Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 27 October 2011 Contents LOCAL NEWS
27 October, 2011 | Page 3
New Zealand's last remaining
operational flax mill will host an
open day on Sunday -- the first in
Once there were hundreds of flax
mills throughout New Zealand --
44 in Southland alone. The only
remaining one is the Templeton
Mill at Otaitai Bush, near Riverton,
now a heritage museum. Started
by William Templeton in 1911,
it was closed in 1972 by his
grandson Des Templeton when it
was no longer economic to run.
However, in 2002 on the initiative
of his cousin Hugh, Des restarted
the machinery with the backing of
a charitable trust set up to operate
and maintain it.
Open to groups by appointment,
the mill is now a popular tourist
attraction. More than 1000 people
visited it last year alone and in
that time it produced around
300kg of fibre. About 11kg of flax
is needed to make 1kg of fibre.
The last time a community open
day was held around 400 people
flocked to see history in action.
Des, who was the curator, died
in May but the mill has been
kept going by a dedicated army
of volunteers including his son
Vaughan -- the fourth generation
of Templetons to work the mill.
Vaughan has inherited the
curator's role and also works the
stripper machine that removes
the outside vegetation from the
flax before it is hung outside to dry
and bleach. It is then fed through
a scutcher machine which combs
and cleans the fibre ready for sale.
The scutching is done by Howard
Robertson who worked in the flax
mill when he left school.
Vaughan said his father had been
adamant that the mill was only of
any real interest if people could
see it in action. His words proved
correct and even those closest to
it could never have foreseen the
huge amount of interest the mill
continues to generate.
"We never anticipated how this
was going to finish up," Vaughan
But it was a hugely labour
intensive operation with everything
-- right down to the cutting of the
flax -- having to be done by hand.
And flax was a very abrasive
product -- hard on the hands and
"The more I run the machinery, the
more I'm wearing it out," he said.
The fibre produced by the mill
is sold for a variety of uses from
kapa haka costumes to weaving
and making flax paper. Sir Peter
Jackson even bought "a heap of
it" for use in the filming of The
Hobbit. Any money generated is
reinvested into its upkeep.
The only flax mill still operational
and on its original site, it is a
Historic Places Trust category 1
building -- the highest heritage
listing in recognition of its
outstanding historical significance.
The open day will be held
this Sunday, October 30,
with demonstrations running
approximately ever 40 minutes
between 1pm and 3pm. Entry is
$5 for adults, children are free.
The Templeton Flax Mill Museum
is signposted from the Invercargill-
Riverton highway (State Highway
99), on the Invercargill side of the
Historic mill to host public open day
Templeton Flax Mill Heritage Museum curator Vaughan Templeton with the
before and after products of the mill which will be operational at a public open
day this Sunday.
By Kirsty Macnicol
Te Anau's Fat Duck restaurant
is the venue for a special book
launch next Thursday.
Jo Heslop, who now lives at
Waitahuna, has chosen to unveil
her book It's OK! in Te Anau
because it's where the inspiration
for it came from and where she
wrote it two years ago.
Mrs Heslop's eldest son Cody, who
will turn 10 next month, suffers
from a very rare degenerative
condition known as Sanfilippo
Syndrome. In short, he has special
needs and, at school, requires the
fulltime assistance of a teacher
When the family lived in Fiordland,
Cody attended Mararoa School
and adapted well to his new
surroundings as did the children
around him to their different
classmate. But when they came
to move Mrs Heslop feared the
transition both for Cody and the
children at his new school. She
looked for a book to help people,
especially children, understand
that being different is okay but
couldn't find one so decided to
write and publish it herself.
It's about a child with special
needs starting a new school, as
seen through the eyes of another
"The book's to show adults and
children that being different in any
way is okay," she said.
It has been illustrated by Annie
Roska, of Te Anau, who was Cody's
teacher aide at Mararoa. The book
launch takes place at 5pm on
Te Anau chosen for book launch
Jo Heslop with her bok "It's OK!" that
will be launched in Te Anau next
Age Concern Southland is
planning a health expo in Te Anau
to showcase the agencies working
in the area and what services they
offer, especially for older people.
Accredited visitor service co-
ordinator Chris Cunningham said
not only would the expo promote
the services already available
but it would also enable any gaps
to be identified and potential
The free expo will run from 1pm
until 4pm on November 11 at
the Te Anau Club. While focused
on older people, it would be of
interest to all ages, she said.
Agencies would have a few
minutes each to talk about their
various roles and responsibilities
and there would then be a
facilitated discussion about
the services available in the
Te Anau area and what needs
the community felt should be
addressed. The afternoon would
conclude with afternoon tea and
a chance to find out more about
the services, each of whom would
have their own information stall.
Mrs Cunningham said similar
expos held in other towns had
proven to be a great opportunity
for people to learn more, whether
able to assist someone else.
"About 12 percent of the
population (in the Te Anau basin)
are aged over 65 and that will
grow," she said.
Health expo puts focus on Te Anau
Links Archive Fiordland Advocate 20 October 2011 Fiordland Advocate 3 November 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page