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Artist Profile: Rick Youmans

The Local Rag had a chat to local artist Rick Youmans ahead of his exhibition this month.

What is your background with painting Rick? How did you come to it?

I had been painting on and off since a young age, then at College I studied the renaissance ways of painting, making paint, egg tempera, sculpture, and many other techniques.

Tell us about your creative process. What does a typical day look like for you ?

The process varies from day to day, some parts are disciplined and some parts are free to evolve as naturally as possible. Memories and emotions play a large role in the process, so it can be hard to have a defined structure, especially with many projects happening at one time.

You are based at the Wharf. What else do you offer at the studio?

We offer the SKY INK SEA Collection of ink works and art books, these evoke the emotions of the sea and the sky. I created the book as an interactive art piece where buyers are encouraged to write their own thoughts about the painted images.

There are also my artworks in different techniques such as

oil, watercolour and Chinese ink. We also have the internationallyacclaimedYoumansCapsuleswhichare designer presentation cases that I have created and manufactured in New Zealand.

Tell us about the upcoming Wind and Sail exhibition? What inspired this series?

From a young age I have been involved with sailing, I had a few past paintings that evoked the emotion of wind in sails that I wanted to give a fresh look and feel to. I also wanted to include a few new works, especially of the latest America’s cup.

How does this work differ from previous works Rick?

These works are sailing related as opposed to sea or landscapes. They still represent my ambition to create evocative feelings of the wind like I do with the skies and water in my seascapes.

What can we expect to see?

The Wind and Sails Exhibition will showcase sailing related art in all of its possible forms. One of the most stunning pieces is the “Sydney to Hobart 60 years history” which is made of 6 panels measuring 4.5 meters in total. It is the first time that this painting will be hanging at the studio. In general it shows wind and sails in both emotive and more realistic ways, as well as including a new powerful painting from the last America’s cup.

Raglan Botanicals Aromatherapy

The Local Rag spoke to Fabi Henderson from Raglan Botanicals about her new aromatherapy business.

Can you describe your new Aromatherapy products?

Raglan Botanicals offers a range of Aromatherapy products including Organic Essential Oils & Blends, Diffusers and Therapeutic Products. We also have a range of Skincare Products, Body Oils, Facial Oils, Serum, Lip Balms, Body Butter and more. Also I provide an Aromatherapy Consultation for more personalised treatment.

When did you launch the business?

Our official launch was about a month ago now. It was a great weekend with lots of positive feedback.

What’s been involved to get to this point?

It’s been an intense couple of years including becoming a qualified aromatherapist and a whole lot of experimentation, tinkering and fine tuning,

How did you get interested in Aromatherapy and what skills and knowledge did you need to acquire?

For many years I have been using essential oils as a treatment for my family. I have really come to believe in

You can check out Raglan Botanical’s range online at www.raglanbotanicals.co.nz.

the therapeutic qualities of essential oils and it was a natural progression to want to learn more and get qualified.

Is it something you can easily fit in around existing work and motherhood etc..

It has been a real challenge to find the time in an already hectic routine.

What do you hope to achieve in the next few years?

I hope I can learn more and more so I can expand my skills in Aromatherapy and continue to help others in individual treatments.

How do people get in touch ?

For online shop go to my website: www.raglanbotanicals. co.nz (Free pick ups for Raglan locals).

And at my studio by appointment: 0210430338

Round One Complete In Surf Tower’s Battle Against Nature

The wraps were set to come off the Ngarunui Beach lookout tower this week to reveal nothing more sinister than freshly sandblasted and painted steelwork.

Shrouded in white plastic, the 10-year-old tower has – from a distance – looked eerily like a serious crime scene in recent weeks.

But the only fight there has been is one to contain corrosion from salt- laden coastal winds.

“The elements had got at it,” said Raglan Surf Life Saving Club spokesman Bruce MacKinnon of the work to shore up the structure.

He told the Chronicle how scaffolding was first erected to access the steel frame which holds the tower deck and roof, then the lot was shrink- wrapped in special industrial plastic to enable all-weather work and to contain the sandblasting materials for removal.

This process required heat to shrink the tough polythene tightly into place, he said.

Heat-welding a protective covering of plastic to itself is a common practice these days at construction and renovation sites.

Bruce – a surf club board member with responsibility for finance and revenue – said the lookout tower work had been carried out courtesy of a $30,000 Government funding round to Surf Life Saving New Zealand.

A final part of the work came last weekend when a contractor re- installed the glass balustrade around the first-floor deck.

With the steelwork repainted, the worst threat to the structure now was beach erosion, Bruce said.

“Water is lapping at the doorstep of the tower and eating away at the end of the asphalt where access ramps have been placed,” he added. “There’s a big drop down (to the beach).”

A recent storm along with some high tides had taken another two centimetres away from the sand dunes directly in front of the lookout tower, he estimated.

Raglan Surf Life Saving Club needed to raise its erosion concerns again with Waikato District Council, Bruce said, and work out a plan to save not only the tower but also the new shower/ toilet facilities installed opposite only last season.

He is currently working on an application for funding towards erosion control.

The tower, which has a concrete block basement for first-aid supplies and emergency treatment, was built by local company Fitzgerald & Gillard well back from the high tide mark in 2011.

The $180,000 project was financed by four years’ of local funds plus grants from WEL Energy Trust, Surf Life Saving Northern Region, Raglan Lions Club and Trust Waikato.

Edith Symes

Tokyo Olympic Games: Billy Stairmand To Make Olympic Debut

Billy Stairmand and Ella Williams are settobecomeNewZealand’sfirst

ever Olympic surfers, after officially being named to the New Zealand Team on the morning of Monday, June 28. The duo secured their Olympic spots with performances at the 2019 International Surfing Association World Games.

With last year’s world’s cancelled, it meant those marks retained their importance. The pair hail from two of the most popular surf regions in the country. Williams lives in Whangamata while Stairmand is based in Raglan.

‘’This is a dream come true for me,’’ says Stairmand. ‘’Ever since surfing was named as a sport in the Olympics I put it at the top of my goals list.’’ The 31-year-old, who is an 8x New Zealand surfing champion, described becoming the first male New Zealand Olympic surfer as “huge”.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has always backed me and believed in me. Anything is possible if you work hard.”

It’s been a busy period for Stairmand, who, on the weekend, received confirmation that he’s qualified for the World Surf League Challenger Series alongside some of the best surfers in the world. NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith congratulated the pair.

“It’s fantastic to have surfing in the Games and to have a male and female New Zealander representing us in Tokyo,” says Smith.

“These athletes will be helping to provide surfing with massive global exposure and will help the Olympic Games reach a new audience. We wish you all the best for competition and will be cheering you on.”

Surfing will be making it’s Olympic debut when competition begins at Tsurigasaki Beach, situated around an hour’s drive from Tokyo. There will be 20 competitors in each class in Tokyo. Wave conditions permitting, competition is due to run from July 25-28. It is one of six sports making their debut at the Olympics, along with softball, baseball, sport climbing, skateboarding and karate.

Billy Stairmand, left, with Ella Williams and Matt Scorringe at the announcement held in Auckland on Monday, June 28. Image | CPL

Iconic Mountain Events Put Raglan On THhe Map

Mt Karioi might be 2.4 million years old but it took two new arrivals to town this millennium to really put Raglan’s “sleeping lady” on the map.

First a Belgian, then a few years later a French Basque came up with the two iconic events now based around our local maunga.

Fittingly enough Dirk de Ruysscher’s idea for an annual cycle race came while he was out biking Karioi’s gravel roads for exercise, and Frenchman Francois Mazet’s moment of inspiration came while he was running the mountain tracks.

First up each year is the Karioi Classic, which kicks off again in just three weeks when cyclists from all over the country converge on town to take on the gruelling stretches of gravel road encircling the extinct volcano.

Months later, at the end of the year, Raglan Karioi Trail will attract yet another 400-odd competitors – runners this time, many keen to test themselves in a gut-busting traverse of the mountain twice-over that has a total elevation gain of 1850m.

Neither event is for the faint-hearted. But both bring athletes and their families out in force, thanks in large part to the instigators who’ve adapted and altered courses along the way to ensure wide appeal.

Dirk de Ruysscher, who emigrated from Belgium to Raglan 15 years ago with his wife and two young sons, says the main goal in developing the Karioi Classic was simply to put Raglan on the map and to attract people to town in wintertime when local businesses did a starve.

Back then Dirk was already riding round the mountain himself and coincidentally checking bikes for Raglan’s Sea to Sand summer triathlon/duathlon series.

That series was being co-run by Lisa Thomson, who is now our district councillor. So the pair put their heads together – and 12 years ago organised the first Karioi Classic.

“We only had 80 registrations before race day,” Dirk recalls of that inaugural event back in 2009. It was a foggy morning and conditions weren’t looking good at all “but then the sun came out and it was beautiful”.

Even more surprisingly, competitors numbers swelled on race day to 200 as a steady stream of vehicles loaded up with bikes flowed into town in time for the start.

An old yellow house bus being used as a base was completely overcrowded, Dirk recalls, and registration forms ran out. Needless to say the bus was ditched the following year – and the event’s been “slowly growing” ever since, to a point where it now attracts double the number of competitors.

While the Karioi Classic started out as a once-around-the-mountain event, there have been all sorts of variations over the years to broaden its appeal. That’s included a two-lapper dubbed the “double buster”, a tandem teams category, a single-speed bike category and even a marathon.

Most recently “the ultimate winter cycling event” – as it’s billed – has also tagged on an extra 25km leg to Aotea, an option which has proven popular with the “serious” riders, Dirk says.

It’s that race, the Enduro 86km, and the traditional Classic 50km which are on offer this year.

But it’s also pedal to the metal around Karioi for the final time. Dirk says there are various reasons why it’s time to call it quits on the Karioi Classic: health and safety rules are getting stricter, traffic management more expensive, our roads are busier and the task of rounding up volunteers to help run the race each year is a little harder.

And ironically there’s no need to promote Raglan any more, he adds.

Accommodation providers are booked out every weekend now, for instance, the quiet backwater Dirk encountered a decade- and-a-half ago now only a memory.

This year may mark the end of the road for the Karioi Classic but the Raglan Karioi Trail is now in its ninth year and going from strength to strength.

The trail’s the brainchild of Francois Mazet, who’s come to town from a quite different part of Europe, the French Basque Country.

A keen skier and snowboarder who usually ventures back to Les Troi Vallees (The Three Valleys) over our summer, Francois decided while traversing Mt Karioi regularly himself to capitalise on his previous event planning skills and share his passion for mountain running.

With only 60 to 70 competitors in the first few years, the tough trail run gradually grew in popularity and last year attracted 300 entries, primarily from the Waikato and Auckland but also from around the country including the South Island.

Francois wants to cap the numbers at 400 to keep it a small community event. Already known for its feel-good atmosphere, the trail starts and ends around the other side of Karioi: on ‘Swanny’s’ farm at the foothills of Karioi, where it’s all wrapped up with a


While the trail started out as just the 24km course – a route traversing the mountain twice – a 2km kids’ race on the farm was added the second year and a 10km run or walk the third year to capture more interest.

That 2km race has now morphed into a 5km family run, says Francois, but lots of local kids who started small back then are now running both the five and 10-kilometre courses.

“The idea is to make it fun for the kids … encourage all to participate and just enjoy Karioi,” he insists.

While describing the main 24km trail as “beautiful” scenically, Francois concedes it’s also technically more difficult than other events on New Zealand’s mountain running calendar because of its elevation – “and there are rocks everywhere”.

But athletes like a challenge and, as long as he can keep ahead of the ever-increasing demands such as those made by annual health and safety audits, he’s happy to forge ahead.

Edith Symes

Dirty Dog Challenge With Sascha Phillips

Sascha Phillips chatted to the Local Rag about the Dirty Dog Challenge Waikato 2021 that she and her dog Rocky recently competed in.

I have had Rocky for 7 years. I adopted him at 10 months old. He’s still as cheeky and full of beans as he was when I got him. Some people might recognise us on our early morning walks along Wainui Road and onto the beach. We walk about 6 hours a week.

It’s really important Rocky gets his morning exercise, so he has less energy to misbehave when I’m at work. During lockdown my street had a facebook page. It was great because we all became familiar with each other and our pets. I met one of my neighbours Christine and her dog Lenny. We became walking buddies and our dogs became great mates. Christine told me about the Dirty Dog Challenge held at Ngāruawāhia Christian Camp Ground. Its the same course they use for the Tough Guy Tough Girl Challenge. But you do it with your dog on a lead. She told me that about 300 people and their dogs had attended the one she went to. Basically you trudge through the mud with your dog, down slides and over and under obstacles.

I was so excited to hear of this event and knew Rocky would totally be in his element.

The original event of 2020 was set for June but because of Covid they postponed it until September 2020. So

we registered and were all geared up to go. But when Auckland went back to Level 2 around that time they cancelled the event.

Finally again this year the challenge was set back for June 26th 2021. And we made it.

I have never been in a space with that many dogs and their owners. I would say there were close to 200 at this event,Dogs of all shapes and sizes. It was so great to see so many people who were motivated to show their dogs a good time. That’s a lot of love for dogs in one big area.

The Dirty Dog Challenge is a fundraiser for Adopt A Dog. It costs $40 to enter for both the 2.5k or the 6ks. It was really well organised I thought. When you signed off at the end you got a Doggy bag and spot prizes for different criteria. You could even pay to get your dog groomed afterwards .

Rocky and I did the 6k. It was definitely a challenge. Rocky was so happy he would have gone another 6ks just to stay with the pack. I’m so proud of my boy. I’m sure there were a lot of proud dog owners that day, and a lot of dogs proud of their owners too.

We are most definitely doing the Dirty Dog Challenge next year. If you want to know more, you can go on the Waikato District Council website and go to the Dirty Dog Challenge site.

Watch the video there or on You Tube, if it doesn’t inspire you to do it, it will definitely make you giggle.

Q&A With Matua Liam

How long have you been teaching at RAS?

I’ve been at Raglan Area School for about 8 years now. I began working with the new entrants, then year 5 & 6’s and now I work with students from year 7 through to year 13. I currently teach Maths, coach the senior boy’s football team; but most of my time is spent teaching and setting up the new Outdoor Education programme.

How did it come about that you would be involved in the Outdoor Education programme?

I’ve always enjoyed doing Outdoor Education as a component of my teaching. We would go surfing, hiking, survival style camps, collecting bamboo, and harbour floats. It is the type of thing I was engaged in when I was a student and still enjoy now. There are so many valuable skills to learn, challenge ourselves physically and make

connections to the natural world. Raglan Area School is an ideal location for this programme – with a boat ramp to the harbour, Karioi a stone’s throw away, and set within a sustainability-minded community. I reached out to local educator David Williams who runs the WINTEC outdoor education course and we put together a proposal for Raglan Area School. Louisa thought it was a great idea and has been supporting us from day one.

What are the challenges you face as a school setting up the course?

Starting a new course has had many challenges, but I’ve had a lot of help; WINTEC, Harry & Gareth at Raglan Rock and my colleagues at school particularly Te Whaiwhai Ritchie and Briar Heinrich supportingthe9-10course.TJ Pemberton has supported me from the beginning and has

been able to secure funding for the programme to purchase sea kayaks, camping gear and climbing equipment for our students to use. This year I’ve had a lot to learn, doing a fair amount of professional development to earn some guiding qualifications to be able to deliver this course and assess our students. One of our major challenges is with transport. We rely heavily on the school vans to get to our locations but they are in hot demand at the school, so we are beginning to fundraise for our own van. The Year 11’s will be running a ‘taster to climbing’ day in Waitetuna where the students will be the teachers. The Year 9-10’s will be organising a ‘rubber duck race’ raffle. Look out for these events and get involved however you can, or please contact me if you have any ideas, or are keen to support in any way.

How Raglan Area School Students Went Wild With Wintec

When Raglan Area School wanted to develop an engaging, dynamic and safe outdoor education programme, they turned to Wintec and the results are getting a big thumbs up from their adventurous rangatahi.

Wintec Outdoor Adventure Education educator Dave Williams moved to Raglan in 2018 and loves the challenges and the outdoor diversity on his doorstep. He says, “Raglan Area School had wanted to deliver outdoor education for a while, but they needed some assistance to make sure it was delivered in a way that achieved their kaupapa [objectives] well, and where students were safe”.

“I had an existing relationship with the school, so we discussed at length what it would take to build a programme to best suit their ākonga [students] and kura [school], and the values they have.”

Once they established that, Williams and the Wintec Outdoor Adventure Education team worked with Raglan Area School Lead Teacher Outdoor Education, Matua Liam Coulden-Lavers at Raglan Area School to build a Level 1 and 2 Outdoor Adventure Education programme. The Level 1 programme was launched in February this year and Level 2 will launch in 2022.

Matua Liam, Wintec tutors, Wintec students and local crew, Raglan Rock are collaboratively teaching the students rock climbing, abseiling, sea kayaking, bush survival, mountain biking and navigating on land to develop their physical and personal skills. An important aspect of the programme is enabling students to take on challenges and build transferrable skills outside the classroom.

While Raglan is the perfect environment to develop outdoor education skills, Williams says a highlight has been teaching the students new experiences and taking them to places they have never been before.

“The response from our Raglan rangatahi has been really rewarding. We recently went kayaking for a few days in Tāpapakanga Regional Park [Auckland] and paddled to Waitawa Reserve to stay overnight,” Williams says.

“It was amazing seeing the students on the water having the time of their lives in a place they’d never been to before. Quite a few of them said ‘this is awesome, I want to sea kayak all the time!’”

Matua Liam delivers the Level 1 and 2 programme for Year 11 – 13 students and has also developed an introductory programme for the Year 7-10 students. He says outdoor education is a highlight for many students at the school and it’s providing a platform for success.

“One of the most rewarding things for me so far this year has been the impact the contact with Wintec students has had on the rangatahi at our school. Working with these young adults has shown them there is a pathway for them that can lead to an exciting, rewarding career.”

Raglan Area School Principal Louisa Barham says outdoor education is an opportunity to live their values of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, kaitiakitanga and poutama and she is “rapt with how far they have progressed the programme for year 11,12 and 13 students”.

“Embarking on this ambitious decision to get a more formalised Outdoor Education programme

in our community was a “no-brainer” to me. The speed with which this programme has begun and is evolving with limited funding is so exciting to see. Dave Williams, Matua Liam and the Perry Outdoor Education Trust have proven that where there is a will, there is a way,” says Barham.

“At first, many of our students were hesitant to sign up but we now have a waiting list and there is no doubt the programme will continue in 2022.”

The end goal for Raglan Area School is to become accredited.

“We are helping to develop Raglan Area School professionally so they can work toward taking over the programme when the school gets accreditation. This also involves professional development for teachers which Matua Liam has fully embraced. Raglan Area School is fortunate to have such passionate staff to drive this initiative,” says Williams.

“There will be a handover process and that’s our objective to assist where we can and how we can. So if over time we are redundant then that’s our job done for now. If in turn we get a few students wanting to continue their programme at Wintec, then that’s awesome.”

Outdoor Adventure Education includes discovery, experimentation, learning about and connecting to the natural world, and engaging in environmental and adventure activities.

At a professional level, qualified Outdoor Adventure Education specialists learn how to guide people safely in outdoor pursuits and there are opportunities for employment in adventure tourism and the environmental sector.

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