Summertime - reach right up and touch that sky!
View this email in your browser
Omarama Gazette
December 2020

The December Issue

New A2O section almost good to go
Legend celebrates another year at the 'Dunny Door Table'
Town centre safety concerns raised again
School on new search for principal
Feedback sought on lakeshore development 
Extensive planting project undertaken at Tara Hills
Planning for Cavalcade 2021 gathers pace
Mental wellness a community issue, Sir JK says
Are we ready for anything? - follow-up
Who is that masked man?

Regular Features

The Noticeboard 
The Community Reports
Waitaki District Council - News in Brief  
 Environment Canterbury - News in Brief 
Something to Puzzle Over
The Directory
The Last Page is Classifieds
The Weather that Was 
The Garden Diary
The View from the Chook House 
New A2O section almost good to go
The much-anticipated Sailors Cutting to Bog Roy off-road section of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail will be open to the public from Saturday, December 19.
The day prior there will be an invitation-only official opening event when the ribbon will be cut, and guests will be allowed to ride the new section.


Billed as “spectacular”, “the jewel in the crown” of the A2O trail, this section, built at a cost of around $1million with about $600,000 of that coming from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, means cyclists no longer have to negotiate traffic on SH83 and the Otematata Saddle on  their journey from Omarama to the coast.
In February the Aviemore to Kurow off-road section opened to great fanfare with a public celebration which about 150 people attended.
After considerable delays – some Covid-19 related - work to construct this section began in July with a promise made it would be completed by Christmas.
However, it is likely some parts will not be finished until the new year.
And because of logging to remove wilding pines on the Benmore Peninsula cyclists may yet have to use the transmission-line track through Rostriever Station to get to Loch Laird.
Council recreation manager Erik van der Spek said, in an email, whether all the new route would be open by the December 18 ceremony was still “uncertain at this point” and it would also be subject to the logging operations.
“We are hopeful we can open it all the way through.”
As well, since the Alps 2 Ocean project team issued its Spring 2020 newsletter it has changed the the trail rating from grade two – easy -  to grade three – intermediate.
“The trail, as constructed, meets the [New Zealand Cycle Trail] ‘Great Rides – Grade 3’ experience description and is different from the wider, Grade 2 smooth track found along much of the A2O for a significant portion of this section," Mr van der Spek said.
“It is similar in nature to Tarnbrae [between Lake Ohau Lodge and Omarama] and more remote, so riders need to be confident, have intermediate skills and be prepared with sufficient water and food for a ride of up to four hours (allowing for a variety of abilities and stops along the way).
“The signs on this section of the trail and any trail information on this section will reflect the grades,” he said.
A grade three trail is described as "suitable for regular experienced cyclists with a good level of fitness and over 12 years old; children should be accompanied by an adult".
Concerns were raised at this year’s Waitaki Lakes Shorelines Authorities committee meeting and the September meeting of the Ahuriri Community about the provision of toilets along the new stretch which could take up to four hours to complete by cycle.
Mr van der Spek said a temporary toilet would be installed “as a start”  to determine the need and best location.
“A permanent toilet is likely to follow subject to how well the temporary toilet works, and funding.”
 Geoff Gabites, of tour company Cycle Journeys, who is on the Alps 2 Ocean joint committee, said in his blog last week the A2O project team had ridden the trail to seek consensus on safety and recommended duration. The Omarama Gazette understands some North Otago Search and Rescue personnel also took part in the ride.
Mr Gabites said this section would be “another real highlight of the A2O”. 
“Cell phone coverage probably shouldn’t be relied on, so be self contained and ready.”
“For the first 4kms, it’s wide enough to ride two abreast …eventually the trail narrows for the 4 to 5km middle section and riding becomes single file, to accommodate two-way traffic.”
“The 30m span of the bridge will excite many.
“From here, riders regain the wider 4WD track on the Benmore section, which gradually climbs and climbs to the saddle above Benmore Dam and Otematata.
 “From here the trail contours along the ridge and then descends to meet the Peninsula walking track and a beautiful finish onto the dam car park area.
"At present this section is being logged and may be closed – but the alternative is fine, dropping to Loch Laird. 
“The trail ride will be hot and I imagine in the height of summer it will be a serious matter to plan for.
"Wind will be another issue to be aware of, as the NW’er will blast through the peninsulas and islands of the lake. 
“This trail from Omarama through to Benmore Dam and then down to Otematata will be a delight and should be on everyone’s summer bucket list,” the blog said.
Legend celebrates at the 'Dunny Door' Table
This is to say 'Many Happy Returns' to our laird of Boots and Jandals Hotel’s infamous ‘Dunny Door’ table from your Omarama friends and whanau. 
Happy 86th Birthday to our one and only Wingy - you're a legend. 
The Omarama Gazette called to the pub yesterday, usual time, usual place, to wish one of our favourite seniors - Pat (Wingy) Leopold - all the very best and ask him to let us in on the all the secrets of that hallowed ‘board’ which he has occupied religiously from about 4pm each day for almost four decades. 


You all owe him a beer or three – he kept his mouth shut! 
Yesterday, his birthday, the staunch Otago rugby supporter arrived to find his regular table was bedecked with portraits of himself down through the ages - yep, they were real photographs [weren't they Julz?].  And festooned in red and black - a fitting tribute from his so-called ‘mates’. 
To add insult to injury he had been lured into sitting on a 'Canterbury' red and black leather bar stool – he hadn’t noticed they’d been switched from his usual blue and gold. 
Wingy won’t say how the tradition of the ‘Dunny Door table’ began suffice to say like those ol’ gunslingers of yesteryear it's sometimes best to keep your back to the wall. 
Plus, it has the best view of the whole pub. 
(It’s also closest to the ‘you-know-where’ – hence the name.) 
Close observers believe he first took up the position about 38 years ago when he moved to town from Twizel, which means he’s onto his third lot of publicans – the Cotters, the Casserlys, Kelmans, and now Bruce and Julie. 
“It’s a bloody good place to sit and have a drink and a bit of a yarn," he says. 

There’s absolutely no disputing it’s the ‘top table’.
It has its own plaque - a gift from his daughters – to mark its importance. 
As to who else is allowed to sit there?
We’re not sure why you’d even ask that question but… 
"All  decisions go before the Dunny Door executive,” Wingy says. 
Most of those on the executive – they keep to the shadows - are present for the birthday salutations but – like Todd - prefer not to be named. 
Forget the United Nations or ‘Five Eyes’ this is where the real problems of the world get sorted. 
Consensus around the table is Trump and Putin would get more than an earful should they dare to poke their heads around the pub door, and the executive is seriously thinking about issuing a Dunny Door Advisory by special Emissary to the countries of China and Australia.  [What's a Tweet?] 

So, in 38 years Wingy must have seen some sights? 
“I remember the time …oh, I can’t say that, and I can’t say that … my lips are sealed.” 
However, and there’s nothing surer, even before the big screen was installed, there’s been many a moment spent crying into a beer over a game of rugby.

What keeps him coming back? 
“It’s the company,” he says.
Yes, Wingy, and you’re the very best company.
Long may you reign over the Dunny Door Table, your lairdship.
A few wee facts:
When Wingy first took up his seat at the Dunny Door Table Rob Muldoon was prime minister.
David Lange had just become leader of the opposition.
The first Warehouse opened in Takapuna.
And after a long nine-year hiatus Canterbury won the Ranfurly Shield!
Traffic safety concerns raised again
- can you help?
The Omarama Residents’ Association wants the community to make sure it reports any accidents or ‘near miss’ incidents within the parking/pedestrian area of the town centre, and at the junction of SH8 and SH83 so changes to layout will be considered by authorities.
Knowing exact numbers could lift the priority given to the work to find a solution.


The association, which has lobbied for improved vehicle, pedestrian and cycle safety in the area since early 2018, wants to work with Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency and Waitaki District Council staff and come up with a solution.
In this past summer season association members said there were four incidents of cyclists being hit within the car parking area – two of those required an ambulance and medical treatment.
As well, it was aware of a survey of cyclists presented at the recent A2O trail summit in which cyclists said they felt unsafe riding into Omarama from SH8.
Residents’ Association chairperson Tony Chapman said the group had continued to raise concerns through the past year since the Omarama town masterplan options were finalised by the Waitaki District Council in February.
The final masterplan option for the town centre did not address the issue.
This week the association's committee agreed to send a further letter to both the council and Waka Kotahi urging them to work together and with it to come up with solutions urgently.
“We hope this will get the ball rolling to collaborate on a solution and address the issues,” Mr Chapman said.
“But we need the community to make sure they report all incidents to either Bean [Constable Nayland Smith] , a Residents’ Association committee member or the council.”
Earlier this year in March the subject was raised at the public forum of the Ahuriri Community Board, in Omarama, when Waitaki mayor Gary Kircher said, in answer to a question from a resident about the town masterplan, that priorities for the area in front of shops had not been discussed but it should be “top priority”.
“It’s up to the council working with the community board, to come up with a more detailed plan to get that right,” he said at the meeting.
In August, the association wrote to Waka Kotahi, which oversees state highways,  to formally raise the issue of the intersection with its lead safety engineer Roy Johnston.
In his reply, Mr Johnston said, although there were issues at the intersection, and it could be improved for all users, it had a safety risk rating of ‘low’ because there had been no reported crashes in the past five years.
“While we would like to progress potential solutions it needs to ne noted that due to prioritisation and budget constraints we have not currently been able to include the sites as part of the next three-year low cost low risk safety programme,” he said.
Since then the association sought the opinion of Const Smith, Mr Chapman said.
While Const Smith agreed with Mr Johnston’s assessment of the intersection he did support the use of raised islands to calm traffic, and consideration of a one-way traffic flow within the parking area which is managed by the council.
And while the association acknowledged the assessment of risk was low, it also believed not all incidents had been reported, or that reports had not reached the appropriate authorities, he said.
Any incident or near miss was an important indicator of potential for a more serious accident.
To delay making changes until there is serious injury or death was unacceptable to the community, he said.
Any solutions to the issues in the town centre had to be linked and be driven by both Waka Kotahi and  the council, he said.
In its latest letter the committee has asked to meet with council roading manager Mike Harrison to discuss  concerns with the aim of having council planners produce designs with solutions for the community’s consideration.
The council was at present considering the Omarama Masterplan as part of its Long-Term Plan process.
The committee has asked that the town centre layout and traffic flow, and pedestrian and cycle safety to has priority in this process.
At the same time as asking Waka Kotahi to address issues in the centre of town the association also asked Mr Johnston about safety at the turn-off to Quailburn Rd and the Clay Cliffs from SH8 given the increased traffic.
Mr Johnston said Waka Kotahi had noted the issues at the turn off but it had also safety risk rating of ‘low’ because there had been only one report of a minor injury crash in the past five years.
The association has disputed this figure  and  Const Smith told the group said he believed the potential for a fatality there was high even given the numbers appeared low.
The association was fully aware this work required extra funding to be found.
It encouraged both the council and Waka Kotahi to put these projects up for consideration for anything which might come available, for example, under a Covid-19 recovery scheme, Mr Chapman said.
Omarama Residents' Association
Tony Chapman, chairperson, 027 242 8605.
Yvonne Jones, secretary, 027 476 7473. 
P O Box 93, Omarama 9448.
The association's email address is

Search on for new principal
Omarama School is again on the hunt for a school principal. 
In July, when Kim McKenzie stepped down from the role, former Omarama School teacher Bevan Newlands was appointed as principal initially for term three and four with the possibility of an extension. 
Last month, the position was advertised for the start of the new school year.
Applications closed November 23. 
This week Bevan told the Omarama Gazette he had decided not to apply for the permanent position because he now needed to focus his time on the accommodation business, Starscape, which he runs with his wife in Twizel. 
During this past year the Omarama school roll has grown through term three from 53 to 58, and began term four with 61 pupils.
School board of trustees chairperson Michael Doree could not be reached for comment before publication.
Feedback sought on lakeshore development 
The Waitaki District Council is asking for feedback about whether the district’s lake shores should be opened up for development. 
The question is under consideration as part of its District Plan review. 
In a statement it asks, in the light of the increase in domestic tourism, should it provide for new holiday homes and rural-residential type settlements at various places along the shores of Lake Aviemore and Lake Benmore.
“The District Plan Review is the forum to discuss how to get the balance right and how far we go to accommodate further development while protecting what we treasure the most about the natural character of our lakes and their margins,” the statement said. 
The council planning team wanted to hear more about what the community thought about development on the lake shores. 
“That feedback will then help us draft the Plan for full consultation with the public, which should occur in the early part of next year.” 
To provide comment contact: Rachael Bason on 03 433 0300, or email
Extensive planting project undertaken
Tara Hills Station owner Dave Ellis has recently commissioned
a $70,000 planting project on the farm.

An extensive project to improve the health of a small waterway which will ultimately contribute to improving the water quality of the Omarama Stream has begun.
In October, Ellis-Lea Farms owners David and Karen Ellis took the first steps towards the long-term goal
with a $70,000 planting project on the small waterway which flows from the duck pond on their Tara Hills Station and feeds into the Omarama Stream.
The Ellis’s are members of the Omarama Stream water users’ group and the newly-formed Ahuriri Catchment Community Group. 
Dave said wetlands had proved to be important “filtration” systems which helped reduce nitrogen loss to waterways. 
The project began with the removal of some willow trees.
The waterway was fenced either side creating 4m and 8m corridors.
And last month Central Forestry Services staff were employed to put in 10,000 plants over a stretch of about 1km - varieties of carex, coprosma, Muehlenbeckia and poplars -  to create the wetland environment. 
Aware that some native plantings in the area had failed because they were not suited to Omarama’s conditions Dave said he engaged the services and advice of Grant Hayman of Headford Propagators to select species suited to Tara Hills. 
Willows can have a negative effect on stream ecosystems and increase the chance of flooding because of their tendency to choke waterways. 
Landowners are being encouraged to enhance or create wetlands on their properties because wetlands sustain indigenous biota, filter nutrients, absorb floodwaters, and sequester carbon.
Below: The new plantings stretch for about 1km along the waterway.
Central Forestry Services staff (from left) Isaac Sawyers, Jason Sewhoy and Phoenix Middlemiss put in about 10,000 plants along the waterway.
Planning for Cavalcade gathers pace
Omarama School pupils stage a 'hold-up' at the Ireland Rd bridge
during last year's Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust Cavalcade 

The pace is building as plans for the Mackenzie Country 2021 Cavalcade begin to take shape.
Next year’s annual Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust Cavalcade begins February 27 and ends in host town Twizel on March 6. 
Organisers are expecting 450 horses and wagons, 200 walkers, runners and cyclists to converge on the town for the traditional grand parade with most dressed in period costumes and piped ‘home’ by the Mackenzie Pipe Band. 
In all there are 11 trails - two wagon and horse riding, five  horse riding, one tramping, one walking, one running and a mountain biking trail with several already at capacity. 
Five of the trails will head off from the Omarama area. 
A riding trail leaves from Ben Avon and wends its way up passes and down valleys through Ribbonwood, Ohau and Glen Lyon to its destination. 
The "family-friendly cloverleaf trail" will be based at Ribbonwood. 
The tramping trail heads out from the Lindis Valley and takes in parts of the Te Araroa trail through Ben Avon, Ribbonwood, Quailburn and Ohau. 
Trail runners will head out from Birchwood and walkers will make their way from Clay Cliffs to Twizel. 
Trail bosses choose the theme for their trails. This year these re-enact James Mackenzie’s journeys or follow some of the traditional hunter / gathering routes to the Mackenzie Country. 
Last year, the Tussock Creek light wagons and riders were met by Omarama School pupils at the Ireland Rd bridge as they made their way from Ribbonwood and the Quailburn to spend the night at Longslip Station before completing their route to Hawea. 
The Goldfields Cavalcade began in 1991 as a recreation of the historic journeys of early settlers from Dunedin to the Otago goldfields. 
The focus of the cavalcade is experiencing the wilderness environment with the most basic of transport (foot, horse, or bike) and accommodation (tents, or wool sheds). 
Twizel Cavalcade host town working group chairman Norman Geary said most cavalcades get just over 4000 spectators for the parade. 
“As this is the first one outside of Otago and with more Kiwi’s looking to do things in their backyard there could well be more than this.” 
Twizel is expected to be busy as the Cavalcade coincides with rowing events and a gathering of 60 NZMCA members who will camp in the same area as the three-foot trails and mountain bikers around the water works just off Glen Lyon Rd. 
The event would raise the profile of Twizel and the Mackenzie district both locally and nationally and raise money to go back to community groups, Mr Geary said. 
Local suppliers would be used where possible.
Community groups were invited to get involved and there were  many different ways to raise funds, for example; helping with transport, providing breakfast, helping with the evening meal, running market stalls, providing lunches or catering for some of the trails. 
As well, organisers are inviting those who are interested in showcasing their products, business or services on Market Day to get in touch. 
“Those groups that support us will share in the anticipated pool of surplus funds available for distribution, this is number one priority.” 
The host town committee will use the bulk of the funds it raises to provide solar heating for the Twizel pool.
The committee is asking for those who want to raise funds or to be part of the display, or would like a market stall to  email
Organisers have contingencies in place should low level Covid-19 restrictions be in place.
For more information go to:
Mental wellness a community issue, Sir JK says
New Zealanders are battling  two pandemics and, while Covid-19 maybe under control in this country, mental illness was not.
The solution to that second pandemic lies in the community, well-known ambassador for mental wellness Sir John Kirwan says. 
About 80 people attended the official launch of the Ahuriri Catchment Community Group and to hear the former All Black and  international rugby coach speak at a combined event at Buscot Station last month.
In an interview prior to his presentation Sir John said mental health issues continued to be “steeped in stigma”. 
And solutions had become “too centralised”. 
“We need to take it back to the community.” 
“We need to work on it together… need to be more open.”
People were facing “continued pressure” with so many “inputs” and so much “you can’t control”. 
“Stress and anxiety are now the new norm.” 
Speaking to the gathering he said New Zealand was facing another pandemic – suicide. 
And rural areas had the highest suicide rate as a sector in the country. 
“You guys are the backbone of our country, and now for some reason everyone’s attacking you for polluting it – that’s extra pressure you don’t need in your lives.” 
The Ahuriri Community Catchment Group evolved from the situation last year when Environment Canterbury raised concerns about the water quality of Lake Benmore and suggested a local catchment group be formed to help tackle the issue. 
It decided to follow the lead of other regions and involve the whole community in the drive to protect the catchment. 
Spokesperson for the group Trent Spittle, of Quailburn Downs, who introduced the event said although the ACCG was formed “because the TLI levels of the Ahuriri Arm of Lake Benmore were of concern to us”, the direction central government was taking meant not only would there be more pressure on farmers but water quality was “going to be an issue for everyone”.
The group which holds its inaugural meeting tonight  aims to help people learn about the local environment and its biodiversity, to come up with a long term plan to preserve water quality, landscape values and flora and fauna, and to get to grips with policy and regulatory changes, as well as to be a channel for funding. 
The free event – sponsored by Westpac and Beef + Lamb New Zealand was followed by a fundraising barbeque for Friends of Omarama School.
Later about 160 attended the evening entertainment by Life’s a Bitch and Mel Parsons as part of their Woolshed Tour. 
The inaugural meeting to elect officers will be at 7pm Wednesday, December 2 at the Pink Glider Café.


for the election of officers for the

Ahuriri Catchment Community Group

7pm Wednesday, December 2, 2020
at the Pink Glider Café, Omarama

All welcome 

Contact: Stevie Young  027 700 3857

Are we ready for anything? - follow up 
Emergency prepardness
- what's happening behind the scenes

By Constable Nayland (Bean) Smith, Omarama Police

The Omarama Emergency Response Group has been set up by the Omarama Police, Omarama Fire Brigade and Omarama LandSAR and a few other local stakeholders including the Omarama Gazette.
Its purpose was to prepare an action plan to orgainse and co-ordinate a local level, multi-agency emergency response for the Omarama community in the event of a major disaster event -
The Emergency Response Plan”.

Although this plan is generic and can be used for any disaster, the key focus has been on the predicted Alpine Fault earthquake (AF8) when it occurs, this being the worst-case scenario.
It is perceived that following a natural disaster such as the AF8 will result in numerous communities and potentially entire Civil Defence Emergency Managment  group areas being isolated for days or even weeks.
Part of the Emergency Response Plan includes strategies to strengthen the community resilience for such an event by designating a pre-arranged shelter which will publicly be known as the Civil Defence Centre in any future civil defence plans.
The Omarama Community Hall has been chosen for this, due to its capabilities and recent upgrades.

In July this year a finalised Emergency Response Plan was put in place for the Omarama area.
Initially, it’s foreseen that the local population would have to fend for themselves, there is a set of guidelines prepared for people to use at the Hall - “Community Shelter Guidelines”. It is intended that these guidelines with a small local resource list can be accessed from the hall's cleaners cupboard in the main reception area – Doors marked with a Civil Defence emblem. In the event of an emergency anyone can use this guide.
Civil Defence have just finalised the Omarama Community Response plan - a guide for our area. This will identify the Omarama Memorial Hall and centre as the CD shelter.


In the event of a disaster it is up to each individual to take some responsibility for themselves, and then the community as a whole to have their own plan should a disaster occur.
That begins with each household first. What plan do you have if bad things are about to happen? Then it’s a matter of getting to know your neighbour so you can check on them or get word out that they need to evacuate. Following that the community should have some type of plan or at the least a shelter or assembly point identified for such an occasion. This is what the Civil Defence Emergency Response Guides intent is.

To help you think about what you need to plan for and where to go. I urge everyone to at least have a read and formulate some sort of plan for when things go bad.

As I’ve previously discussed, the likelihood of Omarama being subjected to a fire storm such as what occurred at Ohau is highly unlikely due to the fact there’s not the same vegetation – or fuel sources for that to happen, this isn’t to say we shouldn’t be prepared for any event all the same.

In regards to the Omarama response plan, it’d be great to have a small group of permanent residents who would be willing to spend an afternoon just going over the community shelter guidelines. So that in the event of a disaster at least some of you will have an idea of what’s required and where things are. Anyone interested can contact the editor [Ruth Grundy 021 294 8002 or email]  who will collate names and forward to me so I can try to organise a small tabletop exercise.
Who is that masked man?
Thank you, Jimmy

Earlier this year the Omarama Gazette contacted the employers of this 'young fella' to ask permission to introduce him to the community as its new village "custodian" .
However, out of concern  for his safety and because staff are sometimes subjected to abusive behaviour from members of the public his employer said it was their policy not to identify staff. 
So we won't name you, Jimmy.
But we do want to say thank you for all your hard work  
We're all looking pretty tidy, thanks to your efforts!
The Noticeboard
To have your community notice included here email:

Many [belated] happy, happy returns to Chris Spiers, who celebrated his 80th birthday in October in Twizel.

Sending all our very best to John Rogers who is at present enjoying some R&R at Whitestone Lodge Retirement Home in Oamaru. Visitors are welcome.

Photo: Jan Perriam

The Youth Glide New Zealand Soaring Development Camp will be from December 10 to 19, at Omarama Airfield

The Gliding New Zealand Multi-Class National Championships will be at Omarama Airfield, January 1 to January 10.

Kurow Medical Centre  Omarama Clinic at the Omarama Community Centre, is open Tuesdays, 8.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. To make appointments for all clinics, order repeat scripts or make enquiries please contact Kurow Medical Centre 03 436 0760 (Monday to Thursdays).

The Omarama Community Library is open 9am to 10am,  Wednesdays and Saturdays, at the Omarama Community Centre. Library hours can change. Contact Yvonne: 027 476 7473.

St Thomas' Omarama Community: Services and communion are held on a regular basis, usually monthly at 10.30am on the Friday of the second weekend of the month at the home of a parishioner. Contact: Kay Verheul 03 438 9538.

The Omarama Golf Club  Saturdays cards in 12.30pm tee-off 1pm.  Club Captain Adrian Tuffley, 027 347 8276. 

The Upper Waitaki Young Farmers Club meets at 7.30pm on the first Monday of each month at the ‘Top Pub’ - the Blue and Gold pub, in Kurow. All welcome. Join the Facebook group.

Omarama Playgroup meets at 9.30am each Wednesday during the primary school term at the Omarama Community Centre.  For more information phone president Andrea Aubrey, 03 438 9863; vice president Ruby Milestone, 03 438 9401, secretary Carla Hunter, 03 976 0504 

Bridge Club - The Omarama Bridge Club meets on a regular basis and would welcome new members. If you are interested please phone Sylvia Anderson 438 9784 or Ann Patterson 438 9493.

The Omarama Model Aircraft Club meets on Saturdays from 9.00 am to 12.00 noon at its flying ground at the Omarama airfield. All welcome - Contact Don Selbie on 027 435 5516.

FENZ Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade meets 7pm each Wednesday and has its meeting at 7:30pm on the third Wednesday of the month. New members welcome.

A gentle exercises and social afternoon group meets at the Otematata District Club at 1.30pm  Thursday afternoons. Gold coin donation and a cuppa after the exercises.

Learn to play Bridge Otematata, 7pm Thursdays at the Otematata District Club.
We have several persons learning at the present time. people can just sit in and watch to begin with if they prefer.  Contact Ethel Gray 03  438 7764 or just arrive. Non members of the club will need to be signed in by an existing member.

Plunket Line: 0800 933 922
Omarama Plunket Committee: phone Petrina Paton 027 345 6192 
Thank you to all who share your stories and
contribute in other ways to the Gazette.

We all really appreciate what you do.

If you find anything amiss in the Omarama Gazette
please contact Ruth Grundy, 021 294 8002 or email
and I will do my very best to put it right.

To read more,  enjoy more photos and watch our place 'come to life' check out our Facebook page and website.

To receive email alerts between monthly editions of the Omarama Gazette sign up to our 'Local List'.
and put 'Local List' in the subject line.
The Christmas issue of the Omarama Gazette
is Friday, December 18, 2020.

This is our special edition
celebrating community and our year that was.
Advertising pays for
production and distribution
To find out about publication and close-off dates,
and how much it costs to place your advertisment, 
 phone 021 294 8002, 03 438 9766 or email
To our businesses

If you would like a feature written about your business please contact the Gazette. A booking is required and there is a fee for this. These features will be posted to the Omarama Gazette Facebook page. 
The Community Reports
Upper Waitaki Police News
Kia ora koutou,
Firstly I must apologise. I’ve been pretty slack in keeping everyone updated with the police news this year, especially in the last few months.

In my defence I have been pretty busy with preparing Court files, the odd search warrant as well as my usual day to day business such as crashes, driving complaints, disputes, thefts etc.
So, what’ve I been up to? Casting my mind back I’ve had a few wee jobs that are interesting, such as a group of three come driving over from Central. This Einstein went past me at 142kph. To be fair to him he didn’t see me (in my big blue and yellow and white 4x4 Colorado Ute with funny lights on top), nor did he have a driver’s licence as it had been taken off him for 3 months, and to top it off the vehicle he was in he’d just bought that day from his sister. Oh! I almost forgot by the time I spun around and went after him he’d hit the straights before Omarama and had increased his speed to 162kph. Needless to say, I was pretty angry when I finally caught up with him, he was charged with a raft of driving offences as well as having his vehicle impounded there and then.
Speaking of Einsteins, I also had met another one who thought it’d be a good idea to do a burnout by the public toilets in town. Yep, directly opposite the well-lit police station. This was about 11pm on a Saturday night when I was quietly inside doing paperwork. Needless to say, I wasn’t too happy with him either, he’s off to Court to explain his heavy foot to her Honour.
I’ve also had the privilege of meeting yet another poacher and his girlfriend. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to locate his two wee mates that night. But word is out and these guys' days as poachers are numbered. Please, if you see something that’s not right or a bit suspicious don’t be afraid to call police. It was due to an eagle-eyed famer who thought “that’s a bit odd at this time of night” so he called us, resulting in this fella’s apprehension.
Labour weekend was same as always. I spent most of the time in Otematata as per norm, babysitting the teenagers from out of town. I would like to thank the camp staff who stayed overnight to to help police the Loch campsite, they were extremely helpful, and no doubt stopped a lot of the issues we normally face. The fact we should have to do this at all is a bug bear for me so watch this space.
There has been a significant decrease in driving complaints and vehicle crashes in the area since Covid, and lack of tourists on the roads. But there are still some idiots out there (as above). So please be careful. We’re coming into the Xmas season and I’m thinking we’re gonna be as busy as ever with Kiwis having to stay ashore.
It is the festive season and there will be work functions and events to attend. If you’re going out for a few drinks make sure you orgainse a ride home before you start partying, it’s your responsibility to do this, not anyone else. Stay alive don’t drink 'n' drive!
Omarama Search and Rescue have had a few jobs as well, including rescuing seven hunters who were rescued by helicopter from the Hopkins after they made the right decision not to cross the swollen river following a lot of rain. They’ve also recently done a few training courses in town which you may have seen and wondered what they were up to. One course was an advanced tracking course, yep following your footprints. They actually do that! They also completed a stretcher rope management safety course which is basically making sure they don’t drop you if you’re in a stretcher on the side of a mountain. Rest assured they all passed.
There’s more but I’ve run out of room.  
Have a great month I will be sure to put something out before Xmas.
Stay safe!
Constable Nayland Smith, Omarama Police.
021 191 4808 or email:

 - curious as to how Bean is spending the summer break? 
His mate Ben Mason explains it best 
Click here to read more
Omarama Golf Club
By Christine Bowman

It’s the start of our busy season and the place is buzzing. 
A warm welcome to our new members this month, great more from the local community are joining the club: Craig Morgan, Becky Martin and Greg Stuart. 
Congratulations to Mary McIlraith who was 1st in the ladies division recently at the Kurow tournament.
A big thank you to the members that helped at the working bee and completed all the mowing recently. We continue to get great feedback on our country course.
Others clubs have been visiting this month, Dunstan and Alexandra District Golf Section, as part of their annual golf trips. 

The annual challenge for the Lindis Shield was played between Omarama and Tarras Golf Club at Omarama on Saturday.
It was a very close contest with only two points between the clubs, but Tarras came out on top. A great day of friendly rivalry played in summer conditions providing masses of run in the fairways. 
Below:  Tarras Golf Club captain
Murray Hyndman Club Captain accepots the Lindis Shield.


Due to the introduction of new tee blocks the course slope rating was completed.  This confirms that all players are playing to the correct course handicap.
Reminder – AGM on the 12 December 2020 at 11.00 a.m. at golf Clubrooms.  All welcome.
Plans are well underway for our main fundraiser for the year, our New Year tournament to be held on 2 January 2020 (see poster below). Get in quick to ensure your place. All welcome.
Thinking of what to give someone special for Christmas? If you want to gift  an annual membership or green fee vouchers contact Christine 027 292 320 to discuss options.
This Paradise Duck mother has managed some feat - getting her 16 little ducks in a row and fending off swooping magpies to cross the busy golf course they have made home. Both mum and dad have been great parents and are always on guard. Photo and report, Christine Bowman
Omarama School
[NB The Friends of Omarama School fundraiser the Amazing 5 has been postponed until next year.
It will now be Friday, March 19. Organisers say there are still limited places available should more teams want to register.  Those already entered have their places secured. Click here for more information ]

By Bevan Newlands, Omarama School Principal

He mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa - Warm greetings to all.
What a wonderful week we had at Camp Columba. I was massively impressed with all the students, their behaviour, manners and participation were superb.  They were a credit to yourselves and the school.
We were extremely lucky with the weather playing its part; we didn’t get a spot of rain all week. This allowed the students to be involved in all the outdoor activities such as raft building, kayaking, speed slide, rock climbing and high ropes courses. It was wonderful to see the students being pushed outside their comfort zones and taking on challenges to mentally and physically push themselves.
A video from school camp can be view below or visit You Tube and search Omarama School Camp 2020.
“Thank you” to all those parents that gave up their time that week to come along and support the students and staff while on camp.
Student of the Week Awards.

Eve McKercher – For inferencing work in reading.
James Mason - For being a quiet, independent and focused learner. 
Sadie Mason  - For excellent writing skills.

Clay Cliffs - Mr Newlands / Mrs McLellan
This week we have been focusing on getting our CO2 dragsters ready to race. Great care is being taken in the paint work and we hope to have the wheels and tracking gear added by the end of the week.  Preparations are underway to make Race Day run smoothly. We are also lucky to have Kay Mason coming into school to teach swimming lessons.

Huxley - Mrs Denton
In Huxley we have been writing about camp and finishing learning about measurement. We have been making paper darts and flying them to take practical measurement.  In art we have been making Christmas gifts with clay and we are creating a paper Christmas Tree
Ahuriri  - Mrs McKenzie
In class we are looking at multiplication and skip counting for the older students in class. The younger students are learning to recognize and order numbers from one to ten. We are starting Christmas activities, including making clay gifts for parents.
CO2 Race Day
11am Friday, December 4, 2020
at the Omarama Hall

We extend a warm welcome to the whole school community to come and see Clay Cliffs race their CO2 Dragsters.  We have an awesome day planned with some exciting racing. The mini balsa wood dragsters are very impressive, being shot down a drag strip at over is plenty of excitement for old and young.  
Following the racing we will be having a BBQ lunch for the students at the hall.  We would love for parents to bring along a picnic to have with your children.  Hopefully we will strike a nice sunny day and we can enjoy a school picnic at the Community Hall to celebrate what has been a challenging year for everyone. 

When: Friday, December 4
11am CO2 Drag racing begins
12.15pm BBQ Lunch for pupils, picnic lunch for parents
1pm pupils are welcome to go home with parents or return to school.
Upper Waitaki Athletics Results
Congratulations to the following students who placed at the Upper Waitaki Athletic Sports that were held in Twizel in November.
James Mason – 2nd Discus, 2nd Sprints; Jack Bochel – 2nd Long Jump, 1st Discus, 1st 60m Sprints; Archie Bochel - 2nd Discus, 1st Shot Put; Sam Hay- 2nd Shot Put; Cam Innes - 3rd 100m Sprints;Jack Doree - 3rd 100m Sprints; Isla McLeod - 1st 100m Sprints, 1st 400m; Ben Hay - 3rd Discus; Sadie Mason - 3rd Long Jump, 2nd 400m, 1st High Jump, 1st 100m Sprint; Hazel Mason - 1st Long Jump, 1st 400m, 1st Long Jump, 1st 100m Sprint; Toby Bochel - 3rd 400m, 3rd Long Jump, 1st 100m sprints
Swimming Pool
The school pool is open again this season to just the parent community. The price remains the same $50 and a waiver form must be signed before access is granted.  
Once you have purchased a key code, please do not share the code. This year the code will be changed regularly and those people who have purchased a key code will be notified of the new code.
Please contact Ang if you would like to purchase a key code to the pool.

Batteries for Lions
Do you have old batteries lying around the farm? Omarama School is working with Waiareka Lions to turn those old batteries into a fundraiser for Omarama School and Lions. Terry Walsh at the Mobil Garage has agreed to come on board as a collection point for the batteries.  Simply dop your batteries at the garage and let Terry and the team know they are for Omarama School Lions Fundraiser.
Below is an overview from Waiarika Lions
“For some years the Waiareka Valley Lions Club has been collecting used batteries and selling them as a fundraiser. 
This initiative has led us to look at how we could become more pro-active in our battery collection. We are currently relying on batteries being dropped off at our stall, supplemented by those ones our members are able to collect from power companies.
At present we are being paid approximately $1 per kilogram for the old batteries. As many of the batteries used in vehicles, and particularly those in tractors, weigh over 20kg there is the potential to turn old batteries that are lying around on properties into a useful fund. Smaller batteries are also worth $1 per kg. We believe there is a very large untapped resource sitting around on rural properties. It is how we can tap into it that we are considering at present
 A collection point for the Omarama district has been arranged at the Mobil Garage. The Lions are able to weigh batteries each time they come in from the school. 
When a number of batteries are at the collection point one of the Lions club members, who is in the valley often, will be notified and will collect them.”

Highlights from Omarama School camp 2020 - video supplied
Remember the days of the old school yard
They arrived with baskets and trays full of goodies for a picnic lunch and an afternoon of fun and games.
About 30 kuia and nanas and grans and omas and koro and poppas and opas and granddads and a sprinkling of ‘fairy’ grandparents arrived from as far afield as Picton and Hororata and Wanaka to join grandchildren, real and adopted, for Grandparents’ day at Omarama School.
The weather might not have played ball making it somewhat of a logistical exercise but all gathered round for a picnic indoors before joining in some organised games.
Then it was down to some hard work – memories were dusted off as interviews took place about what it must have been like back in the day.
Kurow Medical Centre
Huge farewell to Dr Annie Fyfe!

Sadly, Dr Annie will be retiring at the end of January after many years of serving Kurow Medical Centre (6 years) and prior to that Twizel Medical Centre (14 years). Annie’s last day in Kurow will be Wednesday December 2 and then she takes a few weeks off for annual leave. On return she will continue to work at our Twizel clinic, Mackenzie Health Centre, only until the end of January.
We are sure we can say this for everyone when we say that Dr Annie will be sorely missed by all her patients and every member of staff who has the pleasure of working alongside her. She has a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm for her work, a great teacher to our visiting medical students, one of the kindest hearts and a fantastic member of our team. We cannot thank Annie enough for her many years of service to the community of Twizel and Kurow!
Dr Annie would like to say that she has thoroughly enjoyed her time in Kurow and is sad to go but feels after 20 years of travelling from her home near Wanaka and back each week  it is time to say farewell.
We plan to give Dr Annie a big send off at the end of January when she will be presented with a mystery commissioned gift!
Following in Dr Annie’s footsteps we have had the good fortune to welcome two new GP’s who will job share and join us over the next few months.
Dr Natasha Sharp starts from December 7, will work in Kurow and at a later date in Omarama.
Dr Natasha was born in Invercargill but lived most of her life in Balclutha. She studied at Otago University, graduating in 2013. She worked at Invercargill Hospital after that and did a postgraduate diploma in Child Health through Otago University during that time. She has done most of her GP training through Methven Medical Centre. Her hobbies are running after her three children and being out on the farm with her husband.
Dr Susan Scott joins us in early February and will work across Twizel and Kurow. Dr Susan was born and grew up in Dumfries, Scotland. She graduated from Glasgow University in 1988 and her last employment was as a Medical Officer at Oamaru Hospital and she worked there for over 12 years. She now resides in Kurow with her husband Peter and pet dog. She enjoys cooking, cycling, and walking the dog.
Dr Tim will continue to work in Kurow, Twizel and Omarama.

Yours in Health
Juliet and Tim Gardner
Ohau Conservation Trust
By Jo Malcolm

For Lake Ōhau locals, the flowering red mistletoe is a sign that Christmas is just around the corner, but it’s also brought a little cheer to a community still recovering from the devastating fire on October 4.
Parsons Creek was saved by firefighters and the mistletoe is positively blooming amongst the beech trees. 
There are patches of green grass and a few signs of regrowth around the village but along the lake front, the earth is charred and barren, any plants are brittle black sticks. 
The Ōhau Conservation Trust wants to try and replant the hundreds of natives lost in the fire, and replace the predator and possums traps that were incinerated. 
Chairperson Viv Smith-Campbell estimates they lost around $20,000 worth of traps and plants. 
Replacing these is now a pressing concern. 
“The gorgeous mistletoe is flowering right now, around Parsons Creek it’s incredible and so beautiful.  The possums see it like icecream and they haven’t gone in the fire, so we are really keen to get more traps and get them out there.” 
Lake Ōhau is one of the best places in New Zealand to see the mistletoe in flower. 
The flashes of red amongst the beech trees is truly spectacular at this time of year. 
Viv is hoping people will get behind the campaign.
"We want to help the community recover. Nature really is a great healer."
NEW BEGINNINGS - A new season begins with the mistletoe flowering at Lake Ohau.
Video by Ruth Grundy
St Thomas' Church Community
The fellowship meeting
for St Thomas' Church Community
and friends will be
11am Tuesday, December 8 at the Wrinkly Rams. 

St Thomas' Church Community 
Chairperson: Jan Thomas 
Committee secretary (Presbyterian) : Lee Kearon, phone: 021 250 1060 or email:
Treasurer: Kay Verheul 
Anglican representative: Ven Dr Michael Godfrey, phone 022 342 9977 or  email

PHOTOS BELOW: A service of ordination and induction for Lee Kearon was held last month at the St Stephen's Presbyterian Church, Kurow.
Lee said it was a "lovely day of celebration" for her and also  others "who had been part of the journey".
"You have heard that it takes a village to raise a child? Well the same goes for ministers!"

Photos: Vicky Munro and supplied.

to help minimise outgoings from church funds
the committee is seeking an alternative low cost
or free storage arrangement 
for the church furniture.
If you are able to help please contact: secretary  Lee Kearon
phone: 021 250 1060 or email:
Omarama Rodeo Club
Omarama Community Library
The Omarama Community Library  
is open 9am to 10am, 
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 
at the Omarama Community Centre.
Omarama Residents' Association
From the November meeting

There were eight people present and insuffuicent committee members for a quorum.

The new library lease has been signed.
The water fountain is to be fixed shortly by the council.

Finances: the term deposit will mature at the end of the month and various options for re-investment will be investigated and presented to the next meeting.

The  New Zealand Transport Agency safety engineer Roy Johnston has replied to the committee's letter raising road safety concerns.
As a follow-up the committee is to meet with Const Nayland Smith and form a plan for next steps.

The committee has applied to the Ahuriri Community Board for funds for the history wall, hockey goals for junior players, repairs to front signage, and a spider swing. The applications will will be considered at its December meeting.

Following the annual meeting, new signatories to the bank account will be set up.

Discussion took place regarding Health and Safety. Chairperson Tony Chapman will contact Waitaki District Council recreation manager Erik van der Spek to clarify what action needs to be taken.
The next meeting of the 
Omarama Residents' Association is

5pm Thursday, December 17, 2020

at the Pink Glider Café
followed by a Christmas get-together

An invitation is extended to all
Tony Chapman, chairperson, 027 242 8605.
Yvonne Jones, secretary, 027 476 7473. 
Could those who want to contact the association by mail, send accounts to be paid, or have correspondence considered at the monthly meetings ensure it is addressed to: 
The Secretary,  P O Box 93, Omarama 9448.
The association's email address is

To make a booking for an upcoming event or for more
information about hall hire and availability
please  contact  Charlotte Newfield, 027 940 1648,
or email
Keys and fobs are collected from Charlotte

The Waitaki Newcomers Network
Here are the links to recent newsletters for news about past and upcoming events

November 30, 2020
November 23, 2020
November 16, 2020
November 9, 2020

To subscribe to these emails send contact details to

Contact: Christine Dorsey
027 242 8643
Abacus House
102 Thames Street
03 434 7544
‘The Community Reports' is
dedicated to news
from clubs, groups and sports teams.

Contributions are welcome 
The Otematata Chronicle 

The Otematata Chronicle is published on the third Wednesday of the month.
The December issue is Wednesday, December 16, 2020.
The close-off is Friday, December 11.
The Chronicle is emailed to subscribers.
If you would like to subscribe or contribute please click the button below or email
To subscribe click here
Waitaki District Council - news in brief

Some campgrounds at capacity already
​​Falstone Creek, Sailors Cutting and Boat Harbour have reached capacity.
Season tickets to these sites are no longer available, however there is still space at Loch Laird, Wildlife and Parsons Rock.
There will be no casual camping available at Falstone Creek, Sailors Cutting and Boat Harbour between December 20, 2020 and January 10, 2021. If you are not a season pass holder, you won't be able to camp at these sites during the peak period.
Casual camping outside of this peak period at these three sites will be by arrangement with the Camp Supervisor. Read more

Survey finds residents want more education and information provided about recycling.
The council recently carried out a Waste Management Survey as part of its Waste Management and Minimisation Plan as required by the Waste Minimisation Act of 2008. To assess its progress against the plan, the council requires a statistically robust measure of how the district's residents are managing waste disposal. The research shows the relative differences in waste management by households, businesses, and farms in the Waitaki District. Read more

Ohau Fire
Donations to Mayoral Relief Fund for Ohau continue
A concert held last month  in Dunedin  raised $6,718.00 for the residents of Ohau affected by the fire, bringing the total to $223,729.30 
The Lake Ohau Village cordon has been lifted six weeks after FENZ handed over the site to the council and ending the ‘transition period’.
The transition period provided the council with powers to manage, co-ordinate, or direct recovery activities. As the site was considered dangerous, security was set up and the village road closed to all but essential workers and residents by appointment. Services were reconnected, contractors started demolition, water connections were re-established and debris cleared.
Recovery manager Lichelle Guyan said the fire had taught a valuable lesson "Be Prepared". 
Also, about the importance of understanding your insurance cover and the actual cost of rebuilding your home. Home owners may be surprised or not considered the cost of demolition and consents to rebuild. This all comes out of the sum of your insurance. Read more
Waitaki District property owners will soon receive a 2020 Notice of Rating Valuation in the post with an updated rating value for their property.
These will be posted today, December 2, 2020
The new rating valuations have been prepared for 14,432 properties on behalf of the Waitaki District Council by Quotable Value (QV). They show the total rateable value for the district is now $9,922,286,000 with the land value of those properties now valued at $4,897,852,000.
Read more

Objections to the new values must be received by January 22, 2021
These new values will not take effect for the process of setting the rates until next rating year beginning the July 1.

Company Directorships – Expressions of Interest
Omarama Airfield Limited
The Waitaki District Council (the Council) invites expressions of interest from members of the public interested in serving as a Company Director at Omarama Airfield Limited. 
We are looking for applicants with excellent, proven business and governance skills and a good knowledge of Waitaki’s community.
Particular skills and experience related to the aviation industry would also be beneficial.
Directorship appointments are considered confidentially by the Council’s Executive Committee, which will submit recommendations to the Council.  Appointment decisions will be made by the Council, acting as shareholder, with appointments expected to take effect from early 2021.
Further information on Council Controlled Organisations can be found on the council's website:
For enquiries about the process please contact:
Kim Burgher, HR Advisor on 03 433 0300.
Please make your expression of interest online
by submitting a curriculum vitae and covering letter,
addressing the attributes outlined above
by 5pm, Friday December 11, 2020.
Waitaki District Council services end of year/new year dates
Building consent and resource consent (not-notified)
Under the Building Act 2004 and the Resource Management Act 1991 the Statutory Clock stops on December 20 and restarts on January 11, 2021.
The council continues to receive and work on consents up to December 24 and recommences on the January 11. The last day for building inspections will be December 23 and they will recommence on January 11.
Alcohol – special licence​
Under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, any days between  December 20 and  January 15 inclusive are deemed to be non-working days.
For events that are being held between December 21 and January 15,  all applications must be received before  November 21.
For events that are being held after January 15, all applications must be received by November 20.​
Land Information Memorandum (LIM)
Standard LIM applications need to be submitted by December 8.
Urgent LIM applications need to be submitted by December 17.
Food and mobile shops

Any new food registrations or mobile shop applications are required to be submitted by December 21.
​Council offices open hours
Council HQ in Oamaru will be closed from noon December 24, reopening 8am January 11. Phones only will be available for enquiries from Tuesday January 5.
Waihemo Service Centre/Library will close noon December 24, reopening 8.30am January 11.

The next Ahuriri Community Board meeting

is 3.15pm Monday, December 14, 2020
at the Lakes Centre, Otematata

Minutes and agendas can be found here
Environment Canterbury - news in brief

A jet skier’s dangerous behaviour on Loch Laird has resulted in the first infringement issued by the Regional Harbourmaster’s Office for the summer boating season. The jet skier received the infringement notice and a $100 fine for using a reserved area for the improper purpose of doing donuts, which resulted in colliding with another vessel towing a biscuit. Read more here

A new high-country lakes report analyses the state and trend of water quality in 36 lakes in the region.

ECan's Upper and Lower Waitaki water zone committees recently attended an event at Otematata Station, aiming to shift perceptions about wetlands – showing them as assets rather than a responsibility.

Councillor Ian Mackenzie briefs the group ahead of the wetland workshop.

ECan councillor Ian Mackenzie briefs the group ahead of the wetland workshop. PHOTO: Supplied

NZ Landcare Trust has set up practical wetland demonstration sites as part of the ‘Managing Wetlands as Farm Assets’ event series, demonstrating a range of wetlands across different farming systems and varying ecological zones of Canterbury. Read more

ECan has updated its recreational gradings for swimming sites for this season (based on the past three years of data) and summarised them in this article Once summer-time water monitoring is underway you can see the most up-to-date results at

ECan's annual Youth Voices Hui, delayed by Covid-19 restrictions earlier in the year, will be held at Tūtehuarewa Marae, Koukourarata/Port Levy from December 14 to 16.

ECan staff have put together some advice to help those managing the clean-up of the Lake Ohau Alpine Village fire to minimise the environmnetal impact

ECan has adopted its audited annual report for the last financial year, 1 July 2019 – 30 June 2020, at its council meeting on October 22, 2020. The report shows that 82% of the Levels of Service targets (results or actions agreed through the Long-Term Plan) were met. Of the 74 Levels of Service targets, 61 were achieved, three were not measured because of the Covid-19 situation, and of the 10 not achieved, four were the result of Covid-19 impacts on activities. Read more here

Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee
By Kate Doran, Environment Canterbury senior communications and engagement advisor

 Mahinga kai explored at community hāngī in Ōmarama 

Learning about traditional mahinga kai, including our native tuna (eels), in and around our waterways was the theme of a special community meeting and hāngī in Omarama on 20 November.


The Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee event included an informal meeting, talks from local rūnanga representatives on mahinga kai natural resources, and then a delicious hāngī.

The event, hosted by Richard and Annabelle Subtil at Ōmarama Station, was  a chance for people of all ages, including Omarama School pupils,  to enjoy some kai and talk with members of the Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee about the work they have been doing and water management issues in the area.
Some of the topics discussed included the idea for a collaborative community restoration project at Twizel River and plans to increase public awareness of responsible toilet use at Lake Ruataniwha over summer. 
Participants then got the chance to move around the area to experience three short mahinga kai talks, including learning about the life cycle and characteristics of tuna (eels) and other native fish and plants, as well as the process for creating a hāngī.

The hāngī was prepared and served by a team of volunteers, including kaitiaki rūnanga for the Upper Waitaki catchment (Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua, Te Rūnanga o Moeraki, and Te Rūnanga o Waihao). 

The Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee is a joint committee made up of community members, rūnanga and local councils.  The committee meets regularly to address issues affecting water quality and quantity in the area.  Members of the public are welcome to attend the meetings.

CAPTIONS: Kieran Whyte, zone committee rūnanga representative, demonstrates how native tuna caught as part of a ‘trap and transfer’ project to protect the species; ECan Poū Matai Kō mahinga kai facilitator Rosemary Clucas talks to Omarama School pupils about native species such as pūhā found in streams; Zone committee rūnanga representative Michael MacMillan describes the traditional hāngī process; Feeling the hāngī warming up; Kai time: bring the hāngī up; Dishing up the kai, which included lamb, pork, vegetables and salmon; The kai received top reviews from Omarama School pupils ; An informal meeting was held, where issues discussed included the idea for restoration work at a Twizel River recreation spot; Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee members present on the day (left to right) John Wilkie, Cr Stuart Barwood, Cr John Sunckell, Kieran Whyte, Mat Bayliss, Joy Paterson, Richard Subtil, Michael MacMillan and Simon Cameron (Absent Lisa Anderson, Cr Ross McRobie). Photos by Kate Doran

Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee meetings

for 2021 to be confirmed
Something to puzzle over
The Directory


phone 021 294 8002 or email

The Last Page is Classifieds

Do you have green fingers and a spare day or so leading up to Christmas?!
If so, Vaughan and Aimee of Trail Adventures would love to hear from you!
We are looking for someone to bring the garden in front of the Church back to its former glory.
We are flexible on when and will discuss pay with you.
Give Aimee a call on 022 350 5536 or Vaughan on 027 937 4473.
We look forward to hearing from you!

Building since 1939 - available for your all of your construction projects in the Upper Waitaki and Mackenzie districts.
Contact our Area Manager Jason Pryde on 021 340 694
or email
The weather that was - November 2020
The Garden Diary
Random acts of kindness, senseless acts of beauty
(Re-posted from December 2016, thinking of all the gifts you bring)

Gardeners love to share their plants - those treasured bits and bobs that have done well in their gardens and found a place in their hearts.
When I spot their gifts in my garden they bring smiles and memories.
When I started gardening in Omarama Mrs Pearl Gloag gave me a piece of primula with claret-red flowers. An amazing lady, wise and encouraging.


Joan loved herbs and welcomed unusual plants into her garden.
The mouse tail plant (arisarum proboscidium) was one. It creeped me out.
She gave me woodruff, a pretty and enthusiastic chartreuse ground cover with starry white flowers. And a rose-scented pelargonium which grew in a huge pot which I brushed past every time I went out the back door.
I planted five Autumn Delight hybrid musk roses.
One of my treasured memories is of Karen arriving at the door with a beautiful bouquet of its delicate, honey-scented flowers.
I have grown the self-seeding honeywort (Cerinthe Major 'Purpurascens' ) since she first gave me a handful of seeds years ago.
Its blue - jazz coloured notes remind me of spontaneity, tenacity through the tough times augmented with joy and laughter.
I have lilacs grown from slips.
They bloom prolifically each year and fill the air with intoxicating fragrance.
When I tucked them into the dry, bony soil I had this dream one day I could sit in their shade, a la Monet’s Le Repose sous les Lilas.
And now, although it is not exactly as he painted it, the chooks and I do just that.
That dear friend’s generosity helped make a dream come true.
She also gave the gift of  rest, serenity and balance.
Sometimes there are unexpected gifts.
In Victorian times, a certain Miss Willmott used to secretly scatter seeds of the prickly blue eryngium giganteum in gardens she thought looked too tidy, too prescribed and conventional.
It became known as Miss Willmott’s ghost.
And a reminder, too, to defy duplicity and sometimes challenge the status quo.
Don’t you just love the Miss Willmotts of the world?!
For all who have enriched my life with the gifts you bring, thank you.

Ruth Grundy
( I garden a small space under a big sky in Omarama)
The View from the Chook House
So the invite said; 'Just bring yourself and a tossed salad'?!
Omarama Gazette
Editor: Ruth Grundy,
021 294 8002, 03 438 9766
Copyright © 2016-2020, Omarama Gazette, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp