Walking capital of the World
Wilderness capital of New Zealand

Polar Plunge 2015

te anau polar plunge event 2015

The Polar Plunge 2015 was a brilliant community event to raise funds for the Te Anau Primary school year six children and their annual camp. 

Thousands of dollars were raised by adults and children in the community plunging into the icy waters of Lake Te Anau on the shortest day of the year, and certainly a wet one, both in and out of the water (it was raining at the time). 

The first to go in, were the brave year six children, dressed in a range of colourful outfits, including a polar bear suit, a tinkerbell outfit, and Frozen characters. 

te anau lake polar plunge 2015The next to take the plunge were local adult "identities", including police officer Dwight Grieve (dressed as fairy cop), pharmacist George Batchelor (bottle of ketchup), former rugby star and local supermarket owner Callum Bruce (red skirt, silver hair), doctor Liz Scott (chicken), and restaurant co-owner Ryan Murray (lego man).

Following on with lots of enthusiasm were many other residents, including children and adults. Nigel Stock, 34, who went in dressed as a Hawaiian beauty, said: "People had smiles on their faces when they went into the water and amazingly when they got out the water. It was so fantastic that everyone was so happy given the temperature! What a marvellous community event."

Arlo Hill, who went in dressed as tigger from Winnie the Pooh, and promises to plunge again next year, said: "People enjoyed going into the freezing cold water. I jumped right in and loved it. They breed people to be tough in Fiordland. But I wasn't born here so I have to admit I was really cold when I got out!"

There were spot prizes afterwards, and prizes for the best outfits. Everyone who plunged got a free hot chocolate and a sausage in a bun. 

te anau lake polar 2015




Urgent plea for support for ultra-fast broadband

fiordland broadband mapThis is an urgent call to support a bid by Venture Southland for ultra-fast broadband in Te Anau, improvements to rural broadband, and mobile services on blackspots on key roads (see map), to help businesses, organisations, home-workers, our schools, tourists, and the community at large.

Te Anau is competing against communities all over New Zealand for this service, and bids that show significant community support are inevitably far more likely to succeed. We are also a small community competing against larger communities, so every voice counts and is vital. Your support is urgently requested therefore by Venture Southland, by sending emails / letters of support and completing a survey by the end of June 2015. So don't delay, support the bid today! 

Read on for how to submit your response and suggestions of things you may wish to say to support this bid. 

How to submit

Letters and emails of support can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and must be received by the end of June 2015. 

The survey can be completed here

Things you may wish to emphasise: 

Here are some suggestions from teanau.net.nz administrators of things you may wish to reference in your submission: 

- Why the internet is so essential to you - for work / home / tourism / education. Remember to include the importance of it to others in your home and workplace, such as children in your home or tourists staying at your accommodation.  (The capacity of ultra-fast broadband to cope with multiple users is much greater.)

- The large number of tourists (half a million) staying or driving through Te Anau and expecting a fast and reliable connection to check for things including weather reports and road reports for safety reasons. 

- The current slow speed of connections in Te Anau compared with what can be achieved through ultra-fast broadband (which Venture Southland says will be six to 20 times faster). 

- Examples of particular things you would like to do online that you struggle to do? For example, meetings and learning via webinars, communication with extended family in other countries, educational projects, access of safety-critical information, etc. 

· Negative experiences you or others have had that you can report upon. 

- You may also wish to mention  the Milford Road and the lack of mobile connections on this road, which is a particularly high-risk road that has suffered fatalities and injuries due to its heavy use by drivers from all over the world who are often not experienced at driving on this narrow, bendy rural road. 

More information including guidance from Venture Southland

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is seeking input into where in New Zealand they should invest funds in ultrafast broadband (UFB2), rural broadband (RBI2) and mobile services in black spots on key roads (MBSF). Venture Southland is coordinating a bid on behalf of the Southland region and the three Councils. Venture Southland undertook a survey into mobile and internet services to which over 700 people responded and proposed sites for new services have been selected - including Te Anau! (See map on this page showing proposed sites for ultrafast broadband in pink circles.)

It's important, if submitting a letter / email, to support the bid as it stands, and not ask for anything contrary to the bid's criteria. So there is no point, sadly, in trying to advocate for Ultra Fast Broadband in Manapouri in this bid. But if enough people support it, a cell phone tower may be a reality.

What this could mean for Te Anau

If successful, Te Anau would be one of the big winners - ultra fast broadband (UFB) services for people and businesses living in the urban areas of Te Anau via ground laid fibre with a starting speed of 30Mbps and up to 100Mbps normally (and even up to 1Gbps). This is 6 to 20 times faster than you can have through Rural Broadband Initiative via fixed line now. It will be a huge improvement on the present.

The relatively small population will be the biggest disadvantage for this bid. Venture Southland will emphasise the importance of UFB for (tourism) businesses so this is something to focus in your letters of support. However, isolation is another point e.g. how will UFB help you and your family – e.g. you may have a student in your family that has access to UFB through the college (provided through another, existing Govt initiative) but their education would greatly benefit from having such access also at home.

Proposed: ultra fast broadband

Possible focus for letters of support: tourism, isolation, attraction and retention of residents.

Manapouri and Fiordland

The proposal for Manapouri is for a cell phone tower (this could be Vodafone or Spark depending who may eventually bid) under the Mobile Black Spot Fund. The key message to focus on in your letter of support could be safety – for you, for your clients and employees, and visitors travelling through Manapouri. You may also want to mention how important communications infrastructure is for small towns to attract and retain people to live in the region and to do business in global markets.

For your information, three other mobile sites in Western/Southern Southland are proposed on the main visitor route: on the Milford Road (on the Appearing Shoulder north of Knobs Flat), as well as at Blackmount, and on Stucks Hill in the Longwoods.

Proposed: mobile tower site

Possible focus for letters of support: safety, attraction and retention of residents.

Letters and emails are needed from you, community groups you are member of, businesses which you are part of, which will support our application.

We want the Government to approve funding and they need to understand:

· How it is for those living out there now, what is your current service like?

· Have you had a particular negative experience? How do you deal with others who cannot communicate e.g. visitors?

· How does this affect how you live, run a business/farm, travel through the area etc.

· What would improvements would mean to you?

MBIE require all bids to be submitted by 3 July 2015. Therefore we respectfully request any emails or letters of support be sent to us by the end of June.

For further information please do not hesitate to contact Rhiannon Suter at Venture Southland 03 211 1404 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Please do forward this request to anyone else you think may be willing to support the application with an email or letter of support.


Adult Education Courses

Adult education courses based in and around Te Anau and Manapouri are organised by Southland Workers’ Educational Association, course take place throughout the year they are non-assessed and low cost.

Cake Decorating

A beginner to intermediate course to learn several aspects of cake decorating including types of icing, gum paste models, flowers, frills and bows. Students earn the art of creating a design, construction, colour matching, applying icings and presentation aspects (board covering and lettering)

The cake decorating course is held at Fiordland Event Centre and is hosted by Kathryn Wright

Drawing & Painting

Suitable for beginners to intermediate level, this relaxed and fun class aims to develop a greater confidence in drawing and painting skills. Students will explore line, shape, tone, texture, colour and composition using a variety of techniques and subject matter. This course provides an opportunity to focus on working from observation in order to develop a strong foundation for personal artistic expression.

The drawing & painting course is held at Fiordland Event Centre and is hosted by Catriona Cunningham

Painting the Fiordland Landscape

A two day watercolour workshop giving students the opportunity to learn a variety of techniques in order to confidently paint the Fiordland Landscape. Suitable for beginners to intermediate level, students will have the opportunity to practice techniques such as wet-into-wet, dry brush and lifting out, as well as learning about colour mixing, tonal recession and composition.


This course will be delivered in a relaxed and creative environment in the tutor's own studio and classroom. Basic techniques will be covered including coiling, slabbing, press moulding and throwing. Technical aspects such as glaze making, firing techniques, mould making and decorating techniques will also be covered.

The pottery course is held at the host’s home studio, Andrew Hill



Waste & Recycling

Te Anau and Manapouri have a kerbside collection service, recycling using yellow lidded bins and rubbish using red lidded bins are collected on alternate Monday. Get more information about your collection.
For those properties without a kerbside collection service, you can still recycle through your nearest recycle facility.

Te Anau

Te Anau transfer station
Te Anau Manapouri Highway, Te Anau. Transfer Station is open 7 days a week.

From Te Anau township, head southeast on Luxmore Drive toward Mokoroa Street. Turn right at Manapouri Te Anau Highway. Turn left to stay on Manapouri Te Anau Highway, travelling for 2 kilometres. The Te Anau Transfer is on the left (after Golf Course Road).

Te Anau transfer station
The Te Anau Transfer Station is open:
Daylight Savings - Monday to Sunday, 2pm to 6pm
Winter Hours - Monday to Sunday, 2pm to 4pm
The Station is closed on the following public holidays - Good Friday, Easter Sunday, New Year's Day and ANZAC morning.

Using the Facility
Customers will be met by the Attendant, who will accept payment (where applicable) and direct customers where to dispose of their materials.
Materials Accepted
Household rubbish
Reusable Items - there is a "second-chance" shed on site where second hand goods can be left for others to use
Garden waste
Scrap metal
Hazardous waste (limited storage capacity)

Materials Not Accepted
Loads over 3 tonnes gross weight will not be accepted without prior written approval from Southland District Council.
Liquid waste


Manapouri recycling centre
205 Hillside Manapouri Road. Open 24/7.

From Manapouri township, head southwest on Cathedral Drive toward Lake street. Turn sharp left at Hillside Manapouri Road and travel for 2 kilometres. The recycle centre is on the left.

Material Accepted
Paper (newspaper, magazines, junk mail, books, mail, envelopes, and cards)
Cardboard (boxes, packaging, cereal boxes)
Aluminium cans
Tin and Steel cans
Plastic - types 1 and 2 (milk bottles, soft drink bottles, bathroom and laundry containers)
Glass bottles and jars

Material Not Accepted
Plastic - types 3 to 7
Window glass
Dirty paper or cardboard

For more information go to Wastenet Southland


Keeping the wheels of military history rolling - in Fiordland!

military museumA New Zealand flag proudly flying on a 9 metre pole at the bottom of Gorge Hill on SH94 between Te Anau and Mossburn is hard to miss. It marks the entrance to the property of Tina & Duncan McGregor. Tina is a professional photographer and Duncan runs the McGregor Concrete, a family business set up 48 years ago by his father Duncan and uncle Donald McGregor. Screened from the road by a row of tall poplars their unpretentious house looks somewhat incongruous with its carefully maintained, park-like grounds, fit enough for a mansion.

Two large sheds add to the pastoral appearance of the 10 acre property looking out on the Takitimu Mountains. But rather than tractors and farm machinery, these buildings hold a surprise for an unprepared visitor.
With a combined floor area of over 800 square metres, the sheds are home to the Fiordland Military Vehicles Museum set up and fully owned by Duncan and Tina. As you step into these buildings you are transported back in time to the first half of last century. War-time trucks, jeeps and tanks, all lovingly restored, fill the space in neat rows. Visual displays portraying bunkers and sandbagged trenches add to the atmosphere of World War II.
When you start talking to Tina and Duncan it becomes immediately apparent where the McGregors’ hearts are. Their eyes light up as they talk about WWII history, of which Duncan in particular is very knowledgeable. With all five of their children gone from the nest, the museum is now their baby that consumes a lot of time, attention and love.

Duncan’s interest in history dates back to ANZAC Day celebrations he used to go to as a young boy.

"I have always liked the look of GMC trucks, since I was a boy, the fact that they were a war truck and had good off-road ability. Tina and I were discussing hobbies, and I decided that I would look out for a GMC. One turned up at an auction in Luggate, in May 2006, so I bought it," he says. "Later that year we purchased a Jeep. Then an avalanche started,” his wife adds. She admits that her interest in war memorabilia developed initially because of Duncan, but over time became a passion of her own.

Today their impressive collection includes 25 military vehicles, 6 trailers, 2 bulldozers, one dragline (crane/excavator) and numerous other historic military items.  “A few people have large private collections, but ours is unique for several reasons – the number and range of styles of the vehicles, the way they have been restored, the fact they are all in running order, the way they are displayed and the environment in which they are presented,” Tina says.

The most prized items in their collection are a White M3A1 armoured scout 4x4 and a Dodge Command car. Part of their collection is also a M113 armoured personnel carrier on loan from the National Army Museum in Waiouru.
Mr McGregor said he has restored or done some work on about 80% of his vehicles. “It means a lot of cold nights in the shed,” he says, “but only when Tina is away. I don’t like taking time away from my family for this,” he adds.
He has five trucks under restoration at the moment, but his latest project is a 1942 D8 Caterpillar Bulldozer that has been donated to the museum recently. Duncan admits that it needs a lot of work, but is a welcome addition to the collection, as at 18 tonnes it’s a lot bigger than the 3-tonne bulldozer they already had.

The McGregors are members of the nationwide New Zealand Military Vehicle Collectors Club (NZMVCC), whose 200 members are committed to restoring, preserving, operating and displaying ex-military wheeled, tracked and stationary machines. Their annual rally is held each year in different New Zealand locations.

Duncan and Tina are happy to make their collection available to the public, but they like to share it in a controlled way. Their museum is open to groups by appointment only. According to Tina, since the museum opening in 2009, over a thousand people have come through. “We have hosted war veterans, scout groups, various vintage car clubs, Probus & Rotary groups,” says Duncan. “The biggest group we’ve had here was 55 people.”

The McGregors use every opportunity to show their vehicles to the public, taking them to the ANZAC parades and the Armistice Day celebrations every year. They are also present at the War Birds over Wanaka events. Their massive anti-aircraft reflector light swept the sky with its powerful bright beam at Te Anau’s Winter Illumination Night.

They went to Normandy, France for the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of D-Day. This was not their first trip, as they were present at the 65th anniversary. They also visited other places of significance for New Zealand war history, including Gallipoli in Turkey and Arnhem in Holland.

The McGregors’ dedication to New Zealand’s military history was recognised in 2013 when they received NZMVCC Merit Award for their leadership and initiative in preserving a part of NZ military history and making it available to the public.

“They have collected an extensive range of military vehicles and memorabilia and have set up a museum for display to enthusiasts, veterans and general public,” the encryption on the award says.
For more information or bookings call (03) 429 5855 or (027) 481 3070, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Article by Alina Suchanski, Te Anau-based freelance journalist 



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