For many years, Natalie Struthers has owned and operated the Village Vet clinic beneath her house in Te Haumi, near Paihia.
For the past six or so years, the clinic has had to turn away many clients and patients (the animals) because they had reached capacity. It created stress for the staff and they realised that not all pets can travel, especially from Russell, where they had to come across on the ferry and probably in a cage.
“With Covid pretty much a speck in our rear-view mirrors, we are better able to procure additional veterinarians to help,” said Struthers.
“Many of you will have met Bryan Gartwell, who has locumed for us many times and is an excellent surgeon and competent at orthopaedic surgery.
“And we have had Meggie Bichard here for a few week - she is a very experienced vet and a professional mountain bike racer.
“They are both able to provide us with regular ongoing services, so we feel confident about branching out.”
From December 19, the Village Vet will operate new clinic in Russell, at the premises in Trader’s Mall which was formerly occupied by the Russell Hair Company.
It means they can take on more clients, and it also means they are looking for additional veterinarian nursing staff to join the existing staff of Lesa and Kimberley. It could be full or part-time work, and potential staff could come from either Paihia or Russell.
Struthers is also looking for suitable commercially-zoned premises in Paihia, Ōpua or Haruru, and it means she can move the Paihia practice out from underneath her home in Te Haumi.
There is also a professional dog trainer on the staff who offers puppy preschool classes. Classes have a maximum of five puppies per term and are held in a safe indoor location in Haruru.
The classes are for puppies aged 8-16 weeks, with the potential of a class for older puppies if enough interest is registered. The term lasts for five consecutive weeks and the cost for the term is $250. Phone 094026155 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
New principal for Springbank School
When the new school year starts for Springbank School on January 30, 2024, staff, students and families will be welcomed by the new principal, Tina Hallowes.
Hallowes began her teaching career at Springbank School back in 1998, and since then she has had a rich and diverse career within the education sector, including holding a position as the deputy principal at Albany Junior High School, where she established the school’s business academy.
Hallowes has also worked in the corporate world, leading high-performing teams and running her own businesses. She has a Bachelor of Science, a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching and a Master’s in Education (Administration and Leadership).
“I’m privileged to be joining the Springbank family again and helping to lead and further enhance the learning environment that Mike and the team have created,” she said.
“I believe learning for life is a key attribute our future generations require to navigate their individual journeys.”
She has already started her transition into the principal role, familiarising herself with the school’s systems, policies and procedures and getting to know staff, students and families.
Outgoing principal Mike Warren has held the role since 2011, but he won’t be stepping away from Springbank altogether.
As owner of the school, director of Springbank’s three entities (including Springbank Preschool and Headstart – ECE centres), financial controller and IT administrator, he will still be playing an active part in governance and continuing to fulfil those roles.
It is his long-term plan to focus more on strategic direction and explore innovative educational concepts that will further enhance the exceptional educational environment.
He said Hallowes is “inspirational”.
“I have absolute confidence that she will lead Springbank with passion, dynamism and a desire to ensure our school is the best that it can be for our students,” he said.
Kawakawa Primary School
It was a case of good news and bad news for Kawakawa Primary School over the last couple of weeks. First, the good news.
The school’s kapa haka group, Te Mana Kuratahi, entered the biannual national kapa haka competition for primary and intermediate schools. It was held in Nelson. Māori call it “Whakatū”, which means “to create” or “to make”, particularly referring to the whenua.
The ages of the children involved were aged from 8 to 13 years old, and 35 groups entered the competition. The Kawakawa group had been training for the event all year.
In the end, they came first-equal in the kaitāaki wāhine [leading females] division. Kianni Bristow received the Te Manu Miro taonga [trophy/treasure] for her performance on behalf of the entire group.
Overall, the kapa haka group came in 16th place. Kawakawa Primary teacher Jess Henare said besides the physical aspect of the competition, the group represented their whānau, kura, hapū and iwi and Te Tai Tokerau.
The bad news was that five safety fencing panels and stands belonging to the builders working on the school were stolen over the weekend.
The school posted a “please help” notice on Facebook asking for anyone who has any information to get in touch or for those responsible to return the items.
“If you know anything, please let us know so we can make sure that we safely fence off the worksites so our tamariki are safe.”
Bunnings Warehouse grand opening
The newest Bunnings mega-store in Waipapa opened last week to considerable fanfare, and ahead of the originally scheduled mid-December date.
Complex manager Damien Aimers said the opening went off “beautifully”.
“We had 120 car parks and those were chokka-block - some people couldn’t get a park, so they came back a bit later.
“At any one time, we had between 50 and 1000 people in the store. Not just local people from Waipapa and Kerikeri, but there were those who came from Kaitāia and Whangārei just for the opening.”
First, the almost mandatory Black Friday specials arrived early, and there was a DIY workshop for kids on November 24.
To celebrate the official opening on November 25 and to help to kick things off in one corner was Suzy Cato, best known as the host of several New Zealand children’s television programmes, most notably Suzy’s World and You and Me.
In another corner was vegetarian cook Anna Valentine, who conducts cooking classs and workshops from her home in Kāeo, but she made the journey south to Waipapa for the occasion. As an aside, she created the first commercially available kūmara crisps in New Zealand.
Also on that day in the garden corner was a workshop for all things horticultural, both indoor and outdoor plants, and from where you could learn how to create hanging baskets through what was called “Adult DIY”.
A “Make and Take” workshop where you can make your own Christmas wreath and, in the spirit of Christmas, take it home with you will be on-site on November 30.
There will also be an event billed as a “free Christmas family event”, and a number of activities are planned. There will be the opportunity to create Christmas crafts and face-painting, as well as a chance to meet Santa and friends, and there will be the ubiquitous sausage sizzle, which supports local community groups.
Aimers said that most of the 45 staff members were new.
“It was a bit like taking someone who worked in a dairy and putting them in a Countdown store,” he quipped. “It was baptism by fire.”