Year in, year out

01:42, Dec 31 2012
Downpour: Rain came in late July and stayed till August
Closing time: Reverend Indrea Alexander puts up a sign to tell people St Mary’s Church is closed
New arrival: The MRI scanner arrives at its new building at the Timaru Hospital.
Heads up: Ana Machadl reattaches Robbie Burns' head at the Timaru gardens.

So this is Christmas, and what have we done? Another year over, and a new one just begun. And so, features editor Claire Allison looks back at what happened in South Canterbury in 2012.

Doors opened, and doors closed. In South Canterbury in 2012, it was more of the latter as churches around the region took stock of the safety of their buildings and closed their doors pending engineers' reports.

The year began with the good news that in the region, 2011 had marked the third lowest road toll in 22 years, with only four deaths.

Fireworks lit up the night on Caroline Bay in Timaru's now-traditional welcoming of the new year, and Jo Maslin gave birth to a baby girl, Timaru's first baby of the new year.

The price of cigarettes went up again and Falstone campers were having a battle with Environment Canterbury over the use of a removable jetty.

Timaru's notorious smell returned about the same time as the previous year, and the latest revelation in the continuing Hubbard and South Canterbury Finance saga was that acting chief executive Sandy Maier had been offered a $5 million bonus if he managed to save the failing company.


South Canterbury's Save the Children shop closed its doors after a rent rise, and national media descended on Timaru to report on the "SCF five" - five people involved with the finance company who were charged with fraud. They were granted name suppression, although their names were later released.

Thousands of salmon made a break for freedom from Mt Cook Alpine Salmon and 1100 people turned out in Kurow to welcome home triumphant All Black captain Richie McCaw.

A stoush between the owners and occupiers of the Albury Tavern continued, and Timaru's MRI Scanner appeal was racing towards its target.

The cruise ship the Seven Seas Voyager arrived in Timaru in February, disgorging 600 passengers and 400 crew on its first New Zealand stop.

Dancing stallions show El Caballo Blanco came to Timaru for two performances and Robbie Burns lost his head - the statue in the Timaru Botanic Gardens, that is. It was later recovered and reattached.

Otago man Andy Earl pleaded not guilty to charges of dangerous driving causing death and causing injury, in relation to the crash in which Allan Hubbard was killed and his wife, Jean, was injured on September 2, 2011.

St Mary's Church in Timaru closed and the one-year anniversary of the February 22 Christchurch earthquake, in which 185 people died, was marked with services around New Zealand.

In March, Timaru televisions were tuned to MasterChef, to watch our own Alana Harper when she made it into the final 16.

Construction began on a roundabout at the Wilson-Woodlands-North St intersection, which previously had the dubious honour of having the highest crash rate in Timaru.

Temuka's Trinity Presbyterian Church, damaged in the February 22, 2011, quake, was demolished and Pleasant Point's St John's Presbyterian Church was closed because of earthquake risk. The Government fronted up with $800,000 to clean up the Wainono Lagoon.

Temuka boxing doyen Ernie Woods died, Scott Howey was hailed as a hero for saving the life of his newborn daughter by performing CPR when she was born not breathing, and Timaru Herald photographer Natasha Martin won the top travel media awards prize for her work.

The Marmite shortage began to hit home, and a plea from one mum was answered with typical South Canterbury generosity.

New give-way rules came into force and, despite predictions of chaos, we adjusted without any major problems.

The demolition of two King St, Temuka, businesses attracted a large crowd, Craighead School closed its boarding hostel, Shand House, pending an engineering report, and it was revealed that multimillion-dollar repairs were needed on Tekapo hydro canals.

April was party month, with unruly parties causing problems in Luxmoore Rd and later in Aynsley St, with Facebook copping a share of the blame. However, crime statistics showed the Mid and South Canterbury police district was the 10th safest place in New Zealand to live, with 750 recorded offences per 10,000 people.

Bluestone House was vacated because of earthquake safety fears and the police announced they were going to target teen drunks and hold parents accountable.

The parents of teenagers attacked in two separate incidents in Timaru said they were appalled that adults in the area at the time did not come to their aid.

Records were broken at Fonterra's Clandeboye factory, with the longest milk-collection season since the factory opened, Chaucer St residents asked for trees to be removed, but the council said no, the rollout of ultrafast broadband began and cyclists Marc Ryan and Shane Archbold were selected for New Zealand's Olympic team.

In May, the MRI appeal hit its target, meaning at least 1400 people a year would no longer need to travel to Christchurch for a scan, tonnes of fuel spilled from the San Enterprise in Timaru's harbour, and hundreds turned out to audition for New Zealand's Got Talent at Roncalli College.

Drug offences rose by more than 25 per cent in the last year, but youth crime was down by a third. Murder hit the headlines when Shane Braddick, 28, was found dead in York St, Timaru, and Johnny Holman, 25, was charged with his murder.

Receivers were appointed to New Zealand Dairies, after plans to sell the $100m Studholme dairy factory failed to eventuate, and Waimate was in the news for the wrong reasons, when councillor Sandy Mulqueen called for the decriminalisation of cannabis and admitted to driving buses in Auckland while she was stoned.

Two people were found dead by charity trail bike riders near Waihaorunga, southwest of Waimate - Czech tourist Dagmar Pytlickova, 31, believed to have been killed with a knife, and Waimate man Jason Frandi, 43, with cuts to his left wrist.

A magnitude-4.5 quake in June sent us to the phones to check on our Christchurch neighbours, only to find that the tremor was centred 30km north of Geraldine.

Air travel in and out of Timaru was becoming a problem, with 10 per cent of flights cancelled in 10 weeks.

Two prosthetic legs were found around Timaru, and the Mackenzie District Council dumped its tourism trust.

In July, yet another building closed its doors, with Timaru Hospital staff vacating the six-storeyed Gardens Block, after it was deemed at risk of collapse in the event of an earthquake.

For 11 days, Studholme shooter Natalie Rooney thought she was going to the Olympic Games, only to lose her spot at the eleventh hour after a successful appeal from a Levin shooter.

There was bad news for PrimePort Timaru, when major container lines Maersk and Hamburg Sud withdrew from the port.

Just up the road, Timaru's new aquatic centre opened its doors, with Prime Minister John Key doing the honours.

More churches closed their doors - St Joseph's in Temuka and St Mary's in Pleasant Point - cigarettes went under cover in the shops and children paid tribute to author Margaret Mahy after her death in Christchurch.

The rain came late in July and continued into August. Rivers rose, bridge approaches were washed out and roads were awash with water. Timaru recorded nearly three times its normal rainfall during winter and councils counted the cost of the cleanup.

Waimate's council admitted that it had spent $50,000 on a dispute with a business owner.

Marc Ryan bagged bronze at the London Olympics, but a puncture scuttled Shane Archbold's hopes.

In a major upset, Timaru councillors voted for an "at large" voting option, doing away with the ward system.

The council revisited the decision after considerable public opposition and eventually overturned it, keeping the current system in place.

Timaru district deputy mayor Michael Oliver died suddenly, and Pleasant Point's Richard Lyon was appointed his replacement.

The hydroslides opened at the new aquatic centre, the exodus from South Canterbury to Australia almost trebled during the past 10 years and jobs started to go at PrimePort.

In September, the police announced a major cannabis bust, saying it was believed to be the biggest dealing operation Timaru had seen. Three people were charged.

South Canterbury hailed its Olympians in a parade, and the Herald sold its Bank St premises of 28 years to Nelson businessman Keith Whitehead, announcing it was moving to the former South Canterbury Finance premises in Sophia St.

The Mediterranean Shipping Co announced a new weekly container service to Timaru, saving 10 jobs at the port, and there was surprise at the sudden resignation by Craighead Diocesan School principal Francesca Black.

In October, it was announced that a new salmon processing plant, employing 75 people, would be built at Washdyke, high winds brought down a tree in Craigie Ave and the new swimming coach for Timaru's aquatic centre, Roly Veitch, pulled out at the last minute.

South Canterbury had the highest rate of influenza in September - nearly double the national average - and Shane Archbold announced that he would chop off his famous mullet for charity.

Timaru woman Lesley Suddens, 24, was killed in a crash at Seadown, which also claimed the life of her unborn child.

Unemployment dropped 19 per cent in a year, with 161 fewer South Canterbury people looking for work, and a Timaru family urged people to install carbon-monoxide sensors in caravans, after the inquest into their father's death in 2010.

In November, TeamTalk bid $42m for Timaru internet company BayCity, Craighead student Cass Reid was selected for the New Zealand women's hockey team, and Aoraki Polytechnic chief executive Kay Nelson resigned.

The victim of a serious assault outside a Temuka hotel, 39-year-old Dale Robert Bellaney, died from his injuries, and when two motocross bikes collided, 30-year-old Daniel Down was killed and a 23-year-old Waimate man was injured.

Timaru police launched a kidnap inquiry after a 9-year-old Timaru boy was found in a distressed state near Holme Station Bridge. A Timaru man, Matthew John Krouse, 26, was remanded in custody without plea on a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Sir Gordon Tait's 35-kilogram bust disappeared from outside Timaru's library in December, 101, the mental health wellness drop-in centre picked up the ball and organised the community Christmas dinner, the 50m outdoor pool at CBay opened on a hot summer's day and the Herald moved into its new premises.

Timaru woman Sharon Watts had surgery to remove a 35kg cyst and an Ashburton motorcyclist, Craig Hyde, 46, was killed in a crash at the Timaru International Motor Raceway.

And so that was 2012. That's what we've done. Another year over, and a new one about to begin. Happy New Year.

The Timaru Herald