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Ōmārama Gazette
September 2022
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The September Issue 

Ōmārama Hotel makeover begins
Need to deliver on community mandate
 Flood event - is it time for a debrief? Part two
ECan responds to questions
Cost blow out on water supply upgrade
Community Care Group update 
Daffodil Day fundraising success
Farewell to an Omarama legend

Regular Features

Something to Puzzle Over 
The Noticeboard 

The Community Reports 
The Directory
The Last Page is Classifieds
The Weather that Was
Ōmārama Hotel makeover begins
Boots and Jandals Hotel Omarama manager Bruce and Julie Dyson
discuss progress with new owner Dave Ellis

 After a bit of a stop go start, and now with new owners at the helm, the long-awaited makeover of Omarama’s first hotel has begun.
David and Karen Ellis bought the Omarama Hotel and the adjacent land in July this year and the makeover began in earnest just one month later.
A temporary kitchen and other utility spaces were moved onsite – “Container City” as the excavators moved in, and the renovations have begun.
Trading as Boots and Jandals Hotel Omarama, the business will continue under the management of Bruce and Julie Dyson.  
Previous owners had planned renovations in mid- 2021 but these were postponed with no definite start date because of unforeseen delays with compliance.
While substantially the same, the new plans had been adapted from the original a little, Dave said
The work was now urgent because the kitchen was close to being declared not fit for purpose, he said.
Parts of the hotel, including the kitchen, were more than 100 years old.
The new look includes a new dining area, a bigger kitchen and boutique accommodation, plus a garden bar.
Timaru-based Shore Construction will carry out the work.
The oldest part of the building – the front entrance and side wall have Waitaki District Council District Plan category B heritage status.
Dave said they were working closely with council heritage advisor Heather Bauchop and, while they wanted to preserve the feature, closer inspection had caused concerns. 
The builders consider the wall and foundations could be unsafe and so engineers' reports have been commissioned to determine what needs to be done, he said.
“The wall is very brittle…I’d be more than happy to save it if it was safe.”
Another option could be to build a replica of the feature, he said.
Although it was going to be a “real challenge” the aim was to have the kitchen and restaurant completed by Christmas. 
“The restaurant, with a garden bar and six rooms, initially.”
Full completion date is mid-May 2023.
The décor had yet to be decided but would continue to be in keeping – a country feel with a family atmosphere.
“We want it to be a place for locals and visitors to enjoy.”
And renovating the bar is on the longer term plan, he said.
The couple have not yet decided on plans for the adjacent section but had thought motels may be a good fit for the location, Dave said.
The Hotel has a licence to occupy  the frontage on the corner of SH8 and SH83 from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
Dave and Karen plan to make the garden bar family friendly providing a safer environment  for children.
Again, with safety in mind, there has been an agreement made with the council to take the A2O cycle track away from the highway junction and divert it across the back of the property.
Dave hopes the makeover will “breathe a bit of new life into the town” and the couple are keen to hear any suggestions from locals. 
“We won’t always get it right, but we want to get the right balance for locals and visitors alike.”
Patrons are asked for their understanding during the build as staff work to cater for the numbers using the much smaller container facility.
Need to deliver on community mandate
St John Rural Otago area operations manager David Milne explains how the medical 111 system works in Omarama. phto: Dan McCormack

It is still too soon to take the pedal off the metal, according to those pushing for a formal commitment to be made to call the Omarama First Response unit out to all medical emergencies.
Between 170 and 200 people including representatives from other South Island First Response units attended last month’s public forum to discuss the withholding of 111 medical emergency calls from the Omarama First Response
The Omarama Residents’ Association hosted the forum on behalf of the trust.
Residents were concerned their fully equipped and community-funded First Response was not being used as it should, leaving residents to face long waits for an ambulance to be sent from other centres.
Last week, St John and Fire and Emergency New Zealand issued a joint statement.
The statement said, following the forum, Hato Hone St John and Fire and Emergency New Zealand  had taken action to make sure the ‘enhanced first response trial’ in Omarama was operating as intended. 
An ‘enhanced first response’ means the Omarama first response unit can be dispatched to less severe medical calls than first responders in the rest of the country, who only attend life threatening or serious incidents. 
It also said it would start the review of the current Memorandum of Understanding by November 1.
In order for the local agreement with the Omarama First Response to be formally recognised by St John and Fenz  it must be included in this MOU. 
This means the present arrangement is provisional.
It also applies only to the Omarama First Response and no other first response brigades.
Omarama First Response Trust spokesperson Craig Dawson thanked the community for its support and acknowledged the statement issued by St John and Fenz. 
“We are looking forward to [the] signing [of] a new MOU enshrining this process and look forward to seeing this revision work in practice. 
“You will also be aware that we have a petition in progress, which has received a lot of backing from locals and travellers alike, showing strong support for our actions. 
“In my view, we should pursue this to the select committee level to push for this standard to be enshrined in law,” Mr Dawson said.
Residents’ Association of Omarama chairperson Lindsay Purvis said the association planned to discuss the developments and its next moves at its upcoming meeting. 
“Personally I think that the number of residents who attended [the forum]sends us a direct mandate that we should continue to be involved, and, until we get some sort of assurance that the MOU will be changed in our favour in November, then we should keep pushing ahead with not only the petition but also trying to get as many of those other First Responders to send in their letters of concern to St John and Fenz as well.
In an interview with the Timaru Herald Mr Purvis said, although the community was pleased with “the traction they have made so far”, they would not relax until a decision to allow the town’s First Response team to attend less severe medical emergencies was formalised. 
Mr Purvis said the association had received a letter of intent to make changes, but they would keep pushing for that to be formalised. 
“We haven't taken our foot off the throttle yet. We are quite pleased with the traction we made with this, but it needs to be done in a more formal way. 
“It’s [the letter] fine for the meantime, but what we would like to see is a change in the MOU,” Mr Purvis said in the article. 
Mr Purvis noted St John had taken steps to ensure its dispatchers understand the different criteria which applies to calls in the Ōmārama brigade area. 
However, he said “with the passage of time, there will be new dispatchers, and we will have to do this all over again.”
The Omarama Gazette understands, since the public forum,  there has been one medical call out – an orange call – and the First response was turned out to assist until the St John ambulance arrived from Oamaru.
The matter will be discussed at the next meeting of the Residents’ Association 7pm, Sept ember 7 at Omarama Community Centre.
A petition requesting Parliament urge St John and Fenz allow Omarama First Response to respond to 111 medical and personal alarm calls in the Omarama call-out area,  regardless of acuity is available online here
The petition closes September 30.
A video of the meeting can be found on the Omarama Gazette YouTube channel here:
VIDEO: Dan McCormack
Below: About 200 people attended a public forum at the Omarama Memorial Hall to discuss concerns about the ongoing operation of the Omarama First Response unit.
Photo: Dan McCormack
Flood event -  time for a debrief, part two
The Omarama Stream flows down the avenue
and into the Top 10 Holiday Park on July 19, 2022

We left the Omarama Gazette August issue’s wrap about the management of the July flood by Waitaki District Council and its emergency management team  with many unanswered questions.
Some answers have filtered in since – here is the link to that first story with the updates.
Two fundamental questions were asked.
Why was a civil defence emergency not called in Omarama? and, What were the reasons behind that decision.?
As well, the Omarama Gazette made a Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act request for information pertaining to that decision  because it is in the public interest to know how that was made.

The questions were addressed to council chief executive Alex Parmley and Waitaki District Emergency Management advisor Ewen Graham.
It council response was that it was not called because no additional powers were required to respond to the event.  
Ultimately, the decision is a “collective decision between several internal and external stakeholders, which includes emergency services”.
But it is the job of the management advisor to assess the information, get the ball rolling and assemble a team as the information of an ‘incident’ comes in.
In all cases, for reasons of accountability and liability it is standard practice that discussion is well-documented as a situation unfolds - hence regular 'sitreps' or situation reports. 
One could reasonably assume the information remains readily accessible for review. 
Which is why the council’s initial response to the Gazette LGOIMA request for that information was surprising.
The council acknowledged receipt of the request on August 1 with a commitment to reply, as required no later than August 29 being 20 working days after the day the request was received. 
More than two week later, on Friday, August 18, the council advised it had “reviewed and decided to partially grant” the request. 
Staff said the request included call recordings, which they refused to supply for privacy reason.
This was not part of the request.
(To read the full transcript of emails click here)
“Given the amount of resource required to process the remainder of your request, we have decided to charge for making the requested information available. 
“We estimate that the maximum charge will be $330.00 for four hours of work (first hour free, then $55 per half-hour, or part thereof) to extract the information you have requested… 
“Before we proceed further with your request, please confirm your agreement to the charge and pay the full amount $110.00.  
“Once you have agreed to this payment Council will send you an invoice for you to pay. We will send you the information as soon as practicable after your payment.”
In the reply sent the same day the request was 'clarified', a recalculation sought, and agreement made to pay $110 on receipt of invoice.
The invoice arrived the following Friday and was paid.
Then, because of “work constraints” a time extension was sought.
Some material did duly arrive in the inbox Monday, September 5.
Curiously, there are no records of any conversations between the emergency management advisor and the Waitaki mayor, the Council chief executive or deputies as events unfolded on Monday, July 18.
Plus, despite specifying the documents sought were to be relevant to the Omarama July 18 Flood event some 25 documents produced were particular to other areas – Outram, Chatto Creek, Balclutha.
So, what does the documentation show?
The log of events shows alerts were raised with the Waitaki emergency management advisor– Mr Graham - just after 8pm Monday evening when flooding began affecting highways, streets and properties in Otematata.
Environment Canterbury had earlier issued flood warnings for the Ahuriri and Omarama Stream catchments and the advance warnings meant emergency services and those in low lying areas were somewhat prepared.
As the evening progresses information comes in from roading teams about damage and successive road closures through the district. 
Several statements are made that despite rising water the Police and the community are managing.
At 21.12 the log records that Police advise  the Lindis Pass is closed.
In the next entry at 00.36 Tuesday the log records that Omarama Police advise homes are being evacuated.
“All have places to go / stay bar one," is the note. That is the last entry for the night.
The next entry in the log for the Waitaki District is made at 9.59 am advising of the Bridge washout on Lake Ohau Rd. 
The Emergency Operations Centre is activated and the first Incident Management Team meeting – council staff who will respond to the emergency - is called for 10.30am.
Meanwhile back in Omarama, according to the log provided to the Omarama Gazette by Omarama Police, events unfolded a little more dramatically through the night. 
While checking the bridge on Broken Hut Rd at Berwen at about 11.20pm Senior Constable Nayland Smith gets a call to say the Omarama Stream has broken its banks and was flooding Omarama Top 10 Holiday Park. 
About 60 people are evacuated from the camp with the help of the Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade. 
A welfare centre, staffed by those same volunteers, is set up at the Omarama Memorial Hall and the Heritage Gateway Hotel opens rooms to accommodate evacuees, most, but not all, of whom were holiday makers from the camp. 
Snr Const Smith and Fire Brigade volunteers continue to alert residents along the Omarama Stream and negotiate swiftly flowing water in the dark to evacuate affected homes, completing the task sometime between 2am and 3am Tuesday morning. 
In all, the Omarama Gazette has verified, a further 17 households were affected with 39 people ‘displaced’.
Not everyone evacuated, some chose to stay. All were safe.

Residents woke to impassable roads, bridge washouts and debris – branches, roots, gravel, general detritus - backed up in properties and strewn for miles, garages and basements which had been inundated leaving tidemarks at about ¾ metre off the ground, and sodden carpets and furniture.
The town water supply was obviously compromised.
The hardest hit businesses were, first and foremost, the Top 10 Holiday Park, followed closely by Ōmārama Hot Tubs, as were other smaller and significant businesses along the path of the flood waters.
The first EOC ‘sitrep’ on Tuesday morning (time not noted on the document but likely to be around the time of the first meeting of the Incident Management team) noted the affected roads through the area, made mention of the 60 evacuated from the camping ground and the boil water notice for Omarama. 
Entries regarding Omarama evacuees referred to a “couple of" or “a few” households in addition to those from the camping ground. 
The Omarama sitrep carried out after midday on July 19 has this note:
"Overnight there were a number of evacuations from Omarama and Otematata including the campground with 60 people evacuated. There were also voluntary evacuations from some private properties. Our local Ahuriri Community Board Members, Emergency Services and Community Members have responded to localised flooding in Otematata and Omarama.”
A task was set to check on the welfare of Omarama evacuees but was “stood down” when State Highways 8 and 83 opened on Wednesday, July 20 allowing travellers to continue their journeys.
In a later update which suggests the media team issue “more mental health posts” there is this entry;
"Disgruntled residence [sic] in Omarama – not sure on substance. Possibly already disgruntled before the event.”
There is no note made of the subject of the complaint or request.
In stark contrast the logs show from Tuesday morning the Emergency Operation Centre prioritised the welfare and went out of their way to help the residents and holiday makers stranded because of the bridge washout on Lake Ohau Rd.
This was not the experience of Omarama Hot Tubs when owners sought help with its septic tank issue.
Following an event it is standard procedure to have a recovery plan – part of the emergency management role.
There is no evidence in the paperwork produced of a recovery plan for Omarama
So, what luck with the debrief?
In response to the suggestion a meeting of council staff, Environment Canterbury, emergency services and members of the community be held to ensure future plans and protocols were fit for purpose and worked as they should, the council spokesperson said
“We have held a debrief from this event which includes planning for future events.
“Further to this, Ewen Graham is liaising with the Ahuriri Community Board for a debrief with emergency responders.
“We also conduct ongoing training for Council Staff who move from their regular positions to roles within the EOC."
Mr Graham and Mr Kircher held closed meeting in Otematata with emergency services volunteers from Otematata and Omarama, Omarama Police, and  Ahuriri Community Board member Otematata resident Brent Cowles.
Apart from the emergency services volunteers no representative of the Omarama community was invited.
However, Omarama Residents’ Association chairperson Lindsay Purvis did attend.
After this meeting Mr Kircher posted on Facebook:
"August 10
We had a very good meeting last night in Otematata with representatives of both the Otematata and Omarama volunteer Fire Brigades, as well as ‘Bean’ Smith representing the police and Ewen Graham, Waitaki’s Emergency Management Officer.
I don’t know if any of us were expecting the meeting to run for two and a half hours, but there was a lot of very good information shared as we discussed the weather events that have occurred over the past four weeks!
This ranged from procedural matters such as what went well and what didn’t, through to pinpointing where flood and safety issues occurred throughout the area. There was a fair share of criticism raised with how the response from the centralised Emergency Operations Centre was perceived in the communities, and there are a number of key actions which we agreed on. Comms is often an issue in widespread emergency situations such as we have experienced over the past four week, and we discussed a range of ways to improve this, particularly between the Emergency Operations Centre and emergency services, and also for the information being shared with the wider community. In some cases, it was a lack of information that was the problem, but in other cases the information was available but it wasn’t getting to those who needed it most.
These types of emergencies often bring out the best, and sometimes the not-so-good, in people, and the response from our volunteers and police has been nothing short of outstanding! They have worked long hours to help their communities - something that is particularly special in rural districts like Waitaki. I know there are many people, myself included, who are grateful for all they have done. They are our local heroes and we couldn’t do without them!"
In Omarama the following week the council held  what was advertised as a Waitaki Economic Development Strategy briefing session for Ōmārama businesses. 
Five Omarama people attended the presentation.
There was also a further 30-minute open session to discuss broader community concerns with Mr Parmley and Mr Kircher.
Surprisingly, also in attendance was Mr Graham... so was this Omarama's opportunity for a 'debrief'?
There were no agenda items published nor was the meeting advertised as an opportunity for an emergency management ‘debrief’ for the Omarama community.

ECan responds to questions
Environment Canterbury rivers manager Leigh Griffiths answers questions put to her by the Omarama Gazette about the catchment following the recent Omarama Stream flood events.
What is the present situation?
Flows in the catchment are still high, and ground is still very wet. As is the case across the region, any significant rainfall would impact the stream more than usual.
From our observations during visits to Top 10 Holiday Park and Omarama Station, the stream is still finding its preferred bed.
Downstream of the SH8 bridge where flow paths have changed, is old flood plain with channels going in many different directions and the stream is still settling down.
The flood event of July 18 was the highest ever recorded flow at Wardells bridge.
When was the last maintenance work carried out and what was that?
ECan has a very small rating district from the confluence of the Ahuriri to SH8 bridge. 
Upstream of the SH8 bridge to Wardells is outside of the rating district.
This is where the out-of-stream flows originated from which flooded the Top 10 Holiday Park and downstream properties. The area benefiting from the small rating district is not large.
It is a long narrow rating district and as a result the ability of the rating district to pay for works is of modest proportions. Average maintenance expenditure is only in the order of $1000 per year.
The last maintenance work was completed in January 2021 where a build-up of debris was cleared, and blockages removed in the active channel from the footbridge downstream to adjacent of the settling ponds.
River control works are constructed in a very high-energy environment with the purpose of resisting and absorbing some of that energy. No matter what the standard of maintenance, damage to such systems is inevitable. 
What remedial work has ECan carried out since the flooding?
ECan has over $20 million in damage to flood schemes across the region from the May 2021 flood event and the successive flood events in July 2022.
There has been no remedial work carried out on Omarama Stream so far due to prioritisation across the region, resource constraints and the funding challenges associated with the rating district.
Staff have however been in contact and have had site meetings with the leasees of the property downstream of the SH8 bridge, and the upstream landowner who were significantly affected by flood flows and have been discussing the work that needs to take place. 
What mitigation efforts are planned given the likelihood of more heavy rain in the coming months? October, November and January are usually high rainfall months in Omarama.
We are currently gathering all the information related to the flood events of July and August 2022 to guide us on the next steps. We are also working on aligning with our partners and stakeholders that have an interest in Omarama Stream to collaborate on works going forward. This may include investigating removal of old willows downstream of the golf course.

ECan councillor Peter Scott sent this response
"The present situation is that part of the stream is outside the rating district where money would be available for remediation and also any maintenance of the stream.
I am not aware of any work that has been carried out at this point." 
As well Cr Scott has visited the stream and seen the damage.
He has since spoken with ECan's head river engineer and she has visited the site also, as have other rivers staff. 
Cr Scott understands there are to be discussions with the Waitaki District Council about a possible fix and where the funds would come from.
You won't want to miss this!
A wee bit of rock 'n' roll
There was a great turnout last month at the Omarama Community Centre to 'rock star' GNS Scientist geologist David Barrell's talk on the Ostler Fault.
David's presentation was recorded and is on the  Waitaki Whitestone Geopark YouTube channel

Photos: Michelle Kitchen
Cost blowout on water supply upgrade
Last month the Waitaki District Council sent the Omarama Gazette the press release below - a brief update on progress with the township's water supply upgrade.
It offers a glimpse into the council’s plans. Here it is published in full.
Omarama Water Supply Upgrade Progress
Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Over the past several months, work has been progressing in the background on upgrading Omarama’s water supply to meet the new Drinking Water Standards. The upgrade is also a chance to ensure the supply is more resilient to events like flooding – which is particularly relevant at this time.
With this in mind, Council purchased a block of land adjacent to the current treatment plant site to house the new plant and supporting infrastructure. This land sits outside the flood-prone area and will also provide better access for our plant operators and other contractors. 
Land use and water take consents have now been obtained, and design work completed for the plant pipework and equipment, bores, electrical systems and treatment plant building. One of the key elements of the building design is ensuring it fits in well with the local environment.
Council will shortly be tendering for the civil and electrical works, and all going to plan, the new plant will be ready to operate before June next year. ENDS
If you’re keen to follow the ‘paper trail’, and for a wider view and context ...
Read on Dear Reader

In chronological order, beginning one year ago -
🟠 Waitaki District Council media release August 25, 2021
“Waitaki District Council has been granted $3.73m directly and is likely to receive $3.69m through the Canterbury Regional allocation, giving a total of $7.42m to be spent in the 3 Waters area within the Waitaki.
Further to this, Waitaki District Council today agreed to approve a Programme of Works to spend the $6.74m of infrastructure investment throughout the Waitaki district.
The work includes; $1.5m for the replacement of water mains and $1m for waste water treatment in Palmerston, $1.4m for water treatment upgrades in Oamarama, $200k for more water storage in Duntroon and Otematata, $500k for improvements to campground water supplies, $500k each in Weston and Otematata for water mains, $500k for various electrical upgrades, $300k for watermains at Robbs Crossing, $100k for a new tank liner at Omarama, $100k each for wastewater planning at Duntroon and Moeraki and $100k for sewer improvements at Ohau. ENDS"
🟠 From the agenda for the additional council meeting October 26, 2021
Public excluded: Omarama Land purchase for new water treatment plant.
That the public be excluded from the following parts of the proceedings of this meeting.
The general subject matter of each matter to be considered while the public is excluded, the reason for passing this resolution in relation to each matter, and the specific grounds under section 48 of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 for the passing of this resolution are as follows: 
General subject of each matter to be considered
Reason for passing this resolution in relation to each matter
Ground(s) under section 48 for the passing of this resolution
7.1 - Ōmārama land purchase for a new water treatment plant
s7(2)(i) - the withholding of the information is necessary to enable Council to carry on, without prejudice or disadvantage, negotiations (including commercial and industrial negotiations)
s48(1)(a)(i) - the public conduct of the relevant part of the proceedings of the meeting would be likely to result in the disclosure of information for which good reason for withholding would exist under section 6 or section 7
🟠 From the council Assets Group update to the Ahuriri Community Board  November 9, 2021 
“The Ōmārama drinking water upgrade is ongoing, with Council resolving at its 26 October 2021 Additional Council Meeting to purchase land for the location of a water treatment plant in Ōmārama. Securing the new site will allow construction to commence and will position the water treatment plan away from the road edge and reduce the risk of flooding of the site. This project is also partially funded through the Three Waters Reform programme.”
🟠 Here is the Omarama Gazette story published in November 2021
Council assets operations manager Joshua Rendell answers questions about the plans.
🟠 Assets Committee meeting April 26, 2022, A request for additional funding
Item 4.1 Page 10 (For the full report click here)
Author: Gareth Phillips, Senior Project Engineer - Water Services
Authoriser: Paul Hope, Acting Assets Group Manager
That the Assets Committee recommends:
That Council:
1. Approves additional funding of $1.62 million for completion of the Ōmārama Water Supply upgrade.
2. Agrees to loan-fund the additional $1.62 million with long-term funding for loan repayment to be determined in conjunction with the 3 Waters Investment Programme 2022-24 projects.
Here is the budget which was presented with the recommendation:

🟠 Click here for the video of the meeting discussion
🟠 And the full media release about the increased costs
20 April 2022
Council looks to increase funding for Ōmārama water upgrade
Treatment plant upgrade first cab off rank for new Water Services Act
Waitaki District Council will next week consider putting an additional $1.62 million towards the Ōmārama Water upgrade project, meaning a revised total project cost estimate of around $3 million. Acting Assets Group Manager Paul Hope said the funding boost for the project, first approved in 2020, was necessary due to several issues. While the initial project budget remains fully funded through the government support programme which will make the upgrade more affordable for Ōmārama residents, the original estimate had been conservatively based on a similar project in Otematata and several significant changes have occurred since that time - including the new Water Services Act, stricter water treatment standards and significant increases in the cost of materials and professional services - which when combined with other factors, have had a substantial impact on actual project costs and estimates. “These factors have collectively added an additional $1.62 million to the project budget," said Waitaki Mayor, Gary Kircher. “However, consumers on the water scheme can be reassured that the upgrade will give them a water supply that meets the new, tougher drinking water standards and that is significantly more resilient to weather and other events, reducing the likelihood of having the boil water notices that have occurred in the past. The long-term future of the Ōmārama water supply is protected and we think that is a very good thing indeed.” This will be the first treatment plant upgrade completed under the new Water Services Act 2021.

🟠 As well, reportedly, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher and council chief executive Alex Parmley raised the topic for discussion at the  Waitaki Economic Development Strategy briefing session for Ōmārama businesses, held last month. Five people attended this meeting. No agenda items for this meeting were advertised.
Daffodil day fundraising success
Daffodil Day in Omarama is always a harbinger of Spring. 🌱🎋🌿

Our smiling volunteers were stationed outside Four Square Ōmārama. and raised  $684.80 for the Cancer Society's Daffodil Day. All money raised goes towards cancer care for patients and their whānau, education and awareness programmes, and life-saving cancer research.

Volunteers (from left) Michelle Kitchen, Greg Harper and Shona Smith
collect for the cause. Photo: Adrienne Harper.
Farewell to an Omarama legend
To the family and friends of Lindis Courtney who last month passed away peacefully at Lister Home, Waimate,  in his 98th year.
A founding member of the Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade and Omarama community stalwart.
Your legacy lives on, Lindis. May you rest in peace.
Community Care Group update
Hi all,
When we set out on this venture in February this year, we had no idea what would be ahead of us, and predictions looked mighty grim.
Forecasters said we could be overwhelmed by Covid-19 case numbers and in a short space of time.
Because hospitals and other health carers would be busy taking care of the most serious cases most people with Covid would be managed at home.
This raised a few alerts.

In Omarama we are isolated from many of the door-to-door services readily available in towns – just think, Uber eats – and although we are a caring community and each of us readily steps up to help we wondered if our usually reliable neighbourliness may also be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of cases predicted.
So a few of us hastily got together – remotely when necessary and otherwise socially distanced and masked up - to lay out a plan for what had the potential to evolve into a slow-moving civil defence emergency.
The volunteers involved included Omarama Police, FENZ Omarama, Otago Rural Support Trust, Omarama Resident's Association and Omarama business representatives.
The team grew to more than 40 volunteers in a short space of time and over the past few months it has really encompassed the whole township as people have sought to ‘pay it forward’.
I would dearly love to name everyone who has helped, but you know how that works!
However, there is no need for me to tell you just how much love went into each of those care packages – from the beautifully crafted biscuits to the delicious soups and comfort meals, to the donations of much-loved toys and books - as we all wished each of you the very best as you went through the ‘process’ that is Covid.
No-one said ‘no’ to helping. I’ve said it more than once, the minute the Care Room started to look a little empty the tables and freezer were groaning with gifts once again.
Huge thanks must go to Four Square Omarama – Blair and Alona – and St Thomas’s Church who stepped up in the initial stages to turn the plan into practical reality.
Without their belief in the project, and practical support it would never have got off the ground.
As we moved further into the pandemic outside agencies also stepped up to make sure the group was funded and the township was well-stocked with Rats, masks, gloves,
As the pandemic slowed Omarama was hit by two extraordinary flooding events and the care group stepped up again to be there for those hit hardest. 
In all, since February this year, the care group has lent a helping hand to about 80 households.
And here we are after two review dates have come and gone looking at the practicalities once again and asking ourselves, where to from here?
We learned lessons along the way and, yes, when you’re going through tough time Omarama is a million miles away from anywhere.
For some it can mean making the difficult choice to move away from a home of a lifetime. In practical terms, resources even 20 minutes away can be out of reach.
So is there a way to take some of what we learned forward into a more permanent set-up?
Some of us are doing some more research into this idea.
The future of the Care Group and what shape it could take will be discussed at the Residents’ Association meeting on September 14.
It will also be decided what should happen to remaining funds and other donations.
If you would like to be part of the discussions or have suggestions please come along or contact myself, Ruth Grundy, or Residents’ Association chairman Lindsay Purvis, secretary Yvonne Jones or any other member of the committee.

PS We know Covid-19 has not stopped knocking on doors yet, so please do give any one of us a call if you or a friend or neighbour get an unwelcome visit. We’re still here to help

Thank you from Marylou Blue

Hi dear team,
 I am absolutely thrilled this small township is so thoughtful, kind, caring and has a team prepared for Covid 19.
Thank you so much!
I was extremely well looked after and I hope I wasn't too much trouble. My newspaper was brought to my door every day.. What more would you want!
The beautiful gift basket was perfect..
 I can't thank you enough for all the thoughtful kindness and caring.
- Marylou Blue
Because they needed a bigger digger
Relief at the Omarama Golf Club last month proved short-lived when the next burst of rain undid most of the good work carried out after previous flooding. 
Help arrived  at the Omarama Golf Club shortly after the second rain event in the shape of a big yellow SouthRoads digger, 
But the best news was the work would not cost the volunteer-run Golf Club a cent
SouthRoads operations manager Grant Campbell said it had many of its crew staying in Omarama since the first flood event in July as they worked to restore roads and bridges in the area.
“We have been well looked after and hosted by everyone” - the motels, hotel, cafés.
“We decided we would like to give something back,” Grant said.
“How else are they [the club] going to do this?” he said as he surveyed the flood damaged course and club rooms.
So, between essential jobs SouthRoads has donated the machinery, time and some materials to attend to this remedial work.
After the first flood event club members and other volunteers held several well-attended working bees to restore the property.

Driven by SouthRoads operator Shane Gregory, the digger began work in sunshine.
However, further rain undid a lot of the good work. see the Omarama Golf Club report below.
Something to puzzle over 
Team work makes the dream work :)
The Noticeboard

To have your community notice included here email:
Sincerest condolences to family and friends of Lorinet Lynch who passed away last month after a long illness. Our thoughts go especially to Ella and Wency.

Condolences to the family and friends of Paul Hudson, who passed away in Dunedin last month following a stroke. 

Congratulations to Greg Harper, Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade fire chief, on the occasion, this Saturday, of your gold star presentation for 25 years service.

Annual meeting: St Thomas's Management Committee will hold its annual meeting 2pm Thursday, September 22 at the Wrinkly Rams, Ōmārama. Apologies by email; to the secretary, Rev Lee Kearon,

Community Housie has finished for  winter.
There will be Christmas Housie at the Wrinkly Rams café, date to be confirmed.

Kurow Medical Centre  Ōmārama Clinic at the  Ōmārama Community Centre, is open Thursdays, 8.30am to 12.30pm. To make appointments for all clinics, order repeat scripts or make enquiries please contact Kurow Medical Centre 03 436 0760
(Monday to Thursdays).

The Ōmārama Community Library is open 9.30am to 11am,  Wednesdays and Saturdays. Library hours can change. Contact Yvonne: 027 476 7473.

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

The Ōmārama Golf Club  Saturdays cards in 12pm, tee-off 12.30pm. Club captain James Moynihan phone: 027 215 8266; email

The Ahuriri Community Catchment Group meets once a month. For time and place contact facilitator Nicola McKerchar. Phone: 022 612 7570; email:

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

Ōmārama Playgroup meets at 9.30am each Wednesday during the primary school term at the Ōmārama Community Centre.  For more information phone president Nic McKerchar 022 612 7570 or secretary Tarsh Bell  027 349 0016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plunket Line: 0800 933 922
Ōmārama Plunket Committee: Aimee Snelgrove 
022 350 5536
The October issue of the Ōmārama Gazette
is Wednesday, October 5, 2022

The close-off for this is Thursday, September 29.

Office hours are from 8am to 10am, Monday to Friday
Advertising pays for
production and distribution
To find out about publication and close-off dates,
and how much it costs to place your advertisment, 
 phone 021 294 8002, 03 438 9766 or email
A message from Mobil Ōmārama
Due to staff illness, our workshop hours may vary but please ring Terry on 027 369-3724 any time and he will organise someone to help.
- really appreciate your patience in these trying times. 

Regards, Terry and Michelle Walsh.

Change of Hours

As from this week, trading hours will be
8.30am to 7pm seven days a week 
Alona and Blair Shaw
The Community Reports
Ōmārama Volunteer Fire Brigade 
Kia ora,
Here we are in September. Let's hope the weather improves. I have been travelling the highways a bit lately and there are some pretty rough patches in all directions so please take care if you are traveling. Some of the speed limits should be less than what they in my opinion.
We are still in open fire season but please check the weather conditions before you put a match to your slash piles etc.
Thank you to all that attended the public meeting at the hall about the First Response team not getting called to all the calls as was meant to be the case.
Your support and comments were very well put together and were extremely hard to disagree with.
If you have been following the media reports you will note both Fenz and St John have met and the things that were sometimes being done or not understood by dispatchers have been corrected.
Good news for any body in our area that needs medical help.
Please, if you are unfortunate enough to have to ask for medical help, dial 111 and ask for ambulance. If there is a problem both Fenz and St John are monitoring the calls that come in so that any hiccups can be sorted.
Stay Safe
Greg Harper and the team at the Ōmārama Volunteer Fire Brigade      

Greg Harper
Chief Fire Officer 
021 293 1171
Facebook: /Omaramafirebrigade
Ōmārama Golf Club
Ōmārama Golf Club gets hit again!!
- By Paul Bowman

Many of you won’t realise the golf club suffered flooding again. On three occasions  the Ōmārama Stream has come across the drive and flowed across the course causing more damage.
We are lucky the car park kindly rebuilt by SouthRoads looks to have only minor damage.
With more rain predicted it is a concern to how much more flooding we might get.
A big thank you to all those that have supported the club during the flooding.
Photos above: By Paul Bowman

Ōmārama Golf Club report 
By Christine Bowman

First a big thank you to everyone that has been helping with our on going clean up.  Each week we are plugging away with working bees to remove the debris (see picture below).  We are continuing to work through the insurance process re the clubroom repairs.
The course is open and playable, although with a few new water features.  Playing has been entertaining, and the scores pretty average.  As per picture below, one of members Tom Moore was determine to get his ball out of the water under the trees so off went the shoes and in he went.  The funny part was the ball wasn't his, but Paul Bowman was grateful for Tom getting his ball out.
The club will be running a "Flood Recovery"  golf tournament Labour Weekend, Saturday 22 October, to help with the on going costs of repairs not covered by insurance.  All welcome at tournament, including non golfers, come and have a fun day of golf. 
Photos: Supplied

If you are interested in joining the club please contact Christine 027 209 2320
we have a couple of membership options.
Saturday club day cards in 12 noon and tee off 12.30 pm.

Club captain James Moynihan, phone: 027 215 8266;
Secretary: Christine Bowman phone: 027 209 2320
Ōmārama Shed
The Ōmārama Shed Group has begun work on its next project.
The Ōmārama Residents' Association has commissioned the group to build a storage shed for the equipment which is regularly used on the Sports Courts. 
The Ōmārama Shed group meets at 10am each Saturday 
and at other times, too.
For further information contact: Murray Stuart 027 432 7537

Ōmārama Community Library 
The  Ōmārama Community Library  
is open 9.30am to 11am, 
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 
at the Ōmārama Community Centre.

Contacts: Georgie  027 486 1525 or Yvonne  027 476 7473
Ōmārama Playgroup
Ōmārama Playgroup meets at 9.30am each Wednesday
during the primary school term at the Ōmārama Community Centre.  

For more information contact:
president Nic McKerchar 022 612 7570
or secretary Tarsh Bell  027 349 0016 
Plunket: Aimee Snelgrove 022 350 5536
Ōmārama School Board of Trustees
 Board Election results 2022

Ōmārama Residents' Association 
!! Please note change of day !!

The next meeting of the 

Ōmārama Residents' Association is
7pm, Wednesday, September 14, 2022
at the Ōmārama Community Centre

An invitation is extended to all

Lindsay Purvis, chairperson, 027 438 9630
Yvonne Jones, secretary, 027 476 7473 

The minutes of the previous meeting are available from Yvonne
Could those who want to contact the association by mail, send accounts to be paid, or have correspondence considered at the monthly meetings ensure it is addressed to: 
The Secretary,  P O Box 93, Ōmārama 9448.
The association's email address is

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

or email

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

Contact: Paula Eatherley
Waitaki Newcomers Network and Migrant Support Coordinator
027 325 6151 (business hours)
Otematata Golf Club
On behalf of the Otematata Golf Club, I would like to put a note of appreciation in the Gazette, thanking the community groups that gave generously to our fundraising campaign.
The Otematata Golf Club is excited to announce that it has managed to raise all the funds required to undertake a major and total renewal (except for the pump) of the course irrigation system. This new system is fully automated and covers all tees, greens and fairways.
Work is planned to start on September 19 and will take about three weeks, during which time the course will be closed.

The Club would like to sincerely thank the following organisations for their generous support.   Meridian Power Up Fund,  Otago Community Trust,  Otematata Community Led Development  Programme and the Bendigo Valley Sports and Charity Foundation.
In addition, the Club would like to whole heartedly thank the community and club members for their support in the form of debentures, donations,  tee sponsorship and raffles.

Well done to one and all.
Richard Watson   027 242 8621.
‘The Community Reports' is
dedicated to news
from clubs, groups and sports teams.

Contributions are welcome 
Here's the Covid stuff 😀  


Our volunteers are here to help - just give anyone of us a call.

If you must self-isolate and there's a few things you've not had a chance to do or get in, or you need to put your mind at rest over something, please feel free to call any of the numbers listed below.
We're a bunch of volunteers able to help with most things.
BUT  we will not approach you unless invited to by yourself or a friend. 
And your privacy and confidentiality will be respected.

🔸Keeping connected - keeping in touch and getting the info
Ruth Grundy, 021 294 8002
Adrienne Harper, 021 139 2817
 🔹‘Meals on wheels’  and deliveries
Carolynne Grant, 03 438 9742 and leave a message.
Georgie Robertson, 027 486 1525

 🔸 Rural tasks (complementing the work of the Rural Support Trust)
Annabelle and Richard Subtil; 
Annabelle 027 406 9522, Richard 027 208 9096
🔹Taking care of visitors and hospitality industry advice
(If you are accommodating guests in any way eg airbnb and have questions, give Megan a call) Megan Talarico, 021 545 566
🔸 Drop-offs and deliveries (other than meals above)
 Alona Shaw, 027 773 4214
🔹Pets and plants and necessary chores.
Tanya Humphreys 022 611 7099
The Directory 


phone 021 294 8002 or email

The last page is classifieds

Building since 1939 - available for your all of your construction projects in the Upper Waitaki and Mackenzie districts.
Contact our area manager Jason Pryde on 021 340 694
or email
The weather that was - August 2022
Thank you all, for your contributions to this issue

This year the Ōmārama Gazette has a focus on community group reports and our 'Noticeboard' section.
Let us all know what you are up to, and any little snippets such as congratulations or farewells.
There are some guidelines and the usual editorial standards will apply.
Contributions of up to 500 words with a minimum of one photo are welcome – as you know most of us have short attention spans.
Contributions must carry a byline, will be fact checked, must be fair and ethical; balancing opinion may be sought.
No promotional or corporate media 'manufactured' pieces,  will be accepted.
We want to read those ‘exclusives’.
Let’s read all about it, and read it here first – let’s have news and more you’ve never heard before! Go on, let's all have some fun! 

To receive email alerts between monthly editions of the Ōmārama Gazette sign up to our 'Local List'.
and put 'Local List' in the subject line.

Thank you to all who share your stories and
contribute in other ways to the Gazette.

We all really appreciate what you do.

If you find anything amiss in the Ōmārama  Gazette
please contact Ruth Grundy, 021 294 8002 or email
and I will do my very best to put it right.
Contact the Ōmārama Gazette
Ōmārama Gazette
Editor: Ruth Grundy,
021 294 8002, 03 438 9766
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