Bethany is heading to the US

§ July 22nd, 2014 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Bethany is heading to the US

From New Plymouth to Idaho, Bethany Lowe is living her own dream. 

The 17-year-old Spotswood College student has won The Rebecca L. Lynch Memorial Scholarship which means she is off to America to attend the University of Idaho next year.

“I’m just blown away,” Miss Lowe says.
“When I found out I got it, I just didn’t know what to say.”

Miss Lowe, currently in Year 13, was enrolled to attend the University of Auckland where she planned to complete Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees.

“I will probably study something along similar lines in Idaho but I’m not sure yet.”
As the scholarship runs for just one year, Miss Lowe says she may come back to New Zealand to finish her degree.
Building a career can be a long and painstaking undertaking. You can enjoy casino games at to unwind.
“You can cross credit what you have done towards degrees back here,” she says.
“It’s just going to be such an amazing experience. I think it will give me more of a global perspective on things.”
Miss Lowe ultimately wants to work for an international aid agency or for the United Nations.
There is only one thing that gets her down and that is leaving her home in Taranaki.
“The thought of leaving Taranaki for good makes you appreciate it more but it will be good to go to other parts of the world.”

The scholarship was started in 1985 and is funded by Maurice and Alice Lynch, parents of Rebecca, who was killed in an accident in Nairobi at the age of nine. Mr Lynch was in the US Air Force and was based in Christchurch. When Rebecca died, they decided to start a memorial scholarship for a New Zealander to attend their old university, where they are both graduates.

They now live in Alaska while their daughter Lisa lives in Nelson and is on the selection committee.
Miss Lowe says it was the first scholarship she applied for.
“I saw it and it sounded great, I really liked what they stood for,” she says.
Miss Lowe is the first Taranaki person to be awarded the scholarship which goes to one New Zealand woman each year.
The scholarship covers non-US resident tuition fees, registration fees and room and board costs.

Miss Lowe could not put a price on the scholarship but the Taranaki Daily News understands it is worth more than US$28,000 (NZ$39,000).

Mayors applaud youth job plan

§ March 21st, 2013 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Mayors applaud youth job plan

A $150 million Government plan to wipe out youth unemployment has the full support of New Plymouth and South Taranaki mayors. 

Prime Minister John Key yesterday unveiled an ambitious bid to put 16,900 people, aged 16 to 24, in jobs, training, and study over the next 18 months.

The announcement at National’s annual conference in Christchurch comes as the dole queues lengthen by 1300 people a week costing the taxpayer an additional $1 billion a year in benefits. About 17,000 young people are now registered for the dole up from 4000 a year ago. Almost half are Maori and Pacific Islanders.

While the number of jobless in Taranaki is on the rise, youth unemployment is increasing more quickly, more than doubling in the past year to approach 200.

New Plymouth Mayor Peter Tennent said the council had a strong commitment to helping young people into employment and any assistance was more than welcome.

“When I took office there were 1604 under-25s unemployed. We got that down to between 15-30 in the last two years but now the numbers have started to climb significantly again.

“Young people tend to be the ones missing out in hard times so full marks to the Government for what they are doing.”

In further good news for young people, he said New Plymouth had been short listed as a possible location for one of the government’s five promised Trades Academies.

These aim to deliver trades and technology programmes to secondary students through partnerships between schools, tertiary institutions, industry training organisations and employers.

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“I expect an announcement to be made within the next three weeks and I would be very disappointed if we don’t get one,” Mr Tennent said.

South Taranaki Mayor Ross Dunlop also welcomed the package as it would complement the council-driven initiatives to put young people in employment.

“In the next few weeks we are going to be working with service providers in our community to see what we can do to help our school leavers,” he said.

As part of the package the Government plans to scrap the dole for 16 to 18-year-olds.

Mr Key confirmed National would introduce legislation before the end of the year ending the unemployment benefit for school-leavers under 18.

Mr Key told delegates yesterday the sharp rise in youth unemployment could be extremely damaging, both for youth and the community.

“Some may be tempted to fill unoccupied hours with petty crime, drinking and drug use, or other activities that sell them way short of their potential.

“We simply can’t afford to leave our young languishing on a benefit.”

Under the Youth Opportunities package, the Government will subsidise a mixture of private job placements, community taskforce initiatives, in-work training, and military-style training programmes.

There will also be extra study places funded at polytechnics and summer scholarships at universities.

In total, 4000 positions will be offered for low-skilled young people in conjunction with businesses and another 3000 in community work.

Another 4000 positions will be offered under National’s Youth Guarantee scheme, which provides fee-free places for 16 and 17-year-olds not in school.

The package will run for the next 18 months, and places will be funded for a maximum of six months.

The Government will subsidise the schemes at the rate of the minimum wage for 30 hours a week essentially offering those on the dole a pay packet of $375 a week rather than the average of $174 they would receive on a benefit.

Another 2500 places will be funded on the Burnham Military Camp Limited Service Volunteer programme, which will be expanded to include two in the North Island.

Anna cleans up at beauty awards

§ December 14th, 2012 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Anna cleans up at beauty awards

Anna Robinson knows a thing or two about beauty. The New Plymouth beauty therapist took out the top prize at the New Zealand Beauty Therapy Industry Awards at a gala dinner in Auckland at the weekend.

Ms Robinson, who runs a beauty therapy clinic, Annasplanet, from her Smart Rd home, and teaches beauty therapy at Witt, said the award was a huge honour.

“Of all the entrants around the country, I was one of five finalists,” she said. “The event director said it was the most competitive year ever.”

As well as a trophy and the title of best therapist, which she will hold for two years, Ms Robinson has a trip to Fiji to look forward to.

Her only problem will be finding the time to take a break.

“Between Witt and my clinic, I work up to 60 hours a week,” she said. “I think I might be able to squeeze a trip in at the start of December.”

Ms Robinson, a body therapy and facial specialist, trained as a beauty therapist after plans for a physiotherapy career fell through.

“I had a friend who was a beauty therapist and it really drew me in,” she said. “It let me get into massage and it’s a real people profession. Plus my qualification is an international diploma I really liked the idea of being able to travel and do my job.”

During her 16 years in the beauty business, the international qualification has come in handy.
Ms Robinson secured a visa to work in Canada where she put her skills to the test in a five-star resort.
“They were doing really advanced beauty therapy,” she said. “They had hydrotherapy tubs and specialised body wraps.”
When her visa ran out, Ms Robinson headed to the United Kingdom and Europe where the therapies got even more extravagant.

“There were clinics where sea water was piped in to use in treatments. You can imagine the costs involved in setting something like that up.”

Sea water treatments might not be on the agenda, but Ms Robinson said she hoped to expand her business in the future.

“I’m at full capacity now so I’d have to knock out a wall or move somewhere else,” she said. “But my future is here at the moment.”

Rhodes Scholar honour ‘surreal’

§ September 1st, 2012 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Rhodes Scholar honour ‘surreal’

A TARANAKI man has won one of the world’s most prestigious academic scholarships. 

New Plymouth’s Tom Hills has been selected as a Rhodes Scholar – the pinnacle of achievement for university graduates.

Dr Hills, a former Francis Douglas Memorial College student, is a recent graduate of Otago University where he was studying medicine.

The scholarship enables the young doctor to pursue postgraduate study at Oxford University in England

‘‘I am over the moon, it was a very surreal 24 hours,’’ Dr Hills said last night. ‘‘I’m just a boy from Taranaki.’’

Dr Hills joined Alice Irving, of Hastings, and Richard Stebbing, of Auckland, as Rhodes Scholars following a selection meeting at Government House in Auckland on Wednesday. Only three New Zealanders are chosen each year.

Dr Hills said it was difficult to describe what he was feeling during the selection meeting.

‘‘It seemed unreal, there were seven of us standing in a room, they name the recipients and suddenly there were only three of us left. It took a long time to sink in,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m really lucky with the medical school who have been so supportive over the years, a lot of it is a reflection on them.

‘‘I had some great mentors both from Taranaki and through Otago and I was lucky that Taranaki Base Hospital gave me some summer positions . . . ’’

The announcement is a great end to a year that could have been so different. While on his overseas elective placement, Dr Hills became seriously ill and had to be airlifted from Budapest, Hungary. He spent several weeks in a London hospital recovering.

Dr Hills starts at Taranaki Base Hospital as a house surgeon on Monday and will stay for most of next year until he heads off to Oxford University in September.

At Oxford, he intends studying for an MSc in Integrated Immunology leading to his eventual goal, a DPhil programme.

Once his studies are complete, Dr Hills plans to return to New Zealand to train as a specialist.

New stay-at-home farming study option

§ July 11th, 2012 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on New stay-at-home farming study option

Partnership brings diploma to Taranaki

Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre is offering a Diploma in Agriculture at its Stratford campus next year, thanks to a ground-breaking partnership with Lincoln University, of Canterbury.

It means strongly motivated students won’t have to leave Taranaki to complete the level 5 diploma.

The qualification also provides a pathway to a degree in agriculture and students who complete it may be awarded credits towards a bachelor degree at Lincoln.

Taratahi chief executive officer Donovan Wearing will be promoting this and other Stratford training options at a presentation evening in the Stratford Memorial Centre next Tuesday, October 13, from 7pm.

Stephen Carr, Taratahi’s business development manager, says the partnership deal with Lincoln is a very significant development for Taranaki.

“It means that people who want to do a Dip Ag but not give up work and have to study in Canterbury, we can now offer this in Taranaki, while you are still working,” he says

“It’s not extra-mural study because that can be hard for people who are doing a full day’s physical work on a farm and then have to sit down and read a book or go online at night.

“There is still a lot of self- guided study but the group comes together with a tutor almost weekly in the early stages of the semester.

“They bond as a group and go through various parts of the course together.
“There’s also 12 weeks of practical farm work which they can do on the job.

“The diploma is for people looking for extra qualifications, or those who have put off doing it earlier.” Taratahi is also offering a new “work ready” Certificate in Agriculture to lower level students who want to live, work and study close to home.

This is an entry level into agriculture study for people who have some knowledge or absolutely none and all they do know is they absolutely want to go farming.

“That passion unites them and they don’t have to be from farming backgrounds at all,” says Mr Carr.

“We can give them the knowledge but it’s their passion that will see them through and many of our most successful students are from towns. Our current students range from 16 to 31 in age and most are around 18-20.”

This new, nationally recognised qualification combines the quality teaching of core skills with specialised options.

“Graduates will be able to walk into their new jobs equipped with the knowledge base and extensive skill set that Taranaki farmers recognise as Taratahi’s trademark.

“The course is split into three strands: Theory, technical skills and farmwork, and is a fantastic option for anyone in the region who is serious about a career in agriculture,” says Mr Carr.

“We also run part-time courses, including a rural leadership programme called Generate. It’s about enhancing leadership, personal and presentational skills. It has a rural focus and tends to be aimed at the older 23-30 age group, but you don’t have to be in the ag sector to get benefit from this course.

“Farming is a lifestyle choice, it’s not a 9-5 job and sometimes it will be unpleasant.
It’s a safe, vast industry with massive opportunities for work and capital ownership.
“We have graduates still in their 20s who are already 50:50 sharemilking. “The path to financial success and major satisfaction is there.”

Taratahi has been operating since World War I in the Wairarapa and set up five years ago at Stratford with the support of Venture Taranaki which had identified a large number of young people who wanted to be farmers but did not want to leave home.

Taratahi Stratford is based on the old Stratford demonstration farm on East Rd. It has classroom facilities and equipment for campus-based sessions but most practical work is done on any of about 30 farms which support the programmes.

Jim Law, chairman of the Taratahi Board of Trustees, says: “In recent years Taratahi has implemented a number of programmes aimed at enhancing the skills of the agricultural workforce at many levels. Rather than replicate existing qualifications, it makes more sense to work in partnership, something that Taratahi is doing with a number of organisations. We are looking forward to a healthy partnership that delivers the competent, committed graduates that New Zealand needs. This new opportunity in Taranaki is further proof that Taratahi is leading the way in shaping the future of rural training in New Zealand.

“Earlier this year, Taratahi brought together senior stakeholders in the agriculture industry at a national seminar in Wellington.

“The aim was to discuss the rural sector’s increasing demand for a highly skilled, well- qualified workforce at every level. Delegates resolved to develop closer partnerships in response to this need. Taratahi’s new relationship with Lincoln University does exactly that.”

CEOs share expertise with pupils

§ June 3rd, 2012 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on CEOs share expertise with pupils

Taranaki’s business chief executives will soon begin passing on their knowledge to the region’s school students.

The Business & Education Partnership is a joint venture between the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce CEO’s Forum and Taranaki schools. The partnership will involve several CEOs from the forum making themselves available to speak at schools.

The partnership has been developed by a lead group created to foster communication between the schools and CEOs.

“In Taranaki we have an amazing resource with many skilled, experienced and talented chief executives,” said New Plymouth Girls’ High School deputy principal Stella Bond.

“A number of these CEOs have seen an opportunity to pass on those skills to the region’s schools, giving something back into education in the community. Students and teachers will benefit significantly from this.”

The partnership aims to offer initial meetings between local chief executives and schools in the fourth term of this year, with the programme becoming more established in 2010.

More speakers will be added as they become available, and other opportunities for links between the CEO’s Forum and Taranaki Schools will be developed as the partnership grows.

“This programme allows us to develop an important link between business and the community,” said Taranaki Chamber of Commerce chief executive Judith Gilmer.

“The partnership will help to grow a greater level of social responsibility among our region’s businesses, and a stronger awareness of Taranaki’s successful companies among students.”

School leaders will be able to research and apply to host speakers on the Chamber of Commerce website,

The lead group consists of: Stella Bond (NPGHS), Mike Brewer (Taranaki Newspapers Ltd), Karen Brisco (Omata School), Jenny Gellen (Waitara High School), Lynne Hepworth (Oakura School), Paul Ryan (Hawera High School), Eric Shaw (Highlands Intermediate School), Margaret Sykes (Education Taranaki) and Howie Tamati (Sport Taranaki).

Sustainability key for Kina’s business

§ January 14th, 2012 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Sustainability key for Kina’s business

Every now and then a group of Taranaki business people get together for “green” drinks. 

The drinks probably aren’t actually that colour, but you can guarantee they will be green in the new age sense of the word – because the people concerned will be sure they have been organically produced with the least impact on the environment as possible.

That’s because all these people operate their businesses with sustainability in mind.

They’re part of a worldwide trend towards making sure business activities impact as little as possible on the environment – by doing everything from recycling to using public transport to get to and from work.

An increasing number of these businesses are now members of an initiative called the Sustainable Business Network, which represents more than 700 organisations ranging from small businesses and not-for-profit organisations, through to large corporations.

SBN promotes sustainable business practice through networking, practical advice and the development of resources and tools.

It’s early days for the movement in Taranaki, and as a result the region is currently lumped in with the SBN’s Waikato region. But the organisation says that as soon as there is a stronger network of businesses in this region, there will be sufficient funding to create a stand-alone Taranaki branch.

Meanwhile, several Taranaki businesses and organisations did enter the 2009 Waikato/Taranaki Sustainable Business Network Awards, and the good news is that one business emerged a category winner.

Kina NZ Design + Art Space, which has its retail premises in downtown New Plymouth, took out the emerging small and medium business category, with the judging panel praising Kina’s strong commitment to all key areas, particularly its clear policies and its thinking with the future in mind.

“Sustainability is built into their whole business,” said the judges. “They are in a wonderful position to lead and influence others by sharing their own achievements and commitment.”

Michelle Locke, SBN’s Waikato office manager, says she is delighted that businesses are incorporating sustainability into their daily lives.

“They are proof that a holistic approach is not only good for the environment, it’s good for the bottom line as well. These companies continually adapt and innovate to grasp the opportunities that exist even in tough economic times.”

Kina is a finalist in the national NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards, to be held in Auckland on November 12.
Kina is a boutique design store, art gallery and on-line shop that is housed in a distinctive Devon St West building that has been everything from a fruit shop to a spacies parlour. Today it houses a business that specialises in supporting New Zealand art and crafts, including holding exhibitions by Taranaki artists.
The business was founded by Fiona Cameron, with local artist Rebecca Mooney as her assistant.

In 2004 she sold Kina to Ms Mooney, who runs it with assistance from communications co-ordinator Rose Walkinshaw, store manager Luella Raj, and her assistant Julianne Lafferty.

Foot traffic in the shop constitutes the bulk of Kina’s business, but on-line shopping is quickly growing in popularity, says Rebecca Mooney.

“We sell all over the world. For example, we’ve just processed an order for the New Zealand Embassy in Paris, and we also receive lots of mail orders from overseas people for friends and relatives in New Zealand.

“But still, our main focus continues to be feet through the door.”

Ms Mooney says Kina has advocated sustainability since the firm was established, but now through SBN it is officially committed to the sustainability principles of recycling, reducing and re-using.

Wherever possible, it:
Reuses, recycles, repairs.
Only uses products and services from like-minded businesses, and where possible buys local.
Actively and financially supports several environmental and social groups within Taranaki.
Supports and promotes New Zealand designers who use either recycled or renewable materials.
Encourages suppliers not to over-invest in unwanted presentation packaging.
Deals directly with suppliers, so there are no middle wholesale people.

Course will force a fresh look at farming career

§ December 18th, 2011 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Course will force a fresh look at farming career

WANTED: Fifty people keen to succeed as farmers and prepared to attend an intensive five-day career development course, all paid for by someone else.

The catch: You have to be enrolled with the Agriculture ITO and already studying at National Certificate level three or above.

There’s no upper age limit and you can be from any farming sector. Two Farming to Succeed courses will be run next year, for 25 North Island and 25 South Island qualifying people.

It’s been made possible by extra funding from Agriculture ITO’s national sponsor FIL NZ Ltd, a dairy hygiene and animal health products supplier.

Farming To Succeed builds on an earlier programme Bound to Succeed, which put up to 20 people through an Outward Bound course, and Future Farmers, developed and facilitated for Agriculture ITO trainees by Waikato farmer and business owner Grant Taylor.

The successful applicants will accompany Mr Taylor on a series of field visits and meetings with highly motivated and successful agribusiness people. Accommodation, food and travel expenses during the course are all provided.

Participants will also learn about some of the human factors that can affect the long-term viability of a farm – such as families, communities and networks. FIL director Arthur Jordan says his company was excited by the prospect of sponsoring a programme that has been called a life changing experience.

‘‘It brings a very specific agricultural focus to its content, while also emphasising the value of personal development and growth,’’ Mr Jordan said.

Kevin Bryant, Agriculture ITO’s chief executive, said FIL’s sponsorship meant Farming To Succeed was set to become a major feature among rural personal development programmes.

‘‘We see fostering the development of future leaders in agriculture as an important part of our role. Having such a practical and intensive course will open the eyes of those who attend to the possibilities of their career – and start them thinking about building sustainable, profitable businesses of their own.

‘‘FIL’s support for the industry and the programme means we’ve been able to almost double the size of programme.’’

Grant Taylor says the course is about making people sit up and think about the important assets in their business and inspiring them to make positive changes in themselves as people. ‘‘The programme has been extremely well received by all the previous attendees; several said they couldn’t put a value on it because it was the most life-changing event in their lives,’’ Mr Taylor said.

The course also caters for those who have made a mid-career transition into farming.

‘‘If you’ve got the right attitude, it’s never too late,’’ Mr Taylor said.

Logan Dawson, a 21-year-old who aims to buy into the family’s Te Awamutu dairy farm one day, attended the course last year. He said it challenged his assumptions about farm ownership and his career. Since finishing the course he has bought a house and is broadening his work experience.

‘‘Drop everything you are doing and go to the course, because it will change your whole outlook on the way you do farming,’’ he said.

‘‘The course challenged me: That the route that I take to dairy farm ownership doesn’t always necessarily involve dairy farming. I’m paying my house off as well as working as a spray contractor; eventually I’ll use the house as a cashflow machine to fund buying cows and stuff for a farm,’’ he says.

Alex van Paassen, the ITO’s communications manager, says: ‘‘We are trying to broaden horizons and encourage future leaders by exposing them to people who have done what they are dreaming of, or maybe they haven’t even started dreaming yet.

‘‘To get on the course you need to show a reasonable amount of boldness.

‘‘It’s all about building networks. They are exposed to people who have succeeded. It opens their eyes to what they can do.’’ Applications close on January 30. Agriculture ITO helps New Zealand agribusinesses improve their productivity and sustainability through better skills and knowledge.

Path laid out to their field of dreams

§ June 1st, 2011 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Path laid out to their field of dreams

Careers day for students at Stratford

Some advice given to high school students at an agricultural careers day in Stratford this week: The quickest route into farming for girls is to marry a rich farmer, while the boys should just focus on becoming rich.
That was from Sean Froude, ex-dairy farmer and now a QCONZ milk quality production consultant, who was one of the experts promoting farming careers to 147 students from 14 Taranaki region high schools at Stratford on Tuesday.
OutSTanding in the field was organised by Taylored Ltd, which has a contract with Meat and Wool NZ to do nine of these presentations around the country. Students got to put the cups on a cow, learned how milking machines work, met a Hereford bull, got up close to sheep and dogs and shepherds, met world champion shearer Paul Avery, had farming economics explained and saw a vet demonstrate how to get a dead calf out of a cow.
Mr Froude said there were good internationally portable milk industry careers available in tanker driving, lab technology, research, packaging design, cheese making, “and there’s a high demand for fitter welders on steel products.”
After attending a career fair, you might want to play a round of casino games at as you think about the career you want to pursue.
Farm milk is subjected to 13 different tests, including the presence of antibiotics because one gram of penicillin could potentially contaminate and therefore downgrade in value 350,000 litres of bulk milk.
As the temperature outside dropped to about 7 degrees with driving rain, he said people can make fortunes out of milking cows, but they have to do it every day regardless of the weather. “In that recent cold snap I know of one place where 500 cows had to be physically pushed off the rotary platform because they didn’t want to go out into the cold.”
Paul Avery showed them the basics of shearing a sheep and told his story. “My dad originally taught me to shear, then I went to a shearing school where they told me I’d be doing 60 a day within two weeks if I listened to everything. Well, in two weeks my tally went from 150 to 210.”
He had set himself two goals: to own a sheep and cattle farm and be the shearing world champion, the second of which he achieved last year in Norway. “I was pretty stoked to achieve those goals. You have to set goals for yourself in life.”
Bell Block contract milker Kevin Payne, 23, left school to work on farms at 17. He started on $28,000 a year, and is now paid 71 cents per kg of milk solids. This amounts to about $60,000 before tax after paying staff and some running costs. “I’ve done the boy racer thing, it’s just a waste of money,” he said. “I saved to buy cows and now I have 25 head. The downside is on a day with thunder and lightning you still have to go our in it. Farmhands work 12 days on, two days off, plus statutory holidays and annual leave.”

New grant means more Witt students

§ June 11th, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on New grant means more Witt students

FIFTY extra students will be able to study at Witt next year after it was named a ‘‘high-performing’’ polytech by the Government.

The Taranaki institution has received $225,180 in student funding to go towards its nursing, engineering and Maori courses.

The funding was allocated to the polytechnics by the Tertiary Education Commission, based on Witt’s performance in delivering education and training to students under 25, and students at higher levels of training.

Witt’s allocation equates to 30 full-time equivalent students, or about 50 actual students.

In its application for the funding, Witt had asked for 40 full-time equivalents.

The funding comes after 328 student were turned away from Witt in August because of a Government-enforced cap on numbers.

Chief executive Richard Handley said while the funding only meant a small number of extra places, it was a solid acknowledgement of Witt’s good performance. ‘‘This is good news. We notice that there are a number of polytechs who didn’t receive funding.’’

The programmes that received funding were all high performing courses which served the needs of Taranaki well, Mr Handley said. Eleven other polytechs were also granted extra money by Education Minister Anne Tolley yesterday, with some receiving up to $1.2 million each.

Mrs Tolley said the funding was part of the Government’s Youth Opportunities package, designed to help those institutions cope with forecast enrolment growth.

‘‘At a time of limited opportunities, this will enable more young people to access meaningful education and training,’’ she said.

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