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.

Entertainment in Franklin

 Franklin , is a place where we have such a lot of entertainment of all sorts to suit many different tastes

Our own local entertainer, Dennis Marsh and his lovely wife, Yvonne, have a number of friends in the entertainment business. With these connections, Dennis and the team at Tuakau’s La Valla Estate, are able to bring shows to the district on a more personal level.

Larry Morris Band 2The latest show – Larry Morris and the LMB band, was a great evenings entertainment, with songs from the distant past as well as some more up to date numbers.
I don’t know how many will remember Larry’s Rebels or their songs, but in their day,
they were

Universally accepted as a NZ Rock Legend, introduced by former Prime Minister Helen Clark as a true Kiwi Music Icon, Larry’s 45 year singing career has helped shape Kiwi music.

In October 2008 Larry recieved the Variety Artists Club Lifetime Achievement Award, the Scroll of Honour, a prestigious award bestowed on him by his peers.

Larry began singing professionally as a teenager (17) topping the charts with Larry’s Rebels. The band had more consecutive hit records (11) than any other act of that era, before Larry departed. Top Ten hits – This Empty Place, Long Ago Far Away, I Feel Good, Everybody’s Girl, Do What You Gotta Do, It’s Not True, Painter Man, Moreen, & Let’s Think Of Something – became part of Aoteroa’s music landscape.

Shotgun were another great New Zealand band that Larry put together in 1978. Two hit singles were produced, A Taste Of The Devil & Rain (a remake of the Uriah Heep song written by bass player Gary Thain.) Unfortunately Shotgun never recorded a full album although individual songs were recorded at Mascot Studios in Charlotte Street, Mt.Eden.

In 1981 Larry formed his first Larry Morris Band and became resident at Auckland’s Foundry Night Club packing the place for almost two years. Larry continues today with the powerful LMB.

He’s toured Australia the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe, wowing crowds in many famous venues.

Larry has toured and supported some of the all-time greats of music and song:

Roy Orbison
David Bowie
Tom Jones
Jimmy Page
The Who
Chuck Berry
Bo Diddley
Fleetwood Mac
The Yardbirds
Max Merrit & The Meteors
Herman’s Hermits
The Small Faces
Olivia Newton-John
John Farnham
Glenn Shorrock
The Walker Brothers
Dave Dee, Dozy, Mick & Titch
The Easybeats
Renee Geyer
Manfred Mann
Billy Thorpe
Brian Cadd
among others;

Locally, Larry has performed with Tommy Adderley, Gray Bartlett, Chris Fox, Mike Walker, Wiremu Karatiana, Frank Gibson Jnr, Les Still, Roger Sellers, Brian Smith, Martin Winch, Carl Doy, Merv Thomas, Bernie Allen, Wayne Senior, Murray Tanner, NZSO, Auckland Phillharmonic, Dalvanius Prime, Lou Pryme, Max Cryer, Dave Dobbyn, Tommy Ferguson, The Brew, Alan Wade, Jim Ford, The Dallas Four, Dody Potter, John Kristian, The NZ Party Boys, Rob Paterson, Richard Anaru, Ernie Semu, Mickey Ututaonga, Marc Hunter, Mark Williams, Suzanne Lynch, Annie Crummer, Steve Gilpin, Johnny Devlin, Howard Morrison, Ray Columbus, Shane, John Rowles, Margaret Urlich, Tom Sharplin, Ritchie Pickett, Steve Larkins, DerynTrainer, Dan Morley, Leyton Greening, Michael Tan, Gordon Joll, Ian Jeffries, Paul Voight, Jimmy Hill, Chet O’Connell, Brendon Ham, Joseph Anderson, Inga Cossey, Taisha, Tina Cross, Craig Scott, Bunny Walters, Gabriel Karcagi, Marina Danilova, Robyn Alexander, Edwina Thorne, Tuhi Timoti, Tich Walsh, Bruce & Dean Kerr, Rusty Greaves, Bruce Greaves, Kevin Greaves,
The Waltons, Brian Hatcher, Pete MacGregor, Rufus Rehu, Johnny Watson and many more.

an evening of fun in Franklin

A few nights ago, I had the great opportunity to attend a fun evening here in Franklin………

Our very own Franklin jewel – LaValla Estate, did themselves proud with a fundraising event for the Eden Christian Academy school, which is housed within the boundaries of LaValla Estate.

A great turnout arrived to hear Susie Johnson, of The Oosh Experience talk and give guidance on”Wot to Wear and Not to Wear”.
Stalls with jewellery, makeup and skin care as well as hair care where all on hand to compliment the show, along with food and wine, to ensure a fantastic time was had by all!

Oosh show

At Oosh we understand body shapes and to dress in the most flattering styles. New Zealand made and imported clothing. we give good old fashioned customer service!! We are genuine, have positive energy and good honest advice, we don’t judge and make you feel good in the skin you are in! That’s the Oosh experience!!

The evening was organised with the efforts and hard work of the staff from LaValla Estate and Eden Christian Academy. An impressive amount of just a tad under $3000 was raised to help further develop the Academy and helping to develop a playground. The Academy began with 2 kids about 18 months ago and now boasts nearly 50.

ECA is private, non-denominational Christian School catering for boys and girls from Year 1 through to Year 13, offering its students a number of curriculum assessments and qualification pathways.

Our school is located on the beautiful and peaceful LaValla Estate in 131 Dominion Road, Tuakau and you are more than welcome to contact us to arrange a visit at any time.

As you may or may not know, LaValla Estate was once a school for young men considering entering the Catholic brotherhood. I remember talk that in the beginning, the Marist school (as it was then) taught about agriculture and farming amongst other things. When I used to live across the road from the school, it was used only for functions, such as weddings, and the gymnasium was also used for local sporting activities. It later became the home of Felix Donnelly School before once again falling empty.

The Jackson family purchased the property in 2010 in a run down state and are lovingly restoring all the facilities so they can again be shared. The vision going forward is simple, to preserve the past and protect the future of LaValla as a unique location. Many people have been associated with the property through its 90 year history, many of whom still visit to reminisce about good times gone by. To preserve the history the Jacksons are busily collecting articles, photographs and the memories of former residents and are happy to share these with any guests who have an interest.

So for anyone looking for a beautiful place to get away, hold a function or wedding, you can’t go past LaValla Estate, right here on our doorstep in Franklin!! ….and they have their own Chapel Theatre where the likes of well known local singer, Dennis Marsh, perform.



Another great weekend is coming…

For anyone wondering what to do this coming weekend…look no further than Franklin!!

It should be a stunner , kicking off – literally – with the CMRFU Steelers v Canterbury game (check out franklincountry.comfor details)

Countiesrugby ball

If that doesn’t take your fancy, we also have the Bride of the Year event. Always a wonderful occasion with beautiful brides capturing the magic of their special day again, and hoping to win wonderful prizes at the Pukekohe Town Hall. bride of the year wedding fresse

Stay at one of the fantastic accommodation locations in the area and head on out to the unequaled local markets on the Saturday before having your say in the National elections at one of the many voting stations set up for this, around Franklin.

If you are into cars (hot rods in particular) then head to the Indian Association Hall on Ward Street and check out the huge array of vehicles – from dragsters to trucks, with only a $10 entry fee to the hall or just browse around outside and get your fill. The 50th annivesary of one of New Zealands biggest clubs is on all weekend!! (check out our What’s on page!!)hot rod car

Sunday is another day to check out the markets if you didn’t get around to it on Saturday, or if you feel the need to go again – this time in Pokeno maybe…or head to Hampton Downs to check out New Zealand’s top drifters in action on Sunday 21 September. car drifts or even head to the Hunua’s and get into the Blackmores XTERRA Auckland Trail Run/Walk Series Hunua
Xterra fun run

Franklin has the music!!

Here in Franklin, we have such a wonderful number of places to be able to hear a huge diversity of music – from the 60’s pop to the current classical and all sorts in between. You really don’t need to go anywhere else!

If you are into the covers band, Disolve, they are playing in Drury in July(4th) and August (check out our What’s On page!)
Then we have that great NZ singer, Anika Moa and her support act, Benny Tipene – 10th July.

Anika Moa

A North Island road-trip is just what Anika Moa needs now that she has moved back to her southern roots. And all those twice-as-nice communities, normally by-passed by musicians in favour of the cities, seem like great places to stop.
From Keri-Keri to Nae-Nae, Moa and support act Benny Tipene will play the More FM ‘So Good They named It Twice’ tour in July. The nine shows run from July 3 – 19, with the tour bus calling in to Mimi, Kihikihi, Matamata, Ramarama, Hora Hora, Poroporo and Katikati. The venues are where townsfolk meet – the community centre, town halls, sports centres. Shows are all-ages excepting Mimi.
The much-loved Anika Moa will bring a fresh batch of songs alongside favourites and her trademark on-stage banter. “I have new songs of heartache, new jokes, an easy on the eye support act. I’m looking forward to playing previously unvisited towns” says Moa. Her first baby album ‘Songs for Bubbas‘ has been a resounding success and Moa recently finished filming the TV series ‘Songs From The Inside’, in which she tutored inmates of Auckland Women’s Prison.
Songwriter/musician Benny Tipene may not have taken the winning title on X-Factor New Zealand but that hasn’t stopped his momentum. He has platinum and gold awards for his first two singles, his third single and EP are in the charts and an album is due in September.
His summer was spent performing at Rhythm and Vines, Parachute, Homegrown festivals and holiday hotspots and this is his first tour.

If Scottish music is your thing, then head along to Karaka for a Ceilidh and enjoy a night of Scottish dancing, pipe bands, highland dancing, whisky toss and the famous haggis! Ceilidh

We also have Crossroads – an experienced classic rock/pop covers duo playing here in July and Jason Bae “An imperturbable soloist…” — The New Zealand Herald ……

and in early August – The Searchers!!The Searchers at Preston Guild Hall Theatre, 16th March 2010

The Searchers are one of the most influential ‘Merseybeat’ groups from Liverpool, second only to ‘The Fab Four’ in terms of worldwide fame and popularity. Formed in 1959 as a ‘Skiffle’ group by guitarist John McNally, the band tread a similar path to The Beatles performing as part of The Merseybeat scene at Cavern Club, heading to Hamburg for a residency at The Star Club before they signed a deal with Pye Records to release their first album ‘Meet The Searchers’ in 1963. The album went to No. 2, ‘Sweets for my sweet’ got to No. 1 but when the band hit it big in the U.S. with the song ‘Needles and Pins’ 50 years ago in March 1964, they became a world famous band everywhere including New Zealand. The band has never split up and has continued to tour ever since.
In 2013 The Searchers returned to New Zealand for the first time in some years on a 60’s music extravaganza with Gerry & The Pacemakers and their outstanding shows reminded fans of this legendary sixties group, just how important they are in the history of pop music. Now they’re back on their own to give fans what they want; a full two-hour show of nothing but The Searchers ‘Greatest Hits’.
The show boasts all of The Searchers Greatest Hits plus some of the greatest 60’s pop tunes ever recorded by the bands 60’s music contemporaries.

Check out our What’s On page for info on our up and coming events…..pick a date, stay the night or weekend at one of our great accommodation providers and ENJOY!!
Tuakau Hotel pic

Our latest gem…

Some may be aware of the new gem that has been undertaken in Franklin, but for those who are wondering – our very own La Valla
Lavalla 1

La Valla, was once the Marist Centre, where the Catholic Marist Brothers established, in 1922, a juniorate school for boys, considering a career in the brotherhood.
Marist Centre TuakauAs the years went by, the school was no longer needed as it had originally been set up and became a place for events and weddings. The care of the property was overseen by a few of the remaining elderly brothers, Brother Kanute appearing to be the main caretaker.
Eventually the Centre became home to the Felix Donnelly College, amid a fair bit of controversy at the beginning.

In 2011, the Jackson family purchased the property with great vision to what it could become.
The Centre was given its original name of “La Valla” and the process began to return it to splendor.
What were the rooms that were home to the brothers, have been given new life as accommodation with ensuites with a small kitchen and lounge for guests, or for small conferences and meetings.
The property has a gymnasium as well as farm walks and a new theatre in progress!
The local kindy kids get the chance to out into the fresh air and experience cooking sausages, feeding the resident eel and tree climbing.

La Valla, and its owners, can now be proud of it’s renewed life and is available for conferences, weddings, reunions….
all right HERE in FRANKLIN!!! while only a short trip from the Auckland CBD, yet far enough away ….

…and still there’s more!

YES!! there IS more coming in Franklin district

If you are looking for still more to do here – stay a while, relax a while and then enjoy some of the things on offer.
I’ve already mentioned previously about all there is to do in Franklin this coming weekend (7th/8th Feb) but NEXT weekend, too, there is plenty to fill the diaries with and that could mean a stay here in the region to make sure that you get the most out of your time here, if you are visiting us. Even if you live in the region, you may want to check out the accommodation and the dining to make the most of your time for a funfilled weekend!
We have the hugely popular A&P Show on the 15th and 16th Feb with fun at the side shows for the kids (big and small) and great exhibits, animal shows and events.
TeRadar Puke showPuke show

For the muscle and vintage vehicle buffs, come see the Waiuku Classic Car Show on the 16th. Take a picnic, check out the muscle cars, vintage and classic cars, motorbikes and farm machinery and more. Or buy a BBQ lunch, but whichever you choose, enjoy the array of vehicles on show.

white_wine_glassAlso on the 16th, we have the Clevedon Jazz, Wine and Food Festival at North Road, Clevedon.

So all in all…..the next few weeks and weekends will be bringing you heaps of things to do and see right here in Franklin !!

Things to do – places to be…..

Well, now it’s time for things to take take off again in Franklin! after the Christmas festivities.

courtesy of Eventfinder information
courtesy of Eventfinder information

January is well under way and that means that the next public holiday is not far off – Auckland’s Anniversary Day will fall on Monday 27th. This will give everyone the chance to come out to Kaiaua and have a blast at the Summer Soul Festival featuring Australian Soul Queen, Renee Geyer!
Kaiaua fish n chips
There should be plenty of time to take the opportunity to investigate the Kaiaua region before or after the Fest, or in fact, take time out to see Franklin! Even we locals don’t always get to see just what we have on our own doorstep!


We have beaches aplenty (as mentioned in my prevous blog!), wineries, restaurants, cafes, great shopping for all tastes, great icecreams (get off the main highway and call in to Pokeno, if you haven’t already checked this out!) and wide open spaces. We also have great places to stay (check out
local markets selling awesome things and so much more.

markets pic

Our diversity is exceptional, ranging from wine tasting, kayaking, fishing, archery, 4WD to enjoying the local markets, cafes and boutique – style shopping, plus our own limestone glow-worm cave and Vintage Railway.”


The Colour runPukekohe is also going to be the place to be for the Colour Run – The Color Run 5k is coming to New Zealand on January 26th, 2014 at the Pukekohe Raceway! The only question is “Are you ready for the craziest, colourful, 5k of your life?” You bet you are. Race it solo or form a “Colour Team” of 4+ members.

The Color Run is a one of a kind experience that is less about speed and more about enjoying a colour crazy day with your friends and family.

….. so come check us out for the next long weekend and get ready for Renee Geyer and some of NZ’s best Kiwi Blues artists, at Kaiaua in the afternoon, and the Colour Run in Pukekohe in the morning, after all we are only a short drive down the highway from Auckland city, or up the road from the Waikato area!

Merry Christmas

Wishing one and all a very merry, happy and safe Christmas that brings all the best that you could wish for.

A BIG weekend in Franklin Country!

Just a few short km’s south of Auckland City central, our Franklin region has a full on weekend scheduled!

Even if the weather doesn’t appear to be looking the greatest, Franklin can offer a fantastic weekend away and this weekend is no exception.

Along with our local pet and Country Life Days at three of our primary schools, Patumahoe, Mauku and Ramarama, we have THE Game – Counties Manukau Steelers Ranfurly Shield Cup game v Waikato – our neighbours from down the road!rugby ball

After the excitement of the game, the region has a great variety of entertainment on offer too. For instance, at Waiuku you can dance the night away at the Kentish with Rhythm Express, or at Castaways get glammed up and into Retro Dine and Dance mode at the clifftop restaurant at Kariotahi, or head to Onewhero for a raucous evening of a Faulty Towers evening of dining and hilarity, or head to Pukekohe’s Creedence Clearwater Revival Tribute Show, Bad Moon Rising, at the Cosmopolitan Club on Nelson Street!
So much to choose! ….
BombayBB – and the accommodation in Franklin is great! Motels such as BK’s Counties Motorlodge, Aveda Motor Lodge – one of our Qualmark rated motels, Touchwood ( another of our Qualmark rated motel), The Country Inn at Ramarama, where you have the restaurant right on site, B&B’s such as Bombay Bed and Breakfast, where Alison will really look after you! La Valla Estate in Tuakau, or the Tuakau Hotel and Motel…..and many more – just visit our website to see more and give them a call to see which suits you, but hurry – the weekend is all but here.
Then on Sunday, pop out to Pokeno to see the Pokeno markets and discover a myriad of things for everyone!
markets pic