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Omarama Gazette
December 2019
Sponsored by Mobil Omarama

The December Issue

Christmas in Omarama
Stand because you care
Sabrina has done it again
Golfing trophy dusted off for new round
Telling the stories of the past
Celebrating community at the park
In memory - Murray Wilson

Regular Features

The Noticeboard 
The Community Reports
The Otematata Pages
Waitaki District Council - News in Brief 
 Environment Canterbury - News in Brief
Those FAQs with the Murray Family
The Directory
The Last Page is Classifieds
The Garden Diary
The Weather that Was 
The View from the Chook House 
 Christmas in Omarama
An Omarama Christmas is a Christmas like no other. 
What is that sets Christmas day in Omarama apart? 
For a start a good percentage of us - retailers, accommodation providers, those in the service industry or on farm - will be working. It is not a day off, nor is it time for holidays.
For most of the workers it will be a gift if they can spend just one day over the break at home in their pyjamas catching up on rest. 
The volunteers will be on duty 24/7 and, if called, will set aside time with family and friends to assist those who need attention as our villages grow to the size of small towns for the duration.
No one's complaining.
"It is what it is, it's what we're here for".
Sometimes family and friends find it hard to make it 'home' for Christmas. Many here are away from 'home' at Christmas. Homesickness abounds.
Those are the downsides.
Then there are the little things that make the difference - like great friends and neighbours, and legendary high country hospitality and generosity which means there is good company to be had and plenty to share if you want it.
It's summertime, there's (usually) good weather and scrumptious seasonal food - pavs, berries, salads, and often lamb on the menu rather than turkey, barbecues and smoked salmon by the lake.
And at the risk of repeating myself, there are our great volunteers who will turn out no matter what or when.
My favourite - Santa's secret elves, who each Christmas Eve wrap, be-ribbon, write cards and deliver hundreds of little gifts around the town. It's so much appreciated, thank you, whoever you are.
That is just one of the little but significant gestures that make this community shine.

This year, the Omarama Gazette met up with some spending Christmas in Omarama, their home away from home.
Of those living in town this year (that I know of) there are folk from  Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, England, Fiji, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Romania, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Philippines, Thailand, United Kingdom, Ukraine, United States, and Venezuela, who will spend Christmas in Omarama.
Eight of those generously shared their thoughts with us (below) and also described how the season would be acknowledged in their home country.

The Republic of Fiji 

Sainimere Tania, Marica Bati, and Vaciseva Vudidra arrived in Omarama in spring to take up work at Omarama’s Top 10 Holiday Park. “It was cold.”  It is the first time any of them have been to New Zealand. 
The three come from the Lomaiviti Islands group and met about nine years ago at a private hospitality school in the capital, Suva.
After graduation, they went on to work in different places but when park owners Tony and Amanda Chapman met Marica while on holiday in Rarotonga and mentioned they had jobs available she contacted her friends to see if they would also be willing to come and work.
“When we get a job offer, we will grab it,” she said.
This is the first time they have worked at a holiday park, previously it has been hotels or cruise ships and the like. They love it, they said.
It’s more relaxed, they’re treated like members of the family and they “laugh all the time”.
Being in the hospitality industry, working at Christmas is not at all new to them. Usually employers put on a small celebration of some sort.
A traditional Fijian Christmas would mean gathering with family at home in the village, going to church, “lots of singing”, Christmas carolling, visiting and even more singing. There is not usually gift-giving but food plays a large part in the celebrations. A lovo (hangi) is prepared – with chicken, pork and fresh fish -and palusami – stuffed taro leaves steamed in coconut cream. All vegetables are home grown. Being the wet season fruit – pineapple, mangoes, watermelon are in plentiful supply. And of course there is kava to drink. 
Marau na Kerisimasi, Sai, Mai and Vai!

Chitose Nodo has come to Omarama as part of her working holiday. She is from Shiga, a Japanese prefecture to the east of Kyoto, on the island of Honshu.
Her’s is the new face at the coffee caravan at Big Rooster Antiques and Collectables.
Christmas in not celebrated as such, in Japan. 
People will eat fried chicken and [Strawberry] shortcake. Rather than a family occasion it is a day for romance.
The main family occasion is Shogatsu, the Japanese New Year celebration, which falls on January 1 and like Chinese New Year stretches out for days before and after. 
That will be when she will most miss her Yorkshire terrier, Hina, who is 17-years-old.
Here she is pictured serving a visitor from the Punjab, India, who has been working in Lake Tekapo.
Merīkurisumasu, Chitose!
Bavaria, Germany

Sabrina Schels says she is hardly aware it is Christmas here because it is summer on this side of the world and not winter like it is in her birthplace, Bavaria. 
“It feels wrong, anyway.”
She will be working through the festive season as instructor at Glide Omarama, but may spend her  day off going tramping. 
Christmas in Bavaria begins on Christmas Eve with the opening of presents.
Those who are religious will go to church first, “then dinner, then presents,and then play all evening and sleep in the next day”. 
The table is laden with "roast beef, duck, dumplings, red cabbage, brown gravy…we don’t have Christmas cake".
Instead, large quantities of cookies are baked from now until Christmas – "boxes full of Christmas cookies and oranges, mandarins, nuts and chocolate and lots of mulled wine”. 
Especially decorated advent wreathes lit with candles play a central role in family homes and churches. They are often quite large and sometimes hung from the ceiling.
Santa Claus does not visit Bavaria instead St Nicholas visits on December 6, and, at Christmas, Christkindl (originally the boy Jesus, but often depicted as an angel-like girl) visits, and “little kids dress like angels and deliver presents”.
Fröhliche Weihnachten, Sabrina!
By Vibhor (Sam) Kaila,  Challenge Omarama store manager.

Christmas is one of the special festivals which is celebrated in 81% of countries around the whole globe. Christmas is a festival of joy and happiness where all the people visit their friends, family and relatives. New Zealand is one of those exceptional countries where citizens celebrate Christmas in summer.
Omarama is one of the smallest towns located in the centre of south island, where one can find the real Kiwi culture as all the people in the town are friendly as family. If we talk about celebrating Christmas in Omarama, it is like a cherry on the top of a cake.
I still remember my last Christmas when I celebrated with the locals; it was totally a new experience for me as it was totally different to how I used to celebrate Christmas in Auckland. It felt like I am in my home country as all the locals didn’t let me ponder that I am in foreign country. Without knowing the neighbours, they approached me to come and spend my Christmas evening with them. It was then I got to know many of the locals while having a glass of beer with them.
Once I was sitting under the shade of a tree with my grandfather, and he started giving me his cup of knowledge about religion and beliefs. Then I got to know that all gods existing in this world have same beliefs and rules to follow but have different ways to follow them, and that’s how I got to know the real meaning of religions and cultural festivals. [Vibhor is Hindu]
Gone are the days when only the Catholics celebrate Christmas in India. now every person in my society celebrates Christmas together as one cannot deny the fact that India is a multicultural country, and it is always said a bunch of different flowers gives you the beautiful bouquet.
Christmas now in India is always awaited by every pupil as they get gifts from their parents sitting under the Santa stockings.
In New Delhi, the Colony’s secretary collects donations from every member of society to order a variety of mouth-watering plum cakes and food. We start our Christmas evening with light cultural music in the name of Jesus Christ. There is a big bonfire in the middle of the society park, where we all gather to spend time together while enjoying Christmas cake, snacks and wine in harmony.
Festivals which bring community together should always be celebrated in this way. t
Merry Christmas 'Śubh krisamas', Vibhor!

This Christmas Antonieta Moreno will be at work at the Heritage Gateway Hotel. There will be staff celebrations of course. 
Christmas celebrations in Venezuela are “amazing”, she says.
It’s summer all year round. There is music, mostly guitar music. It’s school holidays from November to January and people go from festival to festival. In Europe, Christmas may be a time of quiet reflection and “calm” but in Venezuela Christmas "is all about happiness, there is dancing and music", and people go from house to house playing guitars and singing.
Instead of Santa Claus the Christ Child – “the baby boy Jesus” visits.
And people are more likely to set up a nacimiento or pesebre - a Nativity scene, than Christmas trees.
Homemade delicacies are central to a traditional Venezuelan Christmas feast. 
Much work goes into the preparation of the Christmas food and the whole family, women and men, are needed to help with the hours of preparations - none of this "women in the kitchen while men drink beer". 
"The work would not get done."
Traditional food includes Pan de jamon (ham and olive bread), Hallaca (a dish made from cornmeal mixed with beef, pork, chicken, raisins, capers and olives and then wrapped in a banana leaf ) and the centerpiece - Pernil - slow roasted pork.
Feliz Navidad, Antonieta!

Irina Poshivai works at Four Square Omarama and this year they're celebrating with a barbeque.
Christmas time in the Eastern Orthodox country of Ukraine begins on January 7.
It is a family time with much baking and cooking, and people attend church.
The main Christmas meal is eaten on Christmas Eve - January 6.
[Editor's note; traditionally 12 different dishes - excluding meat, milk or eggs - are prepared for the meal which begins only after the first star of the evening appears.] 
There is fish and vinaigrette - made from from boiled potatoes, beets, carrots and beans.
After the meal, people love to sing carols or 'Koliadky'. 
Ukraine's traditional sweet treats include Napoleon cake made up of layers of crispy pastry filled with a custard cream, each household has it's own recipe and Kiev cake - layers of meringue with hazelnuts, chocolate glaze, and a buttercream-like filling.
“Very yummy, not like the cakes in New Zealand."
The New Year and Christmas festivities coincide with mid-winter and elements of a traditional pre-Christian festival Koliada  have been woven into the Christian traditions, and include wearing traditional dress and a mid-winter dip in the lake or river through a hole in the ice in temperatures as low as -30C.
At Christmas they drink Samogon - a home brew much stronger than Vodka and there is "Champangska at New Year", Irina says.
Veseloho Rizdva, Irina!
This issue is brought to you by ...

Mobil Omarama
Daniel Aitken (24) and Tom Trusler (20) are the apprentices at Mobil Omarama.

You do get the feeling there’s nowhere else they’d rather be, and they certainly think there’s no better place to learn.
Daniel Aitken (24) and Tom Trusler (20) are the apprentices at Mobil Omarama.
Owners Terry and Michelle Walsh employed Dan, who is less than a year out from completing his time,  about three years ago when he moved  from Cromwell to Otematata to live.
Back at high school – Cromwell College – a career in a mechanical field had been talked about given his keen interest but there were no openings at the time.
Dan says what he loves most about working at Mobil Omarama is the variety of work he is able to tackle. “Farm trucks, boats, and anything and everything in between,” he says.
“The skill set you learn is a lot wider”.
The study is full-on but because there is so much “on-the-job” experience given at Mobil neither Dan nor Tom have had to spend much time travelling away to block courses.
Because he gets to work on such a variety of tasks the study side of it has come more easily, Dan says.
Their working day at the garage is 8am to 5pm and all study – which is nowadays done online - must be completed in their own time.
However, Dan, who experienced the "crossover" from textbook to online study says the early days had their challenges and assignments had to be posted in. It meant waiting, sometimes weeks, for feedback about how he was doing.
Tom began at Mobil Omarama earlier this year after recently moving to Omarama from Oamaru.
He’d always enjoyed working on cars and “learnt a bit” working on friends’ vehicles. Seven months in, and he’s really enjoying the work which can be anything  from pulling apart a lawnmower to putting a vintage jeep back together.
“It’s good because there’s bit of everything,” he says.
An apprenticeship takes three-and-a-half to four years to complete, and as well as Terry’s mentoring and tuition, a tutor calls on a regular basis to check progress and set new goals for Dan and Tom.
Once through his time Dan plans to stay on for another two to three years.
And although he thought his future lay in building engines he’s found he’s now undecided because so many more opportunities have opened up, especially as new technologies are constantly pushing the horizons.
He and Terry are booked in for a course in the new year to learn more about the latest type of fuel injectors. “Terry’s good at keeping us all up with the latest technology.”
The evolving world of mechanics is moving towards complete diagnosis by computer. Plus, each vehicle company “does everything differently”, Tom says.
Meanwhile, the pair return to working on the task at hand – tuning up an engine 1950’s-style on a post-World War 2 Jeep.

Terry and Michelle would like to invite all – customers, old and new – to their annual Christmas shout from 4.30pm Friday, December 20.

Mobil Omarama will be closed Christmas Day only and will be open 7am to 8pm every other day of the holiday break.

(Phone/fax 03 438 9834, email: )

The workshop will be closed from Monday, December 23, to Friday, December 27 (inclusive).

Mobil Twizel will be open 8am to 8pm Christmas Day and normal trading hours, 6am to 9pm, every other day.  (Phone: 03-435 0844)
Stand because you care
Nominations have opened for the single vacancy left on the Ahuriri Community Board after the local body elections in October. 
Only four people stood for the five places on the board and were therefore elected unopposed.
Similarly, only one person stood for Ahuriri Ward councillor and was elected.
The Ahuriri Ward appears to be creating a history of  attracting just the right number of candidates, or too few people, to stand for office.

This election it once again failed to attract numbers despite redrawing the boundaries of the ward following the representation review  earlier in the year, and despite there being some significant issues ahead to grapple with – the district plan review , including the development of the Omarama and Otematata masterplans, being one.
The last time the community board election was contested was four elections ago in 2010 when six nominations were received for the five positions.
In 2014, a by-election was necessary to elect a ward councillor because there were no nominations for the 2013 election.
The last contested election for councillor was 2004 when the Ahuriri and Corriedale wards were combined. There were five nominations for three positions.
The last contested election for the ward as a “stand-alone” was 1998.
Ahead of this year’s elections Local Government New Zealand principal policy adviser Mike Reid, who specialises in issues of governance and local democracy, told Radio New Zealand, nationally the many positions going uncontested was not necessarily a sign of people being apathetic about local politics. 
Rather, it was because the incumbents were doing a good job and were considered “shoe-ins” at the ballot.
In surveys, residents consistently rank the Ahuriri Community Board’s performance as satisfactory or above.
In answer to questions from the Omarama Gazette, Dr Reid said LGNZ did not yet have “good figures” on the numbers of vacancies left on community boards nationwide after the election, although it was not an unusual occurrence.
“There tend to be more unfilled for community boards than other forms of local government,” he said. electoral officer Anthony Morton, who is running the board by-election, said while he did not have national figures either for the number of by-elections being held he understood his Christchurch-based company was managing two-thirds to half of those, that is eight by-elections.

So, at what cost a by-election?
In simple monetary terms, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said, at the inaugural meeting of the Ahuriri board, if only one person was nominated and no election required it would cost about $3,000.
However, if it was contested it would likely be about $18,000 which was the “price of democracy”.
Last year, at a council meeting during the representation review debate, he was reported as saying he remained in favour of a reduction to four community board members because he was concerned about the cost of potential by-elections when too few people stand, as had happened "a lot" in the Ahuriri Ward.

So, the dollar figures are the 'price' of democracy but what is the 'cost' to democracy when too few people stand?
Competition for seats is widely regarded as an indicator of the health of a democracy as it reflects peoples’ commitment to their community and their desire to act in the common interest, Dr Reid said. 
“The contest of ideas that comes from electoral competition leads to better policies and should result in more diverse governing bodies, which is also seen to drive better policies.”
While he was not prepared to comment on specific electorates, Dr Reid said lack of interest in standing could be a reflection of various factors.
“…a belief that the elected bodies themselves lack the power and authority to change things, therefore why bother; a lack of attachment to the local district or city – often due to a poorly designed amalgamation; a lack of understanding about how councils and community boards work, for example, a belief that being an elected member would mean giving up their job or take more time than they can commit.
“Some of those issues can be addressed by local councils themselves while others need change at the national level.” 
LGNZ argues that to increase turnout and competition councils and community boards need “more decision-making responsibilities”, he said.
“Compared to councils in other countries local authorities in New Zealand have minimal decision-making responsibilities with central government making most decisions.”
In addition, LGNZ surveys show that people have a lot of misconceptions about what councils actually do, he said.
For example, a third of New Zealanders do not know that councils provide local roads.
“If people fail to understand the range of services councils provide they are even less likely to stand.
“Being an elected member, especially in a smaller community, should not require a person to give up their day job.  
“LGNZ encourages councils to look at how they can make their processes ‘family friendly’, which includes clustering meetings on a single day; holding meetings at times that are convenient for members; delegating decisions to management and community boards to make it easier for councillors to focus on matters of significance and not be swamped by paper, etc,” Dr Reid said.
In October, in his valedictory speech, former councillor Hugh Perkins, who was a strong advocate for community boards, said members were “seriously under-remunerated politicians”.
“As members of a relatively small territorial authority, I feel we undervalue and at times, disrespect them at our peril.”
(More information about how elected officials are remunerated can be found here .)

Meanwhile, on the ground in the Ahuriri ward.
Despite strong views expressed about some significant issues and decisions facing the ward, one commonly-expressed opinion was that there was no point in standing for office because you merely became “part of the system” and so were rendered ineffective at actioning change. 

Another perception voiced was,  when candidates put their names in the hat, perhaps standing “because no one else would” and were elected unopposed, boards become made up of “one-man-bands”, and gave disproportionate weight to individual rather than community agendas.
Dr Reid’s answers above go some way to addressing those concerns.
However the consensus is, the real safeguard to making sure the democratic process works and works well is – stand for office if you can, if you are not in a position to stand then get involved, go to meetings, make sure you know what your rates are being spent on and why, have your say about whatever it is that concerns you.
In short, care.

Nominations opened Monday, November 25.
Nominations close Monday, December 23 and a announcement will be made of the number of candidates and whether or not an election must be held.

If an election is necessary:
Monday January 27 voting documents will be delivered.
Tuesday February 18 is Election day.
Voting closes 12 noon – counting commences
Preliminary results available as soon as practicable
Friday February 21, Official declaration
Friday February 28, Public notice of declaration of result

If no there is no candidate nominated then the community board may appoint a person to fill the remaining position.

For more information go to this link

Sabrina has done it again 
Former 300km 'out-and-in' speed record holder Yvonne Loader congratulates 
Omarama glider pilot Sabrina Schels on setting a new record time.

Omarama glider pilot Sabrina Schels continues to blaze a trail across our big skies rewriting the gliding record books.
Last month, battling somewhat unusual conditions- a smoke cloud from the Australian bushfires  - Sabrina set a new women’s open class speed record for a 300 km out-and-return course in a single seater Discus 2B glider.
The previous record time was clocked up by Christchurch pilot Yvonne Loader in January 1981 from Alexandra in a Nimbus 2 at a speed of 63.54 kmh
Sabrina's confirmed speed was 122.99 kmh, almost twice that  of Yvonne's.
It was a special moment for both women as, by coincidence, Yvonne arrived in Omarama the morning after Sabrina’s flight to attend the South Island Gliding and New Zealand Club Class competitions and was able to congratulate Sabrina in person
“I’m really delighted for her.
“Records are made to be broken.
“It’s a thrill to break them – and for other people to be able to have that pleasure,” Yvonne said.
Earlier this year, Yvonne was awarded the Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the sport of gliding.
Yvonne, who has been coming to Omarama every year since 1977, was New Zealand Association of Women in Aviation president from 1986 to 1988, and has introduced many young women to aviation, particularly gliding.
After learning to fly in 1972, Yvonne set a string of national gliding records for altitude, distance and speed – and a world record in 1988 for the greatest height gain by a female glider (33,506ft) that still stands today. 
Earlier this year Sabrina, who is a Glide Omarama instructor set her sights on setting new gliding records, in her spare time.
In August, she set new 100km out-and-return and 200km out and return task records.
As well, she gained her "Diamond Height" badge - one of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale awards which recognise a pilot’s achievements in cross-country soaring.
“I had to climb 5000m from my lowest point in the flight.
“I climbed to 22,000ft to make sure I would really get it.
“But then I had to descend quickly as the air became more moist and the wave gaps started to close up.”
The 300 km out-and-return task proved even more dramatic.
The forecast was good, “the reality was different”.
In all she made three attempts that afternoon with the first run – the record breaker - proving to be the only complete run.
From Omarama, Sabrina made for her starting point at about 14,000ft at Alexandra and headed  to a turnpoint 150km north east towards Lake Tekapo, and from there returned to Alexandra.
"Because of the bad visibility I couldn´t see, when I was somewhere around the St Bathans airstrip, what was going on in the lee of the Benmore Range and therefore decided to take the safe but very slow route.
"From St. Bathans I pushed into 70 kts of headwind to get onto the Omarama Saddle ridge but wave there was not very organised and I lost almost 10,000ft.
"Finally, at 8000ft over Killermont/ Dunstan Peaks airstrip I finally found some usable lift again and climbed back into wave.
"The whole ‘looking-for-lift-and-pushing-into-wind’ cost me about 30 minutes - a complete disaster in terms of speed but I did not want to turn back and restart since I feared that the wave would not get any better and I would still not be able to tell if I was able to take the shorter and much more direct route via the lee of the Benmore Range.
"So, I kept going slowly along the edge of the wall of cloud coming over from the main divide.
"Luckily, I found reasonable wave around my turnpoint to get the required height to give the direct route a go on the way back.
"It was now marked with a couple of clouds and I had a tailwind pushing me back towards Alexandra.
“I still had to stop over Lake Benmore to get a lot of height for the jump back into the wave in the lee of the Dunstans.
"Unfortunately, the wave in the lee of the Dunstans had shifted downwind by then and was not very good anymore. It probably just reformed itself and I got there exactly at the wrong time.
"So, I fell again out of the wave and had to climb over Omakau back into it."
After her first attempt she decided to give it another go to see if she could better her initial speed.
But the "original very powerful" Dunstan wave "got weaker and weaker", allowing her to only maintain height at 70 kts airspeed.
"In the first try I could go northbound after my start with about 120-130kts and was still climbing like crazy. 
"Additionally, the smoke from Australia made visibility really bad and pushed me lower and lower.
"At heights around 10,000 to 12,000ft over Pukaki I decided that with this massive north-west wind I would not be able to get to the down-wind turnpoint and make it back.
"So, I gave up and came back to Omarama."
Check out the details here
Sabrina said, once again, she had great support from other pilots for her attempt including those visiting for the competitions – it was their practice day.

This year's Youth Glide Youth Soaring Development Camp begins tomorrow, Thursday, at the Omarama Airfield and continues until December 14.

Smoke from the Australian bush fires became embedded in cloud marking the wave
but affecting visibility on the day Sabrina attempted her run. Photo: Matt Finlay


Trophy dusted off for new round
A once hotly-contested Omarama golf competition which has been in recess for best part of the past decade will once again have its day in the sun. 
Stations from throughout the surrounding districts have been invited to put up teams to compete in the Omarama Golf Club’s Runholders’ Challenge - a three-man ambrose tournament.
Stations “large and small” are invited to put a team together, organiser Johnny Anderson said.
Even if “you can only rustle(?) up 10 sheep you can enter".
The popular annual tournament which was first won in 1986 by Ben Dhu Station was last contested in 2010 when it was won by Peak Valley.
Entries for this year’s event had been steady and organisers were looking forward to good competition and getting a “fun nine-hole round in before Christmas”.
The tournament is at 12.30pm, Friday, December 13, at the Omarama Golf course.
To find out more contact Brent Fokkens, or 021 221 0060.

Telling the stories of the past
Last month, six signs which tell the stories of Ngai Tahu in the Waitaki were unveiled at significant sites in the Upper Waitaki Valley.
Representatives of Te Rununga o Arowhenua, Te Rununga o Waihao, Te Rununga o Moeraki, Meridian Energy and other community groups gathered at Lake Aviemore for the occasion.
The signs are at Lake Ohau, Lake Aviemore, the Benmore visitor area, the Ahuriri River Bridge campsite, Pumpkin Point near Sailors Cutting, and the Takiroa art site.
They tell the stories of traditional travel routes, food and resource gathering, and place names.
Celebrating community at the park
About 50  people, young and old attended last month's Family Fun Party at Omarama's Top 10 Holiday Park.
The event, organised by the Waitaki District Council and Ahuriri Community Board and run by council events organiser Hayley Cusiel and the Executive Assistant to the Mayor, Leeann Kingan was to "celebrate community".
Newly-elected Waitaki District Councillor Ross Mc Robie and Ahuriri Board member Ross Menzies 'manned' the barbecue.
Waitaki mayor Gary Kircher, who was unable attend because of a prior engagement in Wellington, said the council was pleased to work with the Ahuriri Community Board to bring the free event to Omarama, "to acknowledge the special area and the wonderful community spirit of their fellow locals".
"We have some amazing community spirit throughout Waitaki, and it is a pretty cool thing to be able to celebrate that spirit! Thanks to all the people who helped make this a special event!

Tony and Amanda Chapman, of Top 10 Holiday Park, hosted the event. Brent and Kirsty Cowles, of Otematata, donated the use of the bouncy castle and sound system.
Happy (significant) Birthday, Jeanette
In memory - Murray Wilson
About 100 gathered at the Omarama airfield terminal for a memorial service for Murray Wilson, on Saturday.
Murray, who was the dearly loved partner of Guy Sanders, died after a short illness at Hospice Marlborough in Blenheim, surrounded by close family.
A celebration of Murray’s life was held in Blenheim.
The Omarama Service was led by friend Pam Harding and was followed by a gathering at the home Guy and Murray shared in Omarama.
In recognition of his lifelong love of horses the service began with a reading of the Horseman’s Prayer.
Tributes were given by Guy, Murray’s brother Terry and his sister-in-law Heather who also read out the tributes given by Murray’s daughter Aimee Murphy and niece Gemma Allen at the funeral.
Murray was described a "larger-than-life, lovable rogue” as recount after recount was made of his exploits – including once riding his horse into the Omarama Hotel - his love of gardening, but most of all his love of family.
The Noticeboard
To have your community notice included here email:

Our sincerest condolences to Debs Wilson on the death of her mother.

Our condolences to the family and friends of Peter Wytenberg who died in Blenheim, November 10.

This year's  Youth Glide Development Camp begins tomorrow, Thursday, at the Omarama Airfield and continues until December 14.

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 church services: contact: Kay Verheul 03 438 9538 or Rev Ken Light 027 211 1501.

The Omarama Golf Club  Saturdays tee-off 1pm.  Club Captain Adrian Tuffley, 027 347 8276.

The Upper Waitaki Young Farmers Club meets at 7.30pm on the first Monday of each month at the ‘Top Pub’ - the Blue and Gold pub, in Kurow. All welcome. Join the Facebook group.

Omarama Playgroup meets at 9.30am each Wednesday during the primary school term at the Omarama Community Centre.  For more information phone president Andrea Aubrey, 03 438 9863; vice president Ruby Milestone, 03 438 9401, secretary Carla Hunter, 03 976 0504 

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

The Kurow Medical Centre holds a clinic 8.30am to 1pm, and 2pm to 5pm, on Tuesdays at the Omarama Community Centre. Please phone Kurow Medical Centre, 03 436 0760, for appointments. On Fridays phone 0274 347 464 because the Kurow Centre is closed.

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

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

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

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

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 Christmas issue of the Omarama Gazette
is Wednesday, December 18, 2019.
Please submit copy
by Monday, December 16.
Advertising pays for
production and distribution
To find out about publication and close-off dates,
and how much it costs to place your advertisment, 
 phone 021 294 8002, 03 438 9766 or email
The Community Reports
FENZ Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade
December is here. Who can believe it?! Kids finishing school, Christmas is upon us. I don’t have a lot to bring you this month accept to say remember check your gas connections on the BBQ and the caravan. If camping make sure you know the rules around fires braziers etc.
Have happy and safe Christmas and New Year and enjoy time with family and friends.

Keep yourselves 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. 
Omarama Golf Club
It looks like Christmas has come early for some :)
- more about the new 'toy' in the Omarama Gazette Christmas Issue
Omarama Rodeo Club
The annual Biscuits Bark Up will be 7pm, Friday, December 20 at Boots and Jandals Hotel, Omarama.

The 'Jamieson Contracting' Omarama Rodeo will be at 10am, Saturday, December 28 at the rodeo grounds, Ben Omar Rd.
Omarama Residents' Association
From the November meeting
There were 13 people present.

Payments from businesses for advertising on the town map.
Further payments have been received and those still outstanding have been followed up.

The latest financial statement from the Waitaki District Council shows an increase in the number of households in Omarama contributing to the Hall rate take has grown by only three dwellings in the past year. This will be queried with the council.
Playgroup has purchased a new sandpit cover which has been approved and will be paid for by  Ahuriri Community Board.

There was discussion about  the general tidiness of the verges and footpaths especially around the 70 – 50 kmh signs on the entries to Omarama.  The 'Omarama' sign is dated. There are broken railings, trees need to be trimmed, some are close to power lines   The footpath in places need up grading or are non-existent.  The work on the ultra fast broadband project has left the ground finish unsatisfactory. Concern was also raised about the sign at Airport Rd which blocks the view of traffic on SH83. Ross Menzies will take the matters to the Ahuriri Community Board.   
The library lease has expired.  The secretary will email copy of the agreement to committee members to peruse before the next meeting.
The Ahuriri River campsite – The Department of Conservation Twizel  has a new operations manager. There appears to be no longer any combined agency efforts to manage freedom camping in our area.  Doc, and the Mackenzie and Waitaki councils will be doing their own thing. Long-term strategy plans seem to have fallen over. Doc says it  is  happy with how things were handled last season. They have their own wardens. On occasions there are 70+ campers at any one time. Doc says it cannot police numbers at the site. It appears the toilets are only cleaned twice-weekly which is insufficient.
The sports complex is taking shape.  The toilet is built and the weeping elm moved and trees pruned. Unfortunately the pillars at the gates are unable to be reused. Two new Oamaru stone column pillars will be built and the plaques reinstated.  It is hoped the work will completed by Christmas, weather dependent. 

Handrail at the library - The secretary  will send letter a letter of thanks to Murray Stuart for organising and installing the handrail.

 The next meeting is 7.30pm Thursday, December 19, 2019

(Please bring a plate and a drink )

All are welcome
Contacts: Tony Chapman, chairperson, 0272 428 605.
Yvonne Jones, secretary, 0274 767 473. 
Could all 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

Ground-breaking moment for Omarama

The construction of Omarama’s new outdoor multi-sport courts facility has begun.
The build which began last month is the culmination of hours of volunteer effort in fundraising, led by the Omarama Residents’ Association.
The total amount raised was $215,000.
Meridian Energy has given $75,000, the Otago Community Trust donated $50,000, and the Waitaki District Council $40,000, to the project.
Many more hours of volunteer labour will also go into its construction.
Kevin Grant Contracting Ltd is managing the project.
It is hoped the courts will be complete by early summer.

For safety reasons the Omarama playground will be closed for the duration.


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

Omarama Community Library

The Omarama Community Library  is open  
9am to 10am,  Wednesdays and Saturdays,
 at the Omarama Community Centre.
Omarama School
End of year assembly

Kia Ora all
Omarama School's final assembly for the term will be on Friday, December 13 at the Omarama Memorial Hall. It will start at 11am. Please come along and join us for our end of year celebration including our production on “Hope”.

Summer-time use of the school pool 

Unfortunately, the Ministry of Education has bought it to the attention of the Omarama School Board of Trustees that, under Osh NZ safety standards, providing unsupervised community access to the school pool is not an acceptable safe practice. We would have to provide a lifeguard daily to supervise. The logistics of finding and affording a registered lifeguard is outside the school's means.
It is with regret that we advise you, the community, that we will no longer be able to offer access to the pool for the summer season.
Kind regards,
Kim McKenzie.
Principal, on behalf of the Omarama School Board of Trustees.


More from School Camp, October 2019 

- Recounts below by Ella Ferguson and Pippa Anderson
Ōhau Conservation Trust
Mistletoe and Grebes at Lake Ōhau

If you have some spare time, in this busy time of year, come and visit Lake Ōhau. The native red and scarlet mistletoe is flowering in the beech trees. It is a spectacular sight but it only lasts a few weeks. We are very fortunate to have this magnificent display each year - mistletoe has been lost from many beech forests because possums love to eat it! The Lake Ōhau beech forests are a stronghold for mistletoe - you wont see so much of it at other places and the very special thing is that it is really accessible. There are beech trees along the lake with huge mistletoe plants in them, you can walk along the lake at Round Bush camping area to see it and of course, you can cycle/walk along the A2O track through the beech trees with mistletoe flowering.

The grebes at Lake Middleton are busy raising two chicks that hatched earlier this month. Bring some binoculars and you can see these birds fishing and feeding the chicks. The chicks are still being carried around on their parents backs - but with all that care and feeding by their parents, the chicks will soon be too big for this.

The Trust carries out possum trapping to help protect the mistletoe. We also put floating nesting rafts in Lake Middleton to give the grebes a safe place to nest. We expect the grebes will nest again later in summer, as they have done for the last three years. If you want to volunteer to help the Trust or make a donation to support our work, visit our website -

By Viv Smith-Campbell, Chairperson, The Ōhau Conservation Trust.
Photos: Mistletoe by Viv Smith-Campbell; Grebes, by Lois Travethan.
‘The Community Reports' is
dedicated to news
from clubs, groups and sports teams.

Contributions are welcome 

The Otematata Chronicle will be back...

Preparations are underway to bring you a monthly Otematata Chronicle from February next year, with all the news and views from your place. 
The Chronicle will be emailed to subscribers. If you would like to subscribe please click the button below or email
To subscribe click here
The Otematata Noticeboard
To have Otematata community notices included here email:

Otematata Community Library opening hours
2.30pm to 3.30pm Tuesdays and Thursdays,
10-30am to 12.00 noon Saturdays.
(After hours returns: Please use the overdues’ slot to the left of the door.)

Otematata Golf Club
Sundays; ladies tee-off 11am, men's tee-off 12.30pm
Wednesdays; mixed day, tee-off 11am
Men's club captain John Cochrane 0278 403 562
Ladies' club captain Adele van Noord 027 222 3865

FENZ Otematata Volunteer Fire Brigade 
Summer is here - It’s bbq season, a timely reminder to check that your gas hoses are still in good condition and not perished. 
If you’re planning on lighting a fire; check the website beforehand.

Have a safe festive season, and with all due respects; we don’t want to see you over that time, but if you do need us, rest assured we are on duty 24/7, 365 days of the year.
If you have a medical emergency, call 111, ask for ambulance and while you’re on the phone to them, ask them to call the Otematata Fire Brigade First Response team. 
If anyone is interested in joining the fire brigade, come along on a Wednesday night at 7pm.

Firebrigade practice is 7pm each Wednesday and the monthly meeting is at 7:30pm on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Chief Fire Officer Kevin (Peewee) Powell.

Congratulations to Caleb
(with permission of  the St John Youth South Island Region Facebook page)
Caleb Jopson is the St John Youth South Island Regional Cadet of the Year 2019/20.
Caleb was presented with a silver aigulette to mark his new role at the Grand Prior Award ceremony last month and is pictured with the Lord Prior Professor Mark Compton and St John New Zealand National Cadet of the Year Jessa Gardner. Caleb is also a member of the Otematata Volunteer Fire Brigade.
Photo: supplied
Otematata Knit and Natter
By Deborah Simpson

We finished our weekly knit and natter session for 2019, with a lovely afternoon tea.
The peggy squares are about to be sewn into more blankets for the animals in the SPCA shelter in Oamaru.  It is hoped there will be approx seven or eight blankets for our furry friends.
Regular social sessions will re-commence in 2020, with many and varied ideas of topics to be covered; autumn harvest, cheese making, etc – watch this space :)

Have a sleigh full of fun this holiday season.
Otematata Golf Club
Hello from Otematata Golf Club.

- By Adele van Noord
This is our first contribution to the Omarama Gazette for some time but I look forward to keeping everyone up to date about what is happening at the Otematata Golf Club.
We have had a busy time this year. Following strong winds we lost our beautiful but imposing huge weeping willow tree to the right of number 5 fairway down by the lake. With all hands on deck we have cleared the area and planted new grass seed.
Topping and felling trees is a work in progress for the club.
There is also repair work taking place on the greens with assistance from Recreational Services, Christchurch. 
The ladies held another successful mixed 9-hole tournament earlier in the year. Watch this space for the date of next 9-hole tournament. The tournament is open to all golfers so come along and have a great time.
The club has had many visitors from other clubs playing our course this year and we received many favourable comments about the course.
We are holding our annual Classic Tournament on December 29.
Entries to Men's Club Captain John Cochrane 027 840 3562.
Don't miss out, this is a great day and entries are already coming in.
Two tee off times, either morning or afternoon.
Great prizes and meal are included.
The Otematata Golf Club welcomes all players to join us on club days or just to have a round of golf.
Tee off times:
Sunday ladies 11.00 am
Sunday mens 12.30 pm. 
Wednesday men and women. Tee-off time 11.00 am.
Good golfing everyone, Adele.
Waitaki Recreational and Boating Club
- By Brent Cowles

The first annual meeting of the Waitaki Recreational and Boating Club was held on Sunday.
Our first full committee was elected with the following candidates being successful. Neil Smith - president, Brent Cowles - secretary, Kirsty Cowles - treasurer, with Richard Jopson, Mike Thomas and Colin Heard being elected as committee members.
We agreed to assign $2500 to be available for funding other community events, organisations or people based in the Waitaki Valley. As a club we believe we should be investing our funds back into our community and building club assets that are available to club members for use. 
Application forms will be available next week from both our website and Facebook Page.
Next weekend we have our first committee meeting and will be publishing the next year's calendar of events. The club involves all things boating (fishing, diving, waterskiing, family fun days etc), cars and motorcycles.  Those interested in joining can do so by visiting

Photos: Supplied, Family fun on the lake, car rally, motorcycle rally, marathon boat race, motorcycle poker run.
Otematata Community Library
- By Kate Frost

A couple of new arrivals at the Otematata Library. The stunning, cleverly constructed quilt is on loan from the lovely ladies of the Otematata Quilting Group. You need to come and see it to appreciate the incredible detail worked throughout the quilt. It is on loan until the end of the school holidays so please come and see it for yourselves. The eye-catching signs - depending on the strength both of the wind and of the volunteers themselves, will be placed in appropriate spots to reinforce the fact that Otematata does indeed have a library and a pretty wonderful establishment it is! Ideally the signs would be left in place preferably at the West Road entrance, but because of the stupidity of some of the younger summer visitors, will have to be stored inside the library each night!

Otematata Community Library opening hours
2.30pm to 3.30pm Tuesdays and Thursdays,
10-30am to 12.00 noon Saturdays.
(After hours returns: Please use the overdues’ slot to the left of the door.)
Otematata Residents' Association
from the annual meeting, Saturday, November 9, 2019.

The following have been elected as officers for the year ahead: chairperson Steve Dalley, vice-chair  Dianne Loach, secretary Petrea McRobie, treasurer Greg Sanders, Community Led Development Programme working group chairperson Richard Paton; committee members Moana Chapman, John Munro, Kath Bond, James Denniston, Margie Callick, Carson Welsh, Marilyn Welsh.
Cr Ross McRobie tendered his resignation from the committee. Ross has proposed the Ahuriri Community Board chairman and himself, as councillor, provide a report on council and board matters to the association at each meeting.

Otematata businessman Brent Cowles has proposed the community take over the running of the repeater station on the hill on Otematata Station, which reaches Sailors Cutting and around the area from Meridian Energy who want to decommission it. It would be a useful communication tool especially in the case of an civil defence emergency. He has a local radio station and a commercial interest and would be happy to make a contribution accordingly.
As well, wi-fi enablement would be good for the town.  To invest in the infrastructure there would need to  be an initial outlay of $12 – 15,000.  It would not include live streaming.  It would cover the whole town and would work with the new fibre.  Home owners could contribute towards this.
The community has already paid for the building on the site which could be upgraded.  The land-owner is happy if this is for the community. It was proposed an application could be made to the Community Lad Development Programme for this.  As well, Brent is investigating the possibility of installing a webcam in town.

There is a plan to remove the remainder of the wilding pines on the Benmore Peninsula and to spray and remove the wilding pines on the islands in the lake, and to replant those areas with natives. Concerns have been raised about the dead trees falling in the lake. Brent suggested that beautification of the area could tie in with the CLDP to make something unique of the peninsula area.
Ross advised the Alps to Ocean off road trail section Aviemore to Kurow will open December 13 and work will begin on the Sailors Cutting to Benmore section from the end of this year.
The CLDP Family BBQ and Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding would be at midday Saturday November 16.  This is funded by the CLDP.

The next meeting of the Otematata Residents' Association is at
10am Saturday, December 7, 2019, at the Lakes Centre, Otematata.

Steve Dalley, chairperson 021 768 719
Secretary: Petrea McRobie 0274 369 233
Fun in the sun marks occasion
Department of Internal Affairs Community Led Development Programme Southern Team manager Marten Schievink(left) and Otematata Residents' Association chairman Steve Dalley sign the memorandum of understanding.

The rain cleared and the sun shone as Otematata residents came out in numbers to witness the signing of an agreement designed to offer “huge opportunities” for the town.
About 70 people witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding marking the moment the town became part of a Community-Led Development Programme.
The five-year programme which aims to take a ‘ground-up’ rather than a ‘top-down’ approach to planning is run by the Department of Internal Affairs to help communities reach goals they identify as important to progress.
The Otematata Residents' Association is the governance group for the Otematata programme.
Association chairperson Steve Dalley said it was a “huge opportunity” for the town.
The launch was only the beginning and it would be canvassing the whole community for its ideas and feedback, which were “the heart and soul of this agreement”, he said.
‘The Otematata  Page' is dedicated to
Otematata news,
including from clubs, groups and sports teams.
Contributions are welcome 
Waitaki District Council - news in brief
Illegal Earthworks Raise Concerns
Waitaki District Council is concerned about a recent increase in the number of reported illegal earthworks occurring in the district. In some cases, earthworks without consent have been completed in areas which are sensitive or significant from coastal, cultural or environmental perspectives. To find out more click this link.

Waitaki mayor Gary Kircher has been elected unopposed to two positions within Local Government New Zealand. He will be the LGNZ representative for zone 6 (Otago and Southland) and chairman of the provincial councils sector. To find out more click on this link.
Whitestone Geopark trustees have appointed Lisa Heinz, formerly a communications administrator for the Waitaki District Council as Geopark co-ordinator. Ms Heinz’s background is in tourism, completing her Masters in Tourism at the University of Otago last year and her Bachelor in Tourism Management in Germany. She comes from Nierswalde in Germany.
Harbour St, Oamaru is now closed to vehicles each Saturday, Sunday until Easter, from 10am until 4pm. In addition, the closures will apply to the following public holidays:
Oamaru Victorian Fete weekend - from 10am Saturday to 6pm Sunday
Otago Anniversary weekend - from 4pm Friday to 4pm Sunday
Queen’s Birthday weekend - from 10am Friday to 4pm Monday
Note: Bollards will be in place to block cars from entering the street during these times. At all other times the street will be open to traffic.
Signed up for service
The recently elected Ahuriri Community Board (from left) Ross Menzies, Vicky Munro,
Brent Cowles and June Slee pose with Ahuriri Ward Councillor Ross McRobie (back left)
for official photos after the signing of declarations.

Otematata resident Vicky Munro is the new chairperson of the Waitaki District Council’s Ahuriri Community Board.
Four members of the board were sworn in at its inaugural meeting at the Duntroon Community Hall, last month.
Mrs Munro, who was the only nomination for the role, is beginning her third term on the board.
She said she wanted to extend her personal thanks to those who recently stood down - Graham Sullivan, Calum Reid, Tony Chapman and Councillor Craig Dawson.
She said they had given “devoted service” often at the expense of family and business and there had been “a lot of work done behind the scenes”.
Brent Cowles (Otematata), Ross Menzies (Omarama), Mrs Munro (Otematata) and Dr June Slee (Otekaieke) were elected to the board unopposed.
A by-election will be necessary to choose a fifth member of the board.
The Ahuriri Ward councillor is Ross McRobie.
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said the by-election would be advertised shortly.
If there was only one nomination for the post then no election would be required, he said.
However, if there were more, “then we go through the process”.
If an election was necessary election day would be February 18, he said.
If no election was required the costs would be $3,000.
However, if it was contested it would likely be about $18,000 which was the “price of democracy”, Mr Kircher said.
Cr McRobie and board member Dr Slee noted that because the present councillor and board were elected unopposed little information about the candidates was publicised.
Waitaki District Council chief executive Fergus Power said the point was noted and would be considered at the next election.
A Representation Review in 2018 saw two of the district’s ward boundaries redrawn – effectively the Ahuriri and Corriedale wards were changed to replicate Otago Regional and Canterbury Regional council boundaries.
Corriedale ward councillor Bill Kingan was present at the inaugural board meeting to mark the “handover”, Mr Kircher said.
The next Ahuriri Community Board meeting

is 3.15 Monday, December 16, 2019.
at the Lakes Centre (Community Centre) Otematata


Dates to note if you need a Building Consent, Resource Consent, Special Event Alcohol Licence or Food Premise Registration before Christmas:
Building Consent and Resource Consent (not-notified)
Under the Building Act 2004 and the Resource Management Act 1991 the statutory clock stops on December 20 and restarts January 10. The council continues to receive and work on consents during this time, except for the period December 24, 2019 to January 6, 2020 when council offices are closed.
Alcohol – Special Licence
Under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, any days between December 20 and January 15 inclusive are deemed to be non-working days.
For events that are being held between December 20, 2019 and January 15,2020, all applications must be received before November 22, 2019.
For events that are being held after January 15, 2020, all applications must be received at least 20 working days prior to your event.
Land Information Memorandum (LIM)
Standard LIM applications need to be submitted by December 6, 2019
Urgent LIM applications need to be submitted by December 16, 2019
Food and Mobile Shops
Any new food registrations or Mobile Shop applications are required to be submitted by December 13, 2019
Council offices in Oamaru will be closed from noon, December 24, reopening 8am, January 6, 2020. Waihemo Service Centre/Library will close noon December 24, reopening 8.30am January 6, 2020.
Environment Canterbury - news in brief
Applications are now open to join the Environment Canterbury Youth Rōpū.
The Youth Rōpū is a voluntary group for young people aged 14-24, coordinated by ECan's youth engagement and education team. The group is made up of 16 people with two mana whenua, and two geographic representatives each from North Canterbury, Mid Canterbury, South Canterbury, Christchurch North East, Christchurch West, Christchurch South, and Christchurch Central. There are six vacancies for 2020. Applications close 20 December 2019.  There is more information at this link.
The Tasman River Recovery Project was recently recognised for its efforts to restore and protect the river, which flows from the Tasman Glacier into Lake Pukaki in Aoraki-Mount Cook National Park.
It won the Ministry for the Environment River Story Award at the New Zealand River Awards run by the Cawthron Foundation.
The project was a great example of individuals, communities and organisations banding together to recognise environmental issues and working collectively to make positive changes, MfE deputy secretary Anne Haira said.
For the past 15 years project which represents the combined efforts of  land owners, volunteers, power companies Meridian Energy and Genesis Energy, and the Department of Conservation has worked to restore the Tasman River’s natural ecosystem.
A video and more information about the Tasman River Recovery Project can be found at this link.

A fish screen is required whenever a water take could impact fish. They are designed to protect fish, including trout, salmon and native fish, by keeping them out of water takes. Water takes are used for irrigation, stock-water, community supplies or hydro-electric power generation. To find out more go to this link.
Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee news
No public meetings of the zone committee were held in November.
Zone committee chairperson Simon Cameron’s update is here.

Waitaki zone manager Chris Eccleston has provided the Omarama Gazette with this update about the continuing work in the Ahuriri Arm catchment of Lake Benmore.
A meeting for consent holders will be held this month.

What’s happened so far:
In June, ECan reported that this year’s annual water quality monitoring Trophic Level Index (TLI) results for Lake Benmore at Ahuriri Arm had increased to 2.9. This exceeded an early warning trigger level of 2.75. The TLI is an index used to measure the nutrient status of lakes. The higher the levels the higher the nutrient concentrations and algal biomass. 
As a result of the early warning trigger level being exceeded, a number of farms have had to reduce their nutrient discharge allowances and are now operating under these for this irrigation season. 
Although only some farms were affected this year, the impact is cumulative, from all farms, and if next year’s results see a continued decline in water quality beyond the limit of 2.9 for the lake, then all farms in the Ahuriri catchment, who require farming land use consents and/or water permits for irrigation, will be impacted. 
What’s happening in November and December this year?
Between now and the end of this year, our team will be in the catchment and visiting farms to support the delivery of good management practices.
All farms that hold consents with ECan will be visited, if not already by compliance monitoring officers.
They will be making sure all farms are meeting the conditions on consents, helping farmers to meet their responsibilities and addressing implementation issues.
Farms with irrigation will also be visited by an ECan land management advisor who will be making sure farms are implementing irrigation industry agreed good management practices and will provide advice on improvements.

Land use consent warning letters.
Any farm that has not yet applied for a farming land-use consent, will receive a final warning.
This is a ‘first’ enforcement step.
Most farms in the catchment have obtained or applied for these consents. If you are unsure if this applies to you, please contact (027 705 1276) who will be happy to help.
Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee involvement
TLI limits in Lake Benmore are set to help achieve community outcomes, which include providing for a diverse ecosystem of plant and animal life, recreational opportunities and customary use, while also providing for existing farm development.
Between July and September this year the Zone Committee asked ECan  staff about the increase to the TLI and actions being taken.
For further information on these meetings and presentations see the committee agenda papers and presentations.
The next public meeting of  Environment Canterbury's 
Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee will be

February, 2020. (Dates to be advised.)

Minutes and agendas are posted at:
Those FAQs

The Five Awkward Questions with...
                                                 The Murray Family
Nick, Rachael, Grant and Lochie Murray 
of Ribbonwood Station.

While the boys - including dad - might look a little more comfortable in Omarama's great outdoors they are backing mum Rachael 100% in her new venture. Rachael owns recently-opened The Beauty Room in Ahuriri Drive,  providing all those essentials that make a girl feel great right here, in Omarama. (Facebook:The Beauty Room)
The Murray family manage Ribbonwood Station - a sheep and beef property - for Verity Farms NZ. Nick and Lochie attend Omarama School
1. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
"Never give up, and go for it 100%." - Grant
"Do what your heart wants, live your best life." - Rachael
2. Tell us something about Omarama we might not know.
"Our house, Ribbonwood Homestead, was used back in the day as a convalescent house for children recovering from polio. They would be sent here to breathe in the fresh country air, go horse riding, ice skating etc and be sent home when they were well!" - Rachael.

3. What was your best impulse buy?
"The boat" - the whole Murray family!
The family loves boating trips on the lakes - Hawea, Ruataniwha, whenever and wherever they can get out.

4. What is your best day outside the office?
"Hunting, family time, fishing, many things to do." - the whole Murray family :) 
5. What is your wish for the world?
"Peace, love and calm." - Rachael.
"Everybody just needs to relax." - 
The Directory

phone 021 294 8002 or email



business card
would look great
right here!
The Last Page is Classifieds

Pianist or keyboard player
as accompanist for the
St Thomas Church Community Carol Service
in Omarama, Christmas Eve 2019

Please contact Rev Ken Light 027 211 1501
An experienced  gardener required for an
established garden approx 1/4 acre 
on a  lifestyle property 7km from Omarama. 
Four hours a fortnight. Must have references.

Contact: 027 277 088
Annual meeting
Omarama Playgroup
Thursday, December 5,  at the Pink Glider Café
Meeting starts at 7pm  followed by dinner at 7.30pm
Open to all past, present, future parents

Contacts: Andrea Aubrey, chairperson, 03 438 9863
Carla Hunter, secretary, 03 976 0504
The Weather that was - November
The Garden Diary
A simple case of neglect

Like children (and grown-ups) gardens seem grow into their best selves when they’re not hovered over.
Now, I’m not sure if this is an entirely apt metaphor because my garden seems to thrive on complete neglect – but it’s very much loved.
And it’s at this time of the year it chooses to shine, far surpassing any artificial trappings and tinsel.
Despite my months of negligence, it gives back in profuse abundance.
Each morning walk around our patch, coffee in hand, there are new ‘gifts’ to ‘unwrap’.
Satiny aquilegia bonnets are pleated up in new season shades and styles. Bouncing and bobbing in the breeze, they are hybrids set from last season’s seedings.
In the trough by the door, which I haven’t had a moment to refresh with new mix or plants, self-sown sweet peas have quickly scrambled to the top of the trellis. They’ve reverted to type – all magenta and blue – how did they know that would be the perfect colour for that spot? And the scent just cannot be matched by their blousy well-bred cousins.
The roses everywhere have been stunning this year – everyone is saying.
In my garden, they never get sprayed, have missed their pruning, and have yet to be fed.
But they’re blooming and bountiful, brimming over the beds and fences, filling the garden with perfume especially after warm rain, filling the vases inside, their enveloping scent sending me into cravings for Turkish Delight.
Constance Spry has thrown herself up and over the fence, the shed and through the peach tree.
A new self-sown honeysuckle with tints of peach and lemon and red has pushed its way up the fence between roses Gloire de Dijon and Tuscany.
The best of the roses will be done by Christmas. But the lillies are budding up. Finger's crossed.
There will be new potatoes for the table and fresh greens – but not the ones I planted.
The seed potatoes I bought - ‘purple passion’ – were popped in, but late, and the bean and pea seeds are still in the packets.
Still, the vege garden is crammed with purple sprouting broccoli, silver beet, spinach and broad beans,  new potatoes, pak choy and red bunching onions, and violas, marigolds and borage, all self sown.
The fruit trees have not been pruned but are laden. Similarly the canes of raspberries are arching over with weight as the buds which the bees have been bothering fill out into fruit.
A well-behaved (I hope)  blackberry has snuck in behind the Alchemist rose. It made its home there a couple of years ago and fruits away merrily for late summer blackberry creams.
And yet more gifts – we’re expecting! New hens, that is.
Our two nanas, who have given their life's work to laying for the creation of quiches and omelettes and meringue pies and just a boiled egg or two, have gone into retirement on full pension with privileges.
Buying eggs and feeding hens has raised an eyebrow or both on the bill payer.
There have been mutterings about freeloaders.
And their retirement may not be so peaceful. From next week three Astralorp pullets will join our wee flock. (Thank you, Mandy).
Here there's always enough, some to enjoy now, some to share and some to preserve for later.
And, the promise of good things to come.
I am one truly grateful and humble 'we-don't-know-how-lucky-we-are' high country Kiwi.
Merry Christmas, everyone. 
Ruth Grundy
( I garden a small space under a big sky in Omarama)
The View from the Chook House
Yes, we get it.
It's not a good time of the year for us to be on the naughty list!
Omarama Gazette
Editor: Ruth Grundy,
021 294 8002, 03 438 9766
Copyright © 2016-2019, Omarama Gazette, All rights reserved.

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