Daisy Thor-Poet: Change-making With Tinted Productions

Daisy filming for Tinted Productions

The Piha surf is pounding; wind and rain are sweeping across the black sand. Usually, only the surfers brave this weather — but today there’s one, lone photographer, hunched into her jacket. 

She’s waiting. Any moment now there’ll be a break in the weather. That’s when she’ll whip out her Sony A7SII camera and get the shots — waves, surfers, footprints on the sand, and the next on-coming rainband rushing across the bay. 

Daisy Thor-Poet is the sole camera-crew, sound operator and director of Tinted Productions. And she will brave any conditions to get the footage for her latest documentary series, “Changemakers.” 

Because, as she explains, “I had one day free in Auckland, so it was my only chance. I got soaking wet, but I got the shots… which ended up working perfectly.”

Daisy Thor_Poet wet but happy shooting footage for the Changemakers series on Piha Beach.
Caught in the rain on Piha Beach, but Daisy got the shots for “Sustainable Coastlines” and that’s what counted.
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Preserving Garston History

Whenever I want to know about Garston’s history, I go straight to Peter Naylor and Noel McMillan. 

These two farmers were born and bred in Garston and have lived here all their lives. And both men are passionate in their own ways about preserving our history. 

Peter has albums filled with photos of farming life back in the day and a story to go with each one. He kindly let me use some of these photos in 

Winter Feeding On The Farm   and  Making Hay While The Sun Shines

History on the Garston Green

One of Peter’s main passions is restoring old vehicles to their former glory. When Russell Glendinning found that two of his old railway jiggers had gone to rack and ruin he brought them to Garston, hoping that Peter would work some magic. 

And Peter did. Now, Garston is lucky to have them on display as part of our railway heritage precinct on the Garston Green.

Red and yellow 1910 hand-operated railway jigger restored by Peter Naylor.
This 1910 hand-operated railway jigger is part of the railway heritage collection on the Garston Green. It was donated by Russell Glendinning and restored by Peter Naylor.

Noel, on the other hand, has dedicated much of his time to collecting and preserving documents from the past. He’s got files, folders and books galore of fascinating documents and photographs showing farming and community life as it used to be.

The way we were. Garston railway yards, hotel and garage. Winter, 1950-60’s.

Now, Noel is collaborating with his granddaughter to bring us a new Facebook page. Amanda has been posting photos and articles from Noel’s vast collection and reminding us of a bygone era. If you’ve lived in Northern Southland, you might well recognise places, events and faces. You might even spot yourself at these special events.

You can check it out at Preserving History

Thanks to Noel, Peter and all the dedicated historians who collect, sift, store and retell the stories of their districts. Our lives are richer for your work.

More History on TOML

Experiments In The Art and Science of Soap:

Bars of soap

Soap. It’s become the new gold in supermarkets since COVID 19 turned our world upside down. 

In recent years we’ve been bombarded with advertisements for soap alternatives. There are all sorts of fancy hand sanitisers, wet wipes, and sprays on the market. 

But it turns out that good, old-fashioned soap is the key to washing dirt and germs off our hands and down the drain. 

So, from a teacher and science-nerd, try these experiments to see why every bubble needs a little soap these days.

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Remembering Russell Glendinning

Railway-sleeper & cartwheel seat, memorial information board and life-size cutout figure of Russell Glendinning make up the memorial.

Russell Glendinning was a giant of a man in Northern Southland. I think you’d be hard-put to find anyone as passionate and dedicated to trains and community as the man known to many as Mr Kingston Flyer.

A Crowd Gathers In Garston

On February 22nd a crowd gathered near the little railway shed on the Garston Green. They came from all over Southland and beyond.  Railwaymen caught up with their mates. St John’s personnel leant against their ambulance chatting to friends. 

Locals from Kingston, Garston and Athol came along. Family, friends, dignitaries… 

We were all there to honour one extraordinary man.

The Russell Glendinning Memorial Seat

The Russell Glendinning memorial, railway sleeper & cart-wheel seat with information board. The Kingston Flyer cutout runs along the top.

This rustic seat is a heartfelt tribute to a legendary Southlander. And, like Mr Glendinning, it’s down-to-earth yet complex. Aaron Abernethy built it carefully, from railway sleepers and cartwheels. Russell might have blushed to read the information board created by Donna Hawkins and Chris Chilton. But he’d have loved the attention to detail on Macaela Hawkins’ re-creation of the Kingston Flyer perched on top.

“I think it is a great tribute to Russell,” said Kingston Flyer Ltd Director Neville Simpson. “It’s a place to come and remember him, to sit and contemplate. 

Russell used to do a lot of that. He’d go up the track, do a few sleepers then lie back in the grass and contemplate life.”

But, who was Russell Glendinning and why did 100 people gather to honour him on that rain-threatened afternoon?

Let’s find out.

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Behind the Scenes: The Revenant Community

Two things that Scott Worthington and Welcome Rock’s Tom O’Brien stand for – Community and Challenge. They’re building both in The Revenant Ultra Adventure Run.

I love the outdoors and I love a challenge. And I love people that love a challenge. It’s really important in my heart and in my wife’s heart to recognise the strength in everybody.”

Scott Worthington at the close of the 2020 Revenant Ultra Adventure Run
Scott Worthington and Tom O'Brien at the closing ceremony table with the Welcome Rock Whisky bottle and shot glasses.
Scott and Tom about to present the very first Revenants with their ceremonial shot glass full of Welcome Rock whisky.

One of the very special things about the Revenant run is its community feel. The runners, their families, supporters and all the volunteers feel a sense of connection and belonging. 

It’s not an accident. Everyone has a part to play in the Revenant family.

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The Revenant Ultra Adventure Run: 2020

Revenant 2020 was all we hoped for and more. It had drama, heartbreak and challenge a-plenty.

I was lucky enough to be out on the course in this year’s event. Here’s how it unfolded.

The 2020 Revenant Ultra Adventure Run challengers meet at the race briefing at the Welcome Rock Trails / Blackmore Station woolshed. The next time they’ll all be together will be at the start line in the early hours of a January morning.

Can You Imagine Going Deep Into The Revenant?

“ I saw a black and white cow pulling a caravan up the river.”

That might have bothered Shaun the first time he clambered up the Nokomai River. But as he scrambled over boulders and under logs for the fourth time in 60 hours, the cow didn’t faze him at all. 

When you’re pushing body, mind and spirit to the limit, hallucinations happen. Your brain starts to play tricks when you’ve been running and navigating with no sleep. And when you’re climbing, descending and racing for 190km over three days. 

It happens when you go deep into The Revenant.

25 men and women lined up in the 2020 race on Welcome Rock Trails this year. Some had been there before — they had demons to conquer. Last year, no-one came close to finishing the race. 

Others were there to discover their own limits. How would they face the challenge that is the Revenant Ultra Adventure Run?

Two Revenant racers clamber over logs in the beech forest beside the rocky Nokomai River bed.
It’s tricky terrain down in the beech forest near the Nokomai River. Photo supplied by Scott Worthington.
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