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Set oil on linen 2020.max 955x544Having recently completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) from Massey University, Wellington-based painter Ben Lysaght returns to his home town for his first solo exhibition at the Ashburton Art Gallery. Once a Wilderness brings together a series of paintings created over the past year exploring the dilution of wild areas such as greenhouses, winter gardens and pockets of bush. Lysaght states that, for the most part, ‘wilderness’ is dead. “We still love the idea of a wilderness, an untouched land to discover…but what we are left with is manufactured wild areas. These spaces exist in stark contrast with what wilderness is supposed to mean; untouched by humans.” Through his paintings Lysaght explores the many imitations of wilderness, with a focus on botanic gardens and greenhouses. Critiquing them as Eurocentric institutions, he examines their limitations and possibilities for the wider world. “Historically they were filled with plants taken from the colonies in a grand display of power and scientific wonder. When they were first conceived, botanical gardens existed as a way to organise the plant world into a western understanding, to construct The Truth, while still demonstrating the wealth and power of the elite. The greenhouses acted as the most surreal and spectacular facet of this demonstration, while creating the illusion of being elsewhere.”

Past pupil Ben Lysaght - Once a Wilderness
Ashburton Art Gallery until Friday 31st July 2020, Open daily 10am - 4pm.

250620 SN 0057 Jasaiah Claydon Wade webJasaiah Claydon-Wade, Tuia representative and Ashburton District Council global ambassador. Photo Sue NewmanAshburton student Jasaiah Claydon-Wade is a young man going places and he credits the Tuia programme with giving him the drive to succeed in his tertiary studies.

He’s the district’s current programme member and on Thursday spoke at an Ashburton District Council meeting on the impact the programme had had, six months in, on his life.

The experiences he had gained so far had given him a new impetus and drive as he heads to Victoria University to begin studies in political science and Te Reo, he said.

His goal is to help with dispute resolution on the Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal.

The greatest impact of the programme, Claydon-Wade told councillors, was that it sparked a desire to learn more about his Maori heritage.

“I never really embraced by background previously and that’s been an inspirational journey.

“It’s been amazing to be part of a team that promotes cultural diversity.”

In his other role as the council’s cultural ambassador, he said it had been a privilege to be involved in a range of multicultural activities around the district such as the Holi colour festival, Matariki and citizenship ceremonies.

The Tuia programme is an intentional, long-term, inter-generational approach to develop the leadership capacity of young Maori in communities throughout New Zealand.

It involves mayors selecting a young Maori from their district to mentor on a one-to-one basis, to encourage and enhance leadership skills.

The young person chosen is expected to undertake and record a 100-hour community service project in their respective communities.

By Sue Newman © The Ashburton Guardian - 29 June 2020

240620 AB 4063 Christophe Lambert Juan Quispe Chavez Andre van Rooyen webLocal teen Diego Quispe-Kim had a training session with Tennis New Zealand’s high performance director Christophe Lambert (left) in Ashburton on Wednesday. Quispe-Kim’s father and coach Juan Quispe-Chavez and Ashburton Tennis Centre head coach Andre van Rooyen (right) were also present. Photo Adam BurnsAn elite tennis coach who has mentored some of the game’s biggest names believes local teen Diego Quispe-Kim has the talent to shine on the world stage.

Tennis New Zealand’s high performance director Christophe Lambert was in Ashburton this week where he worked alongside the young tennis wunderkind.

A focus on the technical nuances and game strategies were the focus during a two-hour session at the Ashburton Trust Tennis Centre on Wednesday.

Before Lambert was appointed to the high performance role earlier this year, he had been Tennis New Zealand’s national coach for two years.

The 14-year-old has been on Lambert’s radar since he first became involved with Tennis New Zealand.

“I’ve been following what Diego has been doing because he is one of our national champions,” he said.

“Diego has raw talent which makes things very interesting.”

The French expat has more than 25 years of high performance coaching experience and has schooled the likes of three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray.

He also coached current US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in 2016, only a year before the Canadian turned professional.

Quispe-Kim’s prowess on court has seen the Ashburton College pupil collect a plethora of trophies both locally and nationally.

He has received coaching from Lambert previously, however this was the first time Lambert had travelled to Mid Canterbury especially.

Lambert said the youngster had the potential to exceed not just in New Zealand, but internationally.

“He could do very well in New Zealand and could do very well on the world stage,” he said.

“The issue is we need to provide him with a good environment so he can thrive and so he can do well at the international level.”

Although Quispe-Kim was blessed with a prodigious skill, Lambert said there was still plenty of work to do around the technical and tactical elements of the sport.

“He is a young kid,” he said.

“He’s got natural talent and a good feel for the game.

“He will also need to improve his physicality too as he probably won’t be a tall player.”

He added that the mental side of the game will also be a consideration during Quispe-Kim’s development.

“At the beginning of your career, he needs to be better in every area to reach the next level.

“He’s got something which many other players don’t have and that’s the love of the game and he’s got the talent.

“That’s something you can’t teach and you can’t coach.

“Now he’s got to learn the other sides outside of that.”

By Adam Burns © The Ashburton Guardian - 27 June 2020