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Omarama Gazette
May 2021

The May Issue

Charlotte goes "above and beyond"
Now is the time to talk about this
We cannot thank you enough, Denise
Dragonfly again front and centre of search
It's 'Goodbye Campers' from the Chapmans
Anzac Day, Omarama 2021
Loch Laird at Labour Weekend
Omarama's top dogs head to nationals
Conserve water notice in force
Owners urged to keep dogs under control

Regular Features

Something to Puzzle Over
The Noticeboard 
The Community Reports:
                                                          *Tree planting at Ohau underway
                                                          *Social club trip to Mt Cook great success
                                                          *Junior hockey goals good to go
Waitaki District Council - News in Brief  
Environment Canterbury - News in Brief  
The Directory
The Weather that Was
The Last Page is Classifieds
NEW FEATURE - Back in the Day - Upon the upland road
Charlotte goes "above and beyond"
Guts, grit and always thinking of others - that's our Charlotte!
Omarama Firebrigade volunteer Charlotte Derosa hoists a hose coil up a six-storey tower at the UFBA National Firefighter Combat Challenge in Wellington last Saturday. Photo: Derek Quinn

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house including those of one “very proud” fire chief when Omarama volunteer firefighter and first responder Charlotte Derosa stepped up to the podium on Saturday.
Charlotte was presented with the inaugural Jackson White Memorial Trophy - Spirit of the Challenge award - at the United Fire Brigades' Association National Firefighter Combat Challenge awards in Wellington.
The national awards ceremony was held at the Michael Fowler Centre after a day of gruelling competition.

Omarama fire brigade fielded four contestants – Jess Chapman, Jacob Cook, Charlotte, and Jack Zorab and an official – Greg Harper - for the competition.
The four contestants combined to make Omarama's first relay team and first  women's tandem team entered in the national event.

It’s billed as the toughest two minutes in sport and even All Blacks have struggled to complete it, Greg said. 
Jacob and Jack, who also competed individually, both knocked significant times off their personal best.
But it was the two Omarama women who reportedly stole the show, Greg said.
The award Charlotte was presented with was for “going above and beyond”.
“She worked her butt off.”
She’s scared of heights yet tackled the six- storey tower carrying a 19kg hose.
She had to hoist a hose coil up to the top of the tower, a task made significantly more difficult if you are short.
And because she was competing in the tandem she refused to quit because, as she said; “If I don’t finish this Jess can’t do her part,” Greg said. 
Jess and Charlotte completed their tandem in five minutes and 30 seconds.
Charlotte was personally selected by the White family to receive the award “for facing her fears".
And there were more than a few tears as she stepped up to receive it, including Greg’s.
The commentator was moved to note Greg was “one very proud chief". 
“It was so emotional.’ 
As an official Greg was kept “very busy catching” contestants at the end of each run, helping them remove apparatus so they could recover from the strenuous effort.
In all there were 150 contestants with120 individual entries. 
Done with a serious purpose in mind it is the best training you can get for the use of breathing apparatus, Greg said.
The contestants support each other, when one finishes, they stay to cheer and urge on the next. By the end of the competition everyone knows each other’s names.
"Officials love it because it’s so supportive."

The Omarama team had spent hours in training ahead of the competition including using the saleyards steps – the only steps in town - to simulate the tower climb. 
They had already competed in the regional and South Island competitions earlier this year.
Wellington, by the waterfront was a great venue and crowds gathered there to watch - "the crowds get bigger each time", Greg said.

The Jackson White Memorial Spirit of the Challenge Trophy is to honour exceptional acts of determination, camaraderie, courage, inclusion, or support in either competitors or UFBA officials at the UFBA National Firefighter Combat Challenge.  This award is not restricted to prescribed criteria, but instead inclusive of all participants to honour Jackson’s energy and enthusiasm in everything he did.

Charlotte had multiple nominations
  • For her grit and determination, to keep pushing herself and never giving up. She is a great example of a strong woman for young female future firefighters to look up to.
  • Tenacious energy and encouragement. What a beautiful wāhine inside and out. Keep up the energy.
  • Charlotte pushed herself completely out of her comfort zone being terrified of heights and pushed herself hard not to let her teammate down.
  • Her spirit and determination is amazing.
  • She pushed herself well outside of her comfort zone. She is scared of heights but did the tower.
Wearing full bunker gear and breathing apparatus, competitors race against each other and the clock in a series of tasks across the course. The five tasks are: 
* Climbing a 6-storey tower carrying a length of 70mm 19kg flaked hose
* Hoisting a 70mm hose coil 6 storeys
* Chopping using a 4kg shot hammer to drive a beam 1.5 metres
* Extending a charged length of 45mm hose to knock down a disc
* Dragging a life sized dummy a distance of 30.5m
The competition simulates the physical demands of firefighting.
Omarama volunteer fire fighters Jess Chapman and Charlotte Derosa celebrate their achievements. Photo credit and for more about the competition:
Now is the time to talk about this

- The Waitaki District Council Long Term Plan 'drop-in' sessions and consultation
What does the council's Long Term Plan have in store for Omarama?

On Monday (May 10) the mayor, a councillor or two, Ahuriri Community Board members and council staff will be at the Community Centre from 1pm to 2.30pm to talk with Omarama people about the future.
Specifically, the plan the Waitaki District Council has for the next 10 years for its district. 
Called a Long Term Plan, it sets out what work the council proposes to do and how it plans to pay for it.
It is reviewed every three years and will set the rates for this coming year.

A ‘consultation document’ which summarises its key points has been distributed to the community in various ways – included as an insert in Friday’s Oamaru Mail, made available at libraries and on the council website: 
(If you have not come across yet it you may like to bring this up for discussion also).
The council has already signalled the rates rise this year will be significant because it is playing catch up after the zero average rise last year because of the Covid-19 situation, and because it is being required to do more work by central Government and expenses have increased. 
According to the document the council expects to be in a “very sound financial position” despite having to get loans to pay for the replacement of core infrastructure and other capital projects.
(Because there is still uncertainty about the Government’s water reforms the council is unsure how this will affect the plan but has worked on the assumption it will deliver “three waters services” over this LTP period.)
So, the council wants to know what you think about its “strategic direction”, its plans for the Covid-19 recovery, climate change and its approach to waste management. 
It would also like to know what people think about the proposed Oamaru sports centre 
Plus it wants to know how it should deal with the sharp increase in rates needed to pay for the work programme.
Should ratepayers bite the bullet and wear the full increase in the first year? (It recommends this option).
Or should the rate increase be “smoothed” over three years?
At the same time the council wants to know what people think about some changes it is making to its Revenue and Financing Policy and its Policy on Development Contributions and Financial Contributions
The Development Contributions policy decides what charges are made so that a fair share of infrastructure costs (such as new or upgraded roads, water and wastewater pipes) are paid for by developers. 
The Revenue and Financing Policy decides where the council will get the money for its capital and operating expenses. 
Here it is making several changes to the “funding mix and rating tools”.
It says, while the changes to the funding mix are minor, they will affect some ratepayers more than others.
It proposes to change the definition of a SUIP (Separately Used and Inhabited Part). Where ‘kitchen facilities’ has been used, it will now be ‘cooking facilities’. The SUIP is used to determine if a ratepayer should pay one or more Uniform Annual General Charge, Ward Services Charge and Public Hall Rate.
While some exceptions are made, it affects home with a flat attached, two or more houses on the same section, flats or apartments on one section or residential accommodation rented individually per room for example an Airbnb. 
Plus, it proposes to extend the boundary for the Omarama Amenity rate to include new subdivisions which is expected to lower that rate.
The consultation period for the changes to these policies is the same as the Long Term Plan – opens April 21 and closes 12 noon, May 21.
Rates calculations do vary between properties but from the examples given Omarama households can expect a rates rise of around 7% and commercial property owners can expect a hike of around 16%. 
The LTP consultation document also proposes a $400,000 adventure playground for the town in 2025.

The previous Long Term Plan – 2018 to 2028 - was signed off after consultation in June 2018.
In that round and with input from the Omarama town visioning session held earlier the Ahuriri Community Board and Omarama Residents’ Association put in submissions for:
  • A solution to the town centre parking issues.
  • As part of that, it proposed the council buy the Environment Canterbury Rabbit Board land for a 'retail and parking hub'.
  • A walkway to be established through Park Lane so school children would have a safe route to and from school.
  • To extend/improve the Omarama Stream walkway.
  • Better management of freedom camping.
  • More toilets.
  • Improve provisions for waste collection and disposal.
  • Work to gain 'Night Sky' accreditation.
  • Support for the Omarama Community Centre’s proposed sports facility. 
As a result the council allocated
  • $20,000 for a workshop and the drawing up of a town masterplan.
  • $30,000 for streetscaping.
  • $10,000 was allocated to the Ahuriri ward for walkways.
  • A walking easement through Park Lane was put in by the developers of the new subdivision in lieu of some development contributions.
  • The council put $40,000 towards the building of the $220,000 sports courts facility and toilet.
  • The Mayor said, in August last year, the council had not entered into any agreement to purchase ECan Rabbit Board land. The council did not need to buy the land itself but could achieve the aims of the masterplan by appropriate re-zoning of the land, he said.
In both the town visioning and masterplan workshops in 2018 and 2019, which were well attended, the documented priorities of the community were:
- solutions to the town centre traffic issue
- more affordable housing
- That the reserve area adjacent to the hall be kept as a green space and used as a sports pitch
- that the Omarama stream walkway be extended.
- that Nimbus Dr be extended to SH83

  • When will the town get a workable proposal to improve the layout of the town centre so it can be used safely by vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists?
  • A $400,000 adventure playground for Omarama in 2025? The Omarama Residents' Association wants to develop an “intergenerational aspect” to the sports facilities already provided and is working on a project to set up outdoor adult exercise equipment as a fitness circuit. Could this budgeted amount for an adventure playground be reconfigured and better spent to allow its project to happen from this financial year?
  • The Oamaru Sports Centre – how will this help Omarama?  Would towns at this end of the district be better served if some of that money was directed up the valley for sports facilities. These could be used to host smaller regional fixtures which would bring visitors to fill accommodation houses and conference facilities, in a similar way to how the rowing centre in Twizel attracts rowing fixtures. The Omarama Reserve adjacent to the hall was a rugby sports field and there is a strong interest in junior rugby in the area.
  • Is enough being done in Omarama to help with the Covid-19 recovery? Businesses now face a considerable hike in rates on top of a drop in tourism numbers and staff shortages. 
  • Waste management – Indications are the present arrangements need to be improved. Domestic waste is regularly dropped at council provided bins. Waste is being transported to other districts because their services are cheaper. Anecdotally, fly tipping and dumping of green waste appears to be on the increase. 
  • And the footpaths are still in a state.
Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher, councillors and staff are hosting then Omarama ‘drop-in’ session from 1pm to 2.30pm on Monday (May 10) at the Community Centre  to talk about the Long Term Plan proposals.
Long Term Plan 2021 to 2031

April 21 to May 21  Formal consultation with the community
May 24 and 25 Hearings and deliberations
June 29  Adoption of the 2021-31 Long Term Plan and rates set for the 2021-22 rating year
July 1 New rates effective 
Thank you so much Denise
She has been the lady with a big heart at the centre of it all but last month after 18 years Denise Tamati stepped down from her role as treasurer of Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade. 
With her work largely carried out behind the scenes - no bells, whistles or flashy lights - she has diligently managed every last cent coming into and going out of the brigade’s accounts, earning the utmost respect of each of the three fire chiefs she has served under. 


As every treasurer should, she looked after the funds as if they were her own, present Omarama Fire Chief Greg Harper said. 
“The brigade would not be in the financial heart it is but for the work she has put in over the years,” 
“She will be missed for her hard work and her sense of humour. We can’t thank her enough for the work she has done,” he said. 
A long with many others through the years who do lot of work behind the scenes it was unfortunate Fire and Emergency had no formal way to recognise their contributions.
Former fire chief Terry Walsh said he could not thank Denise enough for how much help she had been during his time as both deputy and chief fire officer. 
“She is an incredible lady …a great treasurer.
“She always had the fire brigade’s best interests at heart, the whole time, always making sure we didn’t miss out and always doing what needed to be done.” 
She was “a lot of fun” to work with … “always had a smile on her face and a cheeky wee laugh”.
During his stint as chief Howard Williams said she “looked after every dollar”. 
“Every cent was a prisoner.” 
He recalled a time the brigade wanted to buy a television set. 
They knew it would be tricky to get the deal past the prudent treasurer so they decided to set her up, he said laughing. 
They introduced the deal to her by suggesting they get a most expensive model at something like $27,000, then suggested a model priced at $7000, when the model they actually wanted to buy was $4000. It was approved. 
“She was very good at her job …old school.” 
And that freed up brigade members to focus on their roles, Howard said.
Best friend Doreen Leopold, also a fire brigade stalwart, said when Denise retired from her career working for New Zealand Post, managing and later owning the local post office in Omarama, she was looking for an outside interest and the Fire Brigade role fitted the bill. 
She was an excellent treasurer and was able to put those bookkeeping and accountancy skills to work for other community organisations like the School Board of Trustees and Omarama Social Committee, as well as the Fire Brigade, Doreen said. 
“If there’s has been as much as 10 cents out, she would take two or more hours determined to find it.” 
In earlier days, Denise, Doreen and Carolyn Grant would help with other duties at the fire station like cleaning, and in the kitchen, or helping with raffles. 
She always made sure the funds were “going in the right place”, Doreen said.
Denise’s role saw her managing donations from the community, grants, and the financial aspects of events – the last major event being last year’s Wajax 2020, in Omarama. 

Born and bred in Titahi Bay, Denise and her late husband Tom moved to Omarama in 1982 and raised three children - Nathan, Vanessa and Paul. 
Over the years she has undertaken a number of community volunteer roles - cake stalls, working bees, organising women’s netball and softball teams, helping Tom with the annual Town vs Country Cricket matches or transporting her children and their friends to Oamaru to play rugby and netball most Saturdays. 
In 1961 Denise represented New Zealand in senior women’s softball and she also represented Wellington in netball.

Photo: supplied
Below: Denise sells raffle tickets and merchandise at last year's Wajax 2020
competitions in Omarama.
Dragonfly again front and centre of search
The subject of books, studies, a forthcoming film and, according to sources, more searches than any other in New Zealand, a missing De Havilland Dragonfly plane was again the subject of scrutiny and search at last month's combined LandSar group exercise in the Huxley Valley.
Volunteers from North Otago Land Search and Rescue (Omarama and Oamaru) and Mackenzie LandSAR took part in the weekend-long exercise led by Omarama Police Senior Constable Nayland (Bean) Smith.


Their intensive search of a several areas on the Huxley Valley side of Brodrick Pass for the plane which disappeared on a sightseeing flight almost 60 years ago proved fruitless.
Nonetheless, it provided a meaningful training exercise, particularly for the seven new recruits, Omarama LandSar chairman Mike King said.
Piloted by Captain Brian Chadwick, with four tourist passengers on board, the DH90A Dragonfly ZK-AFB took off from Christchurch international Airport on February 12, 1962 heading for Milford Sound and disappeared.
In the days following more than 48 reported sightings of the plane, which appears to have deviated from its filed flight plan because of low cloud and poor visibility, were investigated by police.
The story of the crash is well-known to many locals, some of whom have conducted private searches, because of plausible theories it may have come down in the valleys.
It has held a long-time fascination for more than one person, including former New Zealand Forest Service employee Lex Perriam, of Omarama.
Early in the 1980s Mr Perriam had a vivid dream in which he saw the Dragonfly enter the Huxley River valley from Brodrick Pass, continue flying south past the Huxley Forks along the eastern side of the valley and then try to turn right to reverse direction.
In the vision the engine cut out and the aircraft hit a ridge on a shady face of the true left of the South Huxley River about 2km south-west from the South Huxley Bivouac.
Mr Perriam believes a wheel will be found one day, below a ridge where the remainder of the aircraft will be found.
Filmmaker Bobby Reeve and his family have been looking for the Dragonfly since 2008.
According to an interview earlier this year with Radio New Zealand most summers they tramp up the Huxley River deep into the Brodrick Pass in search.
Mr Reeve told RNZ the discovery of a woman's boot in the remote location has led them to believe the plane was about 8000 feet up, deep in the permanent snow.
The Reeve family have been filming their search efforts with plans to release the movie when they find the aircraft.
Snr Const Smith tried unsuccessfully to contact the Reeves family prior to the exercise.
Last Friday, the team of 25 volunteers, which included five pilots, spent the afternoon at the Lake Ohau Station woolshed carefully researching the cold case. They reviewed past search areas and other available information before using a search and rescue ‘probability of area’ model to determine the best search area given the evidence.
The idea of the workshop was to use information from previous searches and through “science and the statistics…come up with the taskings” for the overnight exercise beginning on Saturday morning, Snr Const Smith told the group.
On Saturday morning, with the assistance of Central South Island Helicopters’ squirrel piloted by Omarama LandSar member Bryan Patterson teams were deployed to search in the designated areas, described by Snr Const Smith as “tiger country” with steep bluffs.
Mr Perriam said he believed the LandSar volunteers were probably looking in the right vicinity.
But he understood weather conditions prevented searchers from what he believed to be the relevant area.
The most comprehensively documented study of searches for the missing plane would have to be by aviation enthusiast Gavin Grimmer who has recorded his findings and conclusions in Traced -yet still missing.
In his manuscript he raises questions about how searchers can be sure about the validity of evidence from sightings – about how eyewitnesses can be adamant they were “definitely certain”.
“I think that, due to the horrendous tragedy of it all, people were prepared to offer up whatever bits of information in the hope that it might just be the missing link, Mr Grimmer said.

Photos below: Ruth Grundy, Mike King, Nayland Smith, Grant Thompson, Rupert Yates.
It's 'goodbye campers' from the Chapmans
Tony, Jess and Amanda Chapman hand over the Omarama Top 10 Holiday Park
to new owners Natalie and Erwin Beiboer next week.

The tourism landscape was quite different when the Chapman’s took over the Omarama Top 10 holiday park, a little over five years ago.
The camp clientele were 60% tourists and 40% regulars and pre-covid the visitor numbers had reached record levels. 
Now, post covid, numbers are understandably not back up 2019/20 levels and it’s 100% regulars.
Nonetheless, it had always been a “generational camping ground”, Tony said.
Some families have been coming to Omarama to camp for more than 40 years. 
Tony and Amanda Chapman took over the holiday park in 2016 with daughter Jess joining them a year later. 
In May, they hand over to new owners Natalie and Erwin Beiboer. 
While they won’t miss clearing blocked toilets and dealing with gripes about the WiFi they said they have made great friends over the years. 
For Jess, it has been an opportunity to take on a unique management role and had given her a “good grounding” in dealing with people, she said. 
The Chapmans have overseen considerable renovations, with the addition of four new units, renovations of the cabins, a new reception unit and an improved layout, among the many changes made. 
There was something special about camp ground life, they said  –  the kids’ games and rocking to a band in the long summer evenings at New Year and unique camp ground 'traditions'. 
Like the regular election of the three mayors of the islands – the latest being Dave McKissock, John English and Capt Steve Collier who is reportedly 'Top Mayor' (Though the OG was not able to fact check this! 😊 )
The change also marks the departure of Sainimere Tania and Marica Bati.
The Chapmans would like to thank all who made their time special and the campers who presented the family with mementos of their time. 
And they extend their best wishes to Natalie and Erwin.
Anzac Day, Omarama 2021
New Upper Waitaki Returned and Services Association president John McKinnel
and son Maitland grab a moment after Anzac Day commemorations in Omarama.

Ka maumahara tonu tātou ki a rātou
Te Ao Mārama Remembers

The first real chill of winter greeted those gathered at the Omarama Memorial Rock for this year’s Anzac Service.
But the rain held off and despite the weather a bigger than usual crowd – close to 250 – met in remembrance.


It was the fifth service of the day conducted by new Upper Waitaki Returned and Services Association president John McKinnel in the first Anzac Day in  his new role.
Mr McKinnel spoke of remembering not only those who had lost their lives in war but also remembering those who returned to their communities wounded and broken.
Many small communities lost an entire generation to war, he said.
Waitaki District Councillor Ross McRobie gave the address with memories drawn from his father’s diaries, which also spoke to hope for a brighter future.
Despite the new challenges the world faced today, “if it were not for those who had gone before us the world would be a different place,” Cr McRobie said.
Former Upper Waitaki RSA president Michael Blackstock recited the ode.
The bugler was Kurow Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer John Sturgeon
In prayer, Padre Brendon Perumal, of the Reach Church, Oamaru recalled those who went to war and did not return.
Their lasting memorial should be peace on earth and goodwill among men, he said.
He recited the Omarama and Benmore Districts roll of honour - those from the area who served and died in World War I and 2.
Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Waitaki District Council, the Upper Waitaki RSA and Fire and Emergency New Zealand Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade.

The Anzac Spirit plays out in our daily lives as Kiwis continue to serve.
We thank the following:

The Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade, who hosted the event and for the morning tea which it supplied and for the food brought to the table by community members.
The children and young people gathered who helped put out and stack chairs.
Omarama and Kurow Police who provided traffic control for the parade and service.
Labour Weekend at Loch Laird

In a series continued from the Otematata Chronicle
- the April update
The alcohol-fueled unruly behaviour of some young people – many under the legal drinking age - celebrating the end of the school year at the Loch Laird campground each Labour Weekend has been cause for concern for many years. Some years are worse than others.
While actual reported incidents are few, the consensus of authorities is the risk of serious harm is high.
Police and community leaders have met twice to try to find ways to curb the risky behaviour at the annual gathering of young people.
The group has worked to identify key issues in what has been, and is, an ongoing and convoluted discussion. 


So, what happens if we do nothing?
It’s a valid question.
It’s one some in the community and among the agencies charged with dealing with the issue are asking.

Let’s recap just why it is we are trying to do something.
In November, the Otematata Chronicle reported:
Waitaki District camp supervisor Simon Fox who has been in the role 17 years said after this past event he says he was not going "to do another Labour weekend”.
“One way or another someone else is going to get killed.
“Either through driving or choking on their own spew or something else.
“There’s going to be a death on someone’s hands and it’s not going to be mine.”
“This is my last year dealing with it. I don’t want to have them here and to have to deal with them. I shouldn’t be looking after children,
“I’m a camp supervisor not a youth group leader,” Mr Fox said.

Omarama Senior Constable Nayland (Bean) Smith said the same – he insisted significant changes be made.
But he fears it will take another death to make people sit up and take notice, and he fears the police will be blamed. “The parents might take a stand then, or the kids themselves.”
Otematata Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Jason Walker said drugs were certainly present and available.
It would be “naïve to think they weren’t”.
And the crew was called to incidents to deal with drunken and drugged teenagers.
The event has prompted him to urge people to be honest about what drugs they might have taken so they can be given appropriate help.
“Parents need to take more ownership.”
“If you are sending your kids [there] unsupervised you need to remember the risks you’re sending them to,” Mr Walker said.

Sergeant Blair Wilkinson, of Oamaru Police, who is the Waitaki prevention sergeant and who was supervising the police response at Labour Weekend said police identified a number of areas of risk which were “unacceptable”.
The topic was raised by council recreation manager Erik van der Spek in his Recreation report to the November 2020 Waitaki District Council Assets committee.
“This site has become a default party scene for some high schools at Labour Weekend. ‘[Council staff] do not encourage this behaviour and the Otematata community, other campers and council are having to handle this and attempt to manage a community/ societal issue
“In the future the [Recreation] unit will look at options such as banning glass and other operational management practices that might help,” the report said.

Councillors did not discuss this topic at that public meeting.

There have been no media statements issued by the mayor, councillors, or staff in the past five years.
The last report I was able to find was this report in the Otago Daily Times from 2010:
This is why I am involved;
Each year this reporter hears stories like those told above - different people, same stories.
Each year I sit in on meetings and come away thinking this time there will be answers, this time it will be different.

At the past two police-led workshops on the issue Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy has made the observation that in his career this is the only event he knows of where, as a matter of course, each Labour Weekend parents "drive-up and  drop-off" underage party goers supplied with alcohol and "then go".
So, will this latest round of meetings on the subject result in change.?
I am quietly confident the first steps are being taken toward a better result.
However, it absolutely depends on the ‘buy-in’ of the respective agencies, those charged with governing the site, to the strategies devised.
Here’s who was present at April’s police-led workshop.         
Waitaki District Ahuriri Ward councillor Ross McRobie, Ahuriri Community Board chairperson Vicky Munro, Otematata Residents’ Association chairperson Steve Dalley, Waitaki District Council recreation officer Lucianne White.
Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy, Sergeant Tony Woodbridge of Oamaru police; Senior Constable Peter Scott, of Kurow police; Senior Constable Nayland Smith of Omarama police, and Constable Mike Hall, based in Christchurch who works for the national Evidenced Based Policing Centre.
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher apologised for being unable to attend.
Here is an outline of what was considered.
* The group considered closing the site.
While this appeared a simple solution the fear was the party goers would move to neighbouring areas – other nearby camp grounds or Otematata Township. 
In fact, any action proposed to curb unruly activity risks shifting the problem elsewhere.
* It considered a glass ban.
However, while this could reduce litter it would not necessarily limit alcohol intake or reduce harm.
Some in the group felt that one option would be for the council to put up the fees for those camping at the site at that weekend to cover the costs of rubbish removal and repairing damage. It may also work as a deterrent. 
*The group was in favour of extending an alcohol ban from the township, along Loch Laird Rd to, and including, the Loch Laird Recreation Reserve.
This would “greatly assist” police and was a tool which could be used at their discretion.
*Sectioning off a separate area for carparking had reduced some risk and this would continue.
*The holder of the council contact for the Waitaki Lakes Camp Grounds would likely be required to employ one or more security guards.
*‘Prevention messaging’ through the schools is to be arranged.
*The Ahuriri Community Board will fund and arrange better lighting for the site. It would also look at asking food vendors to service the area through the weekend.
*The council will arrange for a noise control officer to be stationed in the township for the weekend.
*Although it would make policing easier, regardless of if a liquor ban will be in place, the police will be taking a hard line on any infringements of liquor laws. 
The 'Mobile Police Bus' and the 'Area Prevention Team' will be present in Otematata for the weekend, along with extra officers.
Police will be making regular patrols and targeting ‘pre-loading’ behaviour, in particular.
The group meets for a further workshop next month.

You can read the earlier Otematata Chronicle coverage either on Facebook: March February December November
or in previous issues of the Otematata Chronicle

Omarama's top dogs head to national trials
Rangi, Hood and Lucy have qualified to campaign in the upcoming South Island and New Zealand championship sheep dog trials, in Greenvale, this month as has Boss,pictured below.

Omarama’s top dogs are heading to Southland this month to pit their wits against a bunch of woolly opponents in the bid to find the South Island and New Zealand’s best headers and hunts. 
The South Island and New Zealand championship sheep dog trials, hosted by the Southland Centre, begin at Greenvale inland from Gore on Monday, May 17. 
Five Omarama Collie Dog Club triallists have qualified 11 dogs to campaign in the week-long events. 
Ginger Anderson has qualified Boss and Jet to compete in the heading events, as has Ed Aubrey with Bell and Chief, and Rick Aubrey with Toby and Trump.
Michael Benton will campaign Maia and Ward in the huntaway events, as will Scott Hunter with Hood. 
Scott has also qualified Lucy and Rangi to compete in the heading events. 
The championships are on the Stewart Family property, Leithen Valley Farm, Greenvale, inland from Gore.

Waitaki District Council. Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Omarama residents asked to be mindful of water use until Monday.

A new tank liner is being installed at the Omarama Water SupplyReservoir, with work starting today. This will require us to switch the town’s water storage to smaller tanks until the relining work is complete.

Because the smaller tanks don’t have as much storage capacity, residents in Omarama are asked to be mindful of water use until the end of Monday 10 May. This means using water for normal household purposes but avoiding activities that use a lot of water - like washing the car or watering the lawn. 

Owners urged to keep dogs under control
An incident late last week when a pet sheep was mauled by a roaming dog serves as a sharp reminder to all dog owners to keep their pets under control.
Lexy the sheep, named for School bus driver Lex Perriam, and owned by the Patterson family was attacked by a roaming dog sometime during the weekend.
A black and tan dog has been spotted wandering in the area but it is unclear if it is the culprit.
The Waitaki District Council has been notified.
Under section 4.4 of the Waitaki Dog Control Bylaw 2014 the council may declare any dog dangerous if there are reasonable grounds to believe the animal has threatened the safety of any person or animal or stock.
And there are various remedial actions available to the dog control officer under the bylaw and the Dog Control Act 1996 including recommending to a court a dog be destroyed.
Something to puzzle over
The Noticeboard 
To have your community notice included here email:

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

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

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

The Omarama Golf Club  Saturdays cards in 12 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.

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 June issue of the Omarama Gazette
is Wednesday, June 2, 2021.

The close-off for this is Friday, May 28
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
Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade
Hello to you all,

May is here. Time for our safety tips. As I wrote last month time to get your chimney swept. Also a friendly reminder when you empty your ashes, put  them in a metal bucket with a lid on and leave for a minimum of five days or even a week before disposing of them.
Winter driving conditions are almost upon us. Please drive to the conditions and make sure you have full vision all round  vision if your car is out on those frosty mornings.

Stay Safe, Chief Fire Officer Greg Harper

FENZ Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade meets 7pm each Wednesday and has its meeting at 7.30pm on the third Wednesday of the month.
Ōhau Conservation Trust 
By Viv Smith-Campbell
Chairperson, The Ōhau Conservation Trust

THANK YOU so much to all those wonderful people who helped us with our first replanting day at Lake Ōhau.
We had 21 volunteers and we got all 186 plants in by lunchtime which was fabulous!
We had several people who said this was their first go at volunteering and they loved it, so thanks again for your mahi and aroha to help us heal through nature.
The area planted at Anzac Weekend was at Poverty Point.
An area which was particularly badly burnt and was believed to have been initially fenced and planted by Marion and Bob Aubrey was replanted with beech seedlings.
Have a look at our website for more information on upcoming planting days. For your calendar they are May 15th and Queens Birthday weekend, June 5th and 6th.
(See poster below for additional details, note first planting day has been held.) 
Lake Ohau Village Residents' and Ratepayers Association
Lake Ohau Alpine Village Residents and Ratepayers Association 

Annual meeting
Date:  Saturday, June 5, 2021 (Queens Birthday Weekend)
Time: 4pm
Place: 122 Ohau Dr, Lake Ohau Village
For more information, association membership forms or nomination forms for the Committee, please email
Omarama Golf Club 
Omarama Golf Club

Saturdays; cards in 12 midday, tee-off 12.30pm.
Club captain; James Moynihan phone: 027 215 8266 email
Omarama School
Hi all,

Here we are at the start of Term 2 and welcoming our children back !
Our grounds are looking wonderful with Autumn colour and we are gearing up for winter sport practices on our new turf.

We are excited and looking forward to events in the first few weeks. 
Our year 8 students start the term with a Leadership Camp at Camp Iona with all the year 8's from Waitaki Valley and Oamaru

On Wednesday 12th we hope to join the community with some of our students at the opening of the new Omarama Library room. 

On Friday 14th we are off to Kurow with the whole school for the annual BP Technology Challenge. We will be competing with Waitaki Valley, Duntroon, Glenavy and Papakaio schools our boats, building lighthouses, extreme Air Ski Jumps and socialising!

On Monday 17th we have St John's coming in to teach all our students some first aid skills. 

Kind regards,
Michelle Green
Omarama School Principal.
Kurow Medical Centre
Boots & Jandals Hotel Social Club
Photos: supplied and Lex Perriam
By Philip Jannink

In early April the Boots and Jandals Omarama Pub social club had a great trip to the Mt Cook National park area with forty people attending.
The day included a light lunch a scenic flight with the Helicopter Line and return transport.
Special thanks to Lex and Jan Perriam, the bus drivers for the day, Bruce and Julie from the Boots and Jandals Omarama pub for providing refreshments and the great team at the Helicopter Line Glentanner base who all contributed to a great day out.

Ahuriri Catchment Community Group
Last month, about 30 people gathered at the Wrinkly Rams to hear from Beef and Lamb New Zealand South Island environment policy manager Lauren Phillips – a specialist in the Government’s Essential Fresh Water policy. 
Ms Phillips gave the group an outline of how the various pieces of Government policy “fits together” and how National Policy Statements and National Environmental Standards worked under the umbrella of the Resource Management Act, and were administered by regional and district councils.

Since then Ms Phillips has sent a copy of her presentation 
and these notes: 
"Re the Government’s recent announcement:
The winter grazing rules are on hold for a year, which means that farmers who would need a resource consent under the new regulations don’t need one yet.
The exception is if they are wanting to increase their winter grazing area (See the bottom of the winter grazing slide). Then they will need resource consent to do so.

Ms Phillips was asked about how to approach resource consents where one has more than one farm.
Here is her reply:
"Farmers can apply for a global resource consent or a bundled resource consent to save costs, and I have attached slides from a presentation I did for [Central] Otago farmers on water permits to refer to."
Chairperson: Trent Spittle
Vice-chairperson: Michael Doree
Secretary/Treasurer: Tania Innes
Facilitator: Stevie Young
Omarama Community Library
The refurbished Omarama Community Library will open in its new room
at the Omarama Community Centre

Wednesday, May 12

The library will open at 9am usual time.
Formalities begin 10am
and coloring competition winners
will be drawn.
An invitation is extended to all.

The Omarama Community Library  
is open 9am to 10am, 
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 
at the Omarama Community Centre.

Up to three volunteers are needed on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 11, to help shift the library books
to the new room.

Those able to help should
contact Yvonne Jones 027 476 7473.
Omarama Residents' Association
There were 10 people present

Cleaners SoleSmith have been hired to clean the community centre and hall on a regular basis and as required.
The Health and Safety plan is almost complete.
The loan with the Waitaki District Council has been paid, as agreed.
An additional kitchen tap is to be installed for ease of use.

The inter-generational fitness outdoor equipment project
The application to the council's community grants fund for exercise equipment was declined however, discussions are underway with the council recreation department.
An application to Meridian Energy's community fund is also to be made.
The committee agreed the association would put $5000 toward the purchase of the first two pieces of equipment - an air walker and a cross trainer.
The outside toilet was locked prematurely and is still required because the sports courts are still being used regularly by tennis groups. This will be followed up with the hope a better arrangement can be made.

Quotes are to be sought for the construction of storage trolleys for hall furniture.

History Wall
Work is progressing on this and avice sought from Te Runanga o Moeraki kaiwhakahaere Justin Tipa, of Kai Tahu, and Anne Te Maihāroa Dodds, Tumaki of Waitaha regarding Omarama’s earliest history.

Waitaki District Councillor Ross McRobie reminded all about making submissions to the council's long term plan.

Read the minutes of the April meeting 
The next meeting of the 
Omarama Residents' Association is

7.30pm Thursday, May 20, 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

Juniors' hockey goals good to go
Thanks to a grant from the Ahuriri Community Board and the generous efforts and donations from Murray Stuart and Hampidjan NZ Ltd the Omarama junior hockey players now have appropriately-sized hockey goals available for use from this season at the Omarama Sports Courts.

To make a booking for an upcoming event or for more
information about hall hire and availability
please  contact  Michelle Kitchen, 027 280 54446

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 

Cheques no longer accepted

From May 28, 2021, the Waitaki District Council will not accept or make payments by cheque. This is to allow time to make sure all cheques received are processed before they are no longer accepted by banks.
The council is working to make sure this does not affect access to anyy of the council's services.

There are alternative ways to make payments to the council.  

  • Direct debit payments (fortnightly, monthly, or quarterly)
  • Electronic payment via internet banking
  • Automatic payment via your bank
  • Phone banking / bill pay
  • Credit / debit card (credit card fees apply)
  • Cash or Eftpos.

The council recommends contacting the bank if you need help. As well, the Waitaki District Libraries offers a  ‘Stepping Up’ programme - digital literacy classes - that can offer support during the transition period as cheques are being phased out.

To enquire about this service, please contact the libraries directly
on 03 433 0850.

For all other information contact the Customer Liaison Team
on 03 433 0300.


Waitaki District Council officers are now able to wear video cameras in certain circumstances.
After a trial council chief executive Fergus Power has approved a policy which means Regulatory Services and Building Control staff can wear video cameras after first carrying out a situational risk assessment .The cameras will be mounted in a conspicuous manner on clothing and may be activated to make video and audio recordings in accordance with the policy.
Officers wearing the cameras are required to verbally advise members of the public that the camera is filming as soon as is practicable.
The move follows several 'adverse behaviour incidents' last year, and was intended to improve safety and  provide a record of disputed conservations.

The next Ahuriri Community Board meeting

is 3.15 pm Monday, May 10, 2021 
at the Lakes Centre, Otematata

Minutes and agendas can be found here
Environment Canterbury - news in brief
Nine of Environment Canterbury's 10 water zone committees are looking for new community members, with applications opening 12 April and closing on 10 May.
Water zone committees develop actions and tactics to deliver on the 10 targets of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy in their geographical zone. Committees are made up of people with a wide range of interests in water who have a strong connection to the zone.
If this sounds like something you could contribute to, we want you to apply. If you are shortlisted after making an application, you will take part in a selection workshop at which you will make a presentation, and participate in an assessment workshop involving small group exercises. 

Here is ECan's summary and advice on the Government's Essential Freshwater package and Te Mana o te Wai, plus frequently asked questions, which we're regularly reviewing and updating. We're also producing a series of documents for consent applicants and their advisers.

Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee
The next meeting of ECan's 

Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee meeting

is Friday, May 21, 2021
Venue to be confirmed
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

Merino Country Café Omarama
Cafe staff needed - Serving customers and other general duties. Ideally you will have relevant experience in the same industry but not necessary. Full training will be provided. Working 30-35 hours per week. If this sounds like you please send your CV and cover letter to, phone us on (03) 438 9844 or call in to see Sue or Dylan.
The weather that was - April 2021 
Back in the Day - Upon the upland road
Beginning this month in the Omarama Gazette 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'.
Let's indulge in a little reminiscing. Do you remember when...?

It's the end of  another autumn in the high country and time to bring the sheep in from the hills. 
Photo: My Dad, Jim Lousley, out mustering. Supplied

By  Deirdre Lousley Sisson

Otematata and the Waitaki Valley holds a special place in my heart.
Not only were my brother Malcolm and I born in the Kurow Maternity Home but our mother, Madge (Pat) Lousley, died in what is now Whalan Lodge in 2004.
Both our parents are buried in the Kurow Cemetery.

The Lousley’s have been associated with Otematata Station since 1895 when a great uncle Joseph was a shearer there and my grandfather Silas Lousley worked there as a shearer and fencer before and after  he went to the Boer War. My Dad Jim Lousley started working there in his early 20’s.
My Mum worked there as the cook for 30 years. In those days it was three meals a day plus morning and afternoon teas. She loved shearing time because the  musterers ate with the shearers who had their own cook and so she had a break of sorts. I remember her telling me how she came out of the Maternity Home, breast feeding me and cooking for 17! On the night I was born Dad was attending a farewell for Bill McAughtrie. No being present at the birth in those days!!
This time of the year I often have a huge yearning to go back there. This is probably because both my Dad and our youngest daughter died around this time. The autumn colours are changing and everyone at the Station is getting ready for the Autumn Muster. This used to take well over three weeks when I was young. How things have changed?! 
I remember Mum making zillions of fruit cakes by hand. All the food was loaded on pack horses and transported to the various huts - the packer ( cook ) being in charge of the horses and doing the cooking. It used to take a long time to load the horses to make sure the weights were even.

The drive from Kurow in the early days was 21 miles (33.7 km). My husband always used to comment that as soon as we passed over the Waitaki Bridges my personality changed. I was never game to ask if it was for the good!!! After passing through Lake Waitaki there were only a few properties that I remember.
Mostly, I remember Garston which from the road you looked down on the homestead which was on a terrace. It is hard to believe that the lovely old homestead is now completely under water.
Next was Rugged Ridges with its lovely home, trees and gardens and owned by the Munros. The old homestead and woodshed is also now completely covered with water, although a new homestead and woodshed was built. 
Just before the Otematata River was Aviemore, where no one lived but was owned by the Cameron
Family. I used to love going with Mr Cameron(Walter) to pick daffodils around the old homestead, get fruit off the trees and shift the water in the water race.
Next, just before the Otematata River lived Cliff and Lexie Munro with their three boys Ronnie, John and Ian.
The area where the township is built used to be called the “Flat” and that’s what it was barren and flat, hardly a tree in sight. Later on it was used to grow lucerne. Then things changed dramatically when the Village came - another story!
Dad died in April 1987 after spending well over forty years on Otematata Station.
I asked my brother to read this poem at his funeral - to me it summarises everything.
"I love the clean brown tussock
And the hills where the cold winds blow.
It is my prayer
I may still be there
When the Lord calls “Way’re le go”

Author Unknown; From the book New Zealand Farm and Station Verse.
Photos below: supplied by Deirdre Lousley Sisson
(left) Autumn colours of lovely old poplars under which I loved to play - they're much bigger now!
(right) The Road Gate and Mail Box - showing part of the Flat - taken in the 1950s


Omarama Gazette
Editor: Ruth Grundy,
021 294 8002, 03 438 9766
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