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Omarama Gazette
September 2021

The September Issue

She's a 'dyed-in-the-wool' fan of the fibre
New wool venture celebrates its origins
Mayoral fund for Ōhau – how has the money been spent?
Loch Laird Update - September
 First steps taken to form Men's Shed 

Rowing mission surpasses expectations

Regular Features

Something to Puzzle Over
The Noticeboard 
The Community Reports:
                                                        Waitaki District Council - News in Brief  
Environment Canterbury - News in Brief  
The Directory
The Weather that Was
Situations Vacant
The Last Page is Classifieds
Back in my Day - Snippets from the 70's


The Omarama Gazette's 'The Wire' which is publishing updates
through this latest Covid-19 situation will continue on Friday.
She's a 'dyed-in-the-wool' fan of the fibre
New Zealand Merino Company Ltd area manager Nic Blanchard checks samples on the show floor in the Christchurch Woolstore (prior to Covid-19 restrictions). Photo by  Blair Davies NZM

She has been in love with wool for as long as she can remember.
And it’s that life-long passion which led her to her present job and drew her to Omarama, the heart of merino country, New Zealand Merino Company Ltd area manager Nic Blanchard said.

As a child, growing up in Halkett, inland from Christchurch, at every opportunity she would be in her aunt’s or her neighbour’s shearing shed, just to be amongst it all. 
Nic said she quizzed her mother recently about what she thought the attraction might have been.
But she didn’t know what the drawcard was, just that Nic had always had a fascination for the fibre.
“I’m very much ‘wool crazy’.”
So, the hardest thing about this Covid-19 lockdown? 
“I’m missing seeing all my beautiful wool,” Nic says. 
Her work hasn’t stopped despite being confined to quarters. 
Nic has been on the phone and emailing helping her growers prepare for the upcoming Melbourne fine wool auction. 
“I mean, it's still quite busy, but it's a different sort of busy.” 
Ordinarily she does work from home but under the Covid-19 restrictions she is not tripping down gravel roads to visit woolsheds which would be her normal routine. 

It’s pre-lamb shearing right now and she would usually be visiting three to six sheds a day, catching up with growers, liaising in the shearing shed, checking the classing and preparation of wool before it heads out to make sure it meets contract specifications, or so it will fetch top price at auction . 
Her patch includes about 75 growers, 35 of which are in the Omarama basin, from Otematata to Twizel, and encompasses the Mackenzie and Hakataramea.
Omarama is at the heart of that country. 
“It works very well to have the sheds close in the height of the season, they’re right at my back door.” 
Nic has had a varied career since gaining classing qualifications at Lincoln after leaving school, honing her admin skills during stints in offices and banking but she’s always been drawn back to wool. 
Prior to taking up this role she worked as a shepherd at Long Gully Station, Tarras, and ran her own team of dogs. 
Her wool classing skills were acknowledged by the industry in 2019 when she was presented with a merit award for the mid-micron category at the New Zealand Wool Classers Association's annual awards. 
“I know I’m preaching to the choir but there’s so many uses for it [wool]… from carpets and curtains to exquisite fabrics for suits.” 
New Zealand Merino has more than 100 brand partners including Reda Rewoolution, Icebreaker, Allbirds, Mons Royale, Smartwool, each with differing requirements and specifications.
As an essential service shearing has continued under restrictions with gangs operating as a ‘bubble’. 
At present, plans are in place celebrate 60 years of the New Zealand Merino Shears competition in Alexandra, in October. The fine wool competition is the first round of the PGG Wrightson/Vetmed National Open Shearing Circuit.
New wool venture celebrates its origins
Above: The southerly change rolls in across Otematata Station. Photo: by Lottie Hedley

This is a yarn with an evocative story which links its birth in the high country to the creation of a bobbing pompom beanie the colour of  which pays homage to its origin in the tussocklands. 
Launched in May, the Good Wool NZ Otematata Station label yarn is a naturally hand-dyed wool created for the niche craft and hand knitter’s market. 
The small business venture came about when Wellington-based dyer Rebecca ‘Bex’ Martin got in touch with Otematata Station's Philippa Cameron after following Pip’s popular Instagram account, What’s for Smoko?
She had spied Pip’s daughters Flora and Evelyn wearing colourful woollen jumpers, Pip said.
“Your girls are always in beautiful, knitted jumpers she said." 
The jumpers which had caught her eye were knitted by Philippa’s grandmother Vyna Johnstone (90). 
Bex went on to ask Pip if she could have “a couple of skeins” of wool “to dye up” and return for her to knit up. 
“How much would you like to dye because I’ve got an idea … how about a couple of hundred kilos of skeins?” Pip said, in reply. 
And just like that the idea was born.

Bex’s “small- batch dying” is the final step in the ‘farm to yarn’ process. 
She uses all natural dyes and processes with the end result appearing as though the colours of the high country landscape wash through the skeins.
The first five colourways were  given names evocative of the country where it was grown.- wether tussock, southerly, muster and rosehip 
Initially, 140kg – just short of a bale - was processed and is now being sold through the Good Wool NZ website.
Bex had also planned to make sales through the wool fests held throughout the country however the various Covid-19 restrictions on travel through the past year meant that South Island buyers have only been able to purchase online, Pip said. 

Pip has remained close to every step of the process. 
 The wool is sourced from the Otematata Station merino wether flock whose wool is renowned for its fineness. 
Human interaction with the flock is minimal. The wethers are only handled twice a year, once in autumn at crutching, and then again at shearing in spring.
Pip watched that first precious bale get scoured at NZ Woolscouring at Washdyke, and from there it went on to be spun in Christchurch, producing a double knit and a 4ply yarn.
And she's had a hand in the dying process.
“We grew and dried the marigolds for the colour tussock.” 
The yarn was “incredibly soft”, Pip said. 
When she met with Bex she handed her a skein spun from 20micron wool which felt very soft. 
But then she handed her an Otematata Station 17micron skein and there was just no comparison, Pip said. 
The pair have also worked in collaboration with patternmaker lisaFdesign in Wanaka who has created a lace-patterned beanie reminiscent of “butterflies dancing among the tussocks” and a ‘mountains and valleys’ baby blanket kit to complement the yarn.
Wool was making a comeback and many local knitters were not that happy with the present quality of hand knitting merino wool – often blends – on the market, so there was a hope this would fill a gap, Pip said. 
Thye're already planning ahead for next season, thinking of new colourways and introducing new patterns, she said. 
Plus, Pip plans to sell the white, undyed wool – wether – direct from Otematata Station.
Below: Flora and Evelyn Cameron wear the colourful jumpers which first caught Wellington dyer Rebecca Martin's eye. Photo: Dana Johnston, from the Book What's for Smoko, by Pip Cameron.

All photos: supplied
Mayoral fund for Ōhau
– how has the money been spent?
Next month marks the anniversary of New Zealand’s  largest wildfire - the Lake Ōhau Fire. 
In the early morning of  October 4 the fire, fed by gale force winds, destroyed 48 homes, damaged 15 others and burned through more than 5,000 hectares to extend to a perimeter of 48.8km. 
In the days and months that followed many gave donations to assist residents with rebuilding their lives.
In response the Waitaki District Council set up the Ōhau Mayoral Emergency Relief Fund to manage and distribute the funds.
Earlier this week, on Monday, the Omarama Gazette emailed Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher, council finance and corporate development group manager Paul Hope and council communication specialist Lisa Scott to ask for an update about the fund.

"I am preparing a story for publication marking the anniversary of the Lake Ōhau fire and would appreciate it if you could provide the following information.
1.         What was the total amount accrued from donations tagged specifically to assist victims of the fire - the Ōhau Mayoral Emergency Relief Fund?
2.         What is the total unspent to date?
3.         Where have the spent funds been allocated/how has this been spent?
4.         What say have residents had in how the monies have been allocated?"

In reply, Ms Scott said the information would be forwarded as soon as possible – “hopefully by the end of Wednesday [September 1, 2021] , but probably before that”.
However, the information has not been received but the Gazette will  update the story here as soon as it comes to hand.
From the information publicly available the Gazette understands;
- On October 6 the Government donated $100,000 for the victims of the disaster.
- by October 8 there was a further donation of $400, plus former Lake Ōhau resident Karl Smith, based in England, contributed $4,934 he had raised through a Gofundme page.
- Later in the month Meridian Energy, because of its links to the area, donated $100,000 for the people of Ōhau.
- By October 17 Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher tells the Otago Daily Times there is $210,000 in the fund.
- Proceeds from a concert held by Hopetoun Brown and the Genius of Finn Scholes and raffles sold contributes a further $5,500 with two raffle packages (Night Away and Adventure Package) still to be fully sold, according to a report to the council's Community, Culture and Regulatory Committee meeting on November 10.
- And a second concert - Rise from the Ashes - held in Dunedin raised $6,718.00 for the residents of Ōhau affected by the fire, bringing the total to $223,729.30, according to a November 17, 2020 council press release.
To access the Government donation the council was required to establish a Mayoral Relief Fund policy which it did on October 20. The Government also stipulated any unspent funds should be retrurned.
In a newsletter to residents at the end of October Mr Kircher said the council was “finetuning details” about how to apply to the fund for support for rates payments, consent fees and other needs
"People have been generous, but of course we do need to use the funds wisely. As always, if you think we can help you with particular problems, please do not hesitate to get in touch," he said.
The Mayoral Relief Fund policy says the distribution of donated funds will be considered by a 'Deciding Committee' to be appointed by the mayor and consisting of  the mayor or his or her delegate, a councillor or community board member, and  a Civil Defence Emergency Management local welfare manager or a community representative. 
The fund will exist solely as a means of receiving donations and distributing them to community members in need following an emergency event.
And the fund looks at ongoing assistance beyond what the Emergency Operations Centre might provide immediately - like food and accommodation voucher.
A state of emergency would not have to be declared for the funds to be distributed
In the minutes of the October 20 council meeting confirmed at the October 27 meeting it was noted Mr Kircher said using the Government’s $100,000 contribution to provide rates relief "would be a good use of those relief funds".
He said a straight remission of rates would mean the cost of services would be put on to other ratepayers, whereas the Mayoral Relief Funds would have no such ties.
“It would mean that, for those who could not use their homes, they would not have to pay the next instalment. Using the fund would make sure that the rates were paid.”
On that basis, it was confirmed there was no requirement to pass a resolution on rates remission, the document said.

Labour Weekend at Loch Laird - September
Plans are well in hand to counter any possible ‘displacement’ of young people who might be deterred from camping at the top terrace at Loch Laird by the council’s introduction of a temporary liquor ban at Labour Weekend, a police spokesperson says. 
These include extra staffing and patrols throughout the area and in Otematata township, day and night, Senior Constable Nayland Smith of Omarama Police says.

Last month, Waitaki District councillors voted unanimously to introduce a temporary ban over Labour Weekend to help curb the alcohol-fuelled unruly behaviour of young people celebrating the end of the school year. 
This came as a result of recommendations from the community workshops, involving council staff, councillors, the mayor and police, held to find solutions to the problems caused by the event over many years. 
One of the biggest concerns of the group was young people's reaction to a ban would be to disperse and cause problems in other nearby areas. 
“The key message is the police are fully aware ‘displacement’ is concern and they will be addressing it with all the resources they have at hand,” Snr Const Smith said. 
As well as the local police – Omarama and Kurow - there would be another six officers, “at least”, working at Loch Laird during daytime hours, he said. 
“Plus, there will be road policing.” 
Police would be actively targeting “pre-loading” through the day to minimise risk.
There would be a minimum of four officers working through the night with others on call, he said. 
“There will be good numbers actively patrolling in Otematata and Te Akatarawa Rd along the north side of Lake Aviemore.” 
The mobile policing unit would be stationed at the top terrace. 
The liquor ban was an added tool which made it easier to manage the situation, he said. 
It meant police could take whatever action was required when people arrived with alcohol. 
It could be confiscated, and they could be turned away, he said.
A key part of the community group’s strategy was to make sure the conditions of the ban were widely and clearly communicated so people were well aware of it before they travelled to Otematata and could adjust their plans accordingly. 
Council spokesperson Lucianne White said Safer Waitaki community development manager Helen Algar and Ahuriri Community Board chairperson Vicky Munro were liaising over the implementation of the communications strategy and "working on draft messaging together". 
“The topic has also been put to the Safer Waitaki forum, which includes some schools, for feedback.” 
She expected draft messaging to be ready early next week.  
“When the messaging is approved by the task force it will be taken to schools and released through the council channels.
“Unfortunately, with the lockdown period and uncertainty over when schools will resume, confirming the delivery mechanism with schools can’t be achieved right now.
“The council will use a range of channels and mediums to get content out, but these are most likely to be a mix of the Link [the council newsletter], radio and website, social media and possibly some posters too,” Mrs White said.

* The council officers' report  and briefing notes supporting the liquor ban can be found on pages 88 to 98 of the Waitaki District Council agenda  for its August 10 meeting.

* Here is the link to Radio New Zealand’s coverage of the council’s decision.

Earlier stories can be found in these issues:

First steps taken to form Men's Shed 
Last month 18 men of all ages attended a meeting at the Omarama Community Centre to discuss the setting up of an Omarama Men's Shed.
A men's shed is a community group which allows men to share their skills and work on projects individually  or as a group for themselves, or the community.
Local engineer Murray Stuart is leading the Omarama project.
The group hope to be able to use the old Community Den for their regular meetings and to set up a workshop.
It is also likely they will arrange a trip to the Cromwell Men’s Shed to investigate the set up there.
A second meeting was planned for a week later however, Covid -19 restrictions mean this has been postponed in the meantime.
Omarama’s group plan to work on projects put to them by the community, possibly beginning with helping to create the hard landscaping requirements for a community garden.
The Omarama Residents' Association is waiting on confirmation from the Waitaki District Council about where the garden can be established.
Contact: Murray Stuart 027 432 7537
Rowing mission surpasses expectations
And so he made it, on time and on target.

Last month, 20 days after he set out New Zealand Rowing representative Ben Mason completed his mammoth 1,000km row, averaging 50km a day,  and raised more than $24,000 for the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.
Ben said he wanted to thank everyone who donated.
“It’s been incredible how much money we have all raised and it’s really awesome to see how much of an impact we can all have together on such a terrible cancer like breast cancer!
“I’m very fortunate for the opportunities I’ve had, and experiences I’ve gained from everything rowing related for that matter, rowing through the Hole In a Rock and up the coast of such remote land around beautiful New Zealand, being in arms’ reach of amazing wildlife, all things that not many people get to experience in a life time,” Ben said in his blog.
Ben was joined on his journey by support crew dad Ted Mason, and friends Nayland (Bean) Smith and Brian Walker (skipper), in Brian’s catamaran Picking Daisies.
Something to puzzle over

Loading wool bales at Lake Ohau Station
The Noticeboard 
To have your community notice included here email:
Our sincere condolences to Tim and Cynthia, Kate and Peter, Annabelle and Richard; and Harriet George and Jessica, Emma and Henry on the death of their mother, mother-in-law and grandmother Elisabeth (Beth) Wardell.

The weekly Omarama Community Housie sessions are postponed because of the Covid-19 situation.

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

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

The Omarama Golf Club  Saturdays cards in 12 midday, tee-off 12.30pm. 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.
NB QUEEN'S BIRTHDAY Because of Queens Birthday Weekend this month it will meet at the same time Monday, June 14. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We all really appreciate what you do.

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

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

To receive email alerts between monthly editions of the Omarama Gazette sign up to our 'Local List'.
and put 'Local List' in the subject line.
The October issue of the Omarama Gazette
is Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The close-off for this is Friday, October 1
Advertising pays for
production and distribution
To find out about publication and close-off dates,
and how much it costs to place your advertisment, 
 phone 021 294 8002, 03 438 9766 or email
To our businesses

If you would like a feature written about your business please contact the Gazette. A booking is required and there is a fee for this. These features will be posted to the Omarama Gazette Facebook page. 
The Community Reports
Upper Waitaki Police News

Howdy all,
I have to say a huge thank you to everyone for abiding by the rules.
Since my last article I have had no issues at all. It made my life a lot easier by not having to have any awkward conversations with anyone. This whole lock down is as strange for me as it is for you.
For police a lot of the time the rules come down to interpretation of what the Government's objective is and then trying to implement the rules in a fair and sensible way.  This is made harder by our geography. Luckily for me everyone around here has a brain and can make the right decision, and if not sure, they’ve sought clarification.
Like you I’ve been trying to workout exactly what we can and can’t do.
I know that we can’t go white-baiting….bugger!
All jokes aside I thought it may be handy to clarify some of the rules for Alert level 3.

WORK – If you can work from home you should.
If you can’t remain “contactless” you can’t open.
All other businesses can operate, but with restrictions such as physical distancing, having extra hygiene measures and contactless options for ordering, pick-up, delivery and payment available.
This hasn’t changed in regards to essential supply’s such as petrol stations/groceries/pharmaceutical supply’s etc….except you can now get takeaways as well. And yes there’s still heaps of date roll!!
Any other retail store can only open for contactless pick-up and delivery. 
Post shops still not open to the public, I have no idea why.
Open only for those children whose parents both have to go to work and have no child care options available. Otherwise they should still be at home being taught online. If there is anyone struggling with this in any way and you're not sure what to do or who to call, give me a shout and I’ll see if we can’t sort it out together.
This is a tough one, mainly due to our topography. Basically you are allowed to travel locally. “Locally” is deemed as the area you need to travel to get essential supplies. Travelling to Oamaru would be okay to get groceries. It would not be okay to go and play golf, or hunt or fish or just to go for a drive. You must still remain local.
Yeah this is the big one isn’t it?
FISHING – Yes but only from shore not a boat, no risky stuff, you are not allowed to get wet, no wading around in the water ie fly fishing the rivers or lakes from the water.
BOATING/SAILING – No sorry, under no circumstances due to risk if you break down or have an accident.
Hunting – Yes but only day trips and not from a vehicle. For this a wee bit of common sense comes in. Obviously if you’re on a farm and have to drive to the block where you're hunting that would be okay as long as its on a well maintained farm road/track. It wouldn’t be okay if you are then driving a goat track up the side of a mountain. Quads and side by sides are out still I’m afraid.
PLAYGROUNDS – No due to risk of contamination from surfaces.
KIDS – NO they can’t play with their mates down the road as much as I wish I could say they could.
GOLF – Yes (See Omarama Golf Club report below)
TENNIS – No same reason as playgrounds.
MOUNTAIN BIKING – Yes but with restrictions, only trails that are easy – This means the A20 track is fine, except for the section from Ohau to Quailburn and Sailors cutting to Otematata due to the risk of accident and the likelihood of emergency services having to attend if you come a cropper.

At Alert Level 3, you can exercise in your local area on your own, or with people in your household bubble. You still have to stay in your separate bubbles. People on their own can join another bubble.
If you are exercising outside, try to keep a 2 metre distance from people who are not in your bubble.
The most important thing is to stay safe and stay close to home. Go to your local park or river/lake, not your favourite one. You cannot stay overnight at your bach or holiday home.
Do low-risk activities so you do not need rescuing or medical care. This is where the common sense approach is required.

Sorry cribbies, but you cannot come to your holiday home, you are only allowed to travel “locally”.
If there is an issue with your holiday home and you think you need to come up for some reason you should seek clarification first either from me or Snr Const Scott (Kurow) or your local police. You cannot stay the night in your holiday home for any reason.
That’s about it. If there’s something I’ve missed, which is likely, give me a call and I’ll try my best to help.

Stay safe

Senior Constable Nayland SMITH (Bean)
Sole charge Constable / Omarama / Po Box 101, Omarama 9448.
Phone:  (03) 4389559 / Ext:  34580 / 021-1914808 /
Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade
- previously published in the Wire, Friday, August 27, 2021
Hello to you all,

Here we are in lockdown again.
We all have a bit of time to kill so you spend some time working on your escape plans and fire safety in your homes. Check out this link:
If you have kids make it a bit of fun but with a serious touch to the game so they know how to escape and where to assemble.
We are almost in September daylight saving which means it is time to check our smoke alarms.
At this stage we are not able to help you but when we drop to level 2 we will be able to assist so if you are having any issues give me a call on the number below.
Please don’t light any fires until we are back in level 2.
We don’t want our volunteers put at any unnecessary risk.
If you are struggling during this lockdown please make sure you make contact with somebody and have a chat.
Life is always better if you can share the load.

Stay Safe  
Greg Harper
Chief Fire Officer – Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade
021 293 1171
WELLBEING – Looking out for each other
He Waka Eke Noa

FENZ Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade meets 7pm each Wednesday and has its meeting at 7.30pm on the third Wednesday of the month.
Omarama Golf Club 
By Christine Bowman

At the time of writing this report, we are awaiting final NZ Golf requirements for Level 3 to ensure  there are no changes from last Level 3. 
However, last time, some of the requirements were you could ONLY play in your bubble, be sure to keep social distancing from any other players, you must sign in on arrival (there is a QR code in the Green Fee box or sign in the visitors book), no cards, and clubrooms remain closed.  All members will be advised of the final requirements in due course.
Under all levels we are able to complete essential maintenance etc., but not being able to travel to Omarama Paul Bowman was spotted overhauling the spare gang for the club's  mower in Timaru. 


The fairway and greens mowers have both been sharpened and are ready for the season
Keep safe everyone.

Omarama Golf Club
Saturdays; cards in 12 midday, tee-off 12.30pm.
Club captain; James Moynihan phone: 027 215 8266 email
Omarama School 
Hi Everyone
We are all well into the routines of home learning, designed  to suit our community. 
Our wonderful teachers are sending out a range of work that families are able to complete, fitted around the day-to-day life on farms and home workplaces. 
The children have all had the opportunity to connect with their class in an online meeting on Zoom and catch up socially.  Thanks to Bean and Angela, extra computers were delivered out to households that needed them.
If you see anyone accessing the grounds or equipment, please ask them to leave or let our local Police know. 
Upper Waitaki Schools Cross Country
Omarama School hosted this day, and what a great day it was. The sun shone after a damp start, the schools arrived ( Twizel, Duntroon and Waitaki Valley from Kurow ), the Friends of School had the BBQ sizzling and the runners were off!
Thank you to the Golf Course for the opportunity to set up three excellent courses and to all the helpers who marshalled, acted as First Aid or fed the crowds. 
A BIG CONGRATULATIONS to the following students that made it into the top six placing
Year 1 - 1st Tom Aubrey
Year 2 - 1st Jesse Ralston, 5th Lockey Harding, 6th Maddie McDonald
Year 3 - 1st Jimmy Moore, 4th Paige Hunter, 5th Lleyton Mcleod
Year 4 - 1st Nicole McMurtrie, 5th Lucy Radford
Year 5 - 5th Jack Bochel, 6th Arabella Thomas, 6th Equal Robbie Anderson
Year 6 - 1st Jack Doree, 2nd Isla Mcleod
Year 7 - 2nd Hazel Mason, 2nd Archie Bochel
Those from Year four and above have progressed to the North Otago Cross Country Championships in Oamaru.  We wish them luck and hope they get to run on the day!
Kind regards,
Michelle Green
Omarama School Principal.
Upper Waitaki Primary Schools cross country competitions
in Omarama, August 2021
Kurow Medical Centre 
St Thomas's Church Community

The  AGM of the St Thomas's Church Management Committee will be held at the Wrinkly Rams on Friday, September 10, at 1 pm.
Apologies to Rev Lee Kearon  (email:
Omarama Community Library 
By Georgie Robertson

Like everything else, the Omarama Library is currently closed.
But we are hoping to open again when we get to level 2. This will depend on any changes that the Government might make to our current rules, so it’s really a waiting game.
However, there is good news for the library.
High Country Salmon announced on the 12th of August that we are the recipients of the Fish Food Donations. This money will purchase some bean bags for the library for children to sit and browse a book before deciding what to borrow. A big thank you to High Country Salmon.
While you can’t visit us, have you thought about using your library card to access other options available using digital format.
Enter into your search bar
You will need your Library card number and password
The following are only some of the digital content you can access for free
Pressreader – digital newspapers and magazines
Storybox  - storytime for children
Beamafilm – documentary and movie streaming
Borrowbox -  e-books and e-audiobooks
Looking forward to seeing you back at the library again soon
The Omarama Community Library  
is open 9.30am to 11am, 
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 
at the Omarama Community Centre.
Omarama Residents' Association
The August meeting was cancelled
because of the Covid-19 situation.

The next meeting of the 
Omarama Residents' Association is
7.30 pm Thursday, September 16, 2021

at the Omarama Community Centre

An invitation is extended to all


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


To make a booking for an upcoming event or for more
information about hall hire and availability
please  contact  Michelle Kitchen, 027 280 5446

or email

The Waitaki Newcomers Network

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 
Waitaki District Council - news in brief
Council services at Covid-19 alert level 3
At alert level 3, more staff and contractors can get back to work, with health and safety protocols in place. This means there will be mowing of green spaces, as well as work on vegetation control and road works. The public is asked to respect their work bubbles and not to approach them.
Council facilities, including offices, libraries, museums and the Aquatic Centre, remain closed.
To report an issue phone 03 433 0300 or use the online channels, or email at .
Parks and reserves and tracks are open with social distancing required. Play equipment is not to be used.
Staff will be able to carry out on-site building inspections for non-essential, as well as essential, work with protocols in place.
The Waitaki Resource Recovery Park and Waihemo Wastebusters remain closed until alert level 2 but council rural transfer stations and the Oamaru Waste Management Transfer station will be open under Level 3 with protocols in place and some limits to opening hours.

Testing of the performance of soak holes in Omarama, Lake Ohau and Kakanui is to be carried out, a report to last month's  Asset Committee says. 
In the report assests operation manager Joshua Rendell said stormwater management within the road has continued to be an issue in Kakanui, and more recently the operation of soak holes in Lake Ōhau and Ōmārama.
"Testing of the actual performance of soak holes is being undertaken as part of understanding the scope of the community concerns," the report said.

The council has nominated Centennial Park, Oamaru for the new indoor sports and event centre but it needs the public to have its say about whether the present land use should be changed.
Centennial Park is managed by the council as a Recreation Reserve under the Reserves Act 1977.
The centre will comprise of multi-use recreation facilities and buildings the under council’s plan for the park. The use of the land will change from sports field to indoor sports stadium should this go ahead, and so the council is required to consult with the public. 
Consultation opens 30 August and closes 1 October.
Submissions can be made via an online survey monkey form or hard copies of the consultation document, if Covid response levels permit.
Hearings are planned for Monday, October 18, 2021.

The Alps2Ocean cycle trail joint management committee is restructuring its governance and operation model, starting with the appointment of a permanent trail manager. Anne Relling, who has a background in recreation management, has been appointed interim trail manager while the recruitment of a permanent manager is underway.

The Waitaki District Council has joined other Otago councils and signed up to Otago Gets Ready, a two-way communication tool for use when emergencies occur.
Gets Ready was set up in the Selwyn District after the 2010-11 Canterbury earthquakes.
It was rolled out across Otago as part of Emergency Management Otago’s commitment to improving across the '4 Rs' - reduction, readiness, response and recovery.
“Emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime, and Gets Ready is a proven two-way tool which will both help get information to people and provide them with an opportunity to help,” project co-ordinator Craig Gibson said.
Gets Ready connects people in their neighbourhoods and helps them look after each other by sharing resources, supporting those who are more vulnerable, and linking with Civil Defence to build a clear understanding of what a community needs during emergencies and what resources and skills Emergency Management Otago can draw on in any particular area, he said.
The Gets Ready system does not supersede the National Emergency Alerts which are pushed through cell towers, or individual council alerts, rather it supplements them by providing more detailed, localised information through additional channels. People are invite to join up via the Otago gets Ready website,

The next Ahuriri Community Board meeting

is  3.15pm, Monday, September 13, 2021
at the Memorial Hall,

Minutes and agendas can be found here
NB Because of the Covid-19 situation the closing dates for both these grants - the Community Group Grants and the Creative Communities Scheme-  (above and below)  has been extended to October 22, 2021.  
Environment Canterbury - news in brief
The Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry for Primary Industries have released a review of the nutrient loss modelling tool Overseer, and the Government has responded to this.
Environment Canterbury chief executive Stefanie Rixecker said Overseer is used extensively in the region to model nutrient losses from land uses, and in the regulatory framework.
"It is important for our consenting, compliance monitoring and enforcement, and farm environment plan auditing processes,” she said.
“Our Resource Management Act plans and consents use Overseer - together with farm environment plans and independent audit - to maintain or improve water quality by minimising nitrate-nitrogen losses.
"We now need to take the time to consider the review so we can be clear about how these processes may be impacted.
"We welcome the Government’s commitment to continue to support Overseer while it looks into providing upgraded and/or next-generation tools over the next 12 months."
Read more 
Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee
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

We are looking for childcare for our 15 month old girl, Riley, for a period of 12 weeks or so initially. This could be in your home or ours. We are flexible on hours/days for the right person.
Please get in touch with Aimee 022 350 5536 or Vaughan 027 937 4473 if you can help us out.

I'm a mature female from the outskirts of Christchurch, looking for a summer job as a station hand/nanny all rounder, from whenever it's safe to do so, through to early 2022.
I have skills working with livestock, wool and children.
I have grown up on a hill country sheep and cattle farm. I love country life.
I look forward to hearing from anyone that may have an opening.
My contact details: or 0274205324 text/call anytime for further information.
The weather that was - August 2021
Back in the day 
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; A glimpse of Omarama in the Seventies, and earlier.
- from extracts from the Omarama Gazette, sometime in the 1970s, issue number 42
From the collection of Tony Gloag. 
Photo: Top dressers at work, Alexander Turnbull Library.

A glimpse of Omarama in the Seventies, and earlier.
From the collection of Tony Gloag. 
- from extracts from Omarama Gazette1970s, issue number 42
Omarama Golf Club
Mr. Brian Watt will be visiting the Omarama golf course on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th March.
He will be giving lessons commencing each day at 8am. The cost being $5 per half hour.
He will also have golfing equipment for sale. Those interested in lessons please contact Mrs. Beth Wardell not later than Tuesday 7th March. Phone Omarama 821

Post Office
The County Council District Scheme variations involving the proposed telephone exchange and the proposed primary school can be inspected at the Post Office until May 31st.
A reminder that the 1978 commemorative stamps will be on sale from March 8th.
Donations to Gazette acknowledged from McRae family, Mr. D Blue and two interested readers. Many thanks.
Omarama Spinning and Weavers group
The first day of spinning for 1978 will be held on the 8th of March at Pat Wrights, Tara Hills. Anyone interested in joining or wanting information please contact Pat Wright, phone 504, or Kathleen Sutherland, phone 871. The subs for New Zealand affiliation are again due.
Omarama Combined Church
We welcome the Reverend Charlie Batterbury to the parish and as an Anglican minister in the Upper Waitaki Combined Church. We hope you will all meet him very soon. You are reminded that there is a service in the Omarama Memorial Hall at 11am on the 2nd Sunday of every month. Our next service is on March 12th at 11am and is Holy Communion. There will be an Easter Sunday service on March 26th at 11am.
Where are they now?
During recent weeks Omarama has been visited by a number of former residents.
Among these have been:
Mrs Sadie Lietze
As Sadie Stuart she was employed as a land girl for Mr. Dave Taylor at Tara Hills. She remarked on the lack of rabbits as her main Winter job during 1943- 44 was skinning rabbit. She is now at Waikoikoi)

Mr. Joe Urquhart was the teacher at Buscot School about 1939 to 1941. The roads were somewhat rougher when he used to drive his little Austin as far as Tara Hills collecting up his 5 or 6 pupils. Pauline and Max Taylor, Tara Hills, Faye and Ann Kelly, Omarama, some others, Doug and Liz Tiddy, Dawn and Jack McAughtrie,  Olive Shanks and Donald Ross. His red Austin 7 was so small he had to fold himself into it, tucking in his head last. (Now at Mosgiel).  The school building was shifted from Buscit (old site poplar trees at corner beyond the new cemetery) to Omarama opening there in 1942.
Mr and Mrs Douglas Kain, Longslip.
Betty Kain, nee Appleby, came to Breast Hill in the Lindis Pass with her parents in 1923. Often snowed in for weeks during the winter, her father would ride over to Dalrachney to collect the weekly mail and papers. No telephone, no wireless and definitely no TV but they were cheerful and happy. In 1930 Betty married Douglas Kain and loved it Longslip.  Doug Kain at Longslip 1924 to 47.  More of their reminiscences at a later date. (Now at Beaumont).  [see more below]

Mr and Mrs Jack McKay at Ribbonwood. Jack McKay, when a bachelor, managed Ribbonwood for Mr. R K Ireland 1926 to 30. Lived in the old homestead. Fencing development went on the whole time and Vic Dennison was one of the fencers employed. RK Ireland sold off all the sheep and restocked with merinos buying 2200 cast merino ewes from Otematata Station. Jack went to the back yards to take delivery of them from his friend Walter Cameron. Sheep were also brought from Harry Wardell at Otamatapaio. Some of the musterers at Ribbonwood were Johnny McAughtrie, Eddie Munro, Harold Valentine, Jack Saunders, Fred Kenny and Lochie Munro. Rabbits were moderately bad, Fred Kenny and Wattie Noone spent the winter's rabbiting. Ronnie McGregor killed in the second World War cooked for the shearers for several years, a very good cook and a world beater scone maker, beautiful oven scones. Jack was responsible for planting thousands of pine trees which were procured from the state forest. He never watered them and never had to replant. The deer were harder on them than any dry weather. Standing outside the house one evening, without moving, he counted 100 deer in different mobs. Pine trees planted 1926 or thereabouts now measure 93" in diameter at breast height in 1978. Greatly interested in trees he bought gums grown from seed on his Moa Flat property to Tara Hills last Spring. They are doing nicely. He is now at Moa Flat.
Mr. Dave Pollock, Ribbonwood.
Dave managed Ribbonwood after Jack McKay. He was there when the first top dressing and over-sowing in the Upper Waitaki took place on Ribbonwood. Also extensive fencing sometimes up to 12 fencers employed. He and his wife went to Otekiake Station when the children reached school age, now retired in Oamaru.
Mr. Jack Simpson.
Jack mustered with Jim and Davy Gloag and Noel Russell for Aubreys and Kellands as well as other people. He also rabbited. He drew a block near Clinton, mid 1930s, which he farmed, now retired Alexandra.
Mr. Colin Sutherland
Colin, whose boyhood was spent at Omarama Station was the son of Arthur Sutherland who took up the Homestead block when the station was cut up. Colin’s grandfather was Mr. Duncan Sutherland well known as Waitaki County Council chairman and manager of Omarama Station for many years.  Sutherland Rd, Omarama, commemorates Duncan Sutherland’s name.  Colin’s photographs show the willow tree at the Omarama station front gate had the same lean as a sapling as the fully grown tree today. He commented that a man had to be camped each autumn at the oat paddock next to the Tara Hills boundary to keep the deer away, so many they played havoc with the crop. Now in Dunedin.
Mrs Fitzpatrick, of Dunedin, who lived with her former husband Ron Topping at Riverina in the late 1930s. He and Arthur Henderson were employed by the county council at that time. The house in which the Toppings lived was later bought by Mr Jack Tiddy and moved to a site in Omarama. It is now occupied by Mr. Don Urqhuart.
Valley electrical advisers that due to the amount of local work a depot has been established at Country Crafts.
More from Mrs Kain.
[A visitor once] called in on her way through the Lindis from Tarras. She gretted Mrs Appleby with, “We have just had a great view of Breast Hill.”
This was the first Mrs. Appleby realized the property was actually named after a hill the shape of a woman's breast. When she found the hill was in fact on Longslip, not caring for the name, she from then on spelt it Brest Hill. However, it has reverted to the original Breast Hill.
Their regular mail and bread came from Kurow twice weekly by mail coach as far as Dalrachney. They would ride over to collect it, or go by car or gig depending on the weather and state of the road.
Mr and Mrs Winter were wonderful neighbours and Miss Gibson at Morven Hills was a great favourite with the children, full of jokes and fun she showered them with warm Scottish hospitality, and they thought she was marvellous. The Applebys took part in everything that was on at Omarama and were very much a part of the district whereas in recent years people living at Breast Hill have tended to go towards Tarras.
After a dance, the family would pile into the big Hudson car with only a canvas hood and opened to the weather at the sides and happily set off at 3am for the 24-mile journey home.
Matagourie cut in the gorge near their home and hot as any coal was their main fuel.
Their black iron stove had the oven on one side of the firebox and on the other cistern which held two or three gallons, a lid at the top where the water was poured in and a tap in the front to draw the water off. When they wanted a bath, they heated the water in kerosene buckets on top of the stove. With all this steam condensation formed on the cold stone wall furthest from the stove. Finally as the frosts became harder and the winter progressed the whole wall became a sheet of ice in spite of the stove burning at all times. The cow was milked daily, and the milk put in a pan and left to let the cream rise to the top. By the next morning the milk was a solid block. Betty at a dance in Waimate was asked, “Is it true you have to chop your milk.”
One time the family laughs about to this day. Heavy snow, so when Mr. Appleby finally  rode over to Dalrachney for the mail and papers there were three weeks papers. Arriving home he sat down, took out a pencil and numbered them in order of age, 1 to 18, and then systematically read them starting with the oldest first.
Another time during the first years at Breast Hill there was snow on the pass, conditions were poor but not impassable, when the family, to their surprise, heard a car coming after dark. They heard it stop so Mr Appleby went out and waved a light to-and-fro and a voice called out. “Are we over the Lindis Pass?” “Yes,” he replied. The whole family outlooking were amazed to see two adult men take hands and dance around and around in a circle in the snow in front of the car lights. Mr. Appleby went out and brought them in to stay the night. There followed an evening well remembered by all present. Mr Gatheridge, an Englishman, was organist for one of the Dunedin’s leading churches and after a meal he played the piano and his friend a banjo and everyone sang and sang. Mr. Appleby  who had taken leading roles in the Waimate musical shows prior to moving to Breast Hill had a splendid singing voice. Later Mr Gatheridge and his parents when they were visiting New Zealand came to stay at Breast Hill and later still Barbara Kain Barbara, Betty's daughter, heard all about it when nursing Mr Gatheridge by then an old man in the Dunedin hospital. No telephone, no wireless and definitely no TV but they were a cheerful and happy family.
Thanks to Mrs Joy Sisley for typing stencils.
Omarama Gazette
Editor: Ruth Grundy,
021 294 8002, 03 438 9766
Copyright © 2016-2020, Omarama Gazette, All rights reserved.

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