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- Omarama Gazette -

March 2019

Sponsored by Ellis-lea Farms
The March Issue
                                                In late news
 - Ladybird Hill complex for sale 
                                                                     - Sports courts project receives $50,000 grant
                                                                     - Walkway approved 
New technology employed to manage Tara Hills fire
Future of den "a community decision"
President shows form at dog club trials
Omarama's Community Picnic, you won't want to miss this
Strong prices at ewe fair follow "phenomenal" lamb sale
A little "hold-up" on the trail to Hawea
Read all about it - Spud in a bucket 2019

Regular Features

This Issue Brought to you by...
#EOTM Employee of the Month - Kris Lindsay
 The Noticeboard 
The Community Reports
Waitaki District Council - News in Brief 
 Environment Canterbury - News in Brief
Those FAQs - Five Awkward Questions with 
The Directory
The Weather that was 
The Situations Vacant
The Last Page is Classifieds 
The Garden Diary 
The View from the Chook House 
In late news ...
Omarama tourism and hospitality complex Ladybird Hill is for sale.

Ladybird Hill, which features a vineyard, salmon fishing, restaurant and bar, two houses and a heliport on 26ha with water rights, was put on the market last month for $3.9 million.
It has been owned by Rodger and Donna Smaill since 2010.
Tourism Properties Ltd which is marketing the property states the 3.5ha vineyard, established in 1988 is "New Zealand’s highest" vineyard, at 440m above sea level, and "consists of approximately 5265 grape vines, producing around 2700 bottles of Pinot Noir, 1890 bottles of Pinot Gris and 395 bottles of Pinot Blanc".
It also says there is potential for a camper van park, motel or hotel resort complex to be built  on the additional land title of 7,008m2  at the front of the property, subject to Waitaki District  Council final planning approval of the concept plans.

Walkway approved

Church authorities have, this week, given approval for a walking easement through the St Thomas' church grounds.
Church  Management Committee chairperson Ken Light said the Presbyterian Synod of Otago and Southland had notified the Kurow Presbyterian Parish, of  which St Thomas’ is a part, that they have given  permission for a two metre strip along the rear of the church property to create the walkway.
The easement will complete walking access from Park Lane to TA Munro Lane, which will allow children, in particular, safe passage to school.
A recent sale and subdivision of 10A Park Lane allowed the Waitaki District Council to begin the process and establish a walking easement from Park Lane to the boundary of the church property. 
At a  meeting, called by the church committee in November the community resolved to give the committee the go ahead to begin negotiations with the council to complete the easement.
$50,000 grant means next steps can be taken.

The Omarama Residents’ Association’s Sports Courts project has been granted $50,000 by the Otago Community Trust.
This brings the amount raised to $215,000.
It means discussions and “locking down quotes” with contractors can begin, project organiser Jemma Gloag says.
Once “we have all our ducks in a row” building can begin, hopefully within the next couple of months.
She said she was “really excited” and it was a tribute to “all the hard work of committee members”.
This Issue Brought to you by ...

David and Karen Ellis

David and Karen Ellis want to personally thank each and every one – not only those who tackled the blaze at Tara Hills last month, but also all those who supported the fire fighters on site.
As well as both FENZ Omarama brigades, rural fire crews from throughout the district - Kurow, Otematata, Twizel and Waitaki – were called to fight the fire which began in hay bales.
Excavators and two helicopters with monsoon buckets were also brought in to help.
As well, community volunteers supplied crews with food and drink throughout.
 “It’s hard for us to express our thanks to each of those people personally. Many are not known to us," Dave says. 
The couple singled out Omarama chief fire officer Terry Walsh and Mike Harrison, deputy principal rural fire officer for Waitaki, for special praise for their leadership throughout the event. 
Dave says he was especially appreciative the fire fighters were willing and able to just drop what they were doing at work and “go and do this”. 
The Ellis family has made a donation to FENZ Omarama and asked chief fire officer Terry Walsh to distribute it as he sees fit. 
Dave urges any farmer who can help to seriously consider becoming a fire brigade volunteer. 
The fire which involved about 1,000 hay bales and spread to a nearby silage pit was likely caused by spontaneous combustion, he says. 
The total loss to the farm was about $140,000. 
He was confident every precaution was taken by the “experienced baler” to ensure the winter feed which was all grown on the property was completely dry. 
“It’s just one of things that happens in farming. Everyday can be a challenge.
“…we don’t make it to burn it.” 
Farm manager James Hurst, who is a highly-regarded employee, had been the butt of a few good-natured jokes and been given a “bit of a hard time” since, he says, laughing.
Quite coincidentally, the farm manager's position at Tara Hills station has just been advertised because James would be moving to The Glens - another unit within the Ellis-lea group - to gain dairy experience, he says.

New technology employed to manage Tara Hills fire
Firefighters say the FENZ Timaru command unit, shown here partially obscured by a rural fire appliance, made a significant contribution to fighting the fire at Tara Hills last month.
The photo shows the high definition pan tilt zoom camera mounted on a retractable pole.
All photos: FENZ Otematata Volunteer Fire Brigade

Last month’s fire at Tara Hills was one of the most significant fires fought in the surrounding area in many years and did have the potential to become “another Nelson”. 
However,  access to new equipment in the form of FENZ Timaru's Command Unit  made managing the task that much more efficient, FENZ Omarama chief fire officer Terry Walsh says.
The fire, which began in hay bales, spread to a silage pit and a small stand of trees but was able to be contained before it could spread further, and up into nearby hills. 
At its peak there were 29 fire-fighters on the ground, with eight fire appliances, two helicopters and three excavators working to extinguish the blaze. 
As well, police and the First Response crew were on hand. 
The fire was brought under control just before dark however a crew remained on site through the night.
It was officially ‘handed-over’ to the land owner a little over 24 hours after it began. 

“It’s the biggest [fire] I’ve been involved with…I learnt a lot.” Terry said. 
About an hour into battling the blaze efforts on the ground were boosted by the arrival of Timaru’s Command Unit – a mobile control centre designed for the management of large-scale incidents. 
It was the first time the unit had been used by local brigades and its presence made a significant difference to coordinating the operation and bringing the fire under control, Terry said. 
Effectively, the unit allows those controlling the operation to see “the big picture”. 
“You can make a plan and watch that plan take shape,” Terry said. 
“…rather than relying on writing on the roadway in the dust.” 
It was a huge improvement on the past and was especially useful when trying to coordinate the operation when there were many on the ground and multiple services in attendance. 
It is equipped with information technology – cameras, screens, radios, computers and phones, and with wi-fi - that is run off on-board generators.
A high-definition pan-tilt zoom camera mounted on a retractable pole films and records constantly, transmitting to on-board screens, effectively “mapping” the entire incident and creating an information trail. 
The information it relays improves safety and means crews can be easily briefed as soon as they arrive. 
The Unit becomes the base for the incident controller – the officer in charge of fire, the safety officer, and operations and logistics managers. 
A large whiteboard – the tactical command and control/sector board - gives visual prompts to assist with planning and co-ordinating the various tasks, and delegating responsibilities. 
It can be used to layout, for example, what tasks each of the officers in charge of a sector of the fire and their crew have been set, and the progress they are making. 
“It brings the whole incident together, so we know where everything is,” Terry said. 
Two-and-half hours in and Terry was able to hand over control of the fire to Mike Harrison, FENZ deputy principal rural fire officer for Waitaki. 
The operation “on the large side for this region” was “well in hand on my arrival”, Mike said. 
“Any fire involving that number of hay bales is a long, messy, hot job. 
“The local brigades did an amazing job in preventing it spreading further. 
“They had it contained and were working to extinguish it alongside the helicopters and diggers. 
“I can’t say enough about the crews.” 
It could have been significantly worse had it “driven up hill”, he said. 
The total cost was not yet known as he was still “working through” that, gathering information from the contractors and helicopters involved. 
Since new legislation and the Fire Emergency Levy was introduced in 2017, FENZ “absorbs” the costs unless there are “exceptional circumstances”. 
In all, it has been a good reminder to people to be “vigilant”. 
There is a total fire ban in the area and if anyone sees anything they should phone 111, Mike said.

Fenz Omarama volunteer fire fighters were joined by Heliventures Oamaru, Helicopter Line Glentanner, Twizel, Otematata,  Kurow,  Waitaki Rural, Kakanui Rural and Twizel Rural brigades, excavator operators Kevin Grant  and Tara Hills staff. Omarama First Response  turned out  and Omarama and Kurow police Bean and Scottie also provided assistance.
Behind the scenes, Boots and Jandals Hotel and volunteers made food and beverages available for firefighters.

In the past week there have been two further significant fires in the Waitaki Rural Fire District.
Future of den "a community decision"

The future of Omarama’s “Community Den” should be decided by the community and no-one else, founding members say.
Omarama locals Howard Williams, together with Bo Bateman and Linda Allen were members of the committee which fund-raised and organised for the building and garage, donated by the Electricity Corporation (now Meridian Energy), to be uplifted from their original locations and shifted onto land that was originally the NZED line camp.
This land was later given to the Waitaki District Council, Bo says, in a letter submitted to the Omarama Residents’ Association at its meeting last month.
He believes records of this and any consents should still be held by the council.
Howard told the meeting, although the building was for the use of cubs and brownies, it was not given to the scout association.
Rather it was run by a trust which had not met for some 10 to 15 years.
It was stipulated at the outset it was expressly for the use of the community and youth of Omarama which is why it was called the “Community Den” rather than a scout den.
He had not been approached directly but heard the hang-gliding community had made enquiries to the council about using the building.
However, the remaining committee members believed it was not up to the council to make that decision, he said.
If the buildings were to be “re-purposed or sold” any money should be “put back into the youth of the community”, Bo said. 
If re-purposed, they must be used "by the community for the community", he said. 
Residents’ Association committee member Ross Menzies is to contact those concerned to try find out more about the history of the arrangement.
In the agenda, published on Monday, for the upcoming Ahuriri Community Board meeting  the Recreation Update report notes that the Aorangi Hang Gliding Club  have approached the Waitaki District Council to ask if they can lease the old “Omarama Scout building and part of the domain to use as a base”. 
Council officers plan to try to find out more about the ownership of the building, the report says. 
At present, Jimmy Courtney has been given the use of the building in return for paying some expenses and maintaining the buildings, Howard said. 
He planned to attend the Ahuriri Community Board meeting in Omarama on Monday.
President shows form at Dog Club trials
Joe and Sue keep an eye on event above the short head and yard. Photo: by Lou Egan
Omarama Dog triallist Scott Hunter and his dogs did dominate the leader board at this week’s club trials at Dalrachney Station, however he was a little reluctant to say so. 
Scotty, who is also club president, did eventually confess  he had “a little luck” and was relieved to have “qualified” five dogs early in the season to enter in the National and Island championships. 
With his president's hat back on he said there had been good numbers compete in what was perfect weather for the two-day event although they were back a bit on other years. 
Other clubs had noted numbers were downat their trials this season also but it was unclear why that was, he said. 
A group of nine triallists travelled from Wanaka and Tarras to take part in the Omarama and the Mackenzie Collie Dog Club trials which were run on Balmoral Station two days beforehand. 
One of the group, Jack Mansfield, said they had decided to make a weekend of it and had spent the night at Lake Ohau. 
The enthusiasts are also members of the the Tarras Young Farmers' Club who are holding a dog trial event  next month at Lindis Downs.
It is the second year they have staged the Young Farmers’ trials, and it was proving a popular drawcard, he said. 
He said the club had organised “tents and swags” should people want to stay overnight at Lindis Downs.
Scotty said there had been a few changes at Omarama this year. 
The installation of a kitchen in the club rooms was a welcome upgrade. 
He especially wanted to thank secretary Prue O’Neill, on behalf of the club for the work she put in to keep things “ticking along”. 
And he thanked the Aubreys for the use of the grounds at Dalrachney station and for supplying the sheep.
This year, Merino half-bred lambs were used in the short head and yard event and two-tooth ewes in the long head and huntaway events.

The Tarras Young Farmers Club dog trials will be at  8am Saturday, April 6, at Lindis Downs.
The South Island Championships are in Hanmer Springs at the beginning of May and the North Island and New Zealand Championships will be in Kaikohe at the end of May.
Omarama Collie Dog Club Trials, March 3 and 4, 2019
Event I – Long Head
Judge: Chris Calder
Barry Hobbs with Jane, 94 points, 1; Russell Smillie, Ben, 91.5, 2; Angus Ferguson, Jess, 91, 3; Don McRae, Haze, 90, 4; Bruce Calder, Trix, 89.5, 5. 1st Intermediate, Russell Smillie, Ben 91.5; 1st maiden, Noel Russell, Chief, 83. 
Event II – Short Head and Yard
Judge: Nick France
Jack Brennan, Jake, 97.5, 1; Neville Hore, Spec, 96, 2; Rick Aubrey, Trump, 95.5, 3; Scott Hunter, Rangi, 93, 4; Angus Ferguson, Jake, 92.5, 5. 1st intermediate: Jack Brennan, Jake, 97.5. 1st maiden: Eric Stringer, Rob, 84. 
Event III – Zig-zag Hunt
Judge: Burt Oliver
Matt Smith, Bully, 97.75, 1; Eric Stringer, Jim, 97.5, 2; Dan MacDonald, Gale, 97.25, 3; Jack Mansfield, Gem, 97, 4; Scott Hunter, Ollie, 96.5; 5. 1st intermediate: Matt Smith, Bully, 97.75. 1st Maiden: Dan MacDonald, Gale, 97.25. 
Event IV – Straight Hunt
Judge: Andy Boys
Scott Hunter, Barb, 98.5, 1; Scott Hunter, Harry, 98, 2; Russell Smillie, Chopper, 97.75 3; Scott Hunter, Ollie, 97.5 4; Eric Stringer, Jim, 97.25, 5. 1st intermediate: Dan MacDonald, Shag, 97. 1st maiden, Dan MacDonald, Shag, 97.
The Omarama Community Picnic

Everyone's coming's going to be great.
Well, it could be quite chaotic but, hey, we’ll make it up as we go along. 
It'll be just like the good old days before there was a spreadsheet for everything!

When: from 11am, Saturday March 23
Where: Omarama Community Centre and playground.

Bring the whole whanau, bring all your friends.
Come for lunch or stay all day.
Bring your own food and beverages.

Here's what we know... 
***There will be music ***
*** Frank the Guitar Man  is coming!***
  • The Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade vehicles will be there with the slippery slide
  • There will be a sausage sizzle for the kids
  • The playgroup rooms will be open for wee ones
  • Bring your bikes - the bike park’s right next door
  • Bring outdoor games that you are happy to share with others. Go on, dig that cricket set out of moth balls!
Pack the hamper, fill the thermos and the chilly bin,
throw in a rug and the sunscreen.
(P.S You may want to bring some extra shade in case there aren’t enough trees to go around.)
Let's treat ourselves and make a day of it.
To find out more phone Ruth Grundy, 021 294 8002 or 03 438 9766. 
or posted on the Facebook page.
(P.S This is not a fundraiser,
just a low or no-cost fun day for all to relax and enjoy.)
See you there
Strong prices at ewe fair follow "phenomenal" lamb sale
All stars aligned for what was described by those who attended as a "very strong" lamb sale at Omarama, last month.
Peter Walsh and Associates livestock broker Madison Taylor said prices were "phenomenal" across the board driven by "positivity" across the wool and lamb markets.
The top pen of half-breds from Glenbrook Station went for $163.
The top price for merino wether lambs was $141 for a pen from Tara Hills.
Overall prices were up about $40 on average, he said.
Madison said there was a "strong contingency of local vendors" compared with the past few years.
There was a total yarding of about 19,000, slightly down on last year.
Lambs went to buyers in North Canterbury but many also stayed locally, he said.
Following on, the same market influences drove prices and demand at the ewe sale also.
The sale, with a yarding of just on 6000, saw prices, on average, up about $30 on last year, PGG Wrightson livestock agent Mark Yeates said.
The top line of 349 merino 6-year ewes from Quailburn Downs went for $175.
Other notable lines were 439 from Glenbrook Station which went for $167 and 332 from Bendhu which went for $165.
The top cut of 169 half-bred merino two-tooths – from Holm Lea - went for $245, and a second line of 237 went for $225.
Big Yellow, of Oamaru made $222 for 298 half bred merino second-shear ewes.
“The confidence in the stability of the fine wool and sheep meat markets are driving the process," Mr Yeates said.
The outlook for fine wool, in particular, looks good “out for the next few years”.
Buyers came from throughout the central South Island - from Canterbury to Central Otago - and included local buyers, he said.
A little 'hold-up' on the trail to Hawea
They watched and waited. They listened and waited.
Then out of the distant shimmering haze they came.
Wagon wheels a rolling, a ridin’, ridin’, ridin’… toward their doom, and lunch.
In the chilly morning light and as the sun rose over the tops,10 light wagons and 50 horses and riders made their way across from Ribbonwood and the Quailburn, climbed up and around the Diadem Range and down into the Ahuriri River Valley, only to be accosted by a group of lawless bandits – Omarama School pupils - and robbed of gold coin in a hold-up staged at Ireland Rd bridge at high noon.
It was also the group's lunch stop.
The Tussock Creek light wagons and riders were on route to Hawea as part of the 2019 Otago Goldfields Cavalcade - Riding High to Hawea.
In all, three walking trails, two mountain bike trails and six horse-riding and wagon trails - about 620 people - followed various routes through the back country to Hawea in a re-enactment of the journeys of the gold rush days.
The Cavalcade staged a Grand Parade in Hawea on Saturday.
About $100 was raised by the school pupils.
#EOTM Our Employee of the Month 

Kris Lindsay
Teacher Aide, Omarama School
We're a small town with so much talent. Together we do so much.
Each month we feature our 'Employee of the Month' to learn a little more about how our people spend their day. 
“Children are really easy,” Kris Lindsay says.
It’s as well she believes that because her role as teacher aide does demand she thinks outside the square. All. The. Time.
Kris, who lives in Twizel, has worked in the role there and Omarama for about  eight years.
“I’ve always loved children and always had children around."
The doors to the family home have always been open and there’s always been room for another, she says.
Kris is the second youngest of seven children, she had four children of her own and looked after her granddaughter until she was seven years old.
Having family of her own drew her into volunteer work at the Twizel Kindergarten.
She also worked at the Twizel Area School Creche and child minding for working parents.
Before she moved to Twizel her work could not have been more different.
She was secretary at Speights Brewery in Dunedin for nine years and also worked in administration for an insurance company.
Kris and her husband Mike began holidaying in the town 26 years ago.  Making a permanent move seemed to be an obvious step.
She and principal Kim McKenzie share the morning commute.
They arrive at school about 8am each day and begin to “get the day sorted”.
“The children arrive and I chat away with them.”
The day begins with mat time and continues with various duties, inside and out, throughout the working day.
Officially her role is to work in the junior room in a supporting role to Kim.
“We work as a team.”
Kris works with pupils who need extra help with their learning, keeping them “on task”, helping with reading and the like. 
However, it doesn’t end there.
“I’m busy.”
Break times see her in the playground “pushing swings” and she’s usually needed to join pupils in the pool for swimming lessons.
She really can empathise.
“It’s cold.”
However the school day pans out “I work in”. 
An  “active thinker” is how Kim describes her, always monitoring the needs of her pupils and coming up with ideas which might be key to unblocking a learning process. 
“I don’t see myself as doing anything special.” 
But it is rewarding when she sees a change – pupils beginning to succeed.
“To know the actual word, to learn to read.
That was so important.
“They have to learn to read before they can do anything else.” 
“You do get grumpy at times and have to pull them into line.” 
She offers encouragement because “being on their level… you can see that they can do better". 
It is most challenging part when it all begins to get repetitive. 
But when it comes together “it’s so special, it’s just amazing”. 
She has been on training courses, of course, but says patience is the most important skill and kindness the most important quality. 
Sometimes all a child needs is a “good cuddle”.
The Noticeboard
To have your community notice included here. email:

We have a couple of busy months ahead, folks. There are notices throughout this Gazette you won't want to miss.

Congratulations to Jan and Lance Thomas who this month celebrated 10 years since the opening of Hot Tubs Omarama.

The Ohau Conservation Trust is inviting people to help plant 150 beech trees in Aubrey Reserve this month. It is having four planting sessions: 10am to 12 noon, Easter Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, and at the same time on Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28 - the weekend after Anzac Day. 

The Omarama Community Library is open 9am to 10am  Wednesdays and Saturdays,
and Tuesdays from 7pm to 8pm at the Omarama Community Centre. Library hours can change. Contact Yvonne: 027 476 7473.

The Omarama Golf Club  Saturdays tee-off 1pm. Twilight golf tee-off is 6pm, Thursdays. 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 Kurow Medical Centre holds a clinic 8.30am to 1pm, and 2pm to 5pm, on Tuesdays at the Omarama Community Centre. Please phone Kurow Medical Centre, 03 436 0760, for appointments. On Fridays phone 0274 347 464 because the Kurow Centre is closed.

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.

Plunket Line: 0800 933 922
Omarama Plunket Committee: phone Petrina Paton 027 345 6192 
Car Seat Rentals: Christine, phone: 03 435 0557 or 027 208 0362
Breastfeeding Works: Claire Hargest-Slade 03 684 3625, 021 493 863 

In case of emergency: to prevent any confusion about the location of Lake Ohau Alpine Village in an emergency, the following points should be noted:
When phoning 111, advise that Lake Ohau is in South Island and the nearest cross road is State Highway 8 and Lake Ohau Road. Also mention that Lake Ohau Alpine Village is on the shore of Lake Ohau, and is 20 mins (40 km) from both Twizel and Omarama. This will assist the operator to find the required information  to enter location in the system and allowing the call to progress to the next screen in the system. 

A  special notice for you to pass on to all those who subscribe to our email but did not receive the latest issue of the Omarama Gazette.
Please add the email address to your contacts 'address' book so all systems know we are friends and not evil spam.

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

To receive email alerts between monthly editions of the Omarama Gazette sign up to our 'Local List'. Email 
and put 'Local List' in the subject line.
The April  issue of the Omarama Gazette
is Wednesday, April 3 , 2019.
Please submit copy
by Friday, March 29.
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
The Community Reports
Upper Waitaki Police News
Howdy all, it’s been a wee while since my last report. As some of you are aware I’ve been on extended leave due to accumulating too much TOIL (time off in lieu), but am now back.
I’ve noticed in the last few months a worrying trend where some people think its okay not to wear helmets when they’re on their bikes. I don’t expect to have to lecture adults on wearing helmets, I would’ve thought they’d know the rules by now. What cracks me up even more is when I see people (adults) riding their bike with their helmet strapped to the handle bars. I would’ve thought that this new technology where helmets alert you to impending danger so that you can then stop and place the helmet on your head to avoid injury, would’ve made the news! Or is it vanity or laziness that they put the helmet on the handle bars instead of their head? Regardless, I don’t want our children riding their bikes with no helmet, if adults want to risk brain damage because of laziness or vanity or just plain stubbornness, so be it…but our children’s safety is paramount, so please make sure your children are wearing them before they leave on their bike.
On another note, I have recently heard rumours that there are children possibly using firearms without direct adult supervision. I’m not sure if this is correct or not…..I sure-as-hell hope it’s not, and is exactly that….rumours.
But to avoid any confusion should it be true….In New Zealand the rules state;   
Anyone can use an A Category firearm without a licence if they are under the immediate supervision of a licence holder. ‘Immediate supervision’ means the licensed person is within reach and can control the firearm. The supervisor must not be using another firearm at the same time.
Immediate is the key word here….This means that the supervisor is within arm’s length of the person with the firearm so that should the unlicenced person point it in the wrong direction etc. the firearm or person can quickly be controlled by the licenced supervisor to ensure the safety of all. Any person that would allow their children (or any unlicenced person for that matter) to use firearms without immediate supervision should start considering archery lessons because I’ll be taking your firearms licence if I catch you.
Lastly just a reminder that if you require police for an emergency (life threatening or immediate danger to property or persons) phone 111. If you require police for a driving complaint phone *555 or if the driving’s that bad that you think it’s going to end in a crash, phone 111. DO NOT ring me on my cell phone. I may not be working and not clear your message for some time and therefore no one attends. If I’m working Police comms will be phoning me straight away or organising the next closest unit.  I’m happy for you all to phone for me anything NOT urgent…but it’s important you use the appropriate number for emergencies or urgent matters such as driving complaints. Be aware if I don’t answer and you go to voicemail there’s a good chance I’m not working and it could be a few days until I get back to you.
That’s it from me stay safe and have a great month.
- Bean
Senior Constable Nayland Smith
Phone: 03 438 9559
FENZ Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade
An open day will be held at the fire station next month (see poster below) so those who are interested in learning more about any of the emergency services - Fire, St John and First Response, Police, and Land Search and Rescue - which operate in the area can have a chance to look through the vehicles and the station, and talk to volunteers and personnel about their roles.
Services from the surrounding area will be involved.
Depending on fire risk conditions in the region the command unit from Timaru may also be available to visit.
There will be a demonstration of  a rescue from a vehicle and members of the public are invited to volunteer to be the accident victim and experience being trapped in a vehicle while it is being 'deconstructed'.
There will be a sausage sizzle. Recruitment packs will be available.
The event will be from 1pm to 3pm, Sunday, April 7. 

There were 10 calls for February, I would like to thank all those that supported our brigade with the hay fire. Its amazing to see what support we get when we get a big working job. 
                                                                                                   - Stay safe, Chief Fire Officer Terry Walsh

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

There is a TOTAL FIRE BAN in the central zone of the Otago Fire District which includes Omarama. To check the fire status go to  - The link to the website is here.
Photo and caption: Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade 

Congratulations from all of us: There are five new operational support members for  Waitaki district volunteer fire brigades. They are; Paul King, Duntroon, Sonya Trusler, Charlotte Derosa and Jimmy Courtney, Omarama, and Paddy Galvin, Kurow.
St Thomas' Church Community 
Omarama Golf Club
By Christine Bowman

Another busy month for the Golf Club with great Saturday turnouts enjoying the summer run in the fairways.  We have also had many out of town visitors enjoying our course and facilities.

Our annual event, Canterbury verses Otago competition was held in February.  I am very pleased (being a Canterbury player) to report that the Cantabrians stepped up on the day and take the honours from Otago.  This means that Adrian Tuffley (Otago captain) has the pleasure of holding the toilet seat for the next year (photos below). Better luck next year Otago!!!!!  

A few congratulations:
  • Peter Trusler who won the Omarama Golf Club Medal and Putting Trophy for 2018
  • Mary McIlraith and Christine Bowman who won the ladies section at Ben Ohau two-day teams’ tournament.
  • Mary McIlraith placed second in the Junior ladies’ section at Waimate 5000 tournament.
A big welcome to another local from the community that has joined the club, Colin Thornley. It’s great having you part of the club.

Put this date in your diary for our Easter tournament ...  SATURDAY 20th APRIL 2019.

Photos: Supplied
Omarama Residents' Association
From the last meeting...

Chairperson Ann Patterson was pleased to welcome Howard Williams, Brand Coetzee and Ross McRobie, of Otematata, to the meeting which was attended by 17 people.

Ross explained he would be putting his name forward to stand as Waitaki District Council’s Ahuriri Ward Councillor at the upcoming elections.

Howard explained the history of the Omarama Community Den which in the mid-1980s was set up in a building gifted to the town by the Electricity Corporation (now Meridian Energy) for use by the community. Cubs and Brownies had not operated in Omarama for some time but had been run by a Trust which has also not met for about 10 to 15 years.  The buildings were  not owned by the scouting association. Linda Allen had continued to deal to administration matters. Jimmy Courtney, who uses the buildings, had paid for some expenses and carried out maintenance. Howard said they had heard a hang-gliding club from outside of Omarama wanted to acquire the building and had made approaches to the Waitaki District Council. However, because it was stipulated from the outset the buildings were to be used by the community for the community  he believed its future should be determined by the community.
Ross Menzies agreed to contact those concerned to try find out more about the history of the arrangement.

Brand wanted to enquire about the use of a space in the Centre where he could run his small business – streaming online games - which required a better WiFi service than was otherwise available to him.
Because the WiFi at the Community Centre is provided by Waitaki District Libraries and not by the Residents’ Association Brand was asked to first get permission for use of this.

Ruth advised there had been no response from  the MacKenzie and Waitaki Basins Responsible Camping Strategy Working Group  requesting copy of minutes of meetings and notes from relevant discussions to be made available and to reiterate the Association wants to part of its Reference Group when it is formed.    Ruth recommended we submit an Official Information Act request to chairperson of the working group.  This will be actioned with the full support of the committee.

Sports Courts – Jemma thanked all for the support in selling raffle tickets and she and Lesley will send thank you letters to all who donated raffle prizes. She said she expected to hear within the week about the request for $50,000 from the Otago Community Trust. There was general discussion about quotes for the construction and  the offers from community members who are prepared to volunteer to make it happen.

The drinking fountain installed last year is still not working as it should and danger tape still surrounds the slump around the water toby, this despite requests to the council from Hank and Ruth to have it fixed. Lorraine will send a letter to the council about this as this has been an ongoing problem since October. 

Please note: the Association now has its own post office box. 
Could all those who want 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 next meeting of the Omarama Residents' Association will be
7.30 pm, Thursday, March 21, at the Omarama Community Centre.
Topics for discussion  -  Omarama Sports Courts, the next steps

All are welcome

Contacts: Ann Patterson, chairperson, 03 438 9493,
Lorraine King, secretary, 027 434 6027


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

Omarama Community Library
Notes from the minutes of the meeting held Tuesday, February 19, at the Omarama Community Centre.

- Anna Howard is to take a step back from roster duties. Yvonne Jones has agreed to take this on. To contact Yvonne phone 027 476 7473.
- A 'branch exchange' system is to be put in place whereby about 100 items will be selected from the Oamaru Library and sent to Omarama for issuing and the selection changed every three to four months.
- Funds raised from the book sales table will be used to build the collection of books for school-aged children and young adults.
New volunteers are always welcome and any necessary training can be arranged.

The Omarama Community Library is open 9am to 10am  Wednesdays and Saturdays,
and Tuesdays from 7pm to 8pm at the Omarama Community Centre.
The Omarama school year has begun with a busy schedule but fewer hands on deck.
School started with 47 pupils - 20 juniors – year’s one to four (five to eight-year-olds) and 27 in the senior classroom, years five to eight, (eight to 12-year-olds).
Senior room teacher Peter Schasching was farewelled at the end of last year and Shona Denton, who was appointed in term four of last year has stepped into the role.
Last year the school roll climbed to 52 pupils and so she was recruited as the third teacher.
However, this year the number of pupils enrolled dropped and sits just four shy of the threshold - 51 pupils -  for funding a third teacher.
Kim said she could not recall when the roll was last this high.
There had been an “influx” of 11 pupils move to Omarama School from other schools, more families had moved to the district to work on farms plus new entrants had moved up from playgroup.
Shona and her husband, Mike, moved to Omarama from Roxburgh where they have a small cherry orchard and where she had worked at the Stand children's services camp.
As support for the teachers Kris Lindsay continues as teacher aide and Pam Harding has been taking advanced pupils for extra lessons in reading and writings for two days a week.
The school has recently advertised for a principal release teacher to replace Helen Blick who also left at the end of last year.
Kim said this year’s programme would include a focus on “mindfulness” and “well-being of children, staff and the school community”.
They would also be studying food waste and exploring ways to deal with it in “more sustainable ways”.
So far, pupils had introduced compost and pig bins.

Omarama School principal Kim McKenzie, teacher aide Kris Lindsay and senior room teacher Shona Denton take a break. (Note the new brightly-painted feature walls.)
Omarama School pupils make a bit of a splash
It was the 2019 Omarama School swimming sports, Thursday, February 28, 2019
at the Kurow Memorial Hall, Friday, February 15, 2019
Just a very few highlights … congratulations to all. You know who you are!
Rumours (and fake news) abound, read all about it...
 Spud in a Bucket 2019
Accusations of questionable practices once again dogged Omarama’s annual ‘Spud in a Bucket’ competition – despite a change in administration.
Under somewhat hazy circumstances, it appeared  former judge Laurie Ruddenklau, administrator Lindsay Purvis and able assistant Ross ‘Rosco’ Kelman had been whisked out of town - “away on a hot date” – in Waimate, or Auckland, or Waimate? before the event.
However, a witness to proceedings and close to the competition says evidence suggested dubious practices could be rife within the sport and an enquiry maybe in order.
On Saturday, newly-appointed judge Todd Hancox was overheard saying to a young entrant - his nephew;
“I’ve already won, 'cause I’m the judge and the judge’s decision is final …no correspondence entered into.”
As the competition got underway, potato grower Tracy Young took an early lead with a count of 26 potatoes, in what was - for a short time – the record number of spuds grown in the competition, ever!
Tracy, who moonlights as Nurse Tracy at the medical clinic, told all within earshot the secret to her success was regular 'applications’ of ‘urea’ rumoured to have been sourced from her place of work.
While not strictly against the sport’s rules and guidelines there was a call for urine testing.
However, Ms Young, who evaded direct questions, said she was not quite sure whose urine should be tested.
This year’s MC, compère and commentator of the afternoon’s proceedings and race to the finish line – Philip Jannink - called the winning form for the enthusiastic crowds.
Ultimately, the overall winner with a brand new, all-time record was unearthed - Colin Herd with 29 potatoes.
The potatoes and buckets were supplied to contestants – members of Boots & Jandals Hotel Omarama Social Club at the end of last year.
More than 30 buckets were lined up for judging on the day, last month.
Social Club members were treated to a barbeque tea with buckets of new spuds on the side.
Publican Julie Dyson said scrubbing the afternoon’s harvest and readying them for the pot had given her “tennis elbow” or something similar.
The feature dish – Potato ‘purple passion’ – was served hot with lashings of butter.
Overall winner: Colin Herd with 29 potatoes.
Winner of the women’s competition: Tracy Young with 26 potatoes,
Children’s competition winner was Hannah Parsons, who also grew the biggest potato.

Winner of the women’s section of the Spud in a Bucket competition Tracy Young  and overall winner Colin Herd show off their wining entries.
Phil Jannink comperes while and Todd Hancox counts and judges the entries.
Members of the social club enjoy proceedings.
‘The Community Reports' is
dedicated to news
from clubs, groups and sports teams.

Contributions are welcome 
Waitaki District Council - news in brief
This  year the Ahuriri and Waihemo Community Boards are to hold their public meetings only every second month (as opposed to every six weeks) and a closed workshop for board members will be held in alternate months. Dates, times and places for the meetings can be found here.

The council has a new section on its website - Works in Your Hood - which provides a calendar of the estimated start and finish dates of upcoming projects
The Friendly Bay Family Fun Day is on 11am to 3pm Saturday, March 9 at the Oamaru Harbour and is sponsored by Waitaki District Council and Harcourts, Oamaru.
The council has approved about $200,000 for the development of an  Oamaru Masterplan – up from the $50,000 initially set aside for the work in the Long Term Plan drawn up last year. Workshops will be held to discuss the Masterplan in late March-early April. The public will be asked to give feedback on the draft  in late May/early June ahead of a council meeting on June 25 to endorse it.
Supported by Culture Waitaki, the play Still Life with Chickens by award-winning Pasifika playwright David Fa'auliuli Mamea will be performed at the Oamaru Opera House on April 2 and 3 April. An exhibition - Pasifika Treasures featuring local Pasifika artists - will be held alongside the event,  at the Ink Box Theatre at the Opera House from April 2 to April 6.

Phone​​: ​03 433 0300  
Freephone 0800 108 081  - Automated options after hours

E-mail​: ​​​​​
The next Ahuriri Community Board meeting is
3.15pm to 5.15pm, Monday, March 11.
at the Omarama Community Centre. 

On the agenda for discussion at next week’s meeting:

- The Aorangi Hang Gliding Club want to lease the old Omarama Scout building and part of the domain to use as a base.
 -This year’s Ahuriri Reserves improvement budget is $84,000 of which $50,000 has been allocated to the Kurow Bike Park, $12,000 to drinking fountains for Kurow, Otematata and Omarama, and $14,000 to the Ohau reserves, leaving $8,000 still to be allocated.
- Increasing the level of service to rectify overflowing litter bins in Omarama. These services are funded by ratepayers through amenity rates and any change needs to be approved by the Community Board which can make a submission to the Annual Plan for additional rate funding.
- The council’s obligations regarding abandoned vehicles in the Omarama Public Car park.
- A discussion about the balances of separate rate accounts within the Ahuriri Ward and the balance of funds available for distribution to community projects within the ward. At December 2018 the board had total unspent funds of about $43,000 in its Community Grants and Discretionary Fund accounts for spending within its ward.
- Traffic counters on Lake Ohau Rd and Falstone Rd recorded 538 and 544 vehicles a day, respectively, from January 1 to 7 but this dropped to 312 and 174, respectively, the following week.
- A basket has been fitted to the Omarama Avenue waste water pump station to stop blockages cause by towels and wet wipes which has reduced the number of call outs. A similar basket will be fitted to the Ahuriri Drive Pump Station.

The link to the document is here 
From Environment Canterbury's Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee...

You are invited to a  public meeting at 3pm, Friday, March 22, at the Omarama Community Centre.
The meeting is to brief people on  Plan Change 5 to the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan and explain what that means for farmers and others in the Upper Waitaki.
PC5 is now operative. It includes rules and limits for farming and aquaculture to manage nutrients in the upper and lower Waitaki. Some farms will require a land use consent to farm.
The PC5 briefing will be followed by a briefing, at about 4.15pm, on the BRIDGE Project which is trying to clarify the extent of the “river bed” in braided rivers and protect braided river values from further encroachment. The Ahuriri River is one of the four river reaches considered in ECan's BRIDGE Project.

The next formal meeting
of ECan’s Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee

is 9.30 am Friday, May 17,  2019
at the Mackenzie Country Inn, Twizel.

Minutes and agendas are posted at:
Those FAQs - Five Awkward Questions 
Jo, Travis,  Ashlee (3) and Carter (2) Golder
Jo has lived in Omarama for the past seven years, and Travis for the past 13. It was seasonal work with David O’Neill which first brought him to town and he went on to work for Dave Ellis before the couple set up their own agricultural chemical application business, T & J Golder Ltd.
In the contracting off-season here the couple travel to work in Western Australia direct drilling - or ‘seeding’ as it is called there.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
“Never give up, keep on going.”
Tell us something about Omarama we might not know?
“The walk beside Omarama Stream is amazing… it’s a little piece of paradise out here.”
What was your best impulse buy?
“It was a Christmas present - kayaks”

Best day outside the office?
“At the lake with the family and the kayaks.

What is your wish for the world?
“That everyone could be nicer to each other - no cyber-bullying.”
The Directory

phone 021 294 8002 or email
Situations Vacant
The last page is classifieds 
To advertise in this section please email
Cost: Up to 25 words $10  paid in advance. Copy must be received and payment made by the Friday before publication. Payment details will be forwarded on receipt of copy. Publication is the first Wednesday of each month. 
Annual Meeting
The Friends of Omarama School will hold its annual meeting
at 3pm, Monday, March 18, 2019
at Omarama School
All welcome
Secretary: Fiona Bochel, email:
The weather that was ...February 2019
The Garden Diary

Hold on to dreams
There’s just a whisper of chill on the back of that west wind.
The ‘windflowers’ (Japanese anemones) always seem to be the first to know.
They seem to sense the lowering longer rays of autumn light and their luminous petals open out to catch it, pulling the last of it in, to set their golden coronet of stamens glittering.
Wispy thistledown drifts into the garden out of the clearest, deepest blue. No matter how soon it arrives it’s a harbinger of the end of summer in my garden.
Those sun worshippers – the sunflowers – who have spent their days tracking earth’s bright daytime star across that blue, blue arc, stop now and bow their heads.
The bumble bees have done their job.
The strengthening westerly will whip off their sunray petals. Glowing like crayon drawings they will spiral into the infinite blue - loves me, loves me not.
And those wide brown discs will fill to bursting with seed to fatten finches.
After a shower of rain - that wind, a chill southerly now, will whip away the damp muslin-y petals of my rugosa rose ‘Alba’, leaving her fat hips sheltering beneath green corrugated leaves, soon to turn buttery yellow. They too will fall – and there’ll be no shrouding those ripening bright-orange seed-bearing vessels.
The upside of a messy garden and a compost heap that never seems work as it says it should in books is the abundance of seedlings I am gifted. Mother Nature never wastes an opportunity.
Which is just as well because I can’t seem to grow anything from seed myself – not like they do on all those glossy gardening shows. You know the ones with immaculate potting sheds and brightly burnished, freshly oiled and sharpened tools?
I try but am usually beaten, what with one thing and another. In disgust at yet another failure I toss content of the seed tray, expensive seed raising mix and all, onto the veggie garden. Six months later, liberated from my helicopter parenting, that is where I find said seedlings thriving, among the pumpkins, silver beet, broad beans and broccoli – all self-sown.
Through autumn, as I'm clearing, I pocket countless of seed heads, endlessly fascinated by how each plant chooses to package its gift of another generation.
More complex than the most intricate of man-made receptacles, there are cones and capsules and whorls and pods and beads and claws, papery and popping, or with wispy fairy parachutes. Each designed with a plan in mind – to travel to their own space and when the time is right, triggered by heat or moisture or cold or light or fire their cache will spring open, roots will dig down and shoots reach for the light.
At the end of the day I stuff my collection of dreams for next summer into brown paper bags or envelopes.
I can’t find the marker pen but, no, I won’t need to label those – I’ll be sure to remember what they are.

Ruth Grundy
(I garden a small space under a big sky in Omarama)
The View from the Chook House

Here we go again, the trees are moulting!
Omarama Gazette
Editor: Ruth Grundy,
021 294 8002, 03 438 9766
Copyright © 2016-2019, Omarama Gazette, All rights reserved.

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