October 2

Plans for a

have been cancelled before residents had time to present a petition opposing the facility.

Department of Corrections staff visited some residents of Shakespeare Rd to provide them with "some general information" about how the department manages people in the community.

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Those not at home received a short letter advising them that the department was "looking at appropriate accommodation" in the area to reintegrate people coming back into the community.

Stephen Palmer, who lives in Shakespeare Rd, said he did not receive the letter but was given a copy, along with a petition that nearby residents were circulating in response to it. The property at 64 Shakespeare Rd is currently empty.

Palmer said if Corrections had provided more information about the facility and what level of supervision there would be, he believed the response would have been more favourable.

Corrections has ditched plans for a prisoner rehabilitation facility based on this Bastia Hill property after opposition from neighbours. Photo/Stuart Munro
Corrections has ditched plans for a prisoner rehabilitation facility based on this Bastia Hill property after opposition from neighbours. Photo/Stuart Munro

October 16

For the first time in its 91 years of existence,

.

Julie Gifkins was welcomed to her new school by parents, teachers and students. She arrived wearing a korowai made by her former students.

Gifkins said that she felt humbled and privileged to be the new headmaster at St George's following the departure of Andrew Osmond.

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She becomes the 12th headmaster at the school, coming to Whanganui from St Cuthbert's College in central Auckland where she was the head of junior school for five and a half years.

Outside the school, Gifkins shows that desire to continue learning. She has started playing golf and has plans to embrace her Maori heritage by learning te reo. She was born in Stratford, her father was from Opunake and they are descendants of Ngati Te Ata.

Julie Gifkins, the first female headmaster of St George's School, was accompanied by her daughter Grace Wheeler (right). Gifkins is wearing a korowai made by students from her previous school, St Cuthbert's, in Auckland. Photo/Bevan Conley
Julie Gifkins, the first female headmaster of St George's School, was accompanied by her daughter Grace Wheeler (right). Gifkins is wearing a korowai made by students from her previous school, St Cuthbert's, in Auckland. Photo/Bevan Conley

October 20

Trainee doctors rated

place to start work as a qualified doctor.

Final year medical students are asked to rank their top three preferences, and the results are published in the New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association's (NZRDA) annual Hospital Review.

Whanganui Hospital was last choice for the 2019 training year with only one person selecting it as a first preference.

The report points to the Whanganui District Health Board's (WDHB) management, staff wellbeing and welfare and problems confirming safer rosters as the key issues for junior doctors.

New chief executive Russell Simpson, who has been in the job for eight months, said being ranked last was disappointing but there were plans in place to improve perceptions of the hospital and Whanganui. "The only way is up for us," Simpson said.

He said NZRDA national secretary Dr Deborah Powell agreed to come to Whanganui to work with the DHB and junior doctors on "positive engagement strategies".

Chief medical officer Dr Frank Rawlinson said Whanganui Hospital usually was not the first choice for new doctors but said the majority who came to the hospital renewed their contracts.

He said people had long memories about Whanganui's chequered health services and the hospital suffered from national perceptions about historic events, despite the DHB's attempts to improve its reputation.

Whanganui District Health Board chief executive Russell Simpson has plans to improve Whanganui Hospital's reputation. Photo/Stuart Munro
Whanganui District Health Board chief executive Russell Simpson has plans to improve Whanganui Hospital's reputation. Photo/Stuart Munro

October 23

There were many times when

thought her 10-year-old son Te Awanui was so badly injured he would die after falling down a steep bank on Durie Hill.

He was taken to Whanganui Hospital's emergency department, but his chances did not look good, as his skull was fractured and there was bleeding on his brain.

Mother very grateful for help after sons accident. Video Stuart Munro

But after seven days Te Awanui responded to treatment and mum is ecstatic that he is likely to make a full recovery.

Mum Carrissa Brown is relieved her 10-year-old son Te Awanui is still alive. With them is dog Nala. Photo/Stuart Munro
Mum Carrissa Brown is relieved her 10-year-old son Te Awanui is still alive. With them is dog Nala. Photo/Stuart Munro

October 26

Charging

- regardless of what's in it - is "outrageous" according to one Whanganui councillor.

And Rob Vinsen says Waste Management, which operates the transfer station, is "getting away with it" because it's Liffiton St depot is the only place in town after the only other transfer station closed earlier in the year.

Waste Management put up its prices in March and Vinsen said some people were driving away with their rubbish, and he worries they may dump it by the side of a road instead.

Prices have gone up at Whanganui's Liffiton St waste transfer station. Photo/Bevan Conley
Prices have gone up at Whanganui's Liffiton St waste transfer station. Photo/Bevan Conley

October 30

was been destroyed after an early morning blaze ripped through the two-storey structure, leaving it in need of urgent demolition.

The fire started just before 3am yesterday and produced a glow in the sky which firefighters could see as they left Whanganui Fire Station for the scene. Every available firefighter in Whanganui was called in to help fight the blaze along with eight appliances, including one from Palmerston North.

The building, opposite Plymouth St on Victoria Ave, is owned by the Tupoho trust but has been unoccupied for several years and had been marked for demolition. Tupoho bought the building in 2014 for the land, which is next to another building it already owned.

Chairman Ken Mair said while the trust had already got quotes for its demolition, it was a sad end for the building. "It's not quite how we would've done it. It doesn't change anything in that context, but it means it's been fast-tracked a little bit," he said.

The fire rendered the building dangerous and in need of demolition. Photo/Bevan Conley
The fire rendered the building dangerous and in need of demolition. Photo/Bevan Conley

October 31

and one of the designers behind it is Whanganui's Kerry Ranginui.

The striking trench coat worn by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, as she accompanies Prince Harry on their visit to New Zealand, caught the eye of fashion gurus around the world.

It is the work of iconic Kiwi designer label Karen Walker, and its updated look is down to pattern-maker Ranginui, a member of the Walker team in Auckland.

Ranginui, a contestant on the TV fashion competition Project Runway NZ, took to social media to celebrate the royal connection.

He told the Chronicle Meghan's connection with Karen Walker clothes went back to her days as an actress. "Meghan Markle was wearing Karen Walker designs before she became the Duchess of Sussex. Now that she is so much more high-profile it means people want to buy what she's wearing so, of course, there have been a lot of orders for the coat," he said.

Kerry Ranginui played a key role in designing a coat for royalty. Photo/Supplied
Kerry Ranginui played a key role in designing a coat for royalty. Photo/Supplied