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Ōmārama Gazette
August 2022

The August Issue 

Town urged to support its First Response 
 Flood event - is it time for a debrief?
So many to thank
In loving memory - Colin Herd
 Congratulations Arabella, from all of us
Potential for new fishing venture opens up
Jan and Julz's big day out
Something unscientific but interesting
A trip to the winterless North 

Regular Features

Something to Puzzle Over 
The Noticeboard 

The Community Reports 
The Covid-19 news catch up

Situations vacant 
The Directory
The Last Page is Classifieds
The Weather that Was

Back in the day - The great flood of  1878
Town urged to support First response
The Ōmārama First Response unit is key to Ōmārama s response
to medical emergencies. Photo: Jack Zorab

The Ōmārama community, holiday homeowners, and other regular visitors to Ōmārama are being urged to attend this month’s public forum to discuss the ongoing issues the town’s first response is having with being turned out to all medical emergencies.
Medical call-outs make up about half of the Ōmārama Volunteer Fire Brigade and First Response calls each year.
Ōmārama's population swells to more than treble the size at holiday times as holiday houses and camping grounds fill.
Ōmārama Co-Response [First Response] Trust  spokesperson Craig Dawson is urging the community to come out in force and support its first response team “in their desire to help save lives and provide better outcomes for people in need of urgent medical assistance”.


Resident’s Association of Ōmārama chairman Lindsay Purvis reiterated Mr Dawson’s comments.
The association was hosting the forum because of the community’s concerns that St John’s present practice was seriously compromising outcomes for those in the area requiring urgent assistance, he said.
“Representatives of St John and Fenz [Fire and Emergency New Zealand] are coming to the forum so people need to come and have their say.
“It is a very important issue for our community – even those who are only here on weekends, because you never know when an emergency might happen,” Mr Purvis said.
The Ōmārama First Response unit wants to be called to all medical emergencies because they are the closest service which can provide medical assistance.
The nearest St John ambulance is stationed in Twizel some 20 minutes away, with the next closest being Kurow, about 40 minutes away. At present, because of staffing issues, some are waiting anything from an hour-and-a-half to four hours for an ambulance.
It is important to note the decision to call out the First Response is not made by ambulance field staff on the ground but by the St John call centre.
When the First Response was first set up in 1997 and under a ‘local agreement’ it was on the understanding it would be called to all emergency medical calls.
However, at various stages since St John have reverted to its national model and agreement with Fenz, and have not called the unit to those calls deemed to be non-life threatening.
Because triaging a medical emergency by phone can be inaccurate 111 calls have often found to be much more serious than was first able to be conveyed by the patient, and long wait times have caused unnecessary suffering and angst.
Residents are frustrated because their community-funded and fully-equipped unit is literally just around the corner from any local incident and can not only provide emergency medical care but has access to the St John clinical desk for advice and can radio the oncoming ambulance with relevant updates.
Individuals have stepped forward with their own examples of how St John’s present call allocation system has failed them. [See Ōmārama Gazette July Issue]
As a result, the Resident’s Association decided to host a facilitated public forum with the partner agencies present to hear concerns and  to share relevant information with a goal of creating an action plan to remedy identified issues.
Representatives from St John New Zealand and Fire and Emergency New Zealand have been invited to speak.
Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean is unable to attend because of a prior engagement but is sending a statement to be read at the forum.
Official guests include Waitaki District mayor Gary Kircher and representatives  from Federated Farmers and Rural Women New Zealand.
The forum will be independently facilitated by Mathew Bayliss, Meridian Energy senior manager
The forum is at 11am, Saturday, August 20, 2022, at the Ōmārama Memorial Hall with a cup of tea provided on arrival from 10.30am.

To find out more contact Lindsay Purvis:

Note: Earlier this week One News reporter Maddy Lloyd and camera man Ross Wilson visited Ōmārama to chat with locals about their concerns ahead of the forum and the interview is expected to air tomorrow night.

Flood event -  time for a debrief?
NB Updates to this story will be published as they are received and can be found here

When is an emergency not an emergency?
That is the question on everyone's minds as they as it grapple with the aftermath of the Ahuriri River and Ōmārama Stream flood.
No question, there is widespread anger over the Waitaki District Council response to the event and its aftermath, and there is resentment over issues the community had raised many times prior to the flood which were not resolved and made matters worse. 
There has been complaints council communication with the township and residents since the flood has been either non-existent, negligible or late. 
Strong feelings have been voiced that the council relies too heavily on volunteers to do its job. 


And it’s not just the council in the firing line. 
The weedy and overgrown state of the lower Ōmārama Stream prior to the flood is considered a contributing factor to causing a clogged and overloaded waterway.
And it is the source of long-term frustration for the residents alongside the stream who are forced to deal with that ethereal and notoriously duck-shoving group – 'ECANLINZDOCANDWDC' – to try to make any difference.
People want to be heard and for things to change.
People are talking ‘rates revolt’.
People are angry.
Firstly, why wasn’t a civil defence emergency called?
It was an extreme weather event for the town, the Omarama Stream not only broke its banks but forced its way out of its course, chose Omarama Avenue as a new channel, and poured itself into the camping ground and nearby properties with a force such that it destroyed whatever was in its path. 
Further down the line residents Murray and Sharon Stuart’s caravan was lifted and carried more than the length of a rugby field to lodge in trees at the very far reaches of their property. 
In all, at least 100 people were evacuated – 60 from the camping ground plus residents, including families, from homes along the avenue from the Ōmārama Stream Bridge to Ōmārama Hot Tubs.
The evacuations were voluntary and carried out by Ōmārama's sole charge policeman with the help of Fenz Ōmārama Fire brigade volunteers. A  welfare centre, staffed by those same volunteers, was set up at the Ōmārama Hall in the night and early morning, and helped about 30 displaced people.
The town water supply was compromised.
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 hardest hit businesses were, first and foremost, the Top 10 Holiday Park, followed closely by Ōmārama Hot Tubs, but other smaller and significant businesses along the path of the flood waters have also been calling their insurance companies.
So, what is the criteria for calling a state of local emergency? 
Under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 section 4 (a) an emergency is
“is the result of any happening, whether natural or otherwise, including, without limitation, any explosion, earthquake, eruption, tsunami, land movement, flood, storm, tornado, cyclone, serious fire, leakage or spillage of any dangerous gas or substance, technological failure, infestation, plague, epidemic, failure of or disruption to an emergency service or a lifeline utility, or actual or imminent attack or warlike act; and
(b)causes or may cause loss of life or injury or illness or distress or in any way endangers the safety of the public or property in New Zealand or any part of New Zealand;”
Yes, this event ticks those two boxes.
But the decision makers also have to consider that the event; “cannot be dealt with by emergency services, or otherwise requires a significant and co-ordinated response under this Act.”
And, in this event, emergency services and police were able to manage the situation. 
Declaring a state of local emergency would have given  powers to the Waitaki Emergency Operations Centre that would not usually be available to "protect the safety of the public or property", and that are also “”designed” to help recover from an emergency.
Because of language used in council media releases from the Operations Centre  there was some confusion over whether it had actually called  a "state of local emergency". 
However, in an interview with Radio New Zealand’s Kim Hill on Tuesday morning, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said that, while the  emergency management team were “certainly looking after things and so on",
 “…We haven’t activated…we haven’t declared an emergency because we are coping with things.”
On Monday in an email the Ōmārama Gazette asked Waitaki District Council chief executive Alex Parmley and Civil Defence emergency management officer Ewen Graham why a civil defence emergency had not been called.
“The overall feeling of the community is, although the sole charge police officer and volunteers managed the event well,  this would have been of great assistance for the subsequent decisions which had to be made during the ‘recovery’ – clean-up – phase,” the email said.  
As well, the Gazette asked Mr Parmley and Mr Graham if they had considered a meeting of council staff, Environment Canterbury, emergency services and members of the community to ensure future plans and protocols were fit for purpose and worked as they should. 
Mr Parmley and Mr Graham did not to respond ahead of deadline. However, the response will be published once it is received.
Before  making its decsion, the emergency response group must get the advice of others including Police and Fenz. In light of that, the Ōmārama Gazette has requested official information held by Ōmārama Police about the events of Monday night and Tuesday morning concerning the event in Ōmārama and its surrounds.
The council is part of the Otago Civil Defence Emergency Management Group and its Civil Defence Emergency Management is legislated to provide a “coordinated and integrated” approach to the way significant risks and hazards are managed in the district, "with a focus on 4R's": Reduction, Readiness, Response as well as the  Recovery phase.
Andy and Emma Moore’s story
The couple arrived at the Omarama Hot Tubs complex on Tuesday to find the septic tank overflowing and groundwater coming up through it. 
The tank had to be emptied so repairs could be made. 
The first time it was emptied Andy said he did not know “what to do with it”, or who to contact about the problem.
The first tanker load was trucked to Twizel to the Mackenzie District Council’s facility and the Moores paid for it to be emptied there. 
As the second load was about to go,  they realised that, along with the cost, there could be additional problems because the waste was being emptied in  another district. 
So  Andy arranged to meet with Ahuriri Community Board member Ross Menzies and a SouthRoads' representative and, after consultation by phone with the council,  it was agreed the waste could be taken to the Ōmārama Wastewater plant  for disposal.
However, the tanker was turned around at the gates by a council employee who told Andy he had just been informed he could not dump the waste at the sewage treatment plant after all.
This was followed up by a phone call confirming the council position. 
“Because I don’t pay rates to use the pond, I am not allowed to use the pond.” 
Andy was in “disbelief”. 
“ Under the circumstances, they could have helped another person in a shitty situation. I thought  that we could help each other, but no.” 
Consequently, four tanker loads at 12,500 litres a time were trucked to Twizel and payment made to the Mackenzie District Council for the use of its facility. 
“Yes, insurance will cover it.” But the point was, along with there being no communication, and no advice, the council decision was inflexible and meanspirited given the circumstances, Andy said.
Apart from help from Ōmārama Police and the community there was no help, it was "frustrating".
“We felt completely on our own, no communication, no advice,  not a phone call, and we had to do what we had to do.” 
Andy and Emma both hope the response to the emergency will be carefully looked at and reviewed to make sure necessary improvements are made.
On Monday, the Ōmārama Gazette emailed Waitaki District Council senior operations engineer David Inwood to  ask for an explanation of the decision regarding the septic tank. 
“I understand there were issues regarding the clearing of septic tanks in the flooded Ōmārama Hot Tubs complex and that, even though it would have aided recovery from an extreme event, the Hot Tubs was not permitted to empty septic tank and grey water at the nearby council-managed Ōmārama Treatment plant but instead had to truck waste to Twizel. Would you please give the council perspective on this?" the email asked. 
Mr Inwood did not to respond ahead of publication. However, the response will be published once it is received.
Heritage Gateway Hotel general manager Megan Talarico said the hotel put up about 60 guests in 20 rooms after they were evacuated from the Ōmārama Top 10 Holiday Park, with the Holiday Park passing on the accommodation payments they had received from the guests to compensate the hotel for the first night.
Many stayed two nights because of the road closures. 
“We weren’t going to leave them stranded," Megan said.
However, despite accommodating evacuees the hotel received no direct notification from the council of the advice to boil water. 
“When a 'boil water' notice comes through the hotel buys bottled water to supply guests for things like brushing teeth.”
Whether the council ought to have provided  tankers of potable water while Ōmārama was under the week-long advisory  as some have suggested was arguable. 
“Had it happened during peak season it would have caused more issues,” Megan said. 
She praised the actions of the emergency services and townspeople.
“Everyone in town came together and helped.
“The evacuees were just happy to be safe and dry, some loved their extended stay so much they have promised to return.”
The soak pits/mudtanks
In the early hours of the flooding on Monday night soak pits through the town were quickly overwhelmed causing flooding which threatened properties.
Because contractors refused to attend that night, the volunteer Fire Brigade was called to pump out the soak pit in Totara Peak Cres as the water began to encroach on two properties in the street.
The community has long requested that the effectiveness of the soak pits be addressed, with the most recent requests forwarded to the council after heavy rain in January of this year. 
The Ōmārama Gazette emailed council assets operations manager Josh Rendell on Monday to ask why this had not been addressed and to ask why, and given it was a holiday period with accommodation houses and holiday homes in use, the township was not provided with tankers of potable water for drinking and meal preparation during that time. 
Mr Rendell did not to respond ahead of publication.
However, his response will be published once it is received.
In all of this, the time the strangle of red tape was loosened came because of the efforts of council solid waste manager Steve Clarke. 
Ōmārama Residents’ Association chairman Lindsay Purvis’ asked the council to waive fees on the disposal of flood debris at the council-owned transfer station. Initially, the council's response was a categorical ‘no’.
But Mr Clarke went further and contacted WasteCo which manages the transfer stations to ask if it was willing to step up, which it was.  
The Ōmārama Gazette also emailed Mr Clarke on Monday to get the council’s perspective on this. This is Mr Clarke's reply, received yesterday. 
“The recent weather events in Waitaki caused flooding resulting in debris in Ōmārama. A request came through from the Ōmārama Residents' group asking to provide free waste disposal for this event. Council advised that we would be setting a precedent by offering free dumping and advised that dumping fees are claimable through insurance.
“However, we understand these are difficult times and offered to put extra bins in Ōmārama.
“Council also approached WasteCo on Ōmārama's behalf to see if they would be keen to support Ōmārama, which they were. They dropped off a bin which locals utilised for related waste.” 
The Gazette will be following up on all the email questions it has sent to the council.
On the Sunday following the flood, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean held an informal meeting with some residents.
Subsequently, Mrs Dean sent this message to all Ōmārama residents:
“ I hope that by the time this goes to print, Ōmārama residents have had a chance to take a breath and get some decent rest after the big flooding clean-up.
“Having seen the damage done to farmland, local businesses and backyards, I have every sympathy for what you’ve been through. I would also like to thank those who’ve taken time out to talk with me about what they experienced and what lies ahead.
“From the discussions I’ve had, it’s clear that some aspects of the emergency response worked well and some aspects did not.
“Some questioned why a ‘state of emergency’ wasn’t called. There also seems to be a disconnect between how authorities view the response and how some local people feel about what took place.
“It would be nigh on impossible for all aspects of an emergency response to be handled perfectly, with decisions having to be made fast and with competing priorities.
“But I do think it’s important to take stock and review how things went from all sides so that improvements can be made.
“A review proved useful after the Ōhau fires, and I suspect it would be useful here too.
“I would hope that ECan, the Waitaki District Council, Fire and Emergency and members of the community could sit down together to ensure plans and protocols are fit for purpose and work as they should.”
Ōmārama Stream Flood, July 2022
The Ōmārama Stream broke its banks and broke out of its usual channels to flow down Ōmārama Ave, SH8 and into the Top 10 Holiday Park at about 11.30pm Monday, July 18, 2022. This is how it looked at 6am Tuesday, July 19.
Thank you from Erwin and Natalie
Erwin and I would like to thank everyone in the community for their support and kindness during this tough time for us!
Although it has been absolutely heart-breaking to see the devastation caused by the flood and we know it’ll be a long road to recovery, we feel incredibly blessed to be part of such a supportive community! Thank you!
Erwin and Natalie Beiboer
Omarama TOP10 Holiday Park
We will get through this season, together!
Photo: Omarama TOP10 Holiday Park

Photo: Ōmārama Top 10 Holiday Park

Thank you from the Wall family

Please pass on our sincere appreciation to the community of Ōmārama for their kindness and generosity over the past couple of days.
We were quickly evacuated from a family cabin at the Top 10 as flood waters began to flow and we were promptly provided with a lovely hotel room to stay in until the roads opened again.
The short, unexpected 'blip' we experienced on our holiday has only given us great memories and a desire to return again some day to experience all your region has to offer.
All the best, the Wall family.

Thank you from Tony Fryer

Good morning
I just want to send a huge shout out and thank you to your Ōmārama community.
We are stranded travellers who were evacuated from the Top 10 last night and have been put up across the road at the hotel. The crew at the Top 10 are amazing and our thoughts are with them, and the crew at the hotel are also amazing  for putting us up until 'not sure when'.
So a massive shout out to the emergency services and your community.
Also a massive shout out and thank you to this Facebook page which has good updates with what’s going on. Fingers crossed one of the roads out will open today preferably the Twizel one. Keep up the good updates.
Colin David Herd - Herbie
January 4, 1952 to July 14, 2022
Surrounded by love
It was the mark of the man that many friends travelled to Ōmārama to give him a fitting send-off last month.
The Ōmārama Memorial Hall was packed for the celebration of the life of long-time resident Colin Herd.
Close mates Peter Reinke, who gave the eulogy, and Lindsay Purvis and Paul Meester all paid tribute to a life well-lived with humour and vibrancy, illustrated with tall tales of schoolboy pranks and mischief  who grew to be a true ‘Southern Man’.
In a special message to Colin’s wife Sharon, Lindsay reminded her she would have the continued love and support of her community through the days ahead.
Sharon, in return thanked the Omarama community for all they had done for the couple during Colin’s illness.

Congratulations Arabella, from all of us
"Arabella (11), a pupil at Omarama School, was awarded a St John Super Saver Bravery Award earlier this week for her actions after her mum fell from a horse earlier this year."
Read more in the Otago Daily Times here

Photo: Supplied
A message for flood-affected campers

from the Ōmārama Gliding Club
Please pass this on to anyone who needs to know.
The Omarama Airfield Company has made the glider trailer park available for anyone who needs to park equipment until the situation in Omarama is restored. 
The glider trailer park is the paddock south of the hangars – turn right through the gate by the Pink Glider Café and you will see the long line of glider trailers parked side by side. 
It is important that you hook into the steel cable which runs the length of the paddock, as it is quite exposed, and this stops the trailers from being blown around in strong wind conditions. 
There is a second cable which runs south from the gate down the fence line to the west of the paddock. 
Please avoid driving on the Omarama model aircraft club landing strip which is the green prepared area towards the middle of the paddock, about 50m south of the trailers. 
Parking elsewhere on the airfield is restricted because it is an operational area and parking in the campground is also not available. 
In the news...
Worst flood in a century for station

'The "perfect storm" of snow and then heavy rain resulted in the worst flooding one Omarama farming family has experienced in 100 years.'
Read more in the Otago Daily Times here 
With thanks to Lew Walker for the video
Jan and Julz big day out

Photos: Lex Perriam and supplied
Going ‘up, up and away’ in a beautiful balloon may have been on Jan’s bucket list but it certainly wasn’t even on Julz’s wanna do list.
But what are good friends for but to share the ups and downs of life.


Our two girls – Jan Perriam and Julie Dyson – left good old terra firma last month shooting straight up “from zero to just over 1800m” in what felt like seconds from a paddock in Methven, courtesy of Balloon company
“It was Bl*&%y scary,” Julz said.
“When we got to 6,000ft, I said , that’s high enough thanks. Jan was stuck to the spot for at least 10 minutes.”
“Yes, I was, I was absolutely petrified,” Jan said.
“It was just so quick, zero to 6300ft, oh my goodness!”
They were then taken back down to about 900m just under cloud level which was a little less angst-inducing.
“It’s the weirdest feeling…and then somebody moves," Julz said
Once Julz got used to it she started bouncing around, “with everybody telling me off”.
“Once we went down below the clouds…It was so peaceful,” Jan said  
It was beautiful, absolutely stunning…just silence, and you could hear the cows mooing.”
It was amazing watching the balloon fill with gas, "and then there’s the wicker basket … and yeah, it pays not to think about things too much", Jan said.
She’s keen to give ballooning another go and has pencilled in another trip, hopefully at the Hororata Balloon festival.
And while Julz says it was great, she may not be tagging along this time. It  was still not bucket list material, so, no, she won’t be doing it again, she said.

Jan and Julz go up, up, down and up, and away!
Video: Lex Perriam
Something unscientific but interesting
This year’s ‘Something unscientific but interesting?’ 🤔🤓🙃
Snow cover out the back of Omarama in the last week of July 2022
It’s been a wee battle to get these pictures, between record amounts of rainfall, thick cloud cover and mist it’s been hard to see our mountains in these last weeks of July.
So, in a small window we managed to capture these.
Photos: Stephen Grundy

To see past year’s photos, click here
Something to puzzle over 
Omarama Firebrigade volunteer Liz Komen helps with the clearing of the mud tank on Totatra Peak Dr at the beginning of this month's flood event
The Noticeboard

To have your community notice included here email:
Thank you: "A big thank you to the Omarama Community Care Group. I recently received a box of food and treats from this wonderful group of caring volunteers. What a wonderful caring community we live in. Thank you." from Geva Innes.

Let's Have Ourselves a "F*&%k  the Flood" Party - Everyone welcome, tell your friends! - c
ourtesy of Richard and Annabelle Subtil
When: 4pm, Saturday, August 6
Where: @ the Hāngī  Pit, Omarama Stream, in front of the Omarama Station Homestead.
Rug up warm and BYO everything -  food, chairs, blankets, wine to mull, marshmallows...There will be a BBQ, somewhere to warm your cup, a bonfire.
Come along, tell your ‘war stories’

Annual meeting: The St Thomas's Management Committee will hold its annual meeting 2pm, August 19, 2022, at the Wrinkly Rams, Ōmārama. Apologies by email; to the secretary, Rev Lee Kearon,

Community Housie continues 1pm each Wednesday at the Omarama Community Centre. On the last Wednesday of each month Housie will be hosted by a local Café/Restaurant. Last month the Wrinkly Rams hosted a very enjoyable afternoon with a group of 18 keen players attending.

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 September issue of the Ōmārama Gazette
is Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The close-off for this is Thursday, August 31.

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
Let's shake off those winter blues's time to enjoy a little revelry and good-natured mayhem.
Let's charge those goblets with mead and mulled wine and toast to friendship and the days stretching out into Spring.
Costumes are optional  - nudge, nudge, wink, wink, just a good old-fashioned medieval sense of humour :)

The Community Reports
Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade
Hi all,

Here we are into the last month of Winter. I hope you are all recovering from the rough weather we had in the middle of July. If you were unfortunate enough to have water around your place it is a good idea to make sure any debris is cleaned up from around drains and any place it may stop any water flow if it were to happen again.
Some kitchen safety hints, if you have a fat fire smother it with a lid, damp tea towel or a chopping board and leave to cool down, don't ever try to carry it outside this could result in spilling and spreading the fire and also serious burns.
If there is an oven fire close the door turn off the oven and isolate the heat source if electric turn off at the wall if gas isolate at the easiest valve to get to which could be at the regulator and dial 111.

Stay Safe
Greg Harper and the team at the Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade      

Greg Harper
Chief Fire Officer 
021 293 1171
Facebook: /Omaramafirebrigade

Come along to our Open Day 
Bring your friends and whānau to meet the Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade. 
There's plenty for the kids to get involved with and a chance for the adults to get hands on with activities including: 
  • Car cutting demonstration 
  • Using hoses and equipment 
  • CPR skills 
When Sunday 7 August 11am-1pm 
Where Omarama Fire Station 18 Chain Hills Highway Omarama
Ōmārama Golf Club

to all those who have helped - many more than can be named -  with the clean up of the Ōmārama Golf Club following the recent flooding.

Photos above and below: Bean Smith and James Moynihan

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 Rodeo Club 
Thank you 

Wowee what a ride the last  days have been! We hope all our followers in the Waitaki are all safe and dry after the snow, nor'west winds, then crazy rain. We sure did pick the best few days of the last month to have our Hill Billy Hunt.
Our club wants to say a HUGE thank you to those who came out on Friday for the Quiz Night. It was such a fun night, and the Wrinkly Rams kept us all toasty warm, well fed and hydrated over the evening. 
Despite the snow and chilly days, there was still successful hunting done over the weekend. Our Sunday weigh in saw some brilliant catches and creations. 
Over two events our club has raised a whopping $6000. This is just fantastic, and getting to do so while having a good time is even better.
We could not have been so successful without our long standing sponsorship from Central Otago Hunting and Fishing. If you're in Cromwell please call in and support this awesome store. We love being able to say our major sponsor has been so since the very first Hunt. Such a wicked achievement, and we can't wait to continue this partnership for Hill Billy Hunt 2023!
The Wrinkly Rams- Thank you for opening specially for us on Friday evening. Everyone of your team is welcoming, the food AMAZING, and your venue just superb, and then for staying open Sunday for prize giving- Thank you.
To all our other sponsors- there were so many local and wider regions, island and country sponsors. Without you all providing products or services, our event would not have been what is was. Thank you, so very much.
And to YOU- our Community. Thanks for braving the chilly weather to come spend a Friday testing your general knowledge, and then spending the rest of the weekend hunting off the list. 

Our Lucky Winners were The Clod Throwers - Mike and Jack Doree, and Sam and Poppy Radford - on 139 Points.

Well done, we loved your moose head wire Sculpture, and you sure did find an Ugly Stag! Same weekend next year, lock it in now.

We are excited to be planning our Rodeo for December 28, 2022.
We hope to see you there.

Ōmārama Shed
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
Ōmārama School Board Elections

Parent Election Notice 

Nominations are open for the election of three parent representatives to the school board. 
All eligible voters will receive a nomination form and a notice calling for nominations. Use this form to nominate yourself or someone in your community.
You will also receive a nomination cover letter calling for nominations.
Information on who is not eligible to be a board member is provided with the nomination form.
If you need more nomination forms, contact the school office.
Nominations close at noon, Friday, August 5.

You may provide a signed candidate statement and photograph with your nomination.
The electoral roll is held at the school and can be viewed during normal school hours.
There will also be a list of candidates’ names kept at the school up until election day, which you can view.
Voting closes 4 pm Wednesday 07 September 2022.
Megan Talarico
Returning Officer
Ōmārama Residents' Association 
The next meeting of the 

Ōmārama Residents' Association is
7pm, August 18, 2022
at the Ōmārama Community Centre

An invitation is extended to all
(Note: winter time)

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

The minutes of the July meeting are here
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

The Waitaki District Council Draft District Plan engagement period ends on August 31.
The planning team has so far held drop-in sessions at Palmerston, Hampden, Moeraki, Weston, Kakanui, Ōmārama, and Duntroon.
For your feedback to be used to inform the next stage of the District Plan process the council asks you submit your feedback using the specified channels.
This includes the online feedback form, which can be found at
You can also send an email with your feedback to
Alternatively, you can also post or drop off a hard copy form.
Copies of the engagement document and forms are available from Council offices and Waitaki District Libraries.
For more information, visit  the website

The Waitaki Events Advisory Board to host a virtual events workshop on Wednesday  August 17, 2022, prior to the next funding round opening in early October 2022.

Prior to the opening of the second funding round of the Waitaki Regional Events Fund in early October 2022, the Waitaki Events Advisory Board is hosting a virtual workshop for prospective applicants.
‘The line-up of speakers includes renowned events promotor Arthur Klap. 
The day will cover aspects required in submitting a successful application to the fund’, Advisory chairperson Jan Kennedy said.
‘Key aspects for a successful application are the need to meet all the criteria, such as a marketing plan which focuses on bringing visitors from outside of the region, and showing how the event can encourage a longer stay.'  Dunedin events marketer Amanda Dire, will share her insights on preparing a successful marketing plan. 
Local accountant and sports advocate Adair Craik will cover off producing a clear and comprehensive event budget and financial plan, aiming to display how an event can move towards financial sustainability. 
Also presenting at the workshop is Megan Williams, Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) Sustainability manager, who will be sharing tips on how events improve their impact on the environment and their carbon footprint. 
‘We are aiming to provide event operators with beneficial knowledge to ensure submissions to the fund are both complete and to the standard required to access this government fund.  We really want to get the funds out the door and see events grow across the region’, Mrs Kennedy said.

The virtual workshop is Wednesday, August 17, 2022, starting at 10am and ending at 4pm.
Event organisers are encouraged to RSVP before 8 August 2022 to: the link to the virtual workshop will be issued on receipt of the RSVP.

Event organisers are welcome to submit their draft marketing plans to the Waitaki Events Advisor, Tammy Jackman prior to the event for feedback.  Email:

Tourism Waitaki received a total fund pool of $183,000 as a part of the government, MBIE, Regional Events Fund. The fund also covers capability for administering the fund.
The first round of the fund opened in October 2021.  One event was successful in receiving funds.

Criteria includes (but is not limited to):

● Driving increased visitation
● Bringing measurable economic benefit to the region
● Complimenting a regional calendar of events that’s well-balanced to create year round stimulation

Information about the REF including the application form can be found on the Tourism Waitaki website:
‘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

Staying mentally well: This bugger takes its toll. We are all feeling anxious or stressed about this, it’s normal. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. You can call or text 1737 to talk with a trained counsellor for free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
COVID-19 Healthline: 0800 358 5453
Healthline: 0800 611 116
Health advice about babies or children:
Plunket Line: 0800 933 922; Family Services: 0800 211 211
Work and Income: 0800 559 009
Alcohol Drug Helpline: 0800 787 797
Rural Support Trust: 0800 787 254
Business support: South Island 0800 505 096
Kurow Medical Centre: 03 436 0760 or Mackenzie Health Centre Twizel: 03 976 0503
Twizel Medical Centre: 03 435 0777
Mackenzie Pharmacy: 03 435 0883
Four Square Omarama:

Our Waitaki Community Connectors
These people are available to help with non-health-related welfare matters.
Mafa Alaloto 021 107 8163 8.30 to 1pm
Oamaru Pacific Island Community Group Inc
Lauao Havili 027 213 8939 1pm to 5pm
Oamaru Pacific Island Community Group Inc
A dedicated 0800 COVID-19 welfare support helpline (0800 512 337) is also available to those who need to self-isolate.

Help for businesses
Free business helpline: 0800 505 096

Because Facebook is unreliable and some people do not run a social media account, all important or urgent messages will be emailed to you, posted on the noticeboard
and/or posted as flyers in your mailbox.
To make certain you are on the list to receive these local notices email and put 'local list' in the
subject box. We'll do our level best to get the messages to you.

The volunteers involved in the development of this community plan include Omarama Police, FENZ Omarama, Otago Rural Support Trust, Omarama Resident's Association and Omarama business representatives.
Outside agencies - emergency services, medical practices, health and welfare will be able to 'feed into' this plan.


Reinfection advice updated

The Ministry of Health has updated their advice on getting infected again with COVID-19 after a previous COVID-19 infection and when people should take a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT).
  • If it has been 29 or more days since a person’s last COVID-19 infection and they have new symptoms consistent with COVID-19 they should have a rapid antigen test, and isolate if they test positive.
  • This is a change from earlier advice, which was that people would not need to re-test if they had tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days. The change is based on the latest international evidence and the need to quickly isolate people with reinfections.
  • Should people test positive, they will need to isolate for 7 days.
  • Your household contacts will also need to isolate until your 7 days are complete as long as they have no new or worsening symptoms, and a negative day 7 test.
  • They will not need to isolate if they have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days and are recovered or if they have completed their isolation as a household contact in the last 10 days, unless they are symptomatic.
Read the updated reinfection advice
Some tips for recovering - Check out this video
It's important to take it easy as you recover from Covid-19 and other viruses this winter.
Keep up healthy habits to protect yourself, your whānau and your community.
If you continue to feel unwell, or become unwell again, talk to your healthcare provider or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453. Check out the video
Tiredness (fatigue) is a common symptom experienced by those with COVID-19 and while they are recovering. Tasks that used to seem easy might now be a challenge. Knowing how to manage tiredness can help in your COVID-19 recovery. Here are some tips to manage fatigue.
Situations Vacant
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 - July 2022
A trip to the winterless north 
- story and photos by Michelle Kitchen
Reached the top o' the north and with no-one else around.

Queen’s Birthday Sunday was D-day for our long trek north to Russell.
We - rather Neville was working for Tony and Amanda Chapman at their Russell Top 10 Motor Camp.

We had carefully planned our overnight stops with the first leg coinciding with the Interislander ferry on Tuesday 7 June.
The first leg was two nights with our son and partner in Rolleston via Timaru to say hello and goodbye to family.
Tuesday morning the big haul up to Picton to check-in by 12.30 pm. Remembering we are in the company stretch Limo (AKA the Toyota Hi Ace van)  the going would be much slower.


The van was packed to the roof mainly with the relocation of our son’s stuff left over from the days when he lived at home or used our place as a storage unit between flats. Yay, finally the last of it was going to his new home.
All was going good as we finally closed the van door late Saturday afternoon.
Then came the call from our son – “We have tested positive for Covid, can you please get us some groceries when you call past”
Bugger - plan B for accommodation in Christchurch.
My niece very kindly put us up for the night. It was good to catch up.

In hindsight driving from Rolleston to Picton to meet a 12.30pm final check-in was a big ask.
 Monday night was at a lovely beach front motel in Kaikoura and dinner at The Pier Hotel watching the sun set.
The next morning we woke to the most stunning sunrise that  only happens when the sun rises straight out of the sea, glad we stayed the night.
With pressure off for driving time we were pleased the road wasn’t busy considering this was Queens Birthday Monday.

One thing I quickly learnt was that coffee and sandwiches can be few and far between even on SH1 and almost impossible after 3pm. Thank goodness for fuel stops and takeaway teas.
The crossing was good, I had taken my travel calm ginger working on the theory that if you don’t take it, it will be rough and if you do take it, it will be calm.
The next challenge was to get through a wet dark Wellington to stay with family. With only Google Maps on my phone we made it in one hit. I wish Siri would stop telling you to go north when you can’t see where north is because it’s dark.
Transmission Gully really is an engineering master piece. Something you would see in Europe winding its way around the Alps.
I was looking forward to the Desert Rd. Unfortunately, it was a wet howling Nor' west day so no stopping to take in the splendour of Mt Ruapehu.
Taupo dawned a nice day as we had a big leg driving north of Auckland. By this time I was starting to get over the bouncing around in the jump seat in the van.
Once we hit the Thermal Explorer Hwy it was plan sailing all the way through Auckland. We could have even pushed the speed up to 110 km on the Waikato Expressway. It’s clear to see where all our fuel tax money has gone over years. No wonder NZTA have nothing left in their coffers for our end of the country, the motorways certainly move traffic quickly and efficiently.
We caught our breath in Omaha for the night, by this time I had ditched the merino and ventured out in a T-Shirt.
One of my missions was to eat fresh local fish when I saw it on a menu. This night it was grilled flounder, I had forgotten how wonderful this simple dish is.
With the Northern Express road works starting at the Johnstone's Hill Tunnel heading all the way to Warkworth, the going was slow in places. This new piece of road is curtesy of Shane Jones’s Provincial Growth Fund.
A place of  spectacular sunsets
The best way for vehicles into Russell is via the Opua - Okiato ferry, roughly a 10 minute trip then another 10 minutes’ drive into Russell. A passenger ferry also runs from Russell to Paihia.
Russell is beautiful, gorgeous big old wooden villas and lush tropical foliage and flowers.
However, I was not prepared for the relentless rain, no problem to dump 20 mm of rain per hour.
I guess you cannot have all that lush foliage and beautiful tropical flowers unless it is wet, humid and warm.
The bird song is relentless, mainly Tui, Weka and Miner birds during the day and North Island Brown Kiwi calling at night, they are all around in the bush behind the camp.

Photos below:
On top of Flagstaff Hill looking out towards Waitangi
You soon learn to keep your doors closed as the Weka will be inside in a flash
The site of an old transformer. Donations accepted for St John - very clever
Local quirky garden art
As the days turned into weeks, we enjoyed exploring the far north, discovered the wonderful Old Packhouse Market in Kerikeri.
The mussel fritters were to die for, we found a new love for Northland Wines and who knew they grew Lady Finger Bananas.
The camp has bananas, avocados and the most enormous lime tree.  My heart bleeds seeing all the citrus fall on the ground up north.

Cape Reinga is definitely worth the trip especially as we got to see Manawatāwhi/Three Kings Islands, made all the better with a pit stop on the way at a wonderful roadside food truck. Neville swears by the Paua Pie and, of course, who can resist a real fruit ice cream. We stocked up on local Avocado oil, Manuka Honey and 10 Avocados for $5.

Photos below:
Neville waiting for his Snapper, Mussel Fritter & Chips, Mangonui style
Road side food truck on Cape Reinga Road.
The best Paua Pie and Real Fruit Ice Creams.
I flew home after four weeks and got caught up in the school holiday/cancelled flights debacle that plagued Air New Zealand.
I found myself in transit in Auckland with a cancelled flight to Christchurch and no seats available for the next three days.
The queue at the help desk stretched half the length of the domestic terminal; no hope they would be able to help me.
Realising I needed to act quickly as thousands of travellers were in the same boat I managed to book a hotel room nearby. My darling husband drove four hours arriving at midnight. The next day we drove to Tauranga to stay with friends, I eventually got a direct flight to Christchurch arriving two days later than planned. Neville drove back to Russell to work.
I still haven’t braved the three hours plus wait time to talk to Air New Zealand to get some compensation for my expenses.
Neville will be home this week to a colder but generally drier climate. The only way we like it. No cockroaches to worry about, no worrying about planning your work around a torrential downpour.
The winterless north has suffered from sub-tropical rain this year, most unusual according to the locals.
We did enjoy the experience of working and living up north, it was great to catch up with Tony and Amanda but at the end of the day I am an inland girl, the hair goes too curly on the coast.
Back in the Day - Ahuriri River Flood 1878
- excerpt from from Munros Merinos and Matagourie
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
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Ōmārama Gazette
Editor: Ruth Grundy,
021 294 8002, 03 438 9766
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