Franklin in photos

We’re a little bit country…………and a little bit city savvy, too……… with a whole lot of heart!!!

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……and here we are again…almost summer….almost Christmas!

WOW!!!  Franklin is once again showcasing a great deal of things to do and places to be over the next few weeks – just to start the summer season!!

Our area is quite a vast rural one, on the outer edges of what is now the Auckland Supercity, (not too far from the airport) but also taking in the Northern edge of the Waikato region, so we do have lots around – the west and east coast beaches are great for surfing and swimming (when the weather is fine), but also fantastic to walk along and take in the sounds, smells and sights at this time of year.

Port Waikato beach
Port Waikato on the West coast
East coast beaches in summer
East coast beaches in summer

Right now we can also enjoy (well many of us can!!) a long weekend with fun times at the local Glenbrook Vintage Railway. This weekend is their opening weekend for the season and there will be fun aplenty for all ages,, including a country market day on Monday! gvr-steam-train-and-engine.jpg

Our local Pukekohe Performing Arts group will help bring back memories of a bygone era with their production of “Grease,” showing until  Sunday.

Then there’s the local markets, an Orchid fair and the amazing Blast to the Past at Waiuku!

Heaps of great accommodation choices too – motels, hotels, campgounds, B&B’s – you name it!! along with dining experiences of all sorts!

If that isn’t enough to get you interested, then just wait and keep an eye out for more happenings in the region – including the V8 Supercars – only a matter of weeks away now!!! and with Christmas looming ever closer, there’s always the Christmas display to help get into the swing of things to come .

bersanti day spa

Franklin………our changing face

Franklin – our wee patch of NZ, like many others I guess, is ever changing, as the years move on…….

Pokeno of yesteryear
Pokeno of yesteryear

Just one instance is –

Pokeno, our neighbour down the road in the Northern Waikato part of Franklin, has been through many changes over the years – going from a fairly busy village as per our photo, to an area by-passed by the modernisation of the highway/motorway and now back again towards being a busy town with it’s new and increasing housing areas.

The town also has Yasihili, the new Infant Formula Factory, being built. It will  be interesting to see how this helps to build the region with employment, visitors and growth in general!

Yashili is part of a major group that leads the dairy market in China. To help us achieve our preeminent position there, we have been a longstanding importer of New Zealand milk powder. Now we are taking that one step further – we are not just sourcing our milk powder here; we are producing our finished goods here. Our $200 million investment in Pokeno focuses on the development and construction of a 30,000m2 manufacturing plant. Our annual production capacity of around 52,000 tonnes of infant formula products will supply the rapidly growing and increasingly demanding Chinese market.
To help us achieve our potential in New Zealand we are looking for the brightest and best people in dairy manufacturing to come on board with us. We have job opportunities in manufacturing, supply chain and quality management. Come and join us and be part of our team that is putting Kiwi expertise on the world’s stage.

Yashili is one of the “big three” producers of infant milk formula for the domestic market in China. Our two leading brands, Yashily and Scient, and the more recently introduced Merla brand account for more than 80 per cent of Yashili Group’s total business. Yashili is also one of the leading suppliers of soymilk powder, cereal, rice flour and milk powder for adults and teenager to the Chinese market. Our products are sold in just over 105,000 retail outlets in China. In July 2012, we were named among the top 500 Most Valuable Brands in China for the ninth consecutive year. Yashili Group employs over 5000 people and reported an annual turnover in 2011 of NZ$566 million. We are publicly listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In June 2013, China Mengniu Diary Company announced plans to acquire Yashili Group. Mengniu, China’s largest producer of liquid milk products, is part owned by China’s state-backed agricultural and food industry supplier COFCO.

Building Future Capacity
China’s infant formula market is expected to grow to NZ$32 billion by 2017, according to Euromonitor data. The increasing demand for infant milk formula is being driven by families shifting from rural locations to the cities, a stable birth rate, more mothers going out to work, and increases in disposable income. The challenge for Yashili and other manufacturers is to keep pace with demand while maintaining a high level of quality control. That’s why we have looked to New Zealand and its internationally recognised expertise in the manufacture of quality milk powder to build our newest dairy processing. Yashili already promotes the high quality of New Zealand-sourced milk content in our premium brands.  We have imported milk powder from New Zealand for over 10 years and we have used New Zealand milk powder exclusively in our infant milk formula since August 2010. Now we are adding further value to our product with Kiwi manufacturing expertise, and the support of the country’s skilled labour force.

Franklin Taste at Karaka…..

Today the Franklin Taste show was on at the Karaka Sports Grounds, with a pretty good turnout, and apparently Mayor Len Brown arrived, not sure where he was, but it was mentioned that he WAS there (maybe that bit will show on telly tonight?)

Franklin Taste 2015 Balle  (14)So, although not all of the stands were foodie stands, there was quite a mix of mainly local Franklin stands, and here are a few photos to get a “Taste” of what was on show.
Along with our own Balle family’s “Chip off the old Block” yummy potato chips,

Chip Off The Old Block potato chips are only ever made with Balle family grown and supplied potatoes which the chip makers then only ever cook in sunflower oil and then only ever sprinkle with natural seasonings. When they’re Flat Cut Chips they’re sliced thick with their skins on and when they’re Kettle Chips they’re cooked slow and long in batches for a bigger crunch.

we also had Sonja’s Taste of Austria stand (based in Tuakau) with some delicious sweet “Cremeschnitten” – Franklin Taste 2015 cremeschnitten from Sonjas taste of Austria

Tuakau Hotel, Awaroa Vineyard and Cottage, Mercer Cheese
and more had a presence along with delicious cold pressed juice from Soul Organics, rich in nutrients and tasty too, bringing their product to the Auckland market. I am NOT much of a veggie eater particularly, but the “Detox Dude” organic, carrot, apple and lime drink was very delicious. It is packed with vitamins A, K and potassium and is a great source of energy for the body. My friend tried the “Energiser Bunny” – organic carrot, beetroot, apple and spray free ginger, and was impressed by this mix too! – amazing for heart health and a great source of nitrates with anti inflammatory properties. Look out for this brand in our region!

In the non foodies range, Glenbrook Lavender Oil Co had a range of beautiful smelling lavender soaps, along with shampoo, conditioner

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…and here we are – 2015!!

green 2015
Where DID 2014 go?

The beginning of a new year with new plans and prospects. Franklin is no different in that respect as we have such a lot on the agenda again this year! BUT we do have such awesome events.

If you are a racing fan, then the end of this month at Hampton Downs (officially in the North Waikato, but we still call that area our southern Franklin!!) is the Fifty Plus Formula 5000 lineup

An unprecedented turnout of Formula 5000 cars looks set to secure the 2015 Gulf Oil Howden Ganley Formula 5000 Festival’s place in motorsport history as one of the largest ever gatherings of the iconic race cars.

The organisers are confident fans will see 50 plus of the V8, 10 and V12 powered machines, with cars covering all years of the F5000 formula’s life, and most if not all of the manufacturers who built cars for the series which ran in various guises in the USA, Europe and Australasia between 1968 and 1982.

The 2015 event – which stretches over the weekends of January 16-18 and 23-25 at the Hampton Downs circuit in the North Waikato – is a celebration of both the Formula 5000 type of racing car and driver Howden Ganley. Unheralded Kiwi Ganley’s story is a fascinating one that took the former team mechanic to sports cars, F5000 and the dizzy heights of Formula One.

It also marks the first ‘Formula 5000 World Series’ – the champion of which will be crowned after the last race of the second weekend of the Festival. At least one full grid of Formula 5000s will race during the Festival, and that could mean as many as 35 of the earth-shaking single seaters roaring around the Hampton Downs track almost five seconds a lap quicker than the best ‘V8 taxi’ is capable of

..and while you’re over this way, why not stay awhile and head to Waiuku for the Movies in Parks Rocky Horror Picture show on the 16th Jan? Rocky Horror pic

Splore pic
February, on our calendar here in Franklin has the “Splore Festival” at Tapapakanga Regional Park. So get set for summertime fun and music by the water!

Simply put Splore is a boutique music and arts festival like no other.

In March we have some celebrations of the area and our own Taste Festival…so keep an eye out for more info here AND get your accommodation booked (if you can!!) and come stay a while !!

pohutukawa beach pic

Franklin’s patch is growing!!

Well now…another brekky meeting and more info about our patch here in Franklincountry!
Happy Valley Honey

The speakers at this months business breakfast that I went along to (after being a bit held up by peak hour traffic!! Can that ever be remedied?) came from our own Happy Valley Honey. Another awesome business that we have in Franklin.
Did you know….
bee cartoon pic

Happy Valley Honey was founded in 1975 by the late Ben Rawnsley and his wife Dot.
What started off as a hobby quickly grew into a shop and office based on their farm in Mill Rd in Alfiston, South Auckland. Many of our current customers still recall visiting the farm and filled their containers with their favourite honey.

In 1990 Happy Valley commenced production of Fresh Royal Jelly; and to this day Happy Valley remain the only commercial producers of NZ Royal Jelly. Investment has been made to ensure we stay at the cutting edge of Royal Jelly production.

Royal Jelly
Royal Jelly

In 2003, Happy Valley honey was relocated to its current address in Drury when the Lipscombe family took full ownership. Happy Valley focused on setting up our honey production facility with state of the art manufacturing equipment. Production at our facilities focuses on converting bulk honey into packed honey, either for third parties or under the Happy Valley range of honey & beauty products. All Happy Valley honey products are displayed at the retail store based at 520 Great South Rd.

In 2011 the business changed shareholdings, and to this day is run by two families, the Lipscombe’s and the Harvey’s. The Lipscombes focus on Bee Enterprises, a separately run entity focusing on bee keeping and procurement of bulk honey and Bee related products for Happy Valley.

Happy Valley has a range of Honey related products including Energy bars, Lollies, Lozenges and toothpaste- have a look for yourself.

Happy Valley is the #1 producer of New Zealand Fresh Royal Jelly, believed to be the purest Royal Jelly in the world, giving unsurpassed wellbeing to everyone.
Our Fresh NZ Royal Jelly has the highest levels of 10HDA known: 3.1% – these high levels determine the quality of the product you get when buying from Happy Valley.

Royal Jelly benefits can help to assist with several health conditions:
Anemia, Arthritis, Broken or weak bones, Bladder infections, Coronary Artery disease, Depression, Diabetes, Eye Cataracts, Hormonal imbalances, High cholesterol levels, High blood pressure, Impotency, Infertility, Inflammation, Impaired memory, Immune system problems, Liver ailments, Mental exhaustion, Menopause, Panic or anxiety attacks, Parkinson’s disease, Skin blemishes, Viral & bacterial infection, Weight control, Wound healing, Weak or tired eyes, Wrinkles.

Happy Valley Honey have purchased another property locally to continue their growth into the food arena, so watch out for their next news…..

We are so lucky to have such a range of fantastic businesses in our patch, so come along and check out what we have here.

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a good looking weekend….

Well, here we are again! Labour Weekend!!
The year is going so fast and the summer activities are popping up again.
Here in our patch – Franklin country – there is a great lineup, especially if the weather stays the way it is starting out!! Sunshine YES!!!!
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black smoke GVR train

Our wonderful Glenbrook Vintage Railway is opening for the summer season this weekend and will have some awesome displays –

Come and celebrate the re-opening of the Glenbrook Vintage Railway for our 38th operating season!
This weekend will be extra special as two of our steam locomotives will be operating- Ja 1250 “Diana” & Ww 644 on the Saturday & Sunday of this long weekend. An added extra for the public this weekend, is to have the opportunity to travel inside the cab of our steam loco. Cab ride experiences will be held at Glenbrook Station for a small few of $10 per person.

A massive display of locomotives will be taking place at our Pukeoware Depot featuring A 423, Wab 800, J 1234 and other heritage locomotives. These locos are not shown to the general public, so again a very good opportunity to get up close to these steam giants.
Other attractions will be at Glenbrook Station including classic car, vintage tractor displays and much more.

Come out on Monday 27th October (Labour Weekend Monday) for a fantastic day of steam train action featuring Ab 608 “Passchendaele” from Wellington!
The highlight will be steam locomotive ‘Ab’ 608 “Passchendaele” from Steam Incorporated visiting us whilst operating their Heartland Rail Tour train. Ab 608 “Passchendaele” will be operating the 5 return trips over our 8km railway during this day. At some point during the day our Ww 644 steam locomotive will couple up to Ab 608, and they will then perform ‘double-heading’ specials. This is a very unique experience, and should not be missed!
Ab 608 “Passchendaele” has just undergone a massive restoration by the team at Steam Incorporated near Wellington. She has returned to steam, and mainline running this year so it is a massive honour to have this special locomotive visit our railway. This locomotive is very unique in that it is the World War One memorial locomotive from the New Zealand Government Railways.
A special commemorative service will be held at Glenbrook Station on Monday morning prior to the first scheduled train departure. This will feature a display of World War One and other military equipment and personal.

Along with this awesome event, Franklin has some fantastic markets over Saturday and Sunday and the site of the Franklin Zoo, at Tuakau, will have an open afternoon on Sunday in an effort to re-open as an Animal sanctuary. So check out the details and take a picnic lunch for another great day in Franklin.saving-Franklin-Zoo

We have plenty to see and do, so stay a while and have a fun loooong weekend!!