group now. They’re always quite supportive of us,” Miss Wallace said.