New beginnings 
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Ōmārama Gazette
February 2023
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The February Issue

End of an era for Terry and Michelle
Introducing Tasman Fuels
Changes to postal service 
                                          - a message from Four Square Ōmārama
                  - a message from NZ Post
Rest in Peace, Kevin
Maurice Cowie, the quiet 'Legend'.
Final days to sign petition
Camp sparks passion for gliding
Farewell to Maurice, Ebony and Ryan Scobie
Harvest 2023

Regular Features

The Noticeboard 
The Community Reports 
The Directory
The Weather that Was
End of an era for Terry and Michelle
Michelle and Terry Walsh, with long-time staff member Lynda Allen (centre), farewell customers of the Ōmārama Service Station, last week. Photo: Supplied.
By Ruth Grundy

It is the end of what has been a busy era.
And it’s time for new beginnings and more time with family.

Yesterday, Terry and Michelle Walsh officially handed over the keys of Mobil Omarama – The Omarama Service Station Ltd –  to Tasman Fuels.


“It’s been so enjoyable, it’s been hard, extremely hard, and we haven’t always got it right.” Terry said about their time at the helm.
“We really want to thank the community – they have been a massive support. The big thing is, we’re not leaving town …and we’re only a phone call away. At the end of the day we’ve put in 14 years and now it’s time to start spending time with the family but we’re not running away from the community, we’re just downsizing,” he said.
"We’re not leaving town we’re still living in Omarama,” Michelle said.

Terry and Michelle bought the service station in 2009 and they moved from a partnership in Clyde to running a business here in their own right, with Terry spending the first three months living at the camping ground while they set up.
The couple have been working through their “20- year plan” to “work as hard as we can” and get to at least semi-retirement a little earlier.
“We’re getting closer to it.”
They still have Mobil Twizel and plan to for a “few more years yet”, they said.

Most of  the present staff – Lynda, Jazz, Gary, Dan and Tom - are moving to work with Terry and Michelle in Twizel. Rowena is planning a move to Christchurch.
The couple wanted to thank all the staff for their loyalty, in particular, long-time employee Lynda Allen.
“Lynda has been so loyal, a stalwart who has stepped up whenever is required and at short notice – she’s part of the family.”

Over the years, Terry, a qualified mechanic, has been happy to share his knowledge, training several  apprentices including Daniel  Aitken  and Tom Trusler, who will come out of his time in a couple of months, and he has been keen to build his own knowledge, recently completing an automotive electrical apprenticeship.

Downsizing to one business will mean more time to spend at their holiday home in Blenheim and more time with the family.
There’s Dani, who is in the Royal New Zealand Navy, Alana has just graduated and is off on her OE, Dom is combining Year 13 at Waitaki Boys High School with some university papers, and Lillie, who is in year 13 at Columba College and will spend a semester in the US, and, of course there's young Mick – Terry’s Dad.
Eventually, Terry and Michelle plan to retire to Blenheim.

Working life at the Ōmārama Service Station has never been dull  and the highlight has been meeting new customers who become lifelong friends, Terry and Michelle said.
Included in the mix of work and school days has been volunteering for the Ōmārama Fire Brigade where Terry was Chief Fire Officer  for three years before taking a break . He has since returned as senior fire fighter.

Once, while working on a Sunday with former employee Graeme Westgarth, and he wasn’t sure why, he had a strong compulsion to linger on into the afternoon.
“I wasn’t meant to be there, I was meant to be in Wanaka.”
And then from pump three, a woman rushed in with her baby in her arms. The child had choked on a cruskit and was non- responsive.
With his training Terry was able to resuscitate the child. That would always be a special memory, he said.

On a another occasion the couple were caught up in a ‘drive-off’ which led to a string of serious offences.
It was “terrifying but funny at the same time”, Michelle said.
At one point the offender tried to "ram” Terry and Michelle in their car, then, suddenly, the tables were turned and he was chasing them.
It sparked a 200km police chase.
“I should never have done it, I’ll never do that again,” Terry said, laughing.
“I don’t know what I was going to do [if I caught him].”
Drive offs are “the biggest bugbear” about owning a service station, Michelle said
Rental car drivers were frequent offenders and often there was no recourse at all, she said.
The impact of Covid-19 had forced  business models to evolve and change, Terry said.
It was what led to him opening the workshop in Twizel.
Covid had “decimated” Ōmārama.
“We had to find another source of income.”
“That’s what businesses had to do, that’s life, they had to evolve,” Michelle said.

Although their Ōmārama workshop has closed, the Twizel workshop was just twenty minutes up the road and Terry and Michelle look forward to welcoming Ōmārama customers there.
They have offered to assist if anyone needs to get vehicles to Twizel for servicing and warrants.
They are happy to pick up vehicles and deliver them back to Ōmārama at the end of the working day.
Introducing Tasman Fuels 
Preparations are well in hand for the opening of Tasman Fuels'
Ōmārama site by the end of the week.

Tasman Fuels are “very excited to be in the community”.
The new “unmanned” fuel stop will be open by the end of this week, Tasman Fuels development officer and shareholder Alain Bourgogne said.

The company, which supplies customers from its terminal at  PrimePort Timaru, is New Zealand’s newest oil company, established in 2020. There are two divisions; Tasman Oil Services deals with the importation of fuel and Tasman Fuels is the distribution and marketing arm, Mr Bourgogne said.
The Ōmārama site is the third the company has opened and it hoped to have 10 to 12 outlets open by the end of 2023, he said. The first was set up at Springs Rd, in Christchurch, and the second opened in December last year, in Timaru.

Mr Bourgogne will be in Ōmārama next week and is looking forward to meeting with people.
He said the company was looking for someone to take up a lease for the shop and it would like that to be a local – “to benefit the town”.
The company was focussed on selling fuel and not food and drinks and so on, he said.

Mr Bourgogne has lived in New Zealand for 35 years and has loved travelling the country.
“I know the roads very well.”
“For me Ōmārama is like [ the town of] Springs Junction – an important crossroads."

The Ōmārama site would be open within the next few days “when all systems are in place”.
Because it was an unmanned service station it could offer reasonably-priced fuel, Mr Bourgogne said.
Changes to postal services
A message from Four Square Omarama

As of ‘close of business’ on Friday, January 27, 2023 -  Four Square Ōmārama will be stepping back from the service of sorting NZ Post mail and parcels.  

The retail service side of NZ Post will remain in place i.e. you can still buy post bags, stamps and send parcels etc (both domestic and international) from the Four Square.  
Communication from NZ Post regarding this has also been distributed to all PO Boxes/Private Bags
(see below).
For many years Four Square Ōmārama have managed the NZ Postal Service alongside the supermarket - however due to ongoing challenges of staff shortages and increasing volumes re: Post/Parcel deliveries, we are simply just not able to sustain both moving forward. 

First and foremost our core business is Grocery, and as such - all our available resource needs to focus within the supermarket.  Please know this decision was not made lightly or in haste. 
Please note the following - in efforts to assist in a smooth transition:
  • Please ensure all your mail/parcels are addressed to your own physical address - as we will no longer be in the position to accept parcels on your behalf that are addressed: C/O Four Square Omarama or 10 Chain Hills Highway. This relates to ALL courier companies (NZ Couriers, Aramex (formerly Fastways) Lakeline, PBT etc)
  • All PO Box holders will also need their PO Box keys -  as Omarama Four Square staff will no longer have access to the Post room.
  • As per communication from NZ Post below – please contact them directly with any queries at
Thanks  - Ōmārama Four Square
Changes to postal services
A message from NZ Post

Email: Brett Cairns, Area Service Delivery manager, Oamaru.
Rest in Peace, Kevin
Kevin Grant, dearly loved husband of Carolynne, died at home in Ōmārama, yesterday.
Thank you, Kevin, for your dedicated service to our town and for your lifelong commitment to our community.
Our sincerest condolences to Carolynne, James, Julie and Aaron and your families, and to Kevin's very many friends.
Kevin, you not only made your mark on our landscape but also on our hearts.

Kevin's funeral will be Tuesday, February 7, at the Ōmārama Memorial Hall at a time to be advised.

Below is a story written in February 2019 which tells only a little of Kevin's lifetime of service.

Kevin Grant - Earthmover and Shaper

As Kevin Grant casts his expert eye around the surrounding hills, he agrees, yes, there’s a great deal of the countryside he’s had a hand in shaping.

A man of few words – listen carefully because each one of those matter – he downplays the nearly six decades he has spent breaking ground, making tracks, clearing chaos, and quietly making his mark on the landscape.
He isn't convinced anyone would be that interested in hearing about his life’s work.

Monday, he ‘dropped everything’ and headed to the Tara Hills Station fire to put his skills to use there in his capacity as a volunteer member of the rural fire fighting logistics team. He’ll down-play that too. All in a day's work.
His role – to ‘expose’ the burning hay bales so firefighters could get to the ‘seat of fire’, and to dig trenches and bury any embers to lessen the risk of it re-igniting.


Kevin grew up in Otekaieke, where his family farmed. After attending primary school there, he would bus to Waitaki Boys’ High School in Oamaru and back each day. But he reckons he’s had “diesel in the blood from day one”. So, it was almost inevitable, as little more than a young lad, he would begin driving heavy machinery. “I’ve been going since I was 15, I’m 74 this year [2019].” 

Driving a dozer, working for a private contractor, his first major project was to help create the system of canals and flood irrigation channels which make up the Upper Waitaki Irrigation Scheme (Now called the Kurow and Duntroon Irrigation Company Scheme). Construction will begin this year to upgrade that scheme to a piped system which will continue to take water from the Waitaki River just below the Waitaki Dam and distribute it across the plains south of the river.

In 1965, he married Carolynne and it was no coincidence they began married life in Omarama. He was as pragmatic at 19 as he is now. His new job as a grader driver for the Ministry of Works came with a house – the perfect set-up for a newly-married couple. At the time, the depot and the heavy machinery stationed there was key to maintaining the main roads north, south and east of the town. The road from Otematata to Omarama, from Omarama north to Buscot station backpackers, and from Killermont Station to the top of the Lindis were gravel roads, Kevin said.
Back then there were no holiday homes in Omarama, only permanent residents lived in what was primarily a rural servicing town. There was the motel which later became the Omarama Motor Lodge and is now Heritage Gateway Hotel, the Rabbit Board staff and families, plus quite a large community which managed and ran what was the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry scientific research station at Tara Hills.
The population of Omarama would have been under 200, he said, and the town extended as far east as Sutherland Rd.

By 1969, Kevin was working for a private contractor - JR Bishop - who had the job of building a new Omarama subdivision for the Waitaki County Council. The task included creating three cul-de-sacs which extended the township eastwards to just past Totara Peak Cres. As 2IC for Bishop, with 45 staff, together they tackled roading jobs like the Shotover Bridge approaches, the realignment of SH1 at Shag Point, and the bulk of the main race for the Lower Waitaki Irrigation Scheme.
By then the Grants and their young family were stationed in Herbert. James and Julie were born in Otematata and the youngest, Aaron, was born in Queenstown.
But "I was never home", he says regretfully.

It was the time of the great construction projects and he worked throughout the South Island. Closer to home his crew was employed as “daily hire” to help work on the Upper Waitaki Hydro Scheme canals, at Twizel – they had their own separate camp on the construction project. And it was about that time the highway was extended from Otematata to Sailors Cutting.

In 1982, he made the decision to “go out on my own”, bought a D6 bulldozer and hired himself out for “farm work”. It wasn’t the best of times - drought and removal of farm subsidies hit North Otago farmers hard - but it was that economic downturn which brought the family back to Omarama – there was more work up this way.
A lot of the work was “track work” or “general drains” but the winter slowdown on the farm saw him take up the job of keeping the Ohau Ski-field access road clear through winter. “It filled in the winters, there’s not a lot of dozer work in the winter.”
It was sometimes precarious work which caused a few worries "for others", but didn’t worry him overly, he says. With interest rates on loans in the 1980’s soaring to 27% there had to be money coming in regularly to pass back to the bank. However, he does confess he’d not be worried if he “never saw another snowflake”.

When the Omarama Gazette catches up with him he’s working in 30-plus degree heat, but he doesn’t mind that. He’s now on his fifth digger – a Caterpillar 312C Hydraulic Excavator – bought in 2008 which has clocked up 12,000 hours.
Quite a substantial number of those hours have been spent volunteering. As well as fire-fighting duties, Kevin’s helped out with earthworks for the Golf Club, the Omarama Hall and Community Centre and the Fire Station, to name just a few projects. “You live in the community, you do your bit,” he says.

Retirement’s on the cards but not yet. The work is so varied, and because he’s a ‘one-man-band’ he scarcely ever sits still. His checks his fitness app which tells him he climbed the equivalent of 57 flights of stairs and trekked about 7.5km the previous day.
Clearing drains is not so much fun but he does like the farm track work, and he’s also enjoyed using that exacting eye to create landscaped gardens.
“You can see where you’ve been at the end of the day.” Surveying the lie of the land, and getting down to work and sculpting out the required design has become almost instinctive but it still requires absolute concentration, not only so the client’s requirements are met, exactly, but also for safety.
“You have to be conscious of what you are doing all the time, you do get the odd fright - it brings you back to reality.”

As we scan the hills he admits, “There’s not much of this country I haven’t been over” – and points out the Vodafone tower overlooking Otematata, 460m up, at Tin Hat Bluff.

Maurice Cowie - the quiet legend
Congratulations Maurice and Liz Cowie and thank you for your years of service
It is with a great deal of pride the Omarama community acknowledges the recent conferring of the Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Search and Rescue on our own Maurice Cowie – our quiet legend.
The New Year Honour comes as Fire and Emergency New Zealand also plans to honour Maurice on Saturday with 50-year medal presentation at the Ōmārama Fire Station.
Tributes have streamed in from around the country in response to these honours. 
To you both, Maurice and Elizabeth, let us tell you it’s quite difficult for us to express the same sentiments over and again and have them read differently to the previous tribute.


“Maurice, you are one of the best!” 
“We cannot think of anyone more deserving,” are the repeated themes. 
“Congratulations Maurice, well deserved, I always knew that our paper run man would get rewarded for all his voluntary work, Ōmārama folk are lucky to have you looking after them.”
There is so much you both give behind the scenes that most know nothing about – and certainly much more than can ever be acknowledged. 
Our volunteer groups – Search and Rescue, the Ōmārama Volunteer Fire Brigade, the Ōmārama Shed Group, the Residents’ Association and now the Community Gardens, to name a few, would be nothing without you.
In his day job, Maurice is much more than an employee. He has worked for more than 40 years for the Patterson family in all aspects of farm work – always reliable, loyal, a problem solver, a wise counsellor,  a ‘hero’ – not to mention lighting up the day with that wry sense of humour and dry wit.
It was that dry wit and an eagle eye that more than qualified Maurice for the role of the first ever Fire Brigade ‘Sherriff’. 
It was ormer chief fire officer Terry Walsh who appointed Maurice. 
“It was the worst decision I ever made,” Terry said. 
Since then, it has been Maurice’s job to catch out Fire Brigade volunteers in misdemeanours or infringements and bring the unfortunate ‘offenders' to account.
‘He doesn’t miss a trick, sometimes you wish he would,” Terry said.
In 2020, Maurice was integral to the first response to the Lake Ōhau Village fire. 
That community wishes to pass on these special words of thanks: 

How do you get from Ōmārama to Ōhau in the fastest time?
Answer - have Maurice Cowie driving the fire truck. We are forever grateful to Maurice for having his foot to the metal, as the Ōmārama fire crew raced to get to our community, which was confronted with the largest wildfire in living memory, that night in October 2020.
Up and away just after 3am, driving through the night, smoke and fire - checking to see everyone was safely evacuated, defending themselves from the fire front and then working to save properties - a long hot, dangerous and arduous time.
This is the selfless community service Maurice has given over m
any years - we are so appreciative of it. Thank you Maurice from the Lake Ōhau community.
Maurice was also at forefront when volunteers raced to get people evacuated from properties affected when the Ōmārama Stream and Ahuriri River burst their banks last year, not resting till he had roused all  got them to safety.
In December 2021, Maurice’s life in the community and the backcountry he knows so well – which is what makes him such a valued member of Search and Rescue -  was the subject of a book by local historian and long-time friend Lex Perriam and a ‘This is Your Life’ presentation.

We could go on...
This email sums up all our feelings, Maurice.
“Maurice you have served your Community in so many ways - a lot of things you do for others in the area are never known about.
“We do acknowledge your 50 years of service to the Fire Service and your recent honour in being awarded the Queens Service Medal for service to Search and Rescue.
“These are both well-deserved and hard-earned achievements - Congratulations.
“Behind every great person is support from their family - thanks to Liz, Deanna, Katherine, Rebecca and Michael for being that support. A great team effort and family.” 

Maurice, we are all privileged to know you.
And just one more thing…Gotcha, Sherriff!     

Photos below: 
Maurice and Liz and good friends Graham and Lorraine McLean enjoy a Fire Brigade Honours night; In the course of his service Maurice has had to keep several fire chiefs in line including Howard Williams (left) and Terry Walsh (right); Maurice did eventually receive assistance with his attempts to move the Memorial Rock with a shovel  last year; In July 2022 he supervised the removal of the newly-created water hazard beside the Omarama Golf Club clubhouse (Photo: Nayland Smith); Looking polished, he shows new recruits just how it is done; Maurice relieved  the olden days (photo supplied) and the Wajax competitions of the past at the 50th competition in 2020; Maurice and Liz - the "Cowies" arrive in the appropriate 'number onesies' for an Emergency services mid- winter Christmas celebration; Homeward bound after another successful Search and Rescue operation.(Photo by Jack Zorab)
Final days of petition
- support Ōmārama's First Response

A petition requesting Parliament urge St John and Fire and Emergency New Zealand formalise their trial - a local agreement - and allow Ōmārama First Response to respond to all 111 medical and personal alarm calls in the Ōmārama call-out area, regardless of acuity is about to close.

The closing date is TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2023

or you are just visiting...
And you haven't done this already, please pop it on that to do list
Please sign this petition - and thank you, you're a life saver! 💕

 It is available at any of these locations:

🔷 Boots and Jandals Hotel Ōmārama
🔶 Four Square Ōmārama
🔷 GlenCraigs
🔶 Heritage Gateway Hotel
🔷 Mobil Ōmārama
🔶 Ōmārama School
🔷 Ōmārama Veterinary Services

Or go online now to:

So, when you’ve done your bit, what happens?
Once the petition closes it is ready to be presented to the House of Representatives – Parliament for its consideration. This can only be done by a Member of Parliament.
The Ōmārama and Districts Community Co-Response Trust has asked Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean to receive the petition and officially present it. 
The community will be invited to attend when the Trust hands over the petition to Mrs Dean at a date and time to be advised – watch this space. 
Mrs Dean will then deliver the petition to Petitions Committee staff. 
The petition must be presented within six months of it closing.

The time taken to complete the next steps and for the Petitions Committee – which is a select committee of Parliament - to finish its investigations varies widely.
  • They can ask for evidence from a wide range of people and organisations
  • It will take time to consider that evidence.
  • If the committee makes recommendations to the Government it has 60 days to respond to the recommendations and the petitions request.  
Mrs Dean is chairperson of the Petitions Committee.
In considering the petition, the committee gathers more information or evidence about the issues raised.
It can ask for a written submission, and may also invite petitioners to speak to the committee in person or by phone or video-conference. 
The committee can also ask for evidence and responses from other relevant people or organisations and invite them to speak to it too.
The Petitions Committee may choose to refer the petition directly to a Minister to respond to. The Minister must publish and present a response to the petition within 60 working days.
In considering petitions, the Petitions Committee may also:
  • group similar petitions so they are considered together
  • request assistance from the Ombudsman to help with its consideration
  • nominate petitions to be debated by the House
  • consider and report to the House on any matter relating to petitions 
When the committee has finished considering the petition, it will summarise its findings in a report to the House. The committee's report will be publicly available on the website. 
It  usually contains a summary of its investigation of the issues raised by the petition. 
In some cases the report will include recommendations to the Government about actions or steps the committee wants taken in response to the petition. 
In other cases, a committee may present a report with no recommendations. 
When a committee has presented a report that contains recommendations to the Government, the Government has 60 working days to respond. The Government's response is published in a paper to the House.
 Camps spark passion for flying
Leah Ruddick, of the Wanganui Manawatu Gliding Club, receives the traditional dousing in cold water after completing her first solo flight under the instruction of glider pilot Malcolm Wright at last month's Youth Glide New Zealand Soaring Development Camp at the Ōmārama Airfield.
Photo: Supplied

By Ruth Grundy

Such is the interest from young people in gliding,  instructor Andrew Colby and wife Erika have bought a house in Ōmārama for a base for the enthusiastic wannabe glider pilots.
Last month about  20 young people from throughout the South Island, with a strong contingent from Central Otago, took part in a week-long Youth Glide New Zealand Soaring Development Camp hosted by the Ōmārama Gliding Club.
The annual week of flying, fun and friendship, which is run by volunteer instructors and pilots, is based at the Omarama Airfield. 
Two single Astirs and an LS4 gliders were available for the solo-rated pilots, while three dual seated gliders were available for the instructors and students to use.
Andrew, who has a background in outdoor education, said the week was as much about youth development as it was about learning to fly a glider. 
It was the old adage –“it takes a village to raise a child”, he said. 
“They come out as better citizens – for me it was gliding that got me through the teen years.”
Like many of the team of volunteer instructors, winch operators and tow plane pilots, cooks and other helpers, who gave up their time to help out on the camp, it was about “giving back”, he said.
In the past some of the gliding greats – like Graham Erikson – had been instructors and mentors.
The camps had launched a mix of young people, “introverts and extroverts” into either a life-long interest in, or a career in aviation. Andrew said.
YouthGlide 2023 from an instructor's perspective...
By Ōmārama pilot Malcolm Wright
YouthGlide  2023 in Ōmārama was my first camp with full involvement, primarily as a gliding instructor.

If you thought teaching your teenager to drive a car with L-Plates is scary, well try putting them in an unpowered aircraft, hooking on a rope behind a winch or a plane and sending them skyward!
Ok, in your car there is only one steering wheel and basic controls, but in the glider, you are teaching from the back seat and can't stop, You can't kick them out halfway to your destination or have a pit stop. Imagine if they threw a tanty?! You are there for the duration as an instructor until you are on the ground safely at zero knots or zero kilometres per hour.

Every year YouthGlide and the Ōmārama Gliding Club hold a camp when the conditions should be fair enough to teach young people the fine art of gliding. Each of them individuals, with differing backgrounds and differing levels of aviation experience - every student has to start somewhere. So, over the week, each instructor has a few students to focus on, developing their skills to have fun and to reach their own personal goals flying gliders.

Before every flight each student is schooled up on what to do or what not to do. They go fly and then hold a debrief afterwards, with the instructor signing off on competent tasks and preparing a lesson plan on how to do it better next time. Each lesson the student gets more stick and rudder time until all facets of the flight from take-off to landing and all the stuff in the middle is done without the instructor having to take over.

During this year's camp there were many goals reached, including three first solo flights, and I had the pleasure of training one of them intensively over the week to reach her goal of flying solo.
Leah Ruddick, after having a check flight with another senior instructor to make sure that I had done my job, was sent solo with parents, friends and fellow students all watching every moment - nerves on the ground and in the air -  followed by big smiles afterwards. The satisfaction of all  is bliss! And let's not forget the traditional dousing with a bucket of cold water to mark the student's first solo!

Teaching young people to overcome fears, anxiety and other modern day social issues, working together , living together, gaining life skills and the discipline to be responsible for themselves and others in control of an aircraft gives an amazing feeling of satisfaction.
Youthglide camp  Omarama 2023 , was a great success. Thank you to all who participated in and  contributed to the camp.

Below:  A successful camp rides on the wings of its volunteers. Photos: Supplied

Leah Ruddick, of the Wanganui Manawatu Gliding Club, completes her first solo flight under the instruction of glider pilot Malcolm Wright at the 2023 Youth Glide New Zealand Soaring Development Camp at the Omarama Airfield, in January.
Video: Ruth Grundy
We don't say goodbye...
Maurice, Ryan and Ebony Scobie enjoy a farewell meal at Boots and Jandals Hotel Ōmārama
before their move to South Otago last week. Photo: Lex Perriam

We say farewell to Maurice, Ryan and Ebony Scobie, but we don't say 'goodbye'.
Thank you for all you have done for our place.
We send you off with precious memories and all the warmest wishes for your new ventures.
We hope you will visit often and  know Ōmārama will always be your home away from home.


Photos below: 
Ebony Scobie sings in the Ōmārama School concert in 2018; Ryan Scobie inspects Natalie Rooney's medal when the Olympic athlete visited the school in 2016; A school day bus ride with driver Lex Perriam; meeting the 'Log of Wood' when it visited the school in 2019; former Ōmārama school principal Kim McKenzie presents Ryan with his award for the term's work; Ebony was awarded the Sir Peter Blake leadership award in 2020. Photos: Ruth Grundy
Harvest 2023
David O’Neill has been out in the combine harvester in the heat of our summer days, with the team from David O’Neill Contracting, gathering in this rye corn crop and others throughout the district.
The Noticeboard

To have your community notice included here email:
The Ōmārama Gazette has a focus on our 'Noticeboard' section and community group with contributions welcome. Let us all know what you are up to, and any little snippets such as congratulations or farewells.

Congratulations to Emily Hunt and Shane Leopold
on the occasion of their marriage last month. 

(photo supplied)

The Ōmārama Fine Wool Lamb Sale is Thursday, February 16, at the Ōmārama sale yards. The Ewe Fair follows a week later on Thursday, February 23.

A message from Environment Canterbury
Are you a rural land or business owner? Do you have questions about consents?
If you’re wondering what activities require a consent or you’re not sure who to talk to – we’re making it easy for you to get advice.
Bring your questions to our free drop-in event for a chat face-to-face with people from relevant agencies.
Friday, March 3 2023 - 1pm to 5pm
Ōmārama Memorial Hall, 35 Chain Hills Highway

Refreshments provided.
Get help from;
Mackenzie District Council, Waitaki District Council, Department of Conservation, Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand, Environment Canterbury.

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. Library hours can change. Contact Yvonne: 027 476 7473.

The Ōmārama Shed Group meets each Saturday at 10am and at other times too.
For further information please contact Malcolm Cameron 022 476 2225 
St Thomas' Ōmārama Church Community: 
chairperson: Ven Dr Michael Godfrey, phone 022 342 9977 or  email; committee secretary (Presbyterian): Rev Lee Kearon, phone: 021 250 1060 or email:

The Ōmārama Golf Club  Saturdays cards in 12.30pm, tee-off 1pm.
Club captain Adrian Tuffley phone: 027 347 8276

The Ahuriri Community Catchment Group meets once a month. For time and place contact facilitator Nicola McKerchar. Phone: 022 612 7570; 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 Nic McKerchar 022 612 7570 or secretary Tarsh Bell  027 349 0016

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.

The exercises are run with the guidance of personal trainer Lauren Maree. Gold coin donation and a cuppa after the exercises. Contact Ethel Gray 03 438 7764.

Waitaki Newcomers Network: For more information about this group and to subscribe to regular updates send contact details to E:
W: F:

Plunket Line: 0800 933 922
Ōmārama Plunket Committee: Aimee Snelgrove 
022 350 5536
The March issue of the Ōmārama Gazette
is Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The close-off for this is Thursday, February 23.

Office hours are from 8am to 10am, Monday to Friday
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
Ōmārama Volunteer Fire Brigade
Happy New Year everybody on behalf of the team at Fenz Ōmārama.

We hope you had a nice break.
Firstly, I would like congratulate our long standing Brigade member Station Officer Maurice Cowie on being awarded a Queens Service Medal in the New Year Honours list.
We have certainly moved on from the floods in the middle of last year and it is now very dry.
As I am writing this I hear a brigade is out putting out a grass fire caused by sparks from a mower.
The same could easily happen here.
Let's be vigilant when doing any activities that can create a spark including mowing hay and the lawns at home.
Remember we are currently in a Prohibited fire season.
You can still use the BBQ but it is a good idea to have a hose handy just in case.
The kids are off to school this week so please keep an eye out for them at bus stops and on their bikes.

Stay Safe
Greg Harper and the team at the Ōmārama Volunteer Fire Brigade      

Greg Harper
Chief Fire Officer 
021 293 1171
Facebook: /Omaramafirebrigade
Ōmārama Golf Club 
By Christine Bowman

The golf course has been busy over the Christmas break, with all the great weather. 
We have had approximately 285 visitors playing on the course over this period, with many complimenting the course especially the greens. 

Prior to Christmas the annual Runholders Ambrose tournament was held. 
A big thanks to all the sponsors and supporters, especially the main sponsor David O'Neill Contracting.  Players enjoyed BBQ meat supplied by Alliance Group and cooked to perfection by Greg Stuart. 

The bragging rights for 2022 go to Team Twin Peaks, lead by Kim and Mike Doree.  . It was a great turnout, with teams of runholders, workers, friends, partners and children. It's great to hear all the laughter around the course. (Photos below)

As already reported, our New Year Tournament was a great success. 
Our next main tournament is Easter weekend on Saturday, April 8, so save this date.
Saturday Club Day, cards in 12.30pm, tee-off 1pm.
Thursday Twilight Golf (9 holes) at 5pm.

Club captain Adrian Tuffley phone: 027 347 8276
Secretary: Christine Bowman phone: 027 209 2320
Ōmārama Airfield
By Clive Geddes, Chairman, Ōmārama Airfiled Ltd

Over the past four months activity on the Omarama Airfield has shown an encouraging increase on the previous two years. The Regional and National gliding championships and the Youth Glide camp have all been successfully staged and there has been a welcome return of the UK and US based glider pilots who use Omarama as a summer soaring base. The Omarama Gliding Club and Youth Glide have also been contributors to the increased activity with well attended courses and growing memberships. 
The airfield has also hosted a number of “fly in” aviation events which have added to the activity levels.
In addition to the day to day maintenance and management work the airfield company is progressing a number of projects including the development on Nimbus Drive, the establishment of a dedicated winch launching strip and rationalising the irrigation system. 
Like most other Omarama business’s, the company is looking forward to continuing to grow its activity and leave behind the difficulties of the past two years. The current year has been a good start to that recovery.
Ōmārama Community Garden

By Heather Smith

Things are progressing with the Community Gardens down at the Ōmārama Community Centre.
The raised garden plots built  by the Ōmārama Shed Group are about to be filled with topsoil, hopefully this week - with thanks to Maurice Cowie for help with this part of the project, and Travis and Jo Golder for the loan of the truck.
Several people have already volunteered to help and are donating seeds.
Hopefully in the next few weeks I'll be at least on two legs again so it will be very exciting to get our first veggies in for the new year.
Getting around on Colin Herd's old scooter has had me out, and a lot of locals are ready to get into it, so we are all super excited.

Contact Heather Smith, 027 330 0249
Boots and Jandals Hotel Social Club
By Philip Jannink

The Boots and Jandals Ōmārama Hotel social club 'Spud in the Bucket' judging and prizegiving will be held 2.30pm, Sunday, February 12 at the hotel. A free meal will be provided to social club members later in the day.
It is always a great day and I am sure a lot of fun will be had by all attending, hope to see you there.

The social club is organising a 4-wheel drive trip in the Five Forks area on Sunday, February 26 leaving from the Pub car park at 8.30am and returning to the hotel at approx 5pm where light finger food will be provided. 
Non social club members are welcome for a small fee.

Contact: Philip Jannink 027 410 6524    
Ōmārama Shed Group
The Ōmārama Shed Group meets at 10am each Saturday 
and at other times, too.

For further information contact: 
Malcolm Cameron  022 476 2225 

Ōmārama Rodeo Club
By Marcia Green

What a day!
Thank you to all who came along to the Ōmārama Rodeo 2022, to our cowboy and cowgirl competitors for putting on such a great show, to our incredible sponsors and supporters, the amazing stock contractors and the extra-ordinary equine and bovine athletes, they were awesome.
To the yard workers, our many volunteers, our hard working committee and all the people behind the scenes that make a day like this possible.
Thank you to the loyal locals who helped out on day… after five years we finally made a profit $12,500!!
That will pay for our maintenance upgrades for last two years.
A large crowd watched the competition play out in what was the club's 35th rodeo.
The results are here
We're already planning how to make the day bigger and better for 2023!
We hope we'll see you there!
Ōmārama Collie Dog Club
The Ōmārama Collie Dog Club had its annual meeting last week.
The president is Todd Burke, secretary Carla Hunter, treasurer Andres Aubrey and vice-president Hadlee Knight.

The Ōmārama Collie Dog Club Trials are on
Sunday, March 5, and Monday, March 6
at the grounds on Dalrachney Station
 2180 Omarama/Tarras Rd/Lindis Pass Hwy

P O Box 53, Omarama 9448 
Ōmārama Community Library 
The  Ōmārama Community Library  
is open 9.30am to 11am, 
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 
at the Ōmārama Community Centre.

Contacts: Georgie  027 486 1525 or Yvonne  027 476 7473
Ōmārama School
update with thanks to The Oamaru Mail, Friday, January 27, 2023
Ōmārama School By-election
Omarama School
School Board Elections
Parent Election Notice 
Nominations are open for the by-election of 1 (one) parent representative to the school board.
All eligible voters will receive a nomination form and a notice calling for nominations. Use this form to nominate yourself or someone in your community. You will also receive a nomination cover letter calling for nominations.
Information on who is not eligible to be a board member is provided with the nomination form.
If you need more nomination forms, contact the school office.
Nominations close at 12 noon Wednesday March 1, 2023. 
You may provide a signed candidate statement and photograph with your nomination.
The electoral roll is held at the school and can be viewed during normal school hours.
There will also be a list of candidates’ names kept at the school up until election day, which you can view.
Voting closes 4 pm Wednesday 05 April 2023.
Megan Talarico
Returning Officer
Ōmārama Playgroup
Ōmārama Playgroup meets at 9.30am each Wednesday
during the primary school term at the Ōmārama Community Centre.  

For more information contact:
president Nic McKerchar 022 612 7570
or secretary Tarsh Bell  027 349 0016 
Plunket: Aimee Snelgrove 022 350 5536
Ōmārama Residents' Association 
The next meeting of the 
Ōmārama Residents' Association 
will be 
7pm, Thursday, February 16, 2022
at the Ōmārama Community Centre
An invitation is extended to all
Lindsay Purvis, chairperson, 027 438 9630
Yvonne Jones, secretary, 027 476 7473 

The minutes of the previous 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

Care in the community 


Omarama Community Care Group

Thanks to generous donations our group now has
free emergency food supplies 
- all the staples you may need to get you and your family through.
Be assured all requests and referrals are taken in confidence.
Please contact Ruth 021 294 8002.


The Ōmārama Volunteer Fire Brigade now has a fold-up mobility scooter thanks to a generous donation. This along with a wheelchair are available for loan. To find out about these contact chief fire officer Greg Harper 021 293 1171 or any fire brigade member.



Covid Care
If you are unlucky enough to catch Covid-19 here is the link to the up-to-date regulations and advice.

Unite against Covid-19

Ministry of Health Covid-19 Health Hub

Our Covid Community Care group officially went into recess at the end of September.
But we are still able to help, so please do make contact if either yourself or a friend or neighbour need anything.
We have - free RATS, free sanitiser, masks, gowns and face shields if you are caring for someone with Covid and need protection.

Only a phone call away:  Ruth Grundy 021 294 8002 


If you need any of the services listed below please contact the
Twizel Community Care Centre 
Mount Cook St, Twizel
Phone: 03 435 0687
Hours of opening: 9.00am - 2.00pm
Days of opening: Monday - Friday

• Work and Income – assistance with applying for benefits, helping with
queries regarding superannuation, and any other financial assistance you
may receive. Printing and scanning of documents.
• Inland Revenue – queries regarding anything IRD related, access to forms
• Twizel-Tekapo Community Car bookings – this is a community car that
picks you up from your house and takes you wherever you need to go
such as town here in Twizel or Timaru for an appointment, whatever you
need. There is a cost involved depending on destinations.
• Home Delivered Meals – We have small roasts for $10, Regular meals for
$8 and small snack meals for $4. We can deliver to your home.
• Printing/scanning services
• Assistance with finding jobs in the area.
• Foodbank – donations, and supply people with food parcels when in need
• Any other government services – ACC, Department of Corrections, etc
• Arowhenua Health Clinic – Free health clinic on the first Wednesday of
each month.
• Computer/cellphone assistance – needing help with something on your
computer or cellphone
• Rat tests/Mask supply free of charge
• Assistance with filling in any forms or paperwork.
• Offer room hire to community groups and businesses.

Jobs: If you are looking for jobs a great place to start is the Jobs in the Mackenzie Facebook page.
Leaine Rush runs that Facebook page.

Transport can be quite a hurdle if you aren't able to drive.
Here's one solution and ratepayers fund this through the Environment Canterbury Rate. The Twizel-Tekapo Community Car. Here's how it works... The Twizel Community Care Centre (above) takes the bookings: Driven by volunteers, the car can be booked and used by anyone in Ōmārama to get you to nearby towns or cities for medical appointments or shopping visits – e.g to Twizel and back or Kurow and  includes trips to Oamaru, Dunedin or Christchurch etc. There is a minimal charge depending on the destination.

Another organisation that does offer some limited help up our way is Age Concern (for people 65 and older).
Kathryn Bennett is the coordinator for Age Concern Waitaki, based in Oamaru.
From February 14 she will run monthly coffee afternoons at the Ōmārama Community Centre.
She plans to bring guest speakers to these session. Topics for the first session are how to deal with elder abuse and setting up enduring powers of attorney.
Age Concern has given $1,000 to develop the community garden and has previously helped fund equipment for the weekly winter housie sessions.

Kathryn’s contact details are:
03 434 7008
027 4347 089
Hours: Mon-Wed 9- 4.30pm  / Thur- Fri 9-12.30pm

If you need  emergency home help – this is if you need cleaning done or the like in the short term, for example, if you are recovering from an illness - contact your GP for a referral.

Waitaki Newcomers Network
For more information about this group and to subscribe to regular updates send contact details to

Contact: Paula Eatherley
Waitaki Newcomers Network and Migrant Support Coordinator
027 325 6151 (business hours)
‘The Community Reports' is
dedicated to news
from clubs, groups and sports teams.

Contributions are welcome 
The Directory 


phone 021 294 8002 or email

The weather that was - December 2022 
The weather that was - January 2023 
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and put 'Local List' in the subject line.

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.
Contact the Ōmārama Gazette
Ōmārama Gazette
Editor: Ruth Grundy,
021 294 8002, 03 438 9766
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