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Mahon claims world champion lifting title

Southern Strength Powerlifting Club member Andy Mahon competes at the World

Classic Powerlifting Championships in Sweden last month. Photo: Supplied


INVERCARGILL can lay claim to having a world champion powerlifter in its midst.

Andy Mahon is the reigning world champion in the Master One (M1) under 105kg division following the World Classic Powerlifting Championships in Helsingborg, Sweden last month.

He lifted a combined total of more than 800kg, a personal best.

“I was pretty stoked really,” Mahon said.

“I couldn’t be happier with the result.”

He won gold on his second dead lift and tried for the world record for his division of 810kg, narrowly missing the mark.

“I nearly got it. I was so close, but never mind, it wasn’t quite there.”

Aitor Lapena-Gutierrez, of the United States of America, placed second lifting 792.5kg, and Maksim Pikaliuk, of Russia, was awarded bronze with a combined lift of 790kg.

Southland powerlifter Angus McKay competes at the World Classic Powerlifting Championships in Sweden last month. Photo: Supplied
Mahon and fellow Southland powerlifter Angus McKay, both members of the Southern

Strength Powerlifting Club, represented New Zealand at the world championships.

They were the only Southlanders in the 14-strong New Zealand team.Junior champ

McKay lifted a combined total of 705kg, placing him eighth in the world in the junior under 105kg class.

This was McKay’s first international competition.

With only four years experience competing in the sport, McKay took out a junior New Zealand championship title last year.

The pair thanked ILT Foundation and Community Trust South for its support.

Credit: Southland Express

Spellbound by a Wicked tale

GRAB your brooms, Wicked is arriving on stage at the Civic Theatre.

Long before Dorothy arrived in Oz, there was another girl called Elphaba.

Born with emerald-green skin, this smart, fiery, misunderstood girl possessed an extraordinary talent.

When she met Glinda, a bubbly and popular blonde as sorcery students at Shiz University, their initial rivalry turned into the unlikeliest of friendships… until people decided to label one “good” and the other “wicked”.

This is the foundation story of the Witches of Oz before Dorothy flew in from Kansas, where the audience can meet Glinda – the Good Witch, and Elphaba – the Wicked Witch of the West, and gain an understanding of their complex relationship.

With spectacular costumes, sets, choreography and featuring hit songs, the long-awaited musical Wicked (The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz) will finally appear next month.

Presented by the Invercargill Musical Theatre (IMT), vice-president Bernadette Gourley said Wicked was the second-highest grossing show on Broadway and “IMT was extremely proud and excited to bring it to the Civic stage in Invercargill”.

“It is a fabulous opportunity for Southlanders to see this spectacular production with all the same production values as the professional productions of Wicked.”

Wicked has been performed nationally by amateur companies throughout the North Island, as well as Dunedin and Christchurch.

“Now, it is Invercargill’s turn.”

With music written by Grammy, Tony and Academy Award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz, the IMT season will be directed by Doug Kamo with musical direction by Michael Buick and choreography by Emma Holloway.


Invercargill Musical Theatre president Fergus More and vice-president Bernadette Gourley check out some of the
costumes for its upcoming musical – Wicked (The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz). Photo: Janette Gellatly

Although most of the cast had been sourced locally, two had also been “imported”, Mrs Gourley said.

“We held exhausted auditions and are excited to welcome Rebekah Head, of Auckland, back to play Glinda, and Luke Butson, of Dunedin, to play Fiyero,” Elphaba’s love interest.

“We are so proud that the rest of the crew are locals.”

Playing Elphaba, Libby Frazer was an extremely talented local actor who had preformed in a number of IMT productions, and would be taking the limelight in this latest production, Mrs Gourley said.

IMT president Fergus More agreed, saying “Libby has really taken to the role”.

There would be a cast of 30 with eight backing vocalists, as well as a crew of about 80 including stage, sound, wardrobe, hair, makeup, lighting and props people, and a 17-piece live orchestra.

“It will sound incredible in the Civic Theatre,” Mrs Gourley said.

“People will have the opportunity of seeing a splendid show, and not even have to fly out of Invercargill.”

Wicked (The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz), Invercargill’s Civic Theatre, July 12-27, Tickets, Invercargill City Council booking office, www.TicketDirect.co.nz or www.TicketRocket.co.nz


Credit: Southland Express

Matariki focus on well-being

Matariki Cultural Trust chairman Jay Coote shows the Matariki star representing well-being. Photo: Petrina Wright

MURIHIKU Matariki Cultural Trust is shining a light on Matariki celebrations in the south.

Chairman Jay Coote said the goal of the newly-formed trust was to educate Murihiku about Matariki and to encourage more people to recognise and celebrate the event.

The more people involved in the celebrations, the more ownership the community had over the event and the bigger its impact, he said.

Matariki celebrations had enjoyed somewhat of a “renaissance” in the past few years and the trust wanted to keep the momentum going, he said.

Matariki is the Maori name for a cluster of nine stars visible in New Zealand at a specific time of year, signalling the start of the Maori New Year.

Mr Coote said it was a time when whanau came together, celebrating new life, remembering those who had died and planning for the future.

“I have a passion for getting people together for a common goal… and Matariki is a good platform [to do that].”

There were more Matariki events planned in the region than ever before.

“No matter what the weather is doing, everything is going ahead, so wrap up, keep warm and come along,” he said. All the events are free.”

Matariki celebrations in Southland begin with the Glengarry Fire and Light Midwinter Festival at the Eastside Baptist Church on Saturday.

The following weekend is the two-day evening Timatanga Hou, Te Ara Hou Matariki Festival at Queens Park, including a hikoi, a light and art display telling the story of Matariki and entertainment.

Mr Coote said trust members could answer questions and provide community and school groups with resources about Matariki, including craft ideas and cultural games.

The Matariki star representing well-being was the focus of this year’s celebrations.

Matariki events were being supported by Arts Murihiku, Invercargill City Libraries and Archives, Invercargill Public Art Gallery and Harakeke Down South, with funding from the ILT Foundation, New World South City, ICC Creative Communities and Community Trust South.

For more information email the trust: murihikumatariki@gmail.com

Credit: Southland Express

A decade of enriching young minds

FOR 10 years Enrich@ILT has been enriching, challenging and extending hundreds of gifted and talented young minds in Invercargill, but prime mover Marlene Campbell says it still has a way to go to achieve its original “lofty goal”.

“It is hugely successful… The children here are very engaged and happy in their learning, she said.

“[But] my ultimate goal hasn’t been achieved.”

Enrich@ILT is a learning centre dedicated to gifted and talented education for children 7-11 years old identified as having outstanding academic and/or creative ability.

Centre manager Paul Anderson-Kereti said the centre provided “an opportunity to grow [pupils’] talents, understand and manage their gifts, and meet like-minded learners in a supportive, enriched environment.”

It was brainchild of Ms Campbell, who was an Invercargill primary school principal at the time. She now teaches at the centre.

Enrich@ILT pupils Liam Sheehan (left, 10), of Wind sor North School and George Thomson (10) of St Theresa's
School hard at work in the classroom last week. Photo: Petrina Wright

Ms Campbell said 10 years ago all schools’ special education grant funding was for supporting “differently-abled learners” at the remedial end of the scale and there was no funding left for children who needed accelerating or extension learning.

“I felt there was an imbalance. Gifted learners, for me, should be [included] under the special education umbrella.”

The centre opened on June 22, 2009, with a roll of 55 thanks to support from 23 Invercargill primary schools and funding from the Invercargill Licensing Trust (ILT) and ILT Foundation.

It was thought to be the first of its kind in the South Island at that time.

This year there were 147 pupils enrolled at the centre, but the roll had reached 180 at times.

Ms Campbell said she was proud of what had been achieved in the past decade, but her original vision for the programme had not yet been realised.

The original vision involved specialist Enrich@ILT teachers working closely with the pupils’ classroom teachers to devise an individualised programme to ensure the learners were challenged every day, she said.

Enrich@ILT pupils Moana Miller (left, 8) of St Theresa’s
School and Jemma Mackay (11) of Otatara School.

She admitted it was a “lofty goal”.

The children spend one day a week at the centre and return to their normal studies for the remaining four days.

Ms Campbell said if gifted learners were not challenged at school there was a risk they could become bored and disengaged from their learning.

“We want them gifted and challenged five days a week, that was the goal.”

The reason this had not been achieved was due in part to a lack of resources and because teachers were “too buried under their workloads”, she said.

Mr Anderson-Kereti said staff and pupils planned to celebrate the 10-year anniversary later in the year.

Credit: Southland Express

Swimming Lessons at Splash Palace


About the organisation 

Splash Palace Aquatic Centre is Invercargill’s main public swimming complex.  It provides indoor pool facilities for learn to swim classes, school groups, swimming clubs, water polo and swimming competitions, H2O Dreams training, school holiday programmes and more. 

What the grant went towards 

In the last financial year, the ILT Foundation and Invercargill Licensing Trust (ILT) provided combined grants of $158,723 towards providing swimming lessons to all primary school children in the Invercargill City Council rates area, which equated to 39,915 lessons. 

The ILT and ILT Foundation have so far committed more than $1.5 million towards the Learn to Swim Programme since the foundation’s inception in 2006. 

 What the grant means to the organisation/community group 

“One of the things I speak very proudly of is the partnership between the ILT and the council to deliver a programme which I have no doubt has helped save lives,” Splash Palace aquatic services manager Pete Thompson said. 

“This programme is a hugely important one for our community which benefits our kids in so many ways. Not only is it equipping them with the skills to swim, it’s also developing their self-confidence and self-esteem.” 


Arts Murihiku Charitable Trust

Arts Murihiku arts advocate Lisa Tou-McNaughton (left) and ILT Foundation trustee Angela Newell with an Arts Murihiku publication promoting arts projects and performances in the region.
Photo: Lisa-Maree Fleck


About the organisation 

Established through Creative New Zealand, Arts Murihiku Charitable Trust is an arts body which supports, connects, promotes and advocates for the arts and artists in Murihiku/Southland.  

What the grant went towards 

The ILT Foundation provided Arts Murihiku with a grant of $20,000 operating costs and assistance with their capability building programme.  This is the first year the ILT Foundation has provided support to the organisation. 

The equipment will assist members to learn the most effective methods and techniques for use at tournaments and will enable them to run national tournaments in Invercargill. 

 What the grant means to the organisation/community group 

“Arts Murihiku is delighted to receive support from the ILT Foundation,” Arts Murihiku arts advocate Lisa Tou-McNaughton said. 

“This grant recognises the importance of the Arts to our community and the Foundation’s belief that the Arts are an integral part of our lives.”

Southland Sports Car Club get hardstand

Southland Sports Car Club race committee chairman Bevan Gerrard and ILT Foundation trustee Sean Bellew on the club’s new hardstand area at Teretonga Park Raceway.  Photo:  Petrina Wright 

About the organisation 

Southland Sports Car Club is a voluntary organisation with about 240 members. 

The club owns the Teretonga Park circuit, which has been its base since November 1957, one of three remaining club-owned circuits in New Zealand. 

Each year the club hosts about 12 events, including five club race meetings and a fun day. 

What the grant went towards 

The car club received a grant of $20,000 towards developing a hardstand area in the pit paddock. 

A hardstand is a flat, ashphalted pad used for parking heavy vehicles.  In this case, it will be used by competitors as pit garaging for car preparation and set-up during race meets. 

 The first time it will be used will be during the international Castrol Toyota Racing Series during the weekend of January 18-20. 

ILT Board Member Sean Bellew presenting the ILT Foundation cheque to Sam

What the grant means to the organisation/community group 

Southland Sports Car Club race committee chairman Bevan Gerrard said installing the hardstand was the difference between the club being about to secure the Toyota Racing Series and not. 

“We really appreciate the help [of the ILT Foundation],” he said. 

“It was badly needed to help the Toyota Racing Series run the show that they wanted to put on.” 

Southland Sports Car Club president and competitor Rachael Beck said the flat pad was stage one of a bigger plan, and the club was grateful to the ILT Foundation for its support of the project.

Messy Magic entertains children in Southland

Event organisers Phil (left) and Sarah McCarthy of McCarthy Media and Communications and Jade Gillies of Gillies Creative at The Messy Magic Adventure at ILT Stadium Southland in early November last year.

About the organisation 

Shakespeare in the Park Charitable Trust is the governing body of the annual Shakespeare in the Park event in Invercargill. 

The trust also supports other arts groups and individuals in the community. 

The Messy Magic Adventure show is a touring act which performed at the ILT Stadium Southland on Friday, November 9 last year.   It is a slap stick live magic show directed towards primary school-aged children. 

What the grant went towards 

The ILT Foundation and Invercargill Licensing Trust provided Shakespeare in the Park Charitable Trust with combined grants of $8400 towards the cost to hire the venue so more than 2000 Invercargill primary school pupils from 17 Invercargill schools could attend the live theatre performance. 

What the grant means to the organisation/community group 

Event organiser Jade Gillies, of Gillies Creative said the trust identified the magic show as a good opportunity to introduce live theatre to children in Invercargill. 

“[The funding] allowed us to move forward with the project. 

“We wouldn’t have been able to do it without the generous funding that we received. 

“Ultimately it meant 2000 children had access to a live theatre performance, many of whom it was their first time. That was what it was all about, exposing them to theatre at a young age so that they are our audiences of the future.” 

Southland Girls Brigade gets kitted out

 ILT Foundation trustee Sean Bellew presents a cheque to 3rd Invercargill Girls’ Brigade members Shiloh Waddell (7)Makensie Waddell (15)commissioned leader Monica McAllister (front) commissioned leader Janine Mackway-Jones and Eva (2).
Photo: Lisa-Maree Fleck


About the organisation 

Girls' Brigade is an international, interdenominational organisation for girls and young women aged 5 to 18 years. 

Its’ programme features a variety of fun activities designed to educate, inspire and develop its members, including crafts, outdoor and indoor games and activities, camps, and more. 

The Southland Area Girls’ Brigade has two companies – 3rd Invercargill based at Knox Church, Georgetown, which has about 23 members and six leaders, and 15th Invercargill based at Windsor Community Church, Windsor, which has 35 members and seven leaders. 

 What the grant went towards 

The ILT Foundation provided a grant to the Southland Area Girls’ Brigade towards purchasing new uniforms for its members. 

What the grant means to the organisation/community group 

“We are very grateful to get [the uniforms] because a lot of our South Invercargill families are solo parents and they have enough struggles without having to get uniforms,” 3rd Invercargill Girls’ Brigade leader Nardia Livingstone said. “So, it is a real blessing.” 

“The uniforms are going to be a fabulous asset.  We are hoping to do a promotional drive next year, so this will enable all the new girls to have a uniform,” 15th Invercargill Girls’ Brigade captain Cindy Hayes said.


Invercargill Toy Library

Librarian Jo (left) and Invercargill Toy Library former president Katie McRae surrounded by some of the many toys available for hire at the library. 

Librarian Jo



Invercargill Toy Library former president Katie



surrounded by some of the many toys available for hire at the library.

About the organisation 

The Invercargill Toy Library is a registered charity which provides a range of toys, costumes, sporting equipment, educational equipment and puzzles for families to hire at an affordable rate. 

The toys are suitable for children aged six months to five years. 

The organisation is run by a part-time librarian and volunteer parents, and at present it has about 120 members. 

What the grant went towards 

The Invercargill Toy Library received a grant of $2500 towards the annual rental of its premises and hiring part-time librarian. 

The ILT Foundation has been providing annual support to the Invercargill Toy Library since the Foundation’s inception in 2006. 

What the grant means to the organisation/community group 

"There aren't many organisations that provide grants for operating expenses, so without ILT's support it would be difficult for the toy library to continue providing its service to the Invercargill community,” Invercargill Toy Library secretary Emma Gregory said. 

“We really appreciate it."