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Ōmārama Gazette
October 2021

The October Issue

Airfield company cautiously optimistic
Soaring season off to a 'flying start'

Ōhau - marking that moment in time
Loch Laird Update - What does it cost?
Long-time service acknowledged
What direction should we take?

Covid restrictions force postponement
Omarama Minute by minute 
Residents record approval ratings

Regular Features

Something to Puzzle Over
The Noticeboard 
The Community Reports
Ahuriri Community Board meeting 
Upper Waitaki Zone Water Management Committee meeting
- Consent holders not permitted an exemption
The Directory
The Weather that Was 
The Last Page is Classifieds
Back in my Day; Open seven days, by Jenny Clarke


Airfield company cautiously optimistic
A glider is towed to the grid ready for take off

Despite obvious challenges lurking at the horizon the Omarama Airfield Company is looking forward to this year’s soaring season with cautious optimism. 
And that is buoyed by the prospects of a good return on the land it has decided to subdivide and sell to build financial reserves. 

The council-controlled organisation’s chairperson Clive Geddes said its annual report had recently been filed with Waitaki District Council and the company had adopted its budget for the year ahead. 
It was a budget which allowed for “a very slight element of growth compared to last year.”
It was still “quite conservative” because the company was not anticipating a large increase in activity on the airfield because of the Covid situation. 
“Our priority remains maintaining the standard of the airfield - that is, making sure that it's irrigated, top-dressed and looked after,” Mr Geddes said.
On the matter of the land sale, the company had just appointed Dunedin land-related consultancy business Terramark as its project manager. 
Airfield company director Terry Jones would “manage that relationship” on behalf of the board. 
The first step would be to file a consent application with the council which the company wanted to do as soon as possible, Mr Geddes said. 
“The feedback from the local real estate industry in Omarama is that the Omarama market remains quite strong which is very pleasing.”
The company was continuing to work with airfield operators to help them as much as possible, taking into account financial constraints. 
This meant prioritising maintaining the airfield facility until the company was in a position to support activity on the airfield “in a really meaningful way”, he said.
The outcome of the subdivision was an important part of that.
Last year Omarama Airfield Ltd decided to develop and sell land it owns east of Nimbus Dr. 
At the time it said the money released by the sale could be used to buy tow planes to guarantee glider launch services into the future. 
The subdivision would create six to eight lots in a 25m strip on the eastern side of Nimbus Dr. 
The land is zoned high density residential. 
The Airfield company also wants to allow for a road to come off east at the junction of Nimbus Dr and Cirrus Pl. 
The company does not pay dividends and profits are used to maintain facilities or placed in reserve.

Soaring season off to a 'flying start'
Twizel Area School pupils and supporters get a lesson from Omarama Gliding Club chief flying instructor Gavin Wrigley at the airfield, last week.
The sights and sound of an Omarama summer arrived earlier this year as the soaring season got off to a “flying start” a fortnight ago.
Omarama Gliding Club chief flying instructor Gavin Wrigley led a week-long training course – dubbed the Flying Start course – because of the need to train more gliding instructors, winch drivers and launch point controllers  for the season ahead. 
Five candidates took the opportunity to train as instructors and, as well, three trained to use the winch - a stationary ground-based winch used to launch gliders.
Of the five would-be instructors three needed refreshing and instructor ratings revalidating, and two were new to the sport, Gavin said. 
Wellington-based Brian Sharpe, of the Gliding New Zealand executive, “a winch guru” travelled to Omarama for the training sessions and to help the club refine its standard operating procedures. 
The aim was to get preparations in place “before the airfield got busy”, Gavin said.
The club was also attracting new interest from young people and their parents as a “fabulous spin-off” from the regular visits of Twizel Area School senior pupils, he said. 
A second group of pupils have taken up gliding as an option this season and are bussing to Omarama for winch-launching and other activities each Wednesday afternoon this and next term along with term 1 next year. 
The other “established” Twizel school group continues to fly every other Sunday and a  Queenstown-based group led by Andrew Colby - all members of the Omarama Gliding Club - is also using the facilities on a regular basis, Gavin said.
Omarama Gliding Club president Brian Savage said the club was in good heart with 100 members and it was “brilliant” Twizel Area school was “really getting behind" the programme.
There was a need for more volunteers to train to drive the winch and club members "of all descriptions" were welcome, he said.

 Chief Flying Instructor Gavin Wrigley or (+61) 418 844 014 (yes an Oz #).

Omarama Gliding Club president Brian Savage, 021 619 539
Ōhau - marking that moment in time
It has been one year  since wildfire tore through the Lake Oahu Alpine Village and valley.
On Monday, the Omarama Gazette posted this message on its Facebook page. to mark the anniversary.



To our dear friends of the Ōhau Village and Valley
Today we stand beside you in a moment of reflection as your family, your friends, your neighbours.
We stand beside you as the memories envelop.
Almost, but not, overwhelming.
We listen as you tell your stories of that moment in time.
You each have your own unique story of waking to alarm, confrontation and the urgency to escape; unimaginable.
We are bonded by that one ordeal, bonded in gratitude not one of you was lost.

It’s one year since.
So much else was lost.
We admire your resolve; to return, to put one foot in front of the other on this unforeseen, unimagined path ahead, to take those brave steps forward and to endure the heart-break, frustration and injustice of those steps back.

So much was lost but we have each other.
And we stand in gratitude to honour each of you who in duty walked, no, rushed into the horror of that night and against all human instinct obeyed your call to serve.
You could not know from where or when extra hands would reach you to help with the rescue and the battle to save.
You are our young daughters and sons, our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers, our friends - willing to serve.
You set aside your heart’s fears and turned your heads and hands to save; shoulder to shoulder; just doing your job.
We salute your courage. We stand in respect of your humility.

When the clamour has died down once more,
when the officials have had their say,
when the cameras have been put away,
know that we will be here today and the next, for as long as it takes.

And today as the sun sets, our wish is you may set aside the challenges just for a moment while we all raise our glasses and drink together; to long life, good friends, the awesome power of nature, and Ōhau, the place of magnificence, your place to stand, and the place we stand strong together.

Whakataka te hau ki te uru
Whakataka te hau ki te tonga
Kia mākinakina ki uta
Kia mātaratara ki tai
E hī ake ana te atakura
He tio, he huka, he hau hū
Tīhei mauri ora!

Cease the winds from the west
Cease the winds from the south
Let the breeze blow over the land
Let the breeze blow over the ocean
Let the red-tipped dawn come with a sharpened air.
A touch of frost, a promise of a glorious day.

Slàinte Mhath

Labour Weekend at Loch Laird - October
What does it cost?
With just on a fortnight to go final preparations are in hand to manage the expected influx of young people to Loch Laird to celebrate the end of the school year – only this year most hopes are pinned on the outcomes being quite different.


 After a year of discussions and work by a group set up to address widespread concerns, for the first time in many years additional measures will be put in place to curb  risky behaviour at the annual gathering.

The group was made up of police, Waitaki District Council staff, the Waitaki mayor and deputy mayor,  Ahuriri Community Board members and ward councillor, Stronger Waitaki, Waimate Council staff and emergency services volunteers. An invitation was extended to the Omarama Gazette to attend and report on the first three of these meetings only.
The alcohol-fuelled unruly behaviour of some young people – many under the legal drinking age - celebrating the end of the school year at the Loch Laird campground each Labour Weekend has been cause for concern for many years. Some years are worse than others. 
While actual reported incidents are few, the consensus of authorities is the risk of serious harm is high. 
Their actions leave the community and other lakeside campers fearful of the danger posed by impaired drivers, seriously concerned about their welfare, and angry about public areas left vandalised and littered with broken glass and other trash.
Last month, the council voted for a temporary alcohol ban for the terrace site and Loch Laird Rd. 
And last month, in the September Issue,  the Omarama Gazette reported on the extra measures police will have in place to keep both the young people and the community safe, and to prevent any ‘displacement’ should the revellers chose to go elsewhere. 
This month the Gazette asked the council what measures it planned to take at the campsite at Labour Weekend.
For example, employing extra staff and security guards, supplying water, and provision for rubbish and clean up.  We also asked what estimated costs of those would be. 
In fact, we asked several times over a week-long period, with no response until yesterday when council recreation manager Erik van der Spek replied by email. 
Here is what he had to say about what the council would be doing; 
“Council will have security guards on site during afternoons and evenings from Friday
“The site will have lighting, a designated parking area and portaloos.
“Camp management will be carrying out all ticketing, cleaning and maintenance tasks as usual. Any reactive tasks will be scheduled if or when needed.
“We haven’t finalised costs yet as we are still working on timing and frequency of security shifts but expect it to be between $5,000 and $10,000,”
 he said.
The Omarama Gazette understands the council are employing three security guards from Dunedin and will also be paying their accommodation for the three nights.
The council has also organised for the Waitaki Community Patrol, a volunteer organisation, to “have a roving presence”, Mr van der Spek said.
This evening the Omarama Gazette sent a Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act request to the council to ascertain the full costs to ratepayers of the measures the council has put in place to manage the group of young campers for Labour Weekend 2021.
The young people who register to camp at the terrace will pay $12.50 each per night.
Last year 120 registered and paid for their stay.
However, after dark it was estimated as many as 300 more arrived.

To give some idea of costs let's look at last year.
Last year, Waitaki District camp supervisor Simon Fox said he had employed a security guard for two nights at a cost of about $1500.
He, himself, was paid for his travel from Twizel and back plus for the 12 hour shifts he worked.
He arranged a generator to power lighting and he provided drinking water for the revellers.
On the Monday he had taken ½ a tonne of rubbish to the dump – it’s weighed -  "broken chairs and tents, sleeping bags, shit they leave behind.”
This year he refused to pick up the broken glass so the council employed another contractor to clean that up at an additional cost.

Police, too, will incur significant extra costs. 
Senior Constable Nayland Smith, of Omarama Police, has said, as well as local police, there will be at least another six officers working at Loch Laird throughout daytime shifts.
Plus, there will be road policing.
There will be a minimum of four officers working through the night with others on call
The average hourly rate for a police officer is $45 an hour, he said, and they usually work 10-hour shifts.
Accommodation costs for visiting staff for the weekend is estimated to be $2,000.
As well they will be paid meal allowances of $100.
Vehicle costs come in on top of that, he said.
Of course, it is more difficult, but not impossible, to put a figure to the costs to the volunteer organisations involved –  members of the Oamaru-based Waitaki Community Patrol are working and will have associated costs like travel. They are travelling from Oamaru to Otematata each day.
If called, and in the past, this has been routine, there are costs involved for St John, the volunteer fire brigades and, when necessary, the rescue helicopter. 
Then there are the ‘hidden’ costs, the time spent by council staff, councillors and community board members in meetings, preparing paperwork, reports and recommendations, liaising with the schools and their travel costs.
While there is much relief in many quarters something tangible is at last being done to address concerns, particularly safety concerns, the costs to ratepayers and taxpayers for this weekend's ‘rite of passage’ quickly add up. 
You can’t put a price on safety,
But, from the ratepayer's perspective, when you consider what has been on the wish list of the small Ahuriri ward townships for years plus the significant jump in rates this year it seems problematic that this amount of money - and it's hard to see there will be much change if any from  $10,000 – is to be spent on such a small segment of the Waitaki population. 
And what pot of ratepayer funding is the money coming from?
It's likely it will come from funds set aside for maintenance and upgrades at the Waitaki Lakes Camp grounds. 
The Gazette will get back to you on this.
By the way, a key finding in this year's Waitaki Annual Residents’ Survey  was that reported satisfaction among users of the Waitaki Lakes Camp grounds facilities had dropped by 15 percentage points on last year.
Of those who visited and used the campgrounds less than two thirds were satisfied with these facilities, the report said.
It starts to seem almost indulgent to be playing host to such an event which many view as almost a right.
As was said  at the start of this conversation almost a year ago  - that's all starting to look a bit ‘privileged’, isn’t it?
Which takes you back to the question.
What would be the outcome if the council just closed the site?
Council staff, themselves, identified that provided police were there to back-up trespass notices and deal to 'displacement' the option which would pose the lowest risk and lowest cost would be simply to close the site.

Earlier stories can be found in these issues:

Long-time service acknowledged
In earlier days - Jemma Gloag puts her hand to the task of creating a garden bed at playgroup.

A young lad’s birthday last month marked a significant milestone for both Omarama Playgroup and the Gloag family.
Max Gloag, the youngest member of the Gloag family turned five and started school last month bringing to an end mum Jemma’s volunteer service to playgroup – a tenure which has lasted the best part of eight years.
Playgroup held a thank you dinner for Jemma at the close of her final committee meeting last month.
In her thank you speech Playgroup president Tarryn Benton said as she looked back through the group’s records to when Jemma with firstborn Angus began at playgroup, Jemma’s name had “featured heavily”.
“The last seven to eight years Omarama Playgroup has benefited immensely from, not only your amazing contribution (in many different roles), but from your three wonderful, energetic boys and their huge personalities, from your bubbly, happy self and your shoulder that we have all had to lean on at times. 
“You and your boys will be so sadly missed at playgroup – you have been the ‘go-to’ for us newbies as we learn how playgroup operates.”
Jemma had helped to “set the tone for our popular, fun, casual and welcoming playgroup” which played an important role in  the community. 
“It provides a place to welcome new families and their young children to the area and provides a safe place for our children to learn, grow and develop.
Perhaps more importantly, it creates a space where mums can lean on each other in times of need and share both our worries and joys together.
You have played a huge part in not only helping to create this – but helping develop and improve it and ensure its longevity," Tarryn said.
The Gloag boys – Angus, Toby and Max now all attend Omarama School where Jemma has taken up the role as Board of Trustees parent representative.
Jemma was presented with flowers, a bottle of wine and a voucher for Nichol’s Garden Centre with the hope she will buy a rose for her garden to remember her days at playgroup.
Below: The three boys, Angus, Toby and Max Gloag celebrate at a Playgroup Christmas party.

What direction should we take?
What direction should we take?
It’s that time of the year again – when the Residents’ Association of Omarama holds its annual meeting.
Several key members of the committee are standing down this year leaving shoes that will be hard to fill.
It gives time to pause and contemplate the future direction of this group whose objective is to put the community at the heart of what it does.

Simply, the constitution  says its aims are: to manage the community hall and amenities; to promote good will and a sense of community; and to provide a means by which concerns can be raised and, if necessary, addressed.
As one person said – “It’s the voice for the community”. 

So it needs to stay relevant.
What those words don’t say is you have a lot of fun along the way!
And working together to achieve goals or complete projects is immensely rewarding.
To function the committee needs not fewer than six  members.
The mantra for meetings is; “One hour, once a month” – it’s rigorously enforced!
Yes, at times it's tedious - but important; and volunteers' time and energy are gifts not taken for granted.
In the past year, and despite all Covid has thrown in the works, the association has been the launching pad for: a long term project to create an outdoor exercise circuit to encourage intergenerational fitness; a community housie event, - prior to Covid restrictions between 20 and 30 people, including several carloads of Otematata residents, were attending the two-hour sessions, with a cuppa provided; a men’s shed group, which has several community projects in its sights. 
There is also considerable support for and plans to create a community garden at the Community Centre.

The sports courts – the result of considerable effort in earlier years - have become a centrepiece of the town and attract individuals and groups from around the region.
How groups like ours need to operate has changed – fundraising is not all about cake stalls and raffles.
Projects can cost tens of thousands or be as simple as a picnic in the park. 
All kinds of skills are needed to work to create a vibrant community hub with a sense of belonging for all.

Do we have a vision for Omarama? 
One meeting one hour once a month
Annual meeting: 7.30pm Thursday, October 21, 2021 at the Omarama Community Centre.

Covid restrictions force postponement 
Fenz Otematata Volunteer Fire Brigade 
50th anniversary October 8 to October 10 - POSTPONED 
By Debbie Smith

The Otematata Volunteer Fire Brigade 50th Anniversary planned for October 8, 9 and 10 this year has been postponed until maybe the same time next year .
We will keep you all informed at a later date .
We will refund anyone that has paid for their tickets as soon as possible .
We have purchased polo shirts which we are selling for $35, and would really love to sell as many as we can . Please email or direct message on the Facebook page: with your order.
I hope you all can get a refund on your accommodation and airfares.
The volunteers were so looking forward to catching up with you all, let's hope 2022 is a better year .
We would like to wish you all the best and stay safe.



Omarama, minute-by-minute
Omarama minute-by-minute
Our town captured, October 2021
In the grand tradition of all the hours of 'Go' travel  doco films popping up everywhere, make yourself a cuppa or pour yourself something a little stronger, kick back in that la-z-boy and take this 20-minute mesmerising - and possibly not as fascinating -  tour of our place. 
The Omarama Gazette team spent a day wending their way in and out of every street in Omarama loosely using the left-hand rule maze-solving technique - all shot in one take - and have curated several hours of travel time into 20 minutes of footage of our place - for your viewing pleasure.
Why? Because it will never look the same again, plus anything's got to be livelier than the present 1pm Covid updates!
Unfortunately, although this was recorded in high quality, YouTube
has compressed that file somewhat in its upload process.
To slow down or speed up the footage go to the YouTube settings cog
and select your option from the playback speed menu.
Residents record approval ratings
Residents’ satisfaction with the performance of the Ahuriri Community Board increased significantly last year according to this year’s survey despite overall satisfaction with the council, and in particular the mayor and councillors, falling. 
The annual Waitaki District Council residents’ survey measures residents’ satisfaction with the council and its facilities. 
The results of the phone survey of 401 residents taken at four different times through the year were presented to last month’s performance, audit and risk committee meeting.
Satisfaction with the Ahuriri Community Board increased by seven percentage points on last year’s rating to 45%. 
However, overall satisfaction with how money is spent in the Ahuriri ward was considerably lower than that reported by residents living in the Oamaru ward.
The biggest decrease in satisfaction from last year was with the mayor and councillors — a drop of 15 percentage points to 57%. 
Overall satisfaction with council performance dropped from 69% in 2020 to 66% this year.
Areas which residents noted were of key concern related to financial management, rates and how they are spent, and fees and charges.
Satisfaction among users of the Waitaki Lakes Camp grounds facilities dropped by 15 percentage points and satisfaction with unsealed roads dropped by 11 percentage points.
Overall satisfaction with the councils consultation processes dropped by 9 percentage points, however those in the Ahuriri and Oamaru wards reported being more satisfied than others.
Check here for the full report
Click here for the video recording of the committees day  meetings. 
Something to puzzle over

The Pink Glider Café, which last year won the Aircraft Owners and Pilots' Association aviation watering hole of the year, opens for the season at Labour Weekend
The Noticeboard 
To have your community notice included here email:

Our condolences to Lyn Gordon and family on the death of Bill late last month, from cancer.

Tennis open day in Twizel postponed
Tennis NZ is running a national promotion called “Love Tennis” to get new people out trying tennis or past players back playing the game. The Open Day was to have been held Sunday, October 10 at the Twizel tennis courts, however, this has ben postponed until Covid Restrictions move to level 1. Phone: Rosco Yeager 027 293 0707 or email:

Kurow Medical Centre  Ōmārama Clinic at the  Ōmārama Community Centre, is open Thursdays, 8.30am to 12.30pm. To make appointments for all clinics, order repeat scripts or make enquiries please contact Kurow Medical Centre 03 436 0760
(Monday to Thursdays).

The Ōmārama Community Library is open 9.30am to 11am,  Wednesdays and Saturdays, at the Ōmārama Community Centre. Library hours can change. Contact Yvonne: 027 476 7473.

St Thomas' Ōmārama Church Community: 
chairperson: Ven Dr Michael Godfrey, phone 022 342 9977 or  email; committee secretary (Presbyterian) : Lee Kearon, phone: 021 250 1060 or email:

The Ōmārama Golf Club  Saturdays cards in 12.30pm, tee-off 1pm. Club captain James Moynihan phone: 027 215 8266; email

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.

Ōmārama Playgroup meets at 9.30am each Wednesday during the primary school term at the Ōmārama Community Centre.  For more information phone president Tarryn Benton 027 201 7065 or secretary Aimee Snelgrove 022 350 5536

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

FENZ Ōmārama 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 Ōmārama  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 Ōmārama Gazette sign up to our 'Local List'.
and put 'Local List' in the subject line.
The November issue of the Ōmārama Gazette
is Wednesday, November 3, 2021

The close-off for this is Friday, October 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
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 Ōmārama Gazette Facebook page. 
The Community Reports
 Ōmārama Golf Club 
By Christine Bowman

It’s the start of our busy session.  Here’s hoping for a long, hot, golfing summer.
Thanks to the community group grant from Waitaki District Council the second batch of 40 trees arrived and we have completed our tree replacement program.  A huge thanks to Ant Ford, Adrian Tuffley, James McIlraith and Paul Bowman for planting a total of 53 trees throughout the golf course after lockdown. We have now introduced 13 new species to the club, to add colour and interest to the course. Some of the varieties planted include Cedrus Atlantica, Quercus, Acer Campestre and Pinus Pinea.  I’m sure the community will enjoy the trees once they mature in the coming years (although the future golf players may curse us!)


On Sunday 26th September Omarama hosted the annual Proctor Rose Bowl golf challenge.  This is a team challenge between the local clubs in the valley: Ben Ohau, Otematata, Kurow and Omarama.  Each club has a team of six men and four women.  This year was the first time for a number of years we had four lady members from Omarama, normally we have to borrow from other clubs.  The winning team has the highest total stablefords.  It is a great opportunity for all clubs to get together and have a bit of friendly rivalry. The winner was Ben Ohau, who had to have a play off against Kurow.
Ben Ohau            320
Kurow                   320
Omarama            316
Otematata          258
 Team Omarama

                      Rose Bowl Trophy                       James Moynihan presenting the Rose Bowl
                                                                                  trophy to Shane Tiffen, Club Captain Ben Ohau
Our next hosting event will be on Labour Weekend, Saturday 23rd October 2021.  All proceeds of this tournament go to the Omarama Fire Brigade. Come along and support this great cause. Everyone is welcome.
We welcome the following new members to our club: Dyson family, Paul Bolton, Arron Chambers, Colin McArthur and Damian Richards. 
If you are interested in joining contact Christine Bowman or  027 209 2320 for our membership options. 
Now daylight saving is here, Saturday tee off is 1pm with cards in by 12.30 pm
Keep safe everyone.

Ōmārama Golf Club
Saturdays; cards in 12.30 midday, tee-off 1pm.
Club captain; James Moynihan phone: 027 215 8266 email
 Ōmārama Men's Shed
The newly-formed Ōmārama Men's Shed group would appreciate offers or donations of any second-hand tools or machinery for its workshop.
Please contact: Murray Stuart 027 432 7537
The Ōmārama Men's Shed meets at 10am each Saturday at the community den, cnr of SH83 and Black Peak Rd.
 Ōmārama Rodeo Club
Now daylight savings has ended we are into our working bees. Our rodeo is under 100 days away, and we have another few areas we are going to give a make over to.
The announcers box or ‘bird box’ as the committee call it,has come to the end of the road. So today we did some demo work and down she came. We are upgrading another fence around the arena, and also we hope to have a new secretary’s office in a new location, before our rodeo day. Big things happening, with some hard work being put in by our small but mighty committee. We had some massive posts to come out and sheesh they were in deep, all dug out by hand and shovel.
There is another area of our grounds that has had a demo recently and is no Long-er with us (pun intended). For those of you who are familiar with our grounds can you spot the missing feature- hint hint 🧻

 Ōmārama School Board of Trustees
By David (Gundy) Anderson, chairperson

We are happy to let you know as a BOT we now have Tarryn Benton co-opted as a new BOT member while also carrying out the secretary’s role.
We have Nayland (Bean) Smith coopted back onto the BOT and Jemma Gloag coming on as the newest member through the selection process.

This gives us a good BOT to carry us through to the next elections in May 2022.
At this time myself and Judy Piner will be standing down so would encourage others to come forward to offer themselves for election.
I am very grateful for the new people who have come forward to give their time to the running of the school. We also have Bean stepping up again for his second time on the BOT which brings his past experience to the table which is very much appreciated.

We look forward to finishing out the year with a good last term which will see us start into the new year in good stead.
 Ōmārama School
Last week Omarama School ended an eventful term, affected as it was by Covid-19 restrictions, with a crazy hair day and a picnic and not the usual end of term assembly.
Here is the school's latest newsletter with class news, write-ups, photos  and entries for your diary.

 Are you good at splitting wood?
Do you have the fastest wood splitter in the town, there’s only one way to find out.
Pit your skills against the best that Omarama has to offer and help out your local school at the same time!

Omarama school recently had to spend $16,000 to have some dangerous trees removed from the school grounds, this was an extra cost not allowed for in the budget.
In an attempt to recoup some of the costs the intention is to split the wood and sell it as firewood. We need wood splitters and volunteers able to use one to help split the wood prior to selling it, even if you don’t have a wood splitter but still want to help that’d be great as there is a lot of wood to move.

Anyone that is willing to loan a wood-splitter for a great cause, or just your time and labour to help out would be greatly appreciated by your school.

It's planned to do this 9am, Sunday, October 10.
If you're able to help out please contact Bean 021 191 4808

St Thomas's Church Community
After postponements the St Thomas Church Community joint management 
committee held its annual meeting on Friday at the Wrinkly Rams Café.
The reports for the meeting can be found here
An outdoor  Christmas celebration is planned this year with carol singing - arrangements will be publicised once finalised.

St Thomas' Omarama Church Community joint committee 
Chairperson (Anglican representative): Ven Dr Michael Godfrey, phone 022 342 9977 or  email:
Secretary (Presbyterian) : Lee Kearon, phone: 021 250 1060 or email:;
Treasurer: Jan Thomas
Ōmārama Community Library 
Would you come give us a hand?

We know how much you have missed the library while it has been closed.
There's no question it is an important community asset.
It's staffed by volunteers and as the old saying goes - the more the merrier and the merrier make lighteth the work, or something like that!
If you'd like to help, it is easy and fun...then give Yvonne a call  027 476 7473.
The  Ōmārama Community Library  
is open 9.30am to 11am, 
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 
at the Ōmārama Community Centre.
Boots and Jandals Hotel Social Club
The annual
Spud 🥔 in a Bucket 🪣 competition
is on. $5 entry
Who will win this year???
Ōmārama Residents' Association
The Annual meeting of the 

Ōmārama Residents' Association is
7.30 pm Thursday, October 21, 2021

at the Ōmārama Community Centre

An invitation is extended to all

will be held at the conclusion of the annual meeting.

Tony Chapman, chairperson, 027 242 8605.
Yvonne Jones, secretary, 027 476 7473. 

The unconfirmed minutes of the September meeting are here
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, Ōmārama 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  Michelle Kitchen, 027 280 5446

or email

Lindis Pass Conservation Group
Volunteer work in the Lindis Pass Scenic Reserve.

This is stunning tall tussock high country landscape to work in and a really good day out!
The work is mainly weed control - first lupins through the spring (grubbing, spraying) then sweet brier summer into autumn (lop and gel).
We also have a tussock planting day in May.
Car-share is often available, and there is some reimbursement for fuel costs for those who use their vehicle. The trip is about one hour each way. All gear is provided. Just bring your lunch drink, snacks etc. hat, jacket etc and wear walking boots.
Notice of Annual General Meeting: Saturday October 30, at 10am. Venue at the Pass if fine, followed by a workday, or indoors at Tarras if rainy. Contacts and details will be on

Workday Schedule for the 2021 2022 Season
Our proposed workdays are on the following weekends (the workday will be Saturday, back up day Sunday):
As all work days are weather-dependent, back-up dates if scheduled weekend is rained or snowed out completely are given in square brackets.

October 9, 10 AGM at Tarras Café outdoors, morning
October 30, 31 [Nov 6, 7]
November 13, 14 [20, 21]
December 4, 5 [11, 12]
January, individual days only
February 5, 6 [26, 27]
March 26, 27
April 9, 10 (Easter, 16th, Anzac 25th)
May 7, 8 [14, 15] Public walk

Please register your interest in coming as a volunteer on each pending workday with Anne Steven ph. 021 293 9207 email or Jan Kelly 03 443 4337.

The Waitaki Newcomers Network
The Waitaki Multicultural Council  has established the Waitaki Newcomers Network and Migrant Support Service which are both very successful initiatives.
Within the Oamaru area there are many events where people can meet up and establish new friendships which helps them to settle happily into a new community.
It can be difficult adjusting to a new place, especially if English is your second language, the culture is new and you have no family in the area. Making friends and learning about the area and what it offers is key to developing a sense of belonging and well being. 
In rural areas these challenges of isolation can be even greater, so these services are going to extend up the valley. The plan is to start with a fortnightly meet-up and see what eventuates. 

Newcomers Network/ Migrant Support Volunteer
Wanted: a friendly, understanding and accepting person who would volunteer to host fortnightly events at a public venue in Omarama. The person will get support from the Oamaru Coordinator. If you think you might be interested in doing this wonderful role of bringing people together and assisting with any difficulties they might have, please contact:
Christine Dorsey on 0272428643 or email


For more information about this group and to subscribe to regular updates 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 

Op Shop-eration
Come to the Twizel Op Shop, Twizel Promotions or contact Lisa to purchase a numbered OpShop-eration bag.
Take this item and upcycle it into something new and fabulous. The two categories you can enter are: Clothing and Non-Garment.
Entries will be displayed at the Upcycle market on November 27, 2021.
Entries only open to Mackenzie district residents, holiday home owners or Omarama and Otematata residents.
For more information
contact: Lisa on 027 435 3014 or Melissa on 021 045 4929.
Entries $10 for adults/$5 for students Year 7 -13
(payable when you collect item)

Ahuriri Community Board
The Ahuriri Community Board held its September meeting via zoom.
The agenda for the meeting which includes the minutes of the previous meeting can be found here
The Ahuriri Community Board meeting,
Monday, September 13, 2021, held via zoom
Information about the next Waitaki District Council
Ahuriri Community Board meeting
can be found here:

Minutes and agendas can be found here
Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee 
Consent holders not permitted an exemption

Despite a request from Ahuriri farmers to address inequities in the present water permit consent conditions in the catchment by not enforcing some rules until they are all reviewed in four years’ time, Environment Canterbury has said all must comply to present rules.


However, it has told consent holders it is committed to taking a whole-of-catchment approach to the issue with more focus on farm environment plans and audits, and it was urging all consent holders in the catchment to do their bit.

In August, ECan’s Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee and members of the Ahuriri Catchment Community Group met to discuss this year’s water quality results for the Ahuriri Arm of Lake Benmore. 
These showed the Trophic Level Index for the lake had reached 2.8 exceeding an early warning trigger level of 2.75 on 10 consents in the catchment, which meant these 10 only needed to act by the start of this season – this month – to reduce nutrient discharges.
However, there are 34 consent holders and 33 farms in the wider catchment and ECan has acknowledged everyone in the catchment is likely to be contributing to the TLI increase. 
These others do not need to act unless the water quality further declines to 2.9.

Only those representing the 10 affected consents attended the meeting.
A proposal was put forward which was to be taken to ECan which suggested, in the interests of fairness and because the present system appeared ineffective at protecting water quality because it did not include the whole catchment, that ECan exempt the 10 consent holders from the remedial action required until 2025 when water consents would be aligned to land use consents which would mean that rules were more equitable across the catchment.

The TLI limit for the lake is 2.9. The higher the TLI the higher the nutrient concentrations and algal biomass of the lake.
Those whose trigger is 2.75 must now either pay for a catchment assessment and reduce their nutrient discharges by up to 5%, or they can ask for a two-scientist panel – one nominated by ECan and one by the consent holders – to be set up to investigate. 

In 2019, those affected opted to get a catchment assessment and reduce their nutrient discharges. 
A catchment community group was also set up to guide landowners in collective action to protect the water quality in the Ahuriri Arm. 
However, that group is struggling to achieve its goals because of lack of buy-in from the wider catchment.

In report to update the September Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee meeting ECan said, after consideration, it had decided not to exempt the 10 consent holders but was required to  continue with the “normal compliance approach”. 
“There will be a focus on farm practices through the Farm Environment Plan auditing process. 
“With Freshwater Farm Plans (FEPs) being required by all farms above a certain size within the next couple of years, there is an opportunity to support the Ahuriri catchment to align central governments Freshwater farm plans and FEP/Farm Environment Management Plans," the report said.

Omarama farmer and one of the group of 10, Wendy Parsons, who put the idea of an exemption forward, said even though ECan had rejected it the group had been able to bring the issue to its attention.
The subsequent discussions had also shown how little the regional council knew about what was actually being irrigated in the area, she said.
The positive news was ECan had indicated it would take a whole catchment approach with more focus on farm environment plans and audits.
“If and only if ECan can stand up and do their job will we all move together on an equal playing field and accomplish the best outcome for the lake," Mrs Parsons said.

The Upper Waitaki Zone Water Managment Committee held its September meeting via zoom.
The agenda for the meeting which includes the minutes of the previous meeting can be found here
Upper Waitaki Zone Water Management Committee Meeting on September 17, 2021
The dates and times of the next meeting of ECan's 
Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee meeting
can be found here

Minutes and agendas are posted at:
The Directory

phone 021 294 8002 or email

The Last Page is Classifieds 

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

Lake Benmore, Ohau C boat ramp season pass, Twizel. 
Three-lane concrete boat ramp and parking.
Season: September 18, 2021 to September 16, 2022
Season pass: $100. Day pass: $10.   
Please contact Charlotte to purchase season passes.  Phone: 027 215 6591
The weather that was - September 2021
Back in my day - Open seven days
We're running a series to share a little of the whakapapa of our place.
Various snippets by different contributors will recount stories of 'back in the day'.
This month; Brenssell's Omarama Store and Post Office,  By Jenny Clarke
Brenssell’s Omarama Store & Post Office, Groceries & Hardware, News Agents & Stationers, 1962. Photo and caption courtesy of Jason Westaway post
to Twizel 1967-1985 Earthmoving Machinery and the men that made it happen

By Jenny Clarke, (grand-daughter of Bill and Marion Brenssell)

Back in my day.....walk into Brenssell’s General Store and Post Office in the late 50s, early 1960s and it seemed to have everything that could be needed in a remote rural farming community. Anything from boots, billies and bread, to candy, cooking utensils and clothing, and all manner of things besides. Stocktaking must have been a nightmare! Boots and billies hung from the ceiling. Boxes of breakfast cereal also had a lofty ledge high above the heads of shoppers to be hooked down on request.

A cooler workspace/storeroom in the centre of the building held goods like large rolls of bacon, huge slabs of cheddar cheese and other bulk supplies – cut to a specific order size for sale over the counter or more often to fill a phoned order from outlying farming families to be sent out on the twice weekly ‘mail truck’. Loaves of bread (white or brown) were wrapped at purchase in light brown tissue-like paper, tied with string.
Regular supplies like flour, sugar and tea were more often bought in bulk – again,  often held ‘out the back’ for the sake of space in the store where displays of biscuits, tinned fruit/vegetables and basic supplies adorned the shelves assigned to groceries. Calico bags of flour were 10, 25 or 50 pounds (from memory); loose tea in 5lb wooden boxes. Choices for most things were limited although one memory is of an ever increasing selection of biscuts. Cadbury’s chocolate options were Dairy Milk, Honeycomb, Peppermint or Hokey Pokey. Needless to say decisions didn’t take long compared to the option laden displays we enjoy today. Frozen supplies were limited, and fruit and vegetables were either fresh (in season) or tinned. A greater range of frozen produce came a little later when electricity supply transferred from being generated locally to being supplied from the national grid and subsequently refrigeration facilities improved.
Explore further and you could find anything from basic fabrics, threads, buttons, zips and domes for sewing, wool, needles and patterns for knitting and any other haberdashery item that a homemaker might need.
Delve even further into the depths of the store  to the hardware section where you could buy nails and screws by the ounce (no plastic wrapping), gardening or small farm tools, including horse shoes, nails and basic riding gear, or wicks for lanterns (fuel was stored in the outside shed).
Recollections of Brenssell’s Store wouldn’t be complete without mention of the tall ornate jars of different kinds of lollies – aniseed balls, licorice allsorts, blackballs, caramel toffees and acid drops to name a few. A halfpenny or penny ‘mixture’ was a selection of lollies - enough to satisfy the sweet tooth of most youngsters for a couple of days and for most, was a real treat. Choosing was agony – “Come on, hurry up, I haven’t got all day” my grandfather would gruffly banter with a smile on his face. Penny gobstoppers, dusted blocks of hokey pokey and bags of sherbet were also among the affordable treats.   
The Post Office was a less obvious facility – tucked beyond the shop out of the main stream of things where outgoing mail was bagged to be dispatched by the mail truck on a Tuesday or a Friday. Similarly, inward mail came in a locked mail bag to be sorted into ‘pigeon holes’ for local mail box holders on request. No independent boxes for self-help during that era. Most outlying farming families received and dispatched their mail in a private mail bag sorted and secured in Kurow - each green canvas mail bag being about the dimensions of a small chaff sack, secured at the neck with a leather strap and a padlock and branded with the name of the farm or station. My grandmother, Marion Brenssell managed that aspect of the business that involved post and telegraph services including telegrams and money orders, and some banking facilities.
The mail truck was one of the main means for outlying farming families to receive supplies ‘from town’ although Bill Brenssell also owned and drove the school buses that collected and delivered home school aged children to Omarama School, and he would deliver small orders that were manageable within the confines of a bus load of children.
Two school bus ‘runs’ operated – one on the south side of the Ahuriri River that collected children up the road towards the Lindis as far as Longslip and returning to Omarama via the Short Cut and Broken Hut Road. Children from Dunstan Peaks and Clifton Downs were brought to the Berwen corner until there were sufficient children on that route for the Education Board of the day to mandate the bus going to the end of Broken Hut Road. The other run was on the north side of the Ahuriri River going as far as Glenbrook and into Ribbonwood - again dependent on Education Board authorisations. Without this funded option, families transported their children to the nearest ‘pick up/drop off’ point on the approved routes.
Each ‘run’ operated on a fortnightly cycle of ‘early to school, early home’ at the end of the day, or ‘late morning pick up, late drop off home’ – week about; you either had an extra ¾ hour at home in the morning and/or an extra ¾ hour playing at school at the end of the day. Early to school in the winter meant first dibs on the spots beside the pot belly stove that heated the classrooms; in the summer, an opportunity for play outside with friends and classmates.
My grandfather, Bill Brenssell, was a kind, gregarious man. He always seemed cheerful to me and was never too busy to have a yarn with locals or visitors to the district. Family folklore is that early on as storekeeper he was more than generous to his customers – often giving away samples of new product in the pretence of finding out if “it was any good”. However, his generosity seriously jeopardised their livelihood and he had to reign in his big-heartedness and adhere to Grandma’s rules (she was the one who ‘kept the books’). Contrast his ‘sample of a packet of biscuits’ with the test size pieces offered at a demonstration kiosk in a supermarket setting of today and perhaps we can understand why a change was the order of the day!
Children loved his kindness and great sense of fun as the school bus driver too. The late run would often run even later if he decided to stop somewhere along the route for a cuppa and a catch up with a family. The backyard of the house temporarily became the playground for whoever was left on the bus until the trip resumed again. It is hard to imagine spontaneity of that nature as we live in a much more restrained health and safety, time-bound culture today.
Bill and Marion Brenssell retired from the general store and post office in 1966, living for a few years in Omarama on the lower terrace of the Ahuriri River as one heads towards Twizel, before they moved to Pukeuri, then into Oamaru. 

Photos below supplied by Jenny Clarke.
Shop owner Bill Brenssell stands at the door of Brenssell's Omarama Store and Post Office
Ōmārama Gazette
Editor: Ruth Grundy,
021 294 8002, 03 438 9766
Copyright © 2016-2021, Ōmārama Gazette, All rights reserved.

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