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- Omarama Gazette -

October 2019

Sponsored by Jake's Hardware
The October Issue
The 'Evo' is landing.
It's back home to merino country for the Stuarts.
We're 'Mo'-ving on to Movember
Omarama's new vet in her dream job
Doc defends logging during nesting
Let's get political - an elections update
We ask the questions. What do you think of the answers?
Next steps in town masterplan process.

Regular Features
The Noticeboard 
The Community Reports
The Otematata Page
Waitaki District Council - News in Brief 
 Environment Canterbury - News in Brief
Those FAQs with Roger and Kim Read
The Directory
The Weather that Was 
The Situations Vacant
The Last Page is Classifieds 
The Garden Diary
The View from the Chook House 
The 'Evo' is landing
Youth Glide New Zealand member, Maria Cramp, of Wellington, who has flown in Omarama, is among a group who have received or are working towards being signed off as winch drivers. Photo: supplied.

What began as an idea while “sat down”  at the Pink Glider café a little less than a year ago is about to 'slingshot' into reality.
After a year-long fundraising effort a Skylaunch Evo - a stationary ground-based winch used to launch gliders - is expected to arrive at Omarama Airfield by the end of next month, Youth Glide New Zealand director of operations Roger Read said. 
The plan is to have it up and running for this year’s Youth Soaring Development Camp in December, he said.
YGNZ president Tim Austen said the idea was first discussed at a meeting at the Pink Glider a little less than a year ago. 
The group was trying to find ways to make entry into gliding more affordable and accessible to young people. 
One of the biggest costs in gliding is launch fees – gliders can be taken into the air by a tow plane, ‘sling-shotted' up by a winch, or some motorised craft are 'self-launching'.
To encourage more young people to take up gliding the "logical focus" turned to ways to reduce costs, Mr Read said.
An aerotow launch to 2000 ft costs $70 to $100. Use of a winch can reduce the cost to about $30.
The project to raise funds to get a winch began shortly after that café meeting and the estimated "on-the-ground" costs of $180,000 to $200,000 has been raised.
Fundraising, including through a ‘give-a-little’ page, a $10,000 Otago Community Trust grant and  securing two interest-free loans meant the group had the funds needed, Mr Read said.
The order and deposit was placed with the UK suppliers in June.
Omarama Airfield has had a “few winches” in the past but the gliders had got bigger, heavier and more sophisticated, plus there was a "duty of care" to make sure the operation was safe.
The winch would also be a quieter and a more environmentally-friendly option to tow planes.
The Skylaunch Evo can launch two-seater gliders to 2000ft for training and soaring.
It has the capability to select for specific glider type, weight and wind conditions .
A dual cab means an instructor or mentor can sit alongside the winch driver.
Mr Read said this meant parents and other community members could become more involved too.
Initially, there was expected to be a “small dip” in the amount of work available for tow plane  pilots but this was expected to pick up again.
There would be “high utilisation” of two planes rather than "modest on three”.
People who wanted a longer tow would still need to employ tow planes, he said.
Glide Omarama would also use the winch to offer lower cost options to training adults, visiting pilots and tourists on trial flights.
Ultimately, it meant students could do more flying for their dollar, he said.
The project has had the support of many, including Glide Omarama, the Omarama Gliding Club, the Omarama Airfield company and the New Zealand Cadet Forces to support Air Training Corps cadet training.
And Youth Glide New Zealand patron Richie McCaw has also added his "full support" to the project.
"I am... pleased to hear that the YGNZ Executive have taken the initiative of purchasing a Skylaunch winch so that launching gliders will be more affordable and available to youth who want to have an opportunity to take to the sky in a glider. I am also sure it will prove to be a valued resource for the local and wider regional communities," he said in a letter of recommendation.
This issue brought to you by ...
                                         Jake's Hardware

Jake's Hardware
24 Market Place,
P: 03 435 0881

9am to 5pm
Monday to Friday
9am to 3pm

In Twizel, you know spring has arrived when Ali starts laying out trays of bedding plants, filled to bursting with colour, along under the Jake’s Hardware veranda in the Market Place. 
It’s been seven years almost to the day – October 1 - since the Preston-Marshall family moved to Twizel bringing their family brand of enthusiasm and ‘can-do’ approach to town, and to what was Twizel Hardware. Jake and Ali, Anna, Phoebe, Tim, Nick and Luke Preston-Marshall arrived as earthquake refugees, and, having put the challenges of living in the red zone behind them, set out to grasp the opportunities which lay ahead. At the time, the children ranged in age from seven to 15 and all were home-schooled. These days all but Anna have ‘flown the coop’ to various pursuits, all with a sound grounding in business skills learnt ‘at foot’ by making their own individual contribution to ‘Jake’s’.
It’s part of what makes the store the unique place it is. That, and the wide Mackenzie landscape which is the inspiration that underpins and drives the business. It’s not a trip to Twizel without a visit to Jake’s. 
Jake’s Hardware has most bases covered. It is by no means an understatement to say they really do have “a bit of everything”. 
Toys, camping equipment, gifts and quality tools, paint, homewares, pet supplies are just some of the goods to be found. Their definitive collection of European board-games sprang from a family hobby. Good old-fashioned lucky dips have always been a great treat for the many visiting children. 
Fishing is a mainstay, with a large range of rods, reels, lures and other gear at competitive prices, and the staff includes some keen fishing enthusiasts. 
For those travelling the Alps 2 Ocean trails, or just out for a ride, the store has a great stock of cycling supplies. Plus, with cycling experience and his engineering background, Jake offers on-the-spot cycle service and maintenance. 
But back to Spring at the store when gardening supplies are in full focus. 
There is everything you could need to get into your garden for the new season. 
There are the plants. Aside from the bedding plants – veggies as well as flowers – there are shrubs, herbs and sturdy potted-up roses. There are seeds to grow your own, and potting mix, fertilisers and all the tools to bed them in. And if there something you’d just love which they don’t stock Ali is more than happy to order it in. She says she “loves it” when people enquire because she gets to discover new plants as well.

Photo: Luke Preston-Marshall
It's back to merino country for the Stuarts
 Greg and Mary Stuart have returned from Oamaru  to live in Omarama

When the 58th annual New Zealand Merino Shearing and Woolhandling championships open in Alexandra on Friday a familiar Omarama name will be at the helm.
Former Omarama farmer and long-time advocate for all that is merino Greg Stuart is  president of the New Zealand Merino Shearing Society which hosts the two-day competition in Alexandra. 
Greg and wife Mary returned to live in Omarama earlier this year. 
The Stuart family, including William and Charlotte, managed Tara Hills Station for the Patterson family for almost 10 years before moving to Oamaru in 2012. 
Greg had just completed his first three-year stint as shearing society president before moving to Tara Hills Station. 
He and his family have a long association with the competition - competing, judging and in administration – something that Will and Charlotte look set to continue. 
Greg began as pen-boy for the shearing competition in his early teens in the 70s, went on to compete in the 1980s and now, as well as officiating he also judges competition. 
Growing up, the family farmed cross-breds and Leicesters at Moa Creek but  he says he was always drawn to the high country and merinos. 
While at Tara Hills, in 2008, he was one of a group instrumental in resurrecting, albeit for a brief time, a merino shearing competition in Omarama, - the Waitaki-Mackenzie Merino Shears which was a revival of the former Omarama Merino Expo. 
Like all of these events the biggest factor affecting continued viability, apart from the cost, was the ability to recruit volunteers and support from the industry, Greg said. 
Up to 70 volunteers would work on this year’s NZ championships and it had strong support from the likes of Peter and Elsie Lyon, of Peter Lyon Shearing, and Dion Morrell Shearing. 
These days Greg works as Alliance Central Otago livestock representative. 
His area starts at the top of the Lindis and takes in districts such as Omakau and Roxburgh, Glenorchy and Haast. 
However, most of his clients are in the Tarras – upper Clutha area, he says. 
And most farm merino. 
Greg promotes the Alliance and New Zealand Merino’s partnership - the ‘Silere alpine-origin merino” brand, something he finds satisfying because it offers farmers the option to grow merino meat for the market alongside the fine wool. 
The couple bought their property in Omarama about 15 years ago and once Greg secured the job with Alliance – with his run being “only 20 minutes up the road”-  it seemed an obvious choice to build and move back to town. 
“And I can come home at night to all this…” as he gestures across the nearby Omarama Airfield to the Benmore Range. 
In Oamaru, Greg managed the Oamaru Racecourse and is still involved as a starter's assistant. 
Mary worked for Whitestone Taxis as a driver and courier for the mail run. 
She is now relief bus driver for Go Bus and Pearsons Coachlines who manage the school bus runs locally. 
Both Will and Charlotte have grown up to share the family’s passion for wool and for competition. 
Will(25) manages the 180ha Willowbank sheep and beef merino finishing property near Tarras for the Lucas family. 
Charlotte is head wool handler for Pete Lyon Shearing, and also competes. 
This week, Will and Greg have been in Australia, where Will has been representing New Zealand in the merino sheep judging competition at the Perth Royal Show. Last year, he won the New Zealand junior judging national competitions. 
Although the Perth competition did not go Will’s way this time the experience was worthwhile, Mary said.
While there, Greg was “roped into” judging at the shearing competition. 
The pair will arrive back just in time for the NZ Shears. 
On Friday, the shears begin with the junior, novice, senior and open woolhandling competitions and the senior shearing heats, quarters and semi-finals. 
The open shearing heats and finals and teams events will run throughout Saturday 
Invercargill shearer Nathan Stratford won the open shearing section last year, for the fourth time, just beating West Australian Damien Boyle, who has won seven New Zealand Open Merino Shearing Championship titles in eight years. 
The New Zealand merino shears open the shearing sports calendar for the season and are followed a week later by the NZ Spring Shearing Competition, in Waimate.
We're 'Mo'-ving on to Movember
The first of two events to highlight men's health got off to a baldingly bold start last evening, and is heading for a hairy finish.
Boots & Jandals Hotel Omarama owner Julie Dyson said 13 "pretty awesome fellas" registered to grow 'mo's' or any hairy "little ticklers" for the next month to raise awareness of men's health issues.
Check out their 'before' mug shots here
She said others had indicated their interest but were unable to make it last night so she expected up to 15 men would join the 'mo'-vement.
Once all registrations were in, the draw would be made to choose the winner of the All Blacks rugby world cup jersey, she said. 
The men will be collecting sponsorship for their efforts for the next month with funds raised going to Omarama School to help pay for a third teacher.
Julie said progress, or lack of it, would be logged regularly on the Boots and Jandals Hotel Facebook page
Staff from Timaru-based Hi-Jinks for Hair have donated their time to "The Great Shave-Off” which will take place Monday, November 4, at the hotel alongside the visit of Dr Dave Baldwin, of the Bulls Flying Doctor Service.
The visit of the doctor/pilot turned author and speaker is being organised by Boots and Jandals and the Otago Rural Support Trust.
Dr Dave works two-and-a-bit days a week at the Bulls Medical Centre and the rest doing aviation medicine for the Bulls Flying Doctor Service, flying to remote areas throughout New Zealand to give pilots their medical checks.
He is renowned for his “totally un-PC” delivery tackling hard-hitting, below the belt facts about men’s health - he speaks from the heart and tells it how it is, on paper and in person.
To read more check out and

(For more details of the evening's events check out the poster below)
Omarama's new vet in her dream job
Omarama's resident vet Gwyneth Mark tackles a 'delicate' operation.
Photo: Dave Robertson

Omarama’s new resident vet is happy to tackle anything, large or small, in what for her is the job she always dreamed of.
Gwyneth Mark  has been with The Veterinary Centre Oamaru for the past three years
She grew up in Te Puke.
She first decided she wanted to be a vet when she was six years old and watched one perform a post mortem on a cow on the family dairy farm.
“It looked really cool.”
She went straight from high school to the five-year Veterinary Science programme at Massey University.
More than 400 applied to Massey that year and only 100 gained a place, she says.
Gwyn says she likes the variety in her job where she gets to treat all kinds of animals – large and small.”
“But I tend to lean toward larges.” And her passion is diary medicine.
The job mostly lives up to the six-year-old’s dream, "ninety percent of the time".
It can be stressful and sometimes "it’s a very long day".
But it would not be the job it is without those challenges, she says.
Gwyn is still dividing her daytime hours  between the Upper Waitaki clinics and Oamaru but she will now have six nights a week in Omarama with two days at its clinic, and a busy time ahead as lambing and calving begin.
Doc defends logging during nesting
Questions have been raised about Department of Conservation and Environment Canterbury procedure after logging trucks and other heavy machinery were spotted working to remove wilding conifers on Doc reserve land, home to rare and declining bird and plant species.
Last month, contractors employed by ECan, who were granted permission by Doc, removed the wilding conifer shelterbelt and plantation stand in Doc's Otamatapaio Reserve, just east of Sailors Cutting, as part of the National Wilding Conifer Control Programme.
Passers-by observed at least two excavators and logging trucks working in the old braided river bed beside the Otamatapaio River for most of September.
The area is known for its population of nationally vulnerable banded dotterels-pohowera and pied oystercatchers whose numbers are also declining.
The reserve is also home to New Zealand’s native broom.
Locals have observed the birds nesting in the area from  August each year.
This year, with the mild winter, farmers have told the Omarama Gazette nesting had began about a month earlier and the oyster catchers had arrived as early as July.
Information distributed by Doc, ECan and Braided River Aid (below) warn the public to take care not to disturb nesting birds from late August to early February.
In an email, Te Manahuna/Twizel Acting Operations Manager Dean Turner said the wilding conifers were controlled to stop the seeds from being blown in the wind and invading areas many kilometres away.
“The conifers are a major threat to New Zealand's ecosystems, land and farms.”
 Mr Turner said the work had taken place at a time the year when dotterel  were not nesting.
“Ground nesting birds such as pohowera are active in the area from around October, although it is possible a small number of birds may already be in the area.
“As it is early in the breeding season, if a nest was to fail, the birds would likely rebuild and lay another egg.
“The contractor was instructed to minimise vehicle movements to the site.
“We asked the contractor to avoid driving vehicles through a stream which runs through the site.
“They instead accessed the far side of the stream by creating a separate access point in another part of the reserve in order to complete the work.
"Doc and ECan staff inspected the site during the operation and were “impressed by the progress being made".
“We did not notice excessive vehicle tracking, however, we did notice signs that rabbits and hares had been eating some native broom plants," he said.
Mr Turner said Doc understands all wilding pines at the site “have been controlled”, but there would still be a few days of "site tidy-up".
To read more about wilding conifer control click on the links below.
Photos below: Publicity material about nesting birds from ECan and Braided River Aid.
Logging operations at the Doc-managed Otamatapaio Reserve in mid-September.
Banded dotterels, oystercatchers and native broom at the reserve in mid-August 2016.
Let's get political - an elections update
Voting opened on September 20 and closes midday October 12.
However, those who want to post their papers are urged to factor in the time it will take for them to get through the postal system. 
There are three candidates for the Waitaki District Council mayoralty and six candidates for Environment Canterbury's South Canterbury-Ōtuhituhi Constituency.
However, no election is required for the Ahuriri Ward Councillor for the Waitaki District Council who will be Ross McRobie. As well, no election is required for four places on the Ahuriri Community Board which have been filled by Vicky Munro, Brent Cowles, Dr June Slee and Ross Menzies. A by-election will be held after the elections to fill the fifth position.
We ask the questions,
what do think of the answers?

In the lead up to the election, last week the Omarama Gazette chose one  'issue' a day relating to the Ahuriri Ward of the Waitaki District Council to be posted on its Facebook page for discussion.
Mayoral candidates were invited to comment.
Links to each of these five issues are here: Talking Rubbish, What about the visitors?A road trip to the edge of the Waitaki universeThe mountains are high and the emperor is far away, and The central issue
As well, each mayoral candidate was emailed six questions and invited to respond.
Did they get the answers right? Have a read below.
You get to respond - vote for your choice by midday, October 12.

Katrina Hazelhurst
1.Do you think our main street is healthy and successful? (Omarama/Otematata) If not, what would you do to change that?
The main streets are well served with retail amenities but there are areas of concern. Traffic safety is important and safe State Highway crossings a priority. Traffic speed reduction limits being extended out or traffic calming features would also improve safety for tourists and residents.
More attractions (vintage machinery, sculptures) and landscaping to “announce “when you are approaching the towns would be eye-catching and encourage visitors to stop and spend. It also creates town identity. The seasonal nature of the tourism in the area makes it difficult to run a viable business. If we could look at ways to promote the area out of season then it may create better conditions for more retailers to operate successfully.
2.What is priority for our town right now? Omarama/Otematata
More opportunities for economic growth and improved town facilities while maintaining the village feel of the communities and the natural beauty of the Omarama and Otematata areas.
Development that can enhance the visitor experience but are also useful additions for permanent residents (Such as community gardens, extra retail, car parking, BBQ areas, fruit trees and more toilets.)
3.The District Plan is under review. If you could change one thing in our zoning code for Omarama and Otematata, what would it be and why?
I would look to provide more areas zoned for retail and residential development. In terms of adding new low-density and/or medium-density housing in the area, we need to focus on serving and adding to the year-round population, to ensure a vibrant community. A mix of suitable rental accommodation, retirement housing and family homes would create opportunities for a broad mix of demographics to move to the beautiful Ahuriri area and support additional retail businesses.
4. If you received a $1 million grant to use for the towns any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?
We would open community engagement to decide how to spend your money.   You as a community know best what your priorities are!
5. Where are your favourite places to spend time in our towns?
As keen second-hand and antique shoppers, Andy and I love to travel up the valley to browse wonderful stores like Big Rooster Antiques & Collectibles and stop for lunch on the way. If we take our dog, Stanley, we will stop and enjoy the recreation reserves with him.
6. What do people get wrong about our towns?
I think the popularity of Otematata and Omarama as holiday destinations means that they are often not recognised as communities with permanent residents requiring the same level of consultation, planning and development as other areas such as Oamaru.
Gary Kircher

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, so most of the questions would see me talking with the communities and the Ahuriri Community Board first, but I am responding with what I do know, or think I know, to give an indication of what I currently understand.
1. Do you think our main street is healthy and successful? (Omarama/Otematata) If not, what would you do to change that?
Omarama is successful but must have its traffic issues fixed. Zoning must be looked at, and provision for new businesses built into the district plan. Otematata has traffic speed and safety issues which must be addressed. If there is a desire for other specific businesses, then the council will work with the community to see how it can influence and encourage that to happen.
2.What is priority for our town right now? Omarama/Otematata
For both: To complete the masterplans and start implementing them! There are always smaller issues and I am always happy to progress them, or support the community with them, but the masterplans will cover so many priorities identified by the community. 
3.The District Plan is under review. If you could change one thing in our zoning code for Omarama and Otematata, what would it be and why?
Again, the masterplans are addressing this, and I am in favour of many of the ideas that are coming from the communities on this matter. As for why, because it is a good indication of what the community as a whole is asking for!
4. If you received a $1 million grant to use for the towns any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why? 
I would set up the money as a discretionary fund, to do several things. Firstly, to act as funding for local community groups who want to help make their community a better place to live in. Secondly, for the implementation of the masterplans, focusing on facilities and amenities over and above what the Council would normally provide.
5. Where are your favourite places to spend time in our towns?
In the towns, I enjoy the cafes of Omarama and the Otematata wetland walks. Slightly further afield, I enjoy relaxing in a number of the special spots around Lake Aviemore near Otematata, and the A2O trail from Omarama to Sailor’s Cutting is a great ride.
6. What do people get wrong about our towns?
The biggest thing people get wrong is that they drive through them, without any appreciation of the wonderful amenities that the towns have, and the beautiful and scenic spots that surround them. Time to stop and smell the roses!
Paul Mutch
1.Do you think our main street is healthy and successful? (Omarama/Otematata) If not, what would you do to change that?
No, the delineation of parking and rest areas is not well developed.  It is essential to eliminate confusion.
2.What is priority for our town right now?
The priority for our small towns is defining identity, their signature, the icons of the place, and how they can be developed. 
3.The District Plan is under review. If you could change one thing in our zoning code for Omarama and Otematata, what would it be and why?
Flexibility in section minimum sizes, and provision of multi-unit accommodation zones very close to services be included. 
 4. If you received a $1 million grant to use for the towns any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?
The water supply and quality is inadequate, especially in peak season times.
5, Where are your favourite places to spend time in our towns?
Otematata:  the wetlands conservation projects, and the camping, boating and fishing opportunities.  Appreciating a way of life that contributed to the development of our country.
Omarama:  by the river, fishing, and the camping ground.  To see the spectacle of the gliders navigating the thermals is breath-taking.
6. What do people get wrong about our towns?
They are not sufficiently informed about our places as destinations.
The priority for our small towns is defining identity, their signature, the icons of the place, and how they can be developed. 
There is a desire to see well-designed and successful landscape options to define parking and rest areas, encouraging stop-overs.  In an age of environmental awareness, successful natural surroundings and biodiversity are an important indicator of the health of an area.  It is important that such developments are well understood and implemented correctly. 
Good designs are instructive and deliver a strong message about the purpose and function of the designated spaces, while adding a natural backdrop to enhance the amenity.  This also provides an opportunity for signage, with our histories, and maps of the respective highlights.  Visitors have not been sufficiently informed about our history, and the importance of its part in developing the nation. 
These are projects that could be instigated easily and in very short time spans.  I’m suggesting that these be the starting points for the discussions that relate to the longer period.
Town masterplans process - next steps
After community workshops in Omarama and Otematata and gathering online feedback, the Waitaki District Council  says it now has "some clear direction" about how the community want to see development proceed.
More than 75 people came to the Otematata workshop and 43 written submissions were received.
More than 50 people came to the Omarama  workshop and there were nine written submissions.
The council says it is working through the feedback to help develop a preferred masterplan option which will be presented to the Ahuriri Community Board in December.
A summary of key masterplan feedback will be put up on the council consultation page at the end of this week.  Read more here
The Noticeboard
To have your community notice included here email:

Congratulations to Jack and Charlotte on your engagement.
Photo: Kevin Grant

Best of luck to the Omarama Men's Golf team competing in the Otago Golf Club Association finals in Balclutha on October 13. 
For a lift to Oamaru for the premiere of Owls Do Cry on Friday, October 4, please contact Renee at the Twizel Bookshop email:, 25 Marketplace, Twizel. Phone: 027 464 5062

A South Island Women’s Symposium will be in Twizel on Friday,  November 8. The symposium theme is ‘Unleash Your Potential’ . For more information contact Sharon Blanchard on 021 145 5905 or at

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.

The Omarama Golf Club  Saturdays tee-off 12.30pm.  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 November issue of the Omarama Gazette
is Wednesday, November 6, 2019.
Please submit copy
by Friday, November 1.
Advertising pays for
production and distribution
To find out about publication and close-off dates,
and how much it costs to place your advertisment, 
 phone 021 294 8002, 03 438 9766 or email
The Community Reports
Upper Waitaki Police News
Hi all,
The last couple of months have been pretty steady for me with the usual crashes, numerous driving complaints and unfortunately, a few burglary complaints.
The Salmon Farm near Twizel has been broken into twice in recent months, as well as a commercial burglary in Twizel and the Omarama Golf club. Thanks to information from the public we were able to identify a suspect for the burglaries in Twizel, and as a result I, Twizel and Fairlie police executed a search warrant at his home address where we located some of the stolen property. He’s subsequently been charged with burglary and receiving stolen property.
You may recall back in June that I charged a male with unlawful hunting near Otematata. He has since appeared at Oamaru District Court and was ordered to pay reparation to the farmer and convicted and discharged. Some people seem to be confused and think that a conviction and discharge means he’s been let off. It doesn’t, it means he has a criminal conviction against his name and has been discharged with no further sentence. The same male also reported to police that he had been burgled and had some expensive hunting equipment stolen. Following the execution of a search warrant at his home, this equipment was located resulting in further charges of obtaining by deception and making a false complaint to police. His suitability to hold a firearms licence is also being reviewed.
It’s worth noting that the unlawful hunting charge carries a maximum fine of $100,000 and 2 years imprisonment.
The Omarama campervan dump station has recently had its money collection box broken into sometime last weekend, so there is definitely a dishonest person/s floating around. Please make sure you keep your property secured.
A big 'thumbs up' to all those that attended the Omarama Friends of School Art auction held at The Heritage in August. I heard it was quite a night, and was a great earner for the school which is fantastic. But what I was really happy to see was that a courtesy coach was supplied and obviously used, due to the number of vehicles parked up overnight, awesome!
Lastly, FENZ Omarama, Omarama Search and Rescue, myself and a couple of local experts, have put together a small working group (The Omarama Emergency Response group) to better prepare for any large scale disaster event and what we would do if we had a lot of displaced victims. Mainly, this was a matter of preparing a plan as to what each agency’s roles would be, as well as identifying/preparing a community shelter – which FYI is the Omarama Community Centre and Hall. We’re doing this with assistance from Civil Defence who’re providing funding to ensure we have the capability to plug in a generator to provide power to the Hall. This is still a work in progress but once completed we intend to hold a large scale multi-agency exercise for the town, meaning we will need lots of volunteers (You) -will  keep you posted.
Being part of this group has made me realise how unprepared I was, personally. How prepared are you? Please take a minute to check out Civil defence’s informative website which gives great advice on how to be ready for an emergency:   There’s some good stuff on there, even advice such as having a short conversation with your family about what to do in such an event, where to meet etc, which if it happens will be of some assistance.
That’s it from me, stay safe. 

Senior Constable Nayland Smith, Omarama Police.
021 191 4808 or email
FENZ Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade
It may seem that I am 'Harping' on but have you checked your smoke alarms as we have now changed to daylight saving. Smoke alarms save alarms. We will happily come and check them for you if you are having any difficulties.
 BBQ season is almost here so remember to check couplings on the gas bottle and the BBQ as well, with some soapy water. Any bubbles expanding means there is a leak. This may require the o-ring to be replaced or just simply the coupling to be tightened.
We are actively looking for new members if you are interested in any part of what we do come along on a Wednesday 7.00 pm and have a chat. We may have a spot on our great little team, both male and female, we would love to see you all. There are a lot of opportunities in our organisation to improve your skills and knowledge.

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. 
Fenz Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade Honours Night
Former Fenz Omarama Volunteer fire brigade chief Terry Walsh was afforded a special honour at Saturday's brigade honours' ceremony.
He was bestowed a Long Service Good Conduct Medal which is issued by the crown on the recommendation of Fire and Emergency New Zealand after 14 years service.
The award was presented by Fenz area manager Keith McIntosh.
Former chief fire officer Terry Walsh is presented with a Long Service Good Conduct Medal
by Fenz area manager Keith McIntosh. 
Photo: Kevin Grant

Otago Southland Provincial Fire Brigades Association past president Gordon McLennan presented the following awards.  
United Fire Brigades Association Honours
3-year certificate; Jacob Cook.
2-year silver bars; Terry Walsh 17 yrs, Bruce Dyson 15 yrs, Zane Lord  9 yrs, Daniel Leopold 9 yrs, Liz Koman 7 yrs, Steph Lord 7 yrs.
The Brigade also gave a jacket to those with five or more years service with the Omarama Brigade; T Walsh, K Rogers. D Tamati, B Dyson, Z Lord, S Lord, E Komen, G Robertson, M Cowie, J Courtney and D Leopold.
 - Congratulations to you all. CFO Greg Harper
Omarama Residents' Association
From the September meeting...
There were 16 people present

Sports Courts:
The association’s sports courts sub-committee has met twice to discuss details about the project work and consents.
It has been agreed the chain-link fence on the boundary which does not affect visibility or shading will be 3m high to prevent balls escaping from the courts.
It appears the toilet requires a fire escape in order to be compliant, but this will be discussed further with the council.
The council has agreed to pay for the survey of the section but expects the repairs to the water main to be paid from the Hall account.
Irrigation will be completed once the courts are finished.
All Health and Safety guidelines will be followed, and it may be necessary to close off the playground for a short period during some parts of the construction.
An inventory has been made of the kitchen equipment and a cleaner is to be employed on a casual basis to attend to general upkeep.
The annual meeting will be 7.30pm, Thursday, October 17
Could all those who want 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

All are welcome

Contacts: Ann Patterson, chairperson, 03 438 9493,
Lorraine King, secretary, 027 434 6027


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 term three assembly

Oh the places they've been and the places they'll go.
It was a packed room for the final assembly of term.
Parents, friends and caregivers gathered to celebrate term successes and say farewell and acknowledge service.
Omarama school principal Kim McKenzie said although the school had hoped to appoint a third teacher for the new term following the successful 'Art for Education' fundraiser, initial arrangements had fallen through.
She acknowledged the work of her principal release teacher Claire Haskens.
As well she thanked Andy Moore as he stepped down from his role as caretaker which would be taken up by Luke Denton.
The junior class presented a short drama and the senior class shared highlights of their "passion" projects which ranged in topic from sharks to learning Spanish.
Senior pupil Laura Patterson, and parents and long-time supporters of the school, Michele and Bryan, were farewelled.
The Sir Peter Blake Young Leader Award was presented to Taylor Anderson.

Term three values awards
Senior class: Learner, Lilly McCabe; Inclusive, Cam Smith; Growth, Toby Courtney; Happy Helper, Poppy Radford; Truthful, Ella Ferguson.
Junior class: Learner, Paige Hunter; Inclusive, Arlo Zeestraten; Growth, Mackenzie Benton; Happy Helper, Jacob Moore; Truthful, Eve McKerchar.   
Ōhau Conservation Trust
Help us remove wilding trees from Ōhau wetlands

On the Sunday of Labour Weekend (October 27) the Ōhau Conservation Trust is holding a work session to remove wilding trees from around two wetlands in a QEII covenant area on Ōhau Downs Stations. You see these very special wetlands on the right as you drive towards Lake Ōhau. We'll start work at 10am and welcome volunteers to come along and help us. We have loppers, saws and electric saws available to remove the trees. Just wear sturdy footwear, be prepared for cold or hot weather and bring a hot/cold drink and lunch. Look for the Trust's signs that will direct you to an area for parking beside Lake Ōhau road.  We will finish up about 2pm - if it is a good day. Check the Trust's website for any updates about this work session and to learn about the Trust's work
- Viv Smith-Campbell, chairperson, The Ōhau Conservation Trust.
Photo: supplied

‘The Community Reports' is
dedicated to news
from clubs, groups and sports teams.

Contributions are welcome 
Otematata honours its fire fighters
Fenz Otematata Volunteer Fire Brigade firefighter of the year is Caitlin Brown, presentations are made,
the crew gathers for official photos. 
Photos: supplied

More than 75 years of combined volunteer service and dedication to Fire and Emergency New Zealand Otematata Volunteer Fire Brigade was recognised at its honours night last month.
Invited guests including Fenz Central-North Otago manager Keith McIntosh, Otago Southland Provincial Fire Brigades Association past president Gordon McLennan and Waitaki District Councillor Craig Dawson joined locals to acknowledge the many hours of service represented at the awards, in what was a “brilliant night”, Fenz Otematata secretary Debbie Smith said.
New fire fighter Caitlan Brown, who was credited with the most turnouts, was named fire fighter of the year.
At the other end of the spectrum veteran fire fighter Neil Pratley received his 40-year certificate and 2-year gold bar.
14-year service awards and good conduct medal went to Deborah Simpson and Brett Smith who also received their 2-year silver bars, as did Hayden Dry and Dave Sutherland.
Officer of the year was Jason Walker and Margaret Rae (brigade treasurer)  was volunteer of the year.
And long-time leader of the crew, chief fire officer Peewee Powell, was presented with a 2- year gold bar.

Neil and Mary Pratley. Photo: supplied
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
Natter, knit, know-how and a big day out
Living doTERRA Naturally representative Marise Harrington demonstrates 
the many uses of essential oils to Otematata's Knatter and Knit group who meet Mondays.

Otematata women have been enjoying a busy social calendar these past couple of months, both home and away.
Earlier in the year a group began meeting at the Otematata District Club each Monday afternoon to “Knatter and Knit” and stave off the winter doldrums.
The idea was to gather for craft work, and to share ideas and interests.
The group has just begun a project to knit squares to make up blankets for the pet crates at SPCA North Otago.
Last week, along with knitting, the group enjoyed a presentation by Living doTERRA Naturally representative Marise Harrington who demonstrated the many uses of essential oils.
On Sunday, a group set off on a ‘mystery’ van trip which took in the Oamaru Farmers' Market, lunch and a house and garden tour of the Historic Rocklands Homestead, at Totara, and  a return trip home via River T Estate.
Next weekend a group of 14 will take off for the weekend to enjoy Wellington's World of WearableArt.
Below: A group of 12 women enjoyed a visit to the Oamaru Farmers' Market, the historic Rocklands Homestead and River T Estate on Sunday. Photos: supplied.
Parsons Rock rally to be an annual event
They just kept on coming …it seemed all road led to Otematata’s inaugural Parsons Rock Motorcycle Rally.
More than 300 had pre-registered for the event based at the camping ground just east of Otematata, Organisers were expecting between 400 and 500 however more than 700 travelled from throughout the South Island for the weekend event, organiser Brent Cowles said.
The event was run by the recently-formed Waitaki Recreational and Boating Club to cater to those interested in motorsports, boating, fishing and diving.
It plans to feed funds raised back into the community and community assets.
Brent, who is also club secretary, said the club was in the process of working through the expenses to come up with the final amount raised at Parsons rock.
“We’re hoping to return as much as is reasonable back into the community.”
The committee plan to set up a scholarship scheme for young people, from Omarama to Duntroon which could help pay for specific needs like travelling to sports or for medical treatment.
The feedback about the event had been “nothing but really positive”.
Businesses from Fairlie through to Duntroon and Kurow had told him they had benefited from the event.
Brent said they would be running it again next year and had council approval to use the same site, most probably on the same weekend in September.
The club would also look into holding a few more organised day-time activities such as planned rides plus they would probably hold an event both Friday and Saturday nights, he said.
He urged all locals interested to join the club as some events would be for members only.
The next event on the calendar is a boat ‘poker run’ on the lake in November.
Otematata Community Library
Otematata Library opening hours.
2.30 till 3.30pm Tuesday and Thursday, 10-30 till 12.00 noon Saturday Mornings.
(After hours returns: Please use the overdues’ slot to the left of the door.)

- Excerpts from Kate Frost's regular newsletter

An update on some of the happenings at our wonderful library.
We have a new library volunteer – Sue Millin. Sue and Bruce have owned a holiday home here for several years and recently returned to Otematata to live permanently after having sold their business on the West Coast.

Our new non-fiction collection is in place although there are a few books still to come. I asked for a few which had not been published at the time so the enjoyment of receiving new items continues. There is such a variety to choose from. 
There are quite a few new books for children, including four Captain Underpants, the four latest titles from David Walliams, four different Ninja Kid books and one of the Dog Man series by David Pilkey.

There will be a competition open for children during the school holidays, run by the Department of Conservation called, "My Favourite Thing to do In Nature.” The forms will be at the front desk.
Check out the Website

Just inside the main door to the left is a new notice board used for displaying local interest notices, such as concerts, exhibitions, competitions, giveaways, etc.

As always there are bargains to be had on the Sales Trolley with books, magazines and jigsaw puzzles-there is a box of WASJIGs going for $1 - $2 each.  Don’t forget our collection of DVDs for all ages.

I have put together a folder containing information, emails, etc entitled “Otematata Water Quality”
It is on the shelf with the Otematata-Pieces of the Past display along with copies of my latest piece of research into Otematata’s history - Snake Gully!

News from 3 Buller Crescent.   Some of you may have noticed a sign on our fence or read in Trade Me or the local Property Guide that our lovely home is for sale.  It's a move we've been thinking about on and off, for about a year. We have decided to make a move now while we are still reasonably physically able and in control of our faculties!! rather than be forced to make a sudden move in  a few years’ time. We have no idea really of where we will go, but it won’t be either south or west of Otematata.
So! If you know of anyone looking for a really decent permanent or holiday home in Otematata check the Contact Details where advertised. We never really thought we’d be moving from Otematata so soon, but the eighteen years we have been here, have been incredibly wonderful, thanks both to all the amazing people we have met who live locally or the many holiday home owners from 'Away!’ 
Looking forward to seeing you at the library…......Individual New Members and New Family Groups
Are always welcome to join......we are still Fees Free!
Regards, Kate, Paula, Shirley, Anita and Sue.
Below: A gift from Oamaru Library to celebrate the delivery of our wonderful new Non Fiction "travelling" collection. Books are processed and on the shelves awaiting your selection. This is a collection of over 70 brand new titles - a huge variety of subjects from motor bike classic races(the Isle of Man) to learning how to knit, do home repairs, inside politics, forensic investigation, bread making, New Zealand cafes, and many more - something for everyone. Now all we need is for you to come and look and hopefully select some to take home. Photo: Kate Frost 

A spring welcome to Otematata.
The daffodils are out in the Otematata Wetlands Walkway.
‘The Otematata Page' is dedicated to
Otematata news,
including from clubs, groups and sports teams.
Contributions are welcome 
Waitaki District Council - news in brief
The roading standard in the district has been defended by Waitaki mayor Gary Kircher.
According to the Otago Daily Times, "A terse exchange" about roading in the Waitaki District Council chambers essentially ended a discussion about the council’s recent annual residents’ survey results . 
The Waitaki lakes camping season appears to have got off to a smooth start, staff from both councils that run camping grounds in the Waitaki Valley  told the Otago Daily Times. 
According to the Otago Daily Times the council last week approved a competitive open procurement process for its parks' maintenance contract.
As part of the review of the Waitaki District Plan, the council has recently written to a number of landowners in Waitaki about buildings or places that may have heritage value.

The council has voted to adopt the latest Remuneration Authority Determination advocating the implementation of a childcare subsidy for elected members, including community board members
Waitaki District Council Property and Communications staff have met with farmer representatives, NZAA, Heliventures staff, aero club and hangar users concerned about drones being flown illegally.
Work is underway at North Otago Museum on refitting the permanent exhibition area. The museum has over 30,000 items in its care
The cultural collections of the Waitaki District are now accessible online through the Culture Waitaki website. In the launch, the team at the Forrester Gallery, North Otago Museum and Waitaki District Archive have put up a selection of over 2500 objects from across the collections.

The Burns Memorial Art Exhibition is a showcase of children’s art that reflects our community and environment. Named to honour George Burns, an Oamaru-born journalist with a passion for children’s art.
The inaugural Ahuriri Community Board meeting is
3.15pm to 4.45pm, Monday, November 11,
at the Omarama Community Centre. 
This inaugural meeting will be subject to confirmation by the new board
following the election on Saturday, October 12, 2019.

Minutes and agendas can be found here
In the very best of Sailors Cutting camping tradition Merv and Dale were ‘first cab off the rank’ when Andy opened the gates to about 47 vehicles and millions of dollars worth of mobile homes on what was a frosty but sparkling  Saturday morning.
Some arrived a few days earlier to make sure they would be early in the queue to claim their spot, some left at 3am to drive to the camping grounds, travelling from as far afield as Timaru and Christchurch.
The 2019/20 Waitaki Lakes camping season opens, today, Saturday September 21, and continues until Sunday May 3, 2020.
Environment Canterbury - news in brief
Environment Canterbury has received hundreds of submissions on its proposed Plan Change 7 to the Land and Water Regional Plan. The independent hearing panel is yet to decide whether it will accept late submissions. A “summary of decisions requested” will be prepared by ECan and publicly notified for further submissions later this year.

Entries for the 2020 Ballance Farm Environment Awards are officially open.
The ECan council adopted the audited Annual Report for the last financial year at the council meeting on September 19.

In May 2019, ECan released an updated map layer showing where wetlands may exist in Canterbury. It says, for some, this has caused discussion – and, in some cases, concern – about what this new information means for landowners.
An increase in complaints of illegal structures for whitebaiting in rivers has led ECan officers to visit waterways to assess the scale of the issue.
A significant moment in the relationship  between ECan and Ngāi Tahu has been marked.
Invited guests from rūnanga across the region, ECan councillors and staff, and representatives from district councils gathered to celebrate the relationship between Environment Canterbury and Ngāi Tahu, known as Tuia.

A hui of community vehicle trust volunteers met last month at ECan in Christchurch to share ideas. Community Vehicle Trusts help provide transport solutions for those in small rural towns of the region.
Over the past year, volunteers have jointly donated more than 17,300 hours of time, nearly 35,000 passengers have been transported around Canterbury by Community Vehicle Trusts, and collectively been driven more than 623,000 kms.
Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee 
Friday, September 20, 2019
Questions were raised at last month’s meeting of ECan’s Upper Waitaki Water Zone committee meeting about what appears to be a lack of progress by the Mackenzie Basin Agency Alignment group in tackling some of the tasks it set itself.
And the point was made several times that zone committee’s work to protect the environment was being hampered by ongoing delays with the alignment programme.
However, those at the heart of the work going on behind the scenes say the issues are more complicated than they might appear and are “legislative” rather than “political”.

To read more scroll to the end of the email.
The next meeting of  Environment Canterbury's 
Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee is 

Friday, November 22, 2019 

Minutes and agendas are posted at:
Those FAQs - the Five Awkward Questions with
                           ...Kim and Roger Read
Roger is founder and director of Youth Glide New Zealand. Roger, an Air New Zealand 787 captain, first started coming to Omarama for gliding in 1974. Kim, who is a nurse, has also been actively involved with YGNZ since it started. She runs the catering and accommodation side of the YGNZ camps. As membership secretary Kim works to attract and retain members as well as taking responsibility for welfare. While home-base is Christchurch much of the summer is spent in Omarama.
1. What is the best advice you have ever been give?
“Have fun…it’s got to be fun!”
2. Tell us something about Omarama we might not know.
“You all know…it’s an absolute gem!”
3.What was your best impulse buy?
“Christmas decorations. I go all out with Christmas decorations. They go up November 1 and stay up until January.”- Kim
“In Hong Kong, last week … a Japanese World Cup Rugby jersey,” - Roger,
to wear in support of a friend’s national team. And Kim bought an All Black’s jersey.
4. What is your best day outside the office?
“Going to the gym.” - Kim
“Going biking and hiking.” – Roger
5. What is your wish for the world?
“To be less reliant on technology…it’s taking over.” – Kim
“Put those phones away and mix.” - Roger
The Directory

phone 021 294 8002 or email



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

To advertise in this section please email
Annual Meeting

St Thomas’ Church , Omarama 
12 noon, Friday, October 11

(postponed from June)
Omarama Memorial Hall.
Bra fittings
Complimentary Bra Fittings
available from 10.30am to 4pm on November  2.
An appointment is necessary.

Phone or text Jeanine on 027 496 5304.
The Weather that was - September 2019 
The Garden Diary

Mme Lauriol de Barny




Barbara Lea Taylor -  Legacy 
She taught me to love heritage roses and she inspired me to write. Not that she would have been aware of either because we never met.
New Zealand rosarian and author Barbara Lea Taylor died in August.
I first came across her writings and enthusiasm for roses in the New Zealand Gardener where she wrote a regular column. She was also editor of the Heritage Roses New Zealand journal which I duly signed up for. I fell in love with the way she crafted words weaving in history, knowledge and wisdom.
With a poet’s sense of the world she painted wild romantic gardens firmly grounded in fact.
Hours of painstaking research must have gone on behind the scenes to bring all together into her a seemingly effortless, easy flow.
Nowadays, we have insta-instant photos, visual reality is all. Not so long ago, words were all important to capture a snapshot of a scene. The cost of putting glossy photos on every page was prohibitive.
Her words undoubtedly rescued many old roses from obscurity with her great ‘character references’ and invaluable growing guides. She grew many, herself, in her large garden surrounding her 1850s cottage in Akaroa.
I invited 'Madame Lauriol de Barny' into our garden on the strength of her word alone.
“The blooms are large, flat, quartered and deep lilac-pink with a silvery sheen, sometimes watermarked like taffeta.” There was no photo, not even in the catalogue. And, more than 20 years on, dearest Madame has never disappointed She loves the high country as much as I do.
Without her recommendations I would not have looked twice at roses bred by the Reverend Joseph Pemberton - the clergyman with a penchant for Greek mythology and breeding hybrid musk roses (who sounds rather like a character from a Jane Austen novel).
'Cornelia' “ – layers of little coral pink petticoats pinned with a golden brooch.”
And 'Prosperity' – "Fragrant and ivory white" and as Barbara Lea Taylor attests – so much better than 'Iceberg'.
Nowadays, all the glossy photos almost do justice to 'Tuscany' but are not quite as spot on as her words.
“Darkest crimson velvet petals surround a golden coronet of stamens, sumptuous and scented. On the practical side , an upright bush with good dark green foliage and few thorns.” 
Her writings, with historic notes and quotes from the great poets, add layers like those petals taking you deep into the world of roses - these sticky, thorny shrubs and ramblers which have accompanied human kind’s progress down through the ages.
Rest in peace, dear lady, and I wish for you bowers of roses - “tumbling, arching, rambling, cascading,…rich as regency silk, delicate as tissue paper, shiny like satin, sumptuous or wide-eyed”.

Ruth Grundy
( I garden a small space under a big sky in Omarama)

- with excerpts from Old Fashioned Roses A New Zealand Growers Handbook by Barbara Lea Taylor
The View from the Chook House
Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee meeting report continued from above...
The Mackenzie Basin Agency Alignment Programme is an alliance between the five agencies with statutory responsibilities in the Mackenzie Basin – the Mackenzie and Waitaki district councils, ECan, Land Information New Zealand, and the Department of Conservation.
The process  to 'align' the work of the agencies began in 2017 and, following a report and recommendations produced in February 2018, plans for how to proceed were put in place.
Community member Mathew Bayliss initially raised the issue of delays  during committee discussion about tourism.
“We have been promised a [combined agency] strategy… as far back as 2017… we have been here several times.”
Annual visitor numbers had now reached one million at Aoraki-Mt Cook and there was still no strategy to “protect our special places”.
Mr Bayliss said he had also expressed frustration about lack of progress to the recent meeting of ECan’s Regional Water Management Committee.
“The promise was made in front of a room full of people these agencies were going to work together. We rely on them.”
The message should be conveyed in “strong language” to those leading the alignment programme to carry out what they were “tasked to perform”, he said.
Community member Richard Subtil said consensus at the Environmental Defence Society conference in August, in Auckland was agency alignment should not be seen as something new, “it is people doing what they should be doing, they just need to do it”.
“All the leading lights at the meeting were saying it was ‘not joined up’.” He said.
Community member Joy Patterson, who is also a member of the Canterbury Aoraki Conservation Board wanted the alignment group to “do something immediately to focus on tourism”.
“If not the whole group, then Mackenzie [the District Council] should drive it,” she said.
The issue was again raised in discussion of the zone committee’s recommendations to protect the water quality at Lake Middleton and later when the proposed Mackenzie Drylands Park was discussed.
The committee was concerned particular members of the alignment group appeared to be dragging the chain on certain issues.
“Has the tourism strategy stalled because Doc hasn’t got its ducks in a row?” Mrs Patterson said.
Mackenzie District Council deputy mayor James Leslie said the problems were “legislative” rather than “political”.
There were certain legalities involved which were hampering progress.
Mackenzie District Councillor Stuart Barwood said frustrations at the lack of progress were such his council was at the point of “thumbing our nose and moving on”.
Following the committee’s field trip to Lake Middleton  - a Doc managed reserve – it agreed the willows should be controlled, sewerage systems improved and the wetlands protected by working with the Ohau Conservation Trust and building a board walk.
The committee has also asked the Waitaki District Council to remove the long-drop near the eastern margin of the lake.
Doc water management coordinator John Benn told the committee that although Doc would control the willows and was working with the Waitaki District Council to link up the sewerage system, it was “reluctant” to build the boardwalk because of the fluctuation in lake levels.
It would also need to sort out the legal boundary and conduct a botanical survey before that happened.
Although these matters were important to the community, for Doc, in the wider picture, they were low priority - “it’s not on the radar”, he said.
Mr Bayliss said he could not understand that reasoning when Doc had the Ōhau Conservation Trust willing to help with funding and project work.
Trust chairperson Viv Smith-Campbell told the committee the trust had advocated for a long time for the agencies get together and make a plan for the lake.
The boundary issue is resolvable – there was “general agreement” now about where the legal boundary was and the trust had the ability to apply for funding from several sources, she said.
“The trust sees this as, if we can’t work together on small things, it is reflective of the bigger things as well.”
Working together on small matters are “runs on the board”.
Mr Subtil said the legal boundary had been “talked about forever”.
Doc’s principal advisor - Mackenzie, Jeremy Severinsen, said if surveying was the barrier then it could fund the survey, including a cultural survey but would need a plan and someone to lead it.
To which Mr Subtil replied he believed Mr Severinsen was ideally placed to do so.
Doc was accountable to the minister and not local community groups - “they can’t be telling Doc how to spend its money”, Mr Benn said.
“We’ve heard your message," Mr Bayliss said.
But he "did not like hearing” Doc was not responding to its “community of interest”.
“[The Ōhau Conservation Trust] says it can get the funding, it’s an no brainer to enable it to do what needs to be done.”
“There is no sense in securing the capital until we unlock the constraints,” Mr Severinsen said.
Mr Cameron said because the A2O cycle trail was bringing more people into the area there was a need to consider either an upgrade or adding new toilets and better signposting.
“The cycle way needs to be responsible for its own bloody toileting,” Mr Subtil said.
“If they are going to build an asset then they need to resource it properly.”
The long drops were not used but the trees were, Ms Smith-Campbell said.
Te Runanga o Waihao representative John Wilkie said when construction of the trails began  tangata whenua had asked where the toilets were going and “got no reply”.
Community member Lisa Anderson said when negotiations were taking place for the extension of the trail around Bog Roy they, as owners, were “firmly told” there was a kilometre break down of where toilets should be installed and a “very strict policy around that".
Mr Severinson was due to give a verbal update to the committee about progress on the Mackenzie Drylands park concept but said he was constrained from doing so because of discussions in progress with Treaty partners.
Doc was committed to "doing its own job well" - weed and pest control - on the land it had and also to “getting back to” the principals of the Treaty of Waitangi.
Doc had not yet moved into the “design” of a dryland park because “co-design is needed”, he said.
In answer to a question from Mr Subtil, Mr Severinsen said the concept of a drylands park had initially been broached about 10 years ago but “active work” on the project only began about 12 months ago, and consultation with rūnanga had begun late in the piece.
“You need a record of what you are committing to, you need a timeline, we need some action.” Mr Subtil said.
Both committee chairperson Simon Cameron and Mrs Patterson urged information be shared not only with treaty partners but also the rest of the community.
“You have been missing in action. People from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are telling us what they are going to do in our backyard,” Mrs Patterson said.
Mackenzie Country Trust general manager Rose Austen-Falloon said it was “keen to work with Doc and rūnanga but had been told it “must be patient”.
“[However] we can’t sit back and do nothing, in the meantime other matters are progressing.”
The trust had obligations under its trust deed that it needed to follow through.
It wanted to see ground-up community engagement, and anything involving landowners had to be voluntary, she said. 
Rick Ramsey, of Mt Cook Alpine Salmon, said he wanted to know “what and where is the dryland park, so we can understand where interests overlap”.
“It’s all very well to be told there is a process underway, but I don’t think anyone knows where we are all talking about,” he said.
Mr Severinsen said there was still planning processes to be worked through.
While acknowledging the failure to include tangata whenua in the early days of the Mackenzie accord, Mr Bayliss said it was now time to move forward.
“We all want the same things…let’s work together.”
Not collaborating, not making use of the work which had already been done was expensive, he said.
Ahuriri Arm Catchment group offered independent assistance.
Consent holders affected by the rise in trophic index levels in the Ahuriri Arm of Lake Benmore have been offered independent assistance from farming industry bodies.
“It needs to be conveyed those farmers are under a lot of pressure from the community,” ECan zone committee facilitator Tami woods said.
 Although the early warning trigger level of 2.75 for 10 consents had been reached, the TLI limit of 2.9 had not been exceeded.
“There is a misunderstanding that those 10 are contributing but it’s all in the catchment contributing,” she said.
In June, ECan’s annual water quality monitoring survey for the Ahuriri Arm showed the TLI had increased to 2.9 from the previous year’s TLI of 2.3.
This means 10 consent holders in the catchment, whose TLI ‘trigger’ levels are 2.75, must take set actions as stipulated by their consents to reverse the trend.
The consensus of that group was everyone wanted to make a reduction in nutrient discharges immediately, rather than move to the two-person panel step, Ms Woods said.
There was a lot of support for a catchment-wide approach, Ecan-led with independent facilitators.
A separate technical group, including ECan staff was discussing options for how to deal with inequity between consent holders.
However, ultimately what farmers decided to do would depend on individual circumstances.
“So it is likely inequity will continue into the future because not everyone will choose to do the same thing,” she said.
“There’s an awful lot of stuff coming at people at the same time, at the moment,” Mr Subtil said.
Beef and Lamb New Zealand and New Zealand Merino had indicated they could offer support to affected farmers, he said.
There was a need to determine where the problems were and how they were going to address them.
It would not address the issue if there was just a blanket reduction in nutrients of 5% across the whole catchment, he said.
The data was being collected so farmers wanted to see the long-term trends and identify “the black holes”.
ECan water quality and ecology scientist Graeme Clarke said ECan was working to get the information and “answer the questions you want answered” but that took time. 
The erosion of Clay Cliffs
At its May meeting the zone committee asked ECan scientists to sample sediment eroded at Clay Cliffs to determine what contribution, if any, it was making to phosphorus levels in Lake Benmore.
In his report to the September meeting Mr Clarke said the Ahuriri River had been eroding the river bank at Clay Cliffs for several years.
It has been “though-provoking” for consent holders because their consent conditions relate to the lake’s TLI and this includes a measurement of phosphorus.
The results of the sampling indicated the material eroded from the riverbank had very low levels of readily available phosphorus, Mr Clarke said.
And they were low when compared to other samples taken from around the region.
Not all material eroded would reach the lake but be deposited on the gravel bars.
However, in high river flows more of the sediment could be carried into the lake.
There was a lack of data about this aspect of river water quality which made it difficult to put into context  “regarding the total catchment sediment load”.
The “erosion and deposition” occurring in the river were “natural and vital to the maintenance of the braided nature of the river”.
The amount of “plant-available” phosphorus in the sediment is likely to be “limited”.
But it was important it was monitored especially in high flow events.
“It’s not a large issue for algal growth but we need to keep an eye on it”
 “If water doesn’t come through the Haldon Arm it could be a different story. But I don’t see that happening,” Mr Clarke said.
Omarama Gazette
Editor: Ruth Grundy,
021 294 8002, 03 438 9766
Copyright © 2016-2019, Omarama Gazette, All rights reserved.

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