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Omarama Gazette
October 2020
 

The October Issue

Lake Ohau fire - so many to thank
We'll do what we can to help - Mayor
Please share this message - where to go for emergency information
Last turn in the limelight, he says
Award recognises extensive contribution
Courts prove popular training ground
Unique heritage showcased for fundraiser
Where to go to vote

Regular Features

The Noticeboard 
The Community Reports
Waitaki District Council - News in Brief  
 Environment Canterbury - News in Brief 
Something to Puzzle Over

The Directory
The Last Page is Classifieds
The Weather that Was 
The Garden Diary
The View from the Chook House 
Lake Ohau fire - So many to thank
Rachael and Grant Murray, of Ribbonwood Station, who also farm on neighbouring Shelton Downs,
take in the extensive damage caused by the Lake Ohau fire.

For generations they’d feared it, for generations they’ve planned for it.
But no one in their wildest dreams imagined it would be like this.

It’s quieter in the Ohau basin now, the wind has stopped roaring for a bit.
The constant drone of the combined helicopter and fixed-wing air attack has slowed.
The media noise is dialling down 
There was almost a frost this morning, cool and clear, and there’s snow in the forecast.
At last report the Lake Ohau fire is much closer to being ‘contained’. 

It’s now New Zealand’s largest wildfire by area - the Lake Ohau Fire perimeter is 48.8km.
More than 40 homes have been destroyed – a village has been lost. 
And it has burnt through 5540ha since Sunday.

Yesterday afternoon, with the worst of the battle behind them a weary Grant and Rachael Murray who farm neighbouring Ribbonwood Station and Shelton Downs tell their story over once again for the Omarama Gazette. 

     

It’s one Grant has repeated to visiting media throughout the past days as they congregate at their farm gate for a look, and to catch a new angle.
The Gazette's been invited because Grant just wants to say how very grateful the family is - Lochie is visiting a friend but Nick is home with them.
The enormity of the battle they have fought over the past few days is starting to hit home.
They’re on auto-pilot.
Tears are close but they are determined to take time to say thank you. 
“We want to thank all the locals.” 
They’re both so tired they can’t for the moment think of all those they want to thank, and they’re worried they might miss someone out.
There’s Ramon Zeestraten who phoned them in the early hours to raise the alarm – they were in Geraldine and made an immediate dash back
“We could see it from Pukaki …from Simons Hill.”
There was shepherd Bevan Forbes who opened the gates to allow stock to escape if they could.
'He says we're not to go away again because something always goes wrong when we do," Grant said.
There were those neighbours who helped shift stock.
The fire crews, the helicopter pilots, the logging contractors who had been working up the road who turned their machinery to creating fire breaks.
The two diggers had “worked non-stop”.
“...at 6am he got on his bulldozer and hasn’t got out of his seat yet.
“They got the ball rolling to get firebreaks in”
- The Wrinkly Rams, Four Square Omarama … the list goes on.
There have even been offers of stock feed from down south, Grant said.
The days passed in a blur.
For the most part Rachael has been at the homestead organising food and supplies for the firefighters and facing the constant worry of not knowing where Grant was or what he was facing.
Grant said he was too busy to process the enormity of what was happening around them.
He remembers it being dark with smoke the entire time.
The priority was to get the stock out and onto the safest country, that which had already burnt.
Because FENZ fire command had its hands full at Lake Ohau Village the Murrays did not hear from them until after lunch on Sunday. 
“It was local effort that slowed it [the fire] down.”
There on the south side of the fire they managed to put in a 3km fire break which helped.
“but it did beat us at the top”.
At one point a more immediate source of water was needed.
“Three dams were put in pretty quick.”
The fire front came to within 2km to 3km north of Quailburn Rd.
“By Sunday afternoon it was wrapping around the side of the hill.” 
Travelling up the Quailburn Rd you follow a trail of pink fire retardant right to their gates. The homestead garden, in full spring colour, is pink tinted.
Just a stone’s throw away from their home a line of pines has also been doused in retardant.
“If they hadn’t sprayed that…they were worried the fire would have been across the kettle holes and headed straight for Omarama,” Grant said.
The irony was the increased funding and employment opportunities for wilding pine removal meant many more pines had been felled than would have been otherwise leaving slash in their wake and subsequent fuel for the flames.
Driven by horrific winds there was no rationale behind what the fire took and what it left behind
“It’s amazing how it’s burnt.
“We would clear a strip then it just curved around and came in again. It was all around us.”
He would just get sheep shifted out of danger and look back and it had moved in there. 
A circle of beehives was left standing, while all around it burnt.

What comes next? They’ve not had time to think.
Insurance will cover some livestock losses, but they’re not insured for the damage to fences and gates. Fixing those will be priority.
The Murrays lost between 100 and 180 ewes of a flock of 1800, and of the 2500ha they farm about half to two thirds is burnt. Lambing is about to begin. Mercifully, it was not yet fully underway.
And yet, the Murray's concern is for the wellbeing of the rest of the community.

Ohau Village evacuees left with nothing have returned to face the devastation. 
“Napalmed,” David Stone told a reporter.
But against all odds, some homes made it through. 
Abandoned pets have been found safe and well.
Well wishes and gratitude have flowed across social media.
Donations of all kinds have flooded in.
As the initial shock wears off, the extent and severity of the blaze is still beyond beyond comprehension.
There have been many close calls,  many, many acts of bravery, and countless acts of heroism.

The village was prepared, but not for an event of this magnitude.
Since its inception wildfire has been its greatest fear.
Over the years fire has been a constant threat, the last of any significance was in 1995 when a burn-off got out of control. People thought that was big.
The community has focused on their fire plan. The threat is never far from their minds.
One has a water tanker stationed on the property, others efficient sprinkler systems. 
And there was that crucial siren.

 “Distance [from help] is a huge thing," Grant said.
There’s to be a debrief and there are lessons to be learned.
He’d like to see better communication, and perhaps a warning system for those in the Quailburn Valley.
There needs to be “better clearance” - defensible space, between a property and fuels that will burn.
It's not yet summer and it's by no means dry. Springs and creeks run high through the property.
“In the last fortnight we’ve had 75mm of rain and four inches of snow. The water table is chocka and look what happened," Grant said.
Photos below: Rachael and Grant Murray.
We'll do what we can to help - Mayor
Photo: As viewed from the Lake Ohau weir, High winds fan the flames of the Lake Ohau wildfire across the landscape early Sunday morning.

A mayoral relief fund has today been set up for those who wish to donate to help those affected by the Lake Ohau fires. 
Waitaki mayor Gary Kircher, speaking to the Omarama Gazette this morning said he had spent most of the past few days with the Lake Ohau Village evacuees and would be returning to see them again today. 

       

“I feel quite privileged to be there for the community.
“They have been an amazing group of people.
“They have gone through heck of a lot. 
“There has been this stoicism and support for each other and gratitude for the support from the community, the wider community and the New Zealand Community.
“We’ll be doing what we can to help them rebuild and make it as safe as possible for the future.” 
Yesterday, he told meeting of the Waitaki District Council via video link from Twizel the effects of the blaze on homes in the village had been “very sobering to see”. 
“It was one of the worst things I have had to do.” 
When the Waitaki District Council was in charge of rural fire fighting a fire plan was drawn up for Lake Ohau Village by the council’s rural fire and civil defence management - Steve Couper and Chris Raine - in conjunction with the community, he said.
Recently, the residents had contacted Fire and Emergency New Zealand to get that updated. 
“The fact no people were injured is a minor miracle” 
Ohau resident Craig Ovenden was the last out and made sure everyone else was out before driving through flames to get to safety, Mr Kircher said.
“There are a lot of stories like that.
“The community has banded together and looked out for each other.” 
Mr Kircher said many of the residents intended to rebuild. 
A lot of “clean-up work” would be required and there was a need to look at “what the recovery might look like”. 
This morning Mr Kircher said that last week deputy mayor Melanie Tavendale had attended a meeting with Environment Canterbury when a plan to remove the wildings in the area over the next three years was discussed.
“We’ll be pushing for that to go forward.” 
To date funding had been made available largely for reduction on public land, but he would be pushing for them to be removed from private land also. 
“A small village was down on the priority list, we need to lift that, if possible. 
“Another part is seeing what worked and what didn’t, and what worked with their own [the residents’] plantings," Mr Kircher said.
 
If you would like to donate to support those affected by the Ohau fire, the official bank account is: Ohau Relief – Ref Ohau Bank account:  02 0940 0156400 000


Photos below: Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher speaks to the Waitaki District Council
meeting yesterday, via video link from Twizel
Those with homes in Lake Ohau Village which have been devastated by the fire want to rebuild.
Photo courtesy of Gary Kircher
Lake Ohau fire - emergency contacts

The Waitaki Emergency Operations Centre is working with partner agencies to assist those affected by the Lake Ohau Fire. For more information contact Waitaki Emergency Operations welfare staff on 027 213 1508. The link to the page is here 

For latest updates on the wildfire situation, ​please check the Fire and Emergency NZ Canterbury Facebook page​.



PLEASE SHARE THIS MESSAGE:
Newsletter for Residents and Ratepayers affected by the Lake Ohau fire 
October 6, 2020
This email comes to you on behalf of our controller Murray Linwood.
• This email is from Waitaki Civil Defence. You are receiving it because you are listed as
someone directly affected by the fire.
• We are working on a full contact list for residents and ratepayers affected by the Lake Ohau
Village fire so please forward this email on to any one who you know who you think may not
for one reason or another have received it.
• For those on site there will be a meeting daily at the Twizel Events Centre this week at
12pm. Those who are unable or prefer not to come will receive the same information via this
daily email.
• Local MP Jacqui Dean is planning to attend the daily meeting this Thursday. Jacqui and a
member of her team will be available for appointments if you wish.
• We are preparing an information sheet for residents and ratepayers that will be available by
this Friday with more detailed information.
• Thank you to those who we have not meet in Twizel who have made contact. We are
endeavouring to get back to you as soon as possible.
• We will be putting relevant information on this web page over time
https://www.waitaki.govt.nz/our-council/news-and-public-notices/news/Pages/waitaki-fireemergency.
aspx
• In-person welfare support is available at the Civil Defence Centre at the Twizel Events
Centre, open tomorrow 8am to 5pm
• Please let us know what we can do to support you, as we don’t know what we don’t know.
• You can respond to this email with any questions.
Summary of today’s information
• Network Waitaki and Chorus on site checking infrastructure today.
• Waitaki District Council staff on site today starting to check council infrastructure.
• Civil Defence staff liaising with the Insurance Council about the initial clean up.
Managed Access
Some residents whose properties were undamaged in the fire were able to return briefly today to
collect essential items. The managed access was provided by Fire and Emergency personnel, working
with our Waitaki welfare team to prioritise those with the most urgent needs.
If you are one of the residents or owners of an undamaged home and need to make a brief visit to
your property to collect essential items, please register by emailing admin@waitaki.org if you have
not already made initial contact.
The welfare team is prioritising the visits based on the needs assessments.
Contacts
The Waitaki Emergency Operations Centre is working with partner agencies to assist those affected
by the Lake Ohau Fire.
Staff names have been provided here but due to shift change you may speak with another staff
member.
Waitaki District Council welfare support contact, 027 213 1508
Ministry of Social Development, Megan 03 904 2958 or 0800 559 009
Otago Rural Support Trust (support for farmers) Andrea Ludemann 027 659 6800 or 0800 RURAL
HELP (0800 787 254)
Victim Support 0800 842 846 or Kelly Katene 027 53 00074
Federated Farmers Nick Abbott 021 805 788
Please contact your insurance company if you haven’t already done so
Waitaki Emergency Operations Centre contacts
Welfare Lisa Baillie 027 807 4726
Planning Lichelle Guyan 021 384 783
Public Information Management Chloe Searle 027 839 0423

Last turn in the limelight, he says
 Blade shearer Peter Casserly, formerly of Omarama, shows off 'Suzy's' 55cm staple
clipped during the previous world record attempt.

 
He says it’s his last turn in the limelight, he’s not doing it again.
“I’m getting past it… I hope they dag it before I get there.” 
Former Omarama resident and world-renowned blade shearer Peter Casserly was today “doing up a pair of shears” for his next celebrity turn – shearing ‘Gizzy Shrek’.
The Gisborne 'Shrek' – hermit sheep - recently found living in a forestry block adjoining Wairakaia Station at Muriwai has been likened to the merino wether found on Bendigo Station near Tarras in 2004. 
Since her discovery, she too has attracted national and international media attention. 
This will not be the first time Peter has been called on to shear a celebrity hermit sheep. 
He hit the headlines when he was the one chosen to divest Shrek of his 27kg fleece. 
In October 2018 it was Suzy. 
Suzy was found in the Mapiu district, south of Te Kuiti and was shorn in Masterton at The Wool Shed, the national museum of sheep and shearing. 
Suzy’s fleece had the longest staple - at 55cm - Peter had seen but although organisers went for the world record, he thinks they may have missed out on it. 
Gizzy Shrek – a Romney-Coopworth cross - is also being put forward for that title, Peter said. 
Peter understands her wool maybe prove to be 60cm in length. 
Gizzy Shrek will be shorn next Friday afternoon at the Poverty Bay A & P Spring Show. 
“All the gun shearers will be at Waimate [The New Zealand Spring Shearing competition in Waimate]” – which is why he was chosen to do the honours, he said. 
Peter, a former world champion, still holds the blade-shearing record he set in 1976, after shearing 353 sheep in a nine-hour day in Mid Canterbury. 
The weight record initially claimed by Shrek, is now held by 'Chris the Sheep', from Canberra, Australia.
Award recognises extensive contribution
Waitaki District Council Citizens award recipient Liz Komen takes a break from duty.

When we talk Monday morning her voice sounds scratchy and tired.
She apologises, its because of all the smoke
Alongside other volunteer crews she spent most of Sunday fighting the Lake Ohau wild fire. 
The Omarama Volunteer Fire-brigade was first to the Lake Ohau Village just after 3.30am Sunday morning. She was not home again until about 6pm.
Last week, Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade and First Response volunteer Liz Komen was, in her absence, conferred a Waitaki District Council Citizens Award in recognition of almost three decades volunteering with the service.
Her daughter Lee Anderson accepted the award on her behalf. Her mother, Isobel Wray and husband Mike were also there.
However, Liz was unable to attend because bad weather prevented her from travelling from the West Coast where she works.
She spends seven days at a time at her home in Omarama on her “days off” when she volunteers for the fire brigade's First Response, and is called on to attend mostly medical emergencies, mostly motor vehicle accidents, from the Lindis Pass to Ruataniwha and as far east as Otematata.
Liz was one of the first cohort of eight from Omarama to train as fire service co-responders as they were called. 
For the seven days that follow she is on duty and on-call 24 hours, including the weekend. She is  Haast rural nurse specialist,  and St John Prime (Primary Response in Medical Emergencies)  Nurse.
The award was “very unexpected”, she said.
“You just do what you do, you just don’t think about it.
“I just do it for the satisfaction it brings.”
And the feeling of being part of a team.
She really prefers not to be singled out for work they all do.
As Prime nurse she does have to lead a team but here in Omarama she’s "part of the team", she said.
"Good team, good leadership, good humour", the experiences shared helps build the team.
At present Liz’s community involvement also includes being a member of the Omarama Rural Fire Team and the Omarama Search and Rescue.
Omarama Chief Fire Officer Greg Harper said the recognition given to Liz  had been an “honour for the whole team”.
“You know she was at the call yesterday? She is a valued team member and highly valued by the Omarama community for what she does for us, " Greg said.
Courts prove popular training grounds
Above: Omarama’s Junior hockey team – the Omarama Lynx – enjoy a warm spring afternoon at practice on the Omarama Sports Courts.
There are nine in the team who played each  Wednesday this season at the North Otago Hockey Association turf in Oamaru throughout the season.
Between 15 and 20 children of all ages attended the regular practices at the sports courts under coach Becky Martin.
North Otago Hockey Association awarded most improved player to Pippa Anderson and most valuable player was Maggie Radford.
Unique heritage showcased for fundraiser
Above: Gaynor and Bruce Sim have remodeled an original 'Twizel house.

Twizel Kindergarten is planning a day out to explore its town’s unique heritage of hearth and home. 
In November, it will host a house tour of Twizel to raise funds needed to modernise its outdoor play area. 
The tour includes about 10 homes from across the architectural spectrum. 
Each home showcases different facets of the unique and remarkable story of the town. 

       

There is the twentieth century sheep and beef station homestead still the hub of farming family life five generations later. 
There is the remodelled prototypical ‘Twizel House’, one of thousands which mushroomed overnight, row upon orderly row, over the Mackenzie plain in the early 70s when the town was created to house workers who constructed the ambitious hydro schemes of the day. 
As well the tour takes you forward with a new generation of architecture, opening the window on future house design celebrating and treasuring the great Mackenzie backcountry. 
Twizel Kindergarten committee chairperson Sarah Waldie said the tour showcased some of the best examples of Mackenzie Country living in a bid to raise those all-important funds. 
"The playground upgrade has been in the pipeline for a long time, and the House Tour gives us an opportunity to view some beautiful houses around Twizel and also help us complete a really great project for the Kindergarten." 
It is about 10 years since any major improvements have been made to the outdoor play area. 
The next step was to take the concept from design to reality and this meant bringing in the bigger diggers. It is estimated the project will cost about $30,000. 
The concept is to create a natural play area in keeping with the surroundings - the rivers and the mountains - using all-natural materials. 
“It reflects our commitment to Enviro Schools and sustainability, which is valued with in our teaching and learning, and in our wider community.” 
It will be somewhere for the children to play and explore their natural environment and learn, with areas like a bike/trolley track, and a ‘river bed’ to explore. 
Spending time outdoors is a big part of who we are as a community and the children probably spend around 75% of their time outside, Mrs Waldie said. 
Some work has begun – with the help of volunteers three “huge rocks” from Buscot Station have been installed as have four water barrels in a new pebble area. 
Already children are using the space for imaginative and creative play, Mrs Waldie said. 
Moves to establish a kindergarten in Twizel - a Ministry of Works Upper Waitaki hydro scheme construction town, began in the early 1970s. 
The kindergarten moved to its present site in December 1989 with the outdoor play area developed in stages as funds were available.
 
https://www.facebook.com/events/1096470697417286
or search 'Twizel House Tour' on Facebook
See poster below
 
THREE HOMES INCLUDED IN THE TOUR
 
A new build, architecturally-designed holiday house.
This holiday home, completed in 2018, on 8500sqm is a stone’s throw from Lake Ruataniwha, with unobstructed views to the Ben Ohau Range and was designed by architect Barry Connor and built by Christchurch builder Mitch Frost of Frost Builders Ltd.
Built from natural materials it takes its inspiration from its surroundings.
The ‘weekend’ home, owned by Lisa and Mark Tinning, which can sleep 17 people has become a haven for family and friends wanting to escape city life and enjoy a slice of Mackenzie Country paradise.
The house featured in January’s New Zealand House & Garden magazine and was entered in the ADNZ Resene Regional Design Awards, Canterbury which have been postponed from September to November 6 because of the Covid-19 situation.


PHOTO: NZ House & Garden Photographer: Paul McCredie.
 
 
Century-old Family Ben Ohau Station Homestead
The Ben Ohau homestead was built in 1903 after the original sod and thatched house (built in 1857) was destroyed by fire.
The new homestead was built in the Victorian Villa-style of the era, with double-paned sash windows, Rimu joinery, and Kauri doors and fireplace surrounds.
Unique at the time, concrete was poured down between the studs to provide insulation in the extreme climate.
The first homesteads in the Mackenzie were always built near an available natural water supply and away from the winds.
Five generations of the Cameron family have resided on Ben Ohau Station, farming fine merino wool and beef since 1891. The Cameron family still enjoy living in the present house. Although the interior has been refurbished the original structure of the house remains the same today and Priscilla and Simon have tried to maintain much of the originality of the old villa style throughout the house.
The English trees and informal flower gardens also compliment the era of the homestead.
 

Photo: supplied
 
A ‘Twizel House’ - a remodelled original ‘Dam Dwellers’ home.
In 1994, the decision to buy an original Twizel house, is one Gaynor and Bruce Sim will never regret. This tiny house become their holiday bach until 2008, when they moved from Timaru to reside permanently in Twizel.
When they bought it the 70 square metre, 3-bedroom house was still in its ‘original package’, apart from the newly painted pink/brown kitchen and boldly coloured Axminster carpet adorning the floors. The bathroom, measuring 1.5 metre square, with brown linoleum walls, surely was original! The fireplace, the size of a shoebox, performed relentlessly, during the winter extremes, heating the entire interior.
Gaynor and Bruce liked the cosiness of the cottage-style living which was the inspiration to renovate.
Bruce, the builder and creator, took on the project and with advice from the project manager (Gaynor) the tiny house was soon transformed.
Bruce had built several of the original Twizel homes in the 1970’s and did declare he would never go back to that place again! Heat, dust and frosts. Those were famous last words!
Every day they enjoy their cottage, steeped with hydro history, in Twizel, “the town of the eeny, meeny, miny, mo houses!!!”, the Sims said. 
Early voting underway
Advanced voting for the General Election  is underway and continues through to Election Day on Saturday October 17.
Voting early will help to reduce queues.
You can find your nearest voting place on the maps here
In Omarama: Omarama School, Sat 17 Oct 9am - 7pm.
In Otematata: Otematata Community Hall, Sat 17 Oct 9am - 7pm.
The Noticeboard
To have your community notice included here email: omaramagazette@gmail.com

Kurow Medical Centre  Omarama Clinic at the Omarama Community Centre, is open Tuesdays, 8.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. To make appointments for all clinics, order repeat scripts or make enquiries please contact Kurow Medical Centre 03 436 0760 (Monday to Thursdays). www.kurowmedicalcentre.org.nz

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

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

The Omarama Golf Club  Saturdays cards in 12.30pm tee-off 1pm.  Club Captain Adrian Tuffley, 027 347 8276. www.omaramagolfclub.co.nz/ 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn to play Bridge Otematata, 7pm Thursdays at the Otematata District Club.
We have several persons learning at the present time. people can just sit in and watch to begin with if they prefer.  Contact Ethel Gray 03  438 7764 or just arrive. Non members of the club will need to be signed in by an existing member.

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

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

We all really appreciate what you do.

If you find anything amiss in the Omarama Gazette
please contact Ruth Grundy, 021 294 8002 or email omaramagazette@gmail.com
and I will do my very best to put it right.

 
To read more,  enjoy more photos and watch our place 'come to life' check out our Facebook page and website.
www.facebook.com/omaramagazette/
omaramagazette.nz

To receive email alerts between monthly editions of the Omarama Gazette sign up to our 'Local List'.
Email omaramagazette@gmail.com 
and put 'Local List' in the subject line.
The November issue of the Omarama Gazette
is Wednesday, November  4, 2020.
Please submit copy
by Friday, October 30.
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 omaramagazette@gmail.com
To our businesses

If you would like a feature written about your business please contact the Gazette. A booking is required and there is a fee for this. These features will be posted to the Omarama Gazette Facebook page. 
The Community Reports
FENZ Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade
Hi everyone,

Firstly I would like to congratulate Liz Komen on her Citizen's Award. Well done! and nice to see some recognition for all the time put in over a number of years.
The wind has arrived and we have moved into a restricted fire season, so a permit is required for any outdoor fire. Please check the FENZ web site.
Just a reminder we are in daylight saving, so I hope you tested your smoke alarms to make sure they  are in good working condition.
As we move into summer the BBQ will be fired up but before lighting it is a good idea to check connections to make sure there are no gas leaks. The best way is to spray some soapy water on the joints. Please don’t use a lighter or matches you could end up with more than singed eye brows.
- Stay Safe, Chief Fire Officer Greg Harper
 
FENZ Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade meets 7pm each Wednesday and has its meeting at 7:30pm on the third Wednesday of the month.
Omarama Golf Club
By Christine Bowman

Spring is here, the grass is growing and so are our membership numbers.  A big welcome to the following new members Aaron Ferguson, Bean (Nayland Smith), Hank Verheul and Ollie Turner.  Great to see Omarama locals joining in the golf club fun (or frustration depending on your game that day!). Anyone interested in joining the club, we have a variety of options, feel free to get in touch as daylight saving is here, so get out and enjoy the longer days.
 
It's been pleasing the number of green fee players visiting our club for the first time from all around New Zealand.  Visitors have been pleasantly surprised, and complimentary, of the course standard for a country club. This month we had the agronomist visit the club to discuss further on going green improvements.  New flag poles, flags and tee markers are being installed so we are all set for a great spring/summer.
 
Due to daylight saving, Saturday Club day cards are now in by 12.30 p.m. and tee off 1 p.m.

Below: A local Omarama golf member (who shall remain anonymous!) was spotted “MOA” (mower) hunting in golf club stream. It appears the newer “mower” variety is easier to find than its predecessor the MOA. Guess  his mower “L” plates will remain on for a bit longer until he learns to cross the bridges. Photo: supplied.

Omarama School
Omarama School end of term three assembly, September 2020
By Ruth Grundy

More than 100 sat in assembly at the Omarama Memorial Hall last month – something which would have been impossible a week earlier.
That was an observation made by principal Bevan Newlands as he welcomed family and friends to the end-of-term school mini-production and awards presentations.
The school roll had grown through the term from 53 to 58, and it would begin term four with 61 pupils, Mr Newlands said.
The packed hall was treated to a medley of song, dance and theatre from well-known productions; Pippin, Cats, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and Hamilton.
Mackenzie Performing Arts tutor Michelle was able to provide pupils with free tuition for the term thanks to a grant from national arts development agency Creative New Zealand.
The year 8 pupils held a cake stall school fundraiser as part of their leadership program and raised $283 for Friends of Omarama School. 
Examples of the pupils art work and term projects were also on display.

AWARDS
Sir Peter Blake young leader award: Ebony Scobie
North Otago Hockey Association awards: most improved player Pippa Anderson; most valuable player Maggie Radford.
Omarama School LIGHT awards
Junior school: Learner, Wyatt French; Inclusive, Briar McKerchar; Growth, Lockey Harding; Happy helper, Arlo Zeestraten; Truth James Hunter.
Middle school: Learner: Francis Garbe-Boris; Inclusive, Lucy Radford, Growth, Samantha Ralston; Happy helper, Amelia Wilson; Truthful, Brydie Ferguson.
Senior school: Learner, Ben Hay; Inclusive, Pippa Anderson; Growth, Jake McCabe; Happy helper, Jack Doree; Truthful, Isla McLeod
Something to puzzle over
https://jigex.com/ABo7
The Waitaki Newcomers Network
Here are the links to recent newsletters for news about coming events

September 14
https://mailchi.mp/327bc1bc98e6/newcomers-news?
September 21
https://mailchi.mp/113d36f0f5af/newcomers-news?
September 28
https://mailchi.mp/d6bc610f1c1a/newcomers-news?

Contact: Christine Dorsey
027 242 8643
waitaki@newcomers.co.nz
Abacus House
102 Thames Street
Oamaru
03 434 7544
St Thomas' Church Community
From the annual meeting, 
Friday, September 18, at the Omarama Memorial Hall


Former church joint management committee chairperson Rev Ken Light, who retired in June has been replaced by Archdeacon Michael Godfrey as the Anglican Church representative on the committee.
Interim chairperson Jan Thomas, of Omarama, has been confirmed in the role for the coming year.
Kay Verheul, also of Omarama, continues as treasurer.
Committee secretary Lee Kearon will be ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church and inducted into the parish of St. Stephen’s, Kurow, in November
Lorna Utting, the Kurow Presbyterian Church representative has stood down.

     
 
In her chairperson's report Jan thanked Lee and Kay for their work, Struan Munro, of Otematata, and Lorna Utting for their continued support, and Hank Verheul for building maintenance work.
Following the closure of the Information Centre and Tourism Waitaki subsequently terminating its lease, cycle tour operator Trail Adventures, who had been sub-leasing from Tourism Waitaki, has agreed to continue to lease the building from October to April.
“Although the amount they are offering is significantly lower than the previous agreement, Kay and I have crunched the numbers and believe we can cover costs. We have monies set aside for maintenance … and a small reserve has built up thanks to the Tourism Waitaki lease,” Jan said.
Jan and Kay would like to see part of the building used by the community. 
Although it was considered by Waitaki Libraries to house the Omarama Community library, Waitaki Libraries decided to continue to use rooms at the Community Centre.
“In light of Covid-19 we have a number of people in town who have lost their jobs or are working less hours, and I believe many business folk are operating under additional stress. This causes me to wonder what role this church can play in this community with the resources it has.”
 
The committee agreed to pay for the church furniture to be stored for another year. However, the ongoing cost of storage could not be justified if the furniture was not to be used in the future.
The committee agreed to consult with the community about next steps.
It wants to know if anyone can store the furniture for free.
Those who donated furniture would be asked if they wanted it returned to them.
Otherwise it could be sold.
The furniture was created a “set” and could be advertised sold as such.
 
The church committee has agreed to investigate the true southern boundary of the property.
Questions had been raised about its exact location and if it could be moved further north it would provide more room on TA Munro Lane for school traffic  and parking.
 
Contacts:
Ven Dr Michael Godfrey
022 342 9977 or Michael.dylanfreak@gmail.com
educator@calledsouth.org.nz

 
Committee Secretary: Lee Kearon
Phone: 021 250 1060 or email: lee.kearon@gmail.com
Omarama Rodeo Club
ANNUAL MEETING

The Omarama Rodeo Club
annual meeting is
7pm, October 28, 2020
 at Boots & Jandals Hotel, Omarama
Omarama Community Library
 
The Omarama Community Library  
is open 9am to 10am, 
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 
at the Omarama Community Centre.
Omarama Residents' Association
From the last meeting...

There were nine people present

There has been no feedback from the New Zealand Transport  Agency  or Ahuriri Community Board regarding several safety concerns raised by the Omarama community.

There has been no information received about when the library relocation will take place.

The Omarama junior hockey team is in need of hockey nets for practice sessions at the sports courts. Ahuriri Community Board member Ross Menzies said there were funds available and he would advise how to apply for those.

A new gate will be installed on the eastern side of the sports courts to allow for access from the car park. 

Sundry items of kitchen equipment have been purchased and clearly labelled as hall property.

Waitaki District Councillor  Ross McRobie told the committee the community should put forward ideas for any one-off “big ticket items”  for inclusion in the Waitaki district Council's long term plan. 

Hank Verheul had attended the Alps 2 Ocean forum in Twizel where results from a survey about what visitors found unwelcoming about towns along the trail were presented. The dangerous congestion of traffic at the entrance to Omarama was top of the list, he said. Also there were a lack of picnic areas.   Picnic tables could be placed under the trees east of the shopping centre on the green verge.    There are also no drinking fountains in town.   Any fountains installed would need to be frost-proofed.

The block wall at the front of the Community Hall is crumbling due to moisture damage. The wall will need to be replaced and the garden bed behind it removed which would also extend the number of parking spaces at the Hall.  Quotes will be sought for replacing the wall.

The next meeting is

Thursday, October 29, 2020.


to follow the annual meeting

An invitation is extended to all
 
Contacts:
Tony Chapman, chairperson, 027 242 8605.
Yvonne Jones, secretary, 027 476 7473. 
 
 
THE ASSOCIATION HAS ITS OWN POST OFFICE BOX
 
Could all those who want to contact the association by mail, send accounts to be paid, or have correspondence considered at the monthly meetings ensure it is addressed to: 
The Secretary,  P O Box 93, Omarama 9448.
The association's email address is omarama.committee@gmail.com
OMARAMA COMMUNITY CENTRE HALL HIRE

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


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

Contributions are welcome 
Email: omaramagazette@gmail.com
Here is the link to the Government's
one stop shop for all things
Covid-19 https://covid19.govt.nz/
Twizel Medical Centre - health news
Copy supplied by Twizel Medical Centre

Mental Health

Mental health is a hot topic now, in New Zealand as it is around the world, and we’re talking about it a lot more openly.  The Government-run programme Like Minds, Like Mine started way back in 1997, and served to raise public awareness of mental health and promote inclusion and end discrimination towards those experiencing mental health distress. Since that time the concept of mental wellbeing has slowly gained traction with public figures stepping forth to tell their story. The likes of Sir John Kirwan and Mike King have brought the conversation into the public arena by recounting their own mental health journeys.

   

A whole lot has happened in the world since the late nineties, the most significant being the increasing domination of social media in every aspect of our lives. Everyone is affected, not least Generation Z born between 1996 and 2015. This cohort is right at the heart of New Zealand’s mental health crisis.  New Zealanders are now the worst in the developed world for under-19 suicides and second for under 25s.  Everyone is affected by this and it’s time we all did something to help each other.
This year, 2020, has affected the whole of humanity perhaps more than any other in that every country on the planet has been touched by Covid-19. The new and destructive phenomenon of ‘fake news’, which for many people is hard to differentiate from the truth, has added to the widespread fear and anxiety in an already pressured world.  In New Zealand, despite our effective management of the virus, those on the frontline are seeing a proliferation of generalised anxiety in the community, with a sharp rise in both depression and anxiety.
Mental Health Awareness Week was two weeks ago and the theme was Reimagine Wellbeing Together – He Tirohanga Anamata. Just about everything in life has changed, from the way we work, go to school and connect with our friends and families and Mental Health Awareness Week is a timely reminder of how we can help strengthen our wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around us.  It encourages New Zealanders to think about how each of us has taken care of others over the year.
This year Mental Health Awareness week was inspired by the beautiful model developed by health advocate and Mental Health Foundation patron Sir Mason Durie, called Te Whāre Tapa Whā – the four dimensions of wellbeing.  This Maori holistic model of health reminds us to take care of all the different aspects of your life to support your wellbeing – just as the four walls and floor of your house support itself.  By nurturing and strengthening all five dimensions, you support your health and wellbeing as well as the health and wellbeing of your family.  If one wall (or area in your life) is damaged, you can gain support from the foundation or another wall until you can fix it. 
The five dimensions of Te Whāre Tapa Whā are:
  1. Whenua (connection with the land or environment).
As the foundation of your house, the health of the land and the natural environment is strongly connected to your health and wellbeing.Being out in nature has been shown to improve physical and mental wellbeing.Return to nature. ‘I am the land and the land is me.’
 
  1. Taha tinana (physical wellbeing)
Physical wellbeing is about how your body feels and moves and how you care for it.Nourishing and strengthening your physical wellbeing helps you to cope with life’s ups and downs. Feeling physically well helps you feel mentally well. Refuel your body. ‘An active soul for your wellbeing’.
  1. Taha hinengaro (mental and emotional wellbeing)
Taha hinengaro is your mind, heart, conscience, thoughts and feelings – it’s about how you feel as well as how you communicate and think.This is important regardless of whether or not you’ve experience mental illness or distress.When Taha hinengaro is strong, you can cope with life’s challenges and express your feelings better. You’re more likely to reach out for support from friends or family if you need to.Some lifestyle choices can affect your taha hinengaro for example eating some foods can improve your mood and wellbeing, whereas other foods can have a negative impact on how you feel. Refresh your mind. ‘When the mind is free and the spirit is willing, anything is possible’.
  1. Taha wairua (spiritual wellbeing)
Your spiritual essence is your life force. This is who and whāt you are, where you have come from and where you are going. For some people the wairua is the capacity for faith and religious beliefs or having a belief in a higher power. For others wairua is an internal connection to the universe or the sacred.It is an important part of your mental wellbeing. Taha wairua provides a sense of meaning and purpose as well as experiencing a sense of connectedness to self, whānau, community, nature and the sacred. Rediscover everyday wonder. ‘When it touches your heart, it lifts your spirit.’
  1. Taha whānau (family wellbeing)
Taha whānau is about who makes you feel like you belong, who you care about and who you share your life with. Family is about extended relationships, not just your immediate relatives. It’s about your friends, colleagues, community and the people you care about. Everyone has a place within their family and family contributes to your individual wellbeing and identity. As a core source of strength, support, security and identity, whānau plays a central role in your wellbeing. Recharge with others. ‘My strength is not that of one but that of many.’

National helplines
If you or someone you care about is in immediate physical danger to themselves or others, call 111. For more information see www.mentalhealth.org.nz/get-help/in-crisis
Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)
Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email: talk@youthline.co.nz  
 
The Otematata Chronicle 

The Otematata Chronicle is published on the third Wednesday of the month.
The October issue is Wednesday, October 21, 2020.
The close-off is Friday, October 16.
The Chronicle is emailed to subscribers.
If you would like to subscribe or contribute please click the button below or email otematatachronicle@gmail.com
 
To subscribe click here
Waitaki District Council - news in brief
Lake Ohau Road speed limit

The Waitaki District Council has agreed to lower the Lake Ohau Rd speed limit to 60 kph from the point at which the A2O trail emerges on to the road to Lake Ohau Station. (See map below)
The road was seeing increasing traffic from  Alps 2 Ocean cyclists and other visitors moving off SH8 to explore more remote corners of the district.

      

In December, 2018 Lake Ohau Station manager Tom Moore raised concerns with the Ahuriri Community Board about issues caused by increased traffic on the road - which is unsealed at the top end and asked for the speed limit to be reviewed.
About the same time the council began a district-wide review of speed limits in Waitaki which went out for consultation twice.
The speed limit had been lowered temporarily to 70kph where the trail emerges onto the road up as far as Lake Ohau lodge, but as the tar seal changed to gravel the speed limit reverted to 100kph.
In April last year, after receiving a report from consultants Stantec the council agreed to change the speed limits of 20 roads in the district, including Lake Ohau Rd, which it suggested should be 80kph.
Last month the council’s asset committee endorsed final recommendation to council  except for the recommendation for Lake Ohau Rd which it wanted changed from the 80kph, initially recommended, to 60kph.
Ahuriri Ward Councillor Ross McRobie asked council officers why  the speed limit should be set at 80kph “given the number of A2O cyclists using it” and given the temporary speed limit was 70kph.
“What is the justification to increase it to 80kph?”
Council roading manager Mike Harrison said the recommendation had been made to fit with the New Zealand Transport Agency guidelines.
The NZTA, which had to give final approval to the new speed limits, favoured either 60kph or 80kph for rural roads similar to Lake Ohau Rd, he said.
Councillor Colin Wollstein said he would also support the move to 60kph “because it is a very narrow road that goes up hill and down dale.” There were no verges “nowhere for cyclists to go”.
The recommendation was approved at yesterday's council meeting.
 

Footpath survey
Waitaki District Council staff are at present surveying all 166 km of the district’s footpaths from Palmerston to Omarama checking on their condition, finding repairs needed and any safety issues and reporting them back to the council.
Photo: Waitaki District Council
 
 
Waste Management Survey 2020

​​The council is asking for feedback about what services are used by households, businesses, and farms to dispose of their waste and how satisfied they are with these services.  The council will use the results of the survey to help determine whether we the present system needs to change. Key Research, an independent research consultant, are conducting this survey and your responses will remain confidential.
This survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.
Do the online Waitaki Waste Management Survey​ 2020​ here
 
Residents survey
The council report on its annual residents survey has been published on its website.
It measures satisfaction with council services and facilities.
The telephone survey of 401 residents taken four times between last October and June records overall satisfaction levels have improved from 41% in 2019 to 46% this year.
The summary notes trust, rates spending and unsealed roads are areas which need improvement.
Ahuriri Ward residents ranked the council's ‘reputation’ benchmark at ‘acceptable’ between 60 and 79.
In the past year, satisfaction with the mayor and councillors rose eight percentage points to 72%.
However, satisfaction with the performance of the Ahuriri Community Board dropped 17 percentage points to 38% over the past year.
There have been two by-elections in the ward – the council’s largest by area and smallest by number - in the past year.
Also, because Covid-19 restrictions interrupted the meeting schedule few meetings have been held.
Ahuriri Community board chairperson Vicky Munro said now there was a full board and consistency with meeting times residents should see an improvement. 
“We have really good people spread through the ward and great communities to work with.
“Since the last election the board has made a concerted effort to engage with all communities, with board members regularly attending residents association meetings and other events,” Mrs Munro said. 
In other stats, Ahuriri respondents satisfaction with sealed road dropped by eight percentage points to 39% from last year’s survey.
Overall satisfaction with the camping grounds, public toilets , parks and reserves sports fields and Aquatic centre increased and declined with the resource recovery park, library services cemeteries and water supply.
 
WDC housing survey results 
In June, the Safer Waitaki housing taskforce surveyed residents about housing and wellbeing issues in the district.
More than half of the 559 people who responded to the survey reported compromising their health to keep household costs down – 56% of people had put up with feeling cold, 19% had gone without fresh fruit or vegetables, and 16% had postponed trips to the doctor or gone without filling prescriptions.
Pasifika people were much more likely to be struggling than non-Pasifika; 53.6% of Pasifika survey respondents said they did not have enough, or had only just enough, money to meet their family’s basic needs.
About half of respondents reported a problem with mould or dampness in their home.
Click here to read an executive summary of the survey.
 
Ticket refunds
Oamaru Opera House patrons caught up the collapse of Ticket Rocket have been urged to
to register with receivers to pursue refunds.
 
Waitaki’s share of National Halls Renovation Scheme welcomed
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced last month $2,718,606 had been granted for hall and memorial renovation projects in Otago.
Ahuriri Community Board member and Kurow Museum curator Peter K Ellis said the
$98,000 allocated to the Kurow Museum and Information Centre would be used for a
revamp of the west wing of the museum including new carpet and lino; a new kitchen would
also be put in and a new roof, badly needed as the present roof was sagging – and finally a
repaint of the front of building to replace the flaking paint.
“The Board were very, very grateful for the funding,” he said.
 


The Otago Chamber of Commerce is offering free regional business support. Here are more details on what businesses are eligible, instructions and links for registering.

Ideas sought for how to make the district more 'age-friendly'
Part of the global Age-Friendly Cities Project started in 2006 by the World Health Organization, Safer Waitaki, Age Concern Otago and the Waitaki District Council are looking at ways to  better support healthy ageing in the community.
Safer Waitaki wants to find out what is at present in place to support older people and identify what is needed to fill any gaps.
It will then make relevant recommendations to the council and take any issues outside the council's control to the relevant authorities, such as the Southern District Health Board or the New Zealand Transport Agency.
A quarter of Waitaki’s residents are over 65, and that is expected to grow to a third in the next few decades.  
To put forward your ideas contact Catriona Prunty Age Concern coordinator
027 434 7089 / 03 434 7008 / NthOtago@ageconcernotago.co.nz

There are 8 key areas where communities can become more age friendly.






















Ahuriri Community Board - news in brief
The Extraordinary Ahuriri Community Board Meeting
for the inauguration of board member-elect Steve Dalley 
will be 9.30am to 9.50am Monday, October 12 
at the Waitaki District Council chambers
It will be live-streamed on the Council Facebook page.

 

The next Ahuriri Community Board meeting

is 3pm to 4.30pm Monday, October 19, 2020
This meeting will be held via Zoom

Minutes and agendas can be found here 
 
http://www.waitaki.govt.nz/our-council/council-meetings/agendas-and-minutes/Pages/default.aspx
Environment Canterbury - news in brief
Six projects to protect environmental values in the Upper Waitaki have been recommended for nearly $95,000 in Immediate Steps funding
The Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee made the recommendation at its meeting last month in Otematata. The six projects involve bog pine protection, fencing of tarns, native planting, weed control and wetland protection on four stations in the zone. Read more 
 
 

Canterbury not alone in facing river water quality challenges
ECan has welcomed the latest river water quality data from Land, Air, Water Aotearoa
“The LAWA river water quality national picture summary from 2010 to 2019 shows a similar result for Canterbury as for the rest of the country,” chairperson  Jenny Hughey said.
“It’s a mixed bag illustrating little change over the last few years. One thing is clear however – the more intensive the land use, the poorer the water quality.
“This is the challenge we’ve been addressing here for several years, primarily via the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. Much has been done but we acknowledge there is more to do. Read more

Minister announces creation of the Tū Te Rakīwhanoa Dryland Area
The five government agencies with statutory environmental responsibilities in the Mackenzie Basin (Environment Canterbury, Waitaki and Mackenzie District Councils, the Department of Conservation and Land Information New Zealand) gave the Minister of Conservation and Land Information Eugenie Sage their backing for the creation of the Tū Te Rakīwhanoa Dryland Area. 
On behalf of the Mackenzie Basin Agency Alignment Programme ECan chairperson Jenny Hughey said the Dryland Area was an exciting development which had been one of the programme's priorities since it started in 2018. Read more

Further funding boost for wilding pine eradication.
A nationwide plan to tackle more than 800,000 hectares infested with wilding pines over the next year will generate 171 new jobs and investment of over $17 million in Canterbury projects.
Last month Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor and Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare jointly announced the most recent round of funding at an event in Queenstown.
Read more
The next meeting of  Environment Canterbury's 

Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee

is at 9.30am, Friday, October 16, 2020
at the Tekapo Hall, 8 Aorangi Crescent, Lake Tekapo 


Minutes and agendas are posted at:
https://ecan.govt.nz/your-region/your-environment/water/whats-happening-in-my-water-zone/upper-waitaki-water-zone/

www.ecan.govt.nz
The Directory








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The Last Page is Classifieds

ANNUAL MEETING

The Lindis Pass Conservation Group's
annual meeting will be at
6pm on Wednesday, October 7, at Tarras School
(The school is beside the Tarras shops.)

We are community volunteers in partnership with the Department of Conservation, working to keep the Lindis Pass Scenic Reserve landscapes beautiful, clear of weeds and roadside rubbish, and trialling the replanting of snow tussock. You are very welcome to attend, to talk over what we are doing and to ask any questions.

https://www.facebook.com/LindisPassConservationGroup/ 
or phone secretary (03) 443 4337.

BREEN CONSTRUCTION

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 jason.pryde@breen.co.nz 
www.breen.co.nz
The weather that was - September 2020
The Garden Diary
Some say cle-may-tis, some say cle-muh-tis

Frothy and lacy and light layers waterfall from the top of the maple to the ground.
And  dark, velvety and mysterious skirts swing as they cling to their partner the apricot, pink and gold “old Glory’ - Rosa 'Gloire de Dijon, as they dance their together way up to the sun and the dusky blackboy peaches.
 
By any name they’re pretty
Like shoes and roses, I don’t have nearly enough of these beauties.

      
 
You may know that roses do well in the high country.
But you may be like me and not have discovered until later that their very best buddy companion plant the clematis does too.
The thing is, and it’s a bit like roses – you need to pick the right one.
The china roses are less hardy than the species roses in the same way the species clematis are tougher than the hybrids.
 
Rambling, scrambling, tumbling, they’re enchanting.
 
The earliest to flower in my garden was an Alpine clematis. It had a good innings but succumbed last year. However, I was always disappointed it was a pale insipid pink instead of the sky blue promised in the catalogue – no doubt a rogue seedling had jumped lines in the nursery. Now I’ll have room for the bell-shaped blue beauty.
 
The next is often dismissed as rather ordinary but there’s nothing like the sleeping beauty castle effect as the white Clematis Montana comes into flower and cascades from the very top of the Norway maple. In the warming evenings its vanilla fragrance spreads through the front garden and its simple four petalled flowers glow in the moonlight.
It begins blooming just as late snowfalls drift over Black Peak and the lime-green blossoms of the maple emerge. Its scruffy exit is hidden behind the maple's curtain of fresh green leaves.
 
It’s hard to pick a favourite but I do love Clematis viticella ‘Polish Spirit’  rambling up along the back fence into the roses and fruit trees. The viticella group is so very tough. Guess what – to prune it you just chop it to the ground late winter – it’s scary to do, and truth be told I’ve never quite gone there with the whole vine at once but it loves it.
 
Viticella 'Purpurea Plena Elegans' is more demure and quite old-fashioned. As you’d expect of a lady, it has no common name. I don’t have her photo in the album, must do that this year. The petals and sepals are so elaborate the world’s best couturier could not replicate them with fabric and thread. Although, reportedly a 16th century plant, she has Downton Dowager Countess of Grantham elegance. - the circle of faded mauve petals pinned in the centre with a lustrous pearly brooch.
 
Clematis Ernest Markham is the only large petal cultivar I have. Sturdy and studious much like his namesake he stands sentry at the front gate. The colour is often described as ‘red’ in catalogues but it is, in truth, more maroon.

Last but by no means least is sweet, deep blue-mauve Integrefolia Arabella. She just sparkles as she twines her way up through the hornbeam hedge toward the apple tree. Integrefolias are not a true vine but that never stopped Arabella.
 
Some find clematis tricky to get going. But I’ve not had issues, more like tricky to get stopping!
I’ve followed instructions (haha) and planted them more deeply than the pot to prevent wilt, put their roots in the shade – under a rock - and pointed their heads to the sun.
There's been no looking back.
 
All you could ever want to know about them comes in this book: The Gardener’s Guide to Growing Clematis, By Raymond J Evison.

Ruth Grundy
( I garden a small space under a big sky in Omarama)
The View from the Chook House
Halloween 2020, Trick or treat?
or does something more fowl loom?
Omarama Gazette
Editor: Ruth Grundy,
021 294 8002, 03 438 9766
Email: omaramagazette@gmail.com

http://omaramagazette.nz/
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