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Omarama Gazette
November 2019

The November Issue

And we think they're awesome too.
Plans in place to improve behaviour at holiday spots
A good result and lessons learned
Partnership to help drive progress
Melbourne Cup celebrated in high style
Dr Dave dispenses the best medicine
Trail Adventures changes hands
A welcome reception at Top 10 
Hot Tubs Omarama - end of an era
Agencies to manage camping separately
Town masterplans process - next steps
We say goodbye

Regular Features

The Noticeboard 
The Community Reports
The Otematata Pages
Waitaki District Council - News in Brief 
 Environment Canterbury - News in Brief
Those FAQs with Karen Greenslade
The Directory
The Situations Vacant
The Garden Diary
The Weather that Was 
The View from the Chook House 
And we think they're awesome too!
Going home: Three members of  the Omarama LandSar team (from left) Bryan Patterson, Maurice Cowie and Hank Verheul relax in the helicopter on the trip home after spending the night walking into Huxley Forks hut to rescue eight trampers. They had spent much of the previous day searching for a man missing in the Waitaki River, near Duntroon. All photos: Jack Zorab
Omarama’s Police and Land Search and Rescue volunteers have been commended and thanked for their rescue of eight students caught out by weather conditions while tramping in the Huxley last month.
Last week, in an article in the Police magazine ‘Ten One’, Southern District Inspector James Ure said the operation reflected" the great work some rural officers undertook regularly" and, in this case, “with two Sar jobs happening simultaneously at opposite ends of the area”. 
He acknowledged the team’s “quality decision making and excellent work”. 
“There was a very high chance of serious risk or death occurring."
He thanked all the volunteers "who put themselves in harm’s way that night".
“The support ...provided to RCCNZ [ Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand] in coordinating this operation proved the value of local expertise and having a good volunteer group available.”

About 11.30pm, Friday, October 18, barely two hours after returning home from searching for a man missing in the Waitaki River, near Duntroon, Senior Constable Nayland (Bean) Smith and the Omarama LandSar team were alerted that help was needed to find trampers in Huxley Forks-Hopkins Valley area.
Eight students aged 20 to 25 had activated a personal locator beacon near the Blair Glacier above the Huxley River.
Weather conditions had deteriorated, it was snowing, two in the group were showing signs of hypothermia, so the group found shelter, pitched tents and because of their circumstances, activated the personal locator beacon.
Bean called Tom Moore of Lake Ohau Station who told him there was about an inch of snow on the ground, low-lying cloud and light rain but the river should be fordable with a 4WD.
Mt Cook Sar adviser Dave Ditmer told him there was about five inches of snow there, that
the team should be able to safely cross the river but to move quickly through the avalanche zones.
In the event weather conditions might not improve enough for a helicopter to land in the morning, Bean recommended to RCCNZ the LandSar team was sent in.
The five-man team of Maurice Cowie, Mike King, Bryan Patterson, Hank Verheul, Jack Zorab was briefed and set off – Mike to man the radio at Huxley Lodge Gates and the others to head toward the PLB coordinates. 
The searchers found entries in the log book at Monument Hut at 2.30am and the group was found at 6am at the place where they had set off the beacon, cold but undercover and with two to three inches of snow on the ground. 
Wet clothing and poor footwear had contributed to the two women’s condition. They improved once warm but were unable to walk out. 

At 6.30am Bean returned to Duntroon to continue to help with the search there, while rescue operations wound up in the Huxley.
A helicopter arrived just after 7am to airlift the trampers, then returned to collect the Sar team.
The student trampers have come in for a good deal of criticism, since.
However, Bean said they had taken good precautions.
As far as the weather forecast was concerned, it was a “50/50 call in the end” and he might have made the same decision himself. 
The group stayed together, put up their tents for shelter at the first signs of hypothermia, carried two PLBs, picked their campsite well, and were aware of the avalanche risk, he said.
As is often the case in the high country, the day's weather had not begun that badly.
The group left from Ram Hill, got to Monument Hut about 2pm, stayed an hour then carried on to Huxley Forks, taking the high track but, while in the bush section, it started to snow and slowed them all up considerably. 
With two of their number suffering from the cold and unsure exactly how far away from the hut they were, the group decided to pitch tents and get into shelter from the snow.
A report said the group were poorly equipped and did not have overnight equipment “which they obviously did”, Bean said. 
What they lacked was wet weather gear suited to the country, and one person had inadvertently ended up with inadequate footwear. 
Also, they could have sought local advice to "pinpoint" an accurate weather forecast for the area.  
“Our guys [the Sar team] had to walk in four to five inches of snow and cross a knee-deep river. 
“They did have dry gear [to change into] but not dry boots," Bean said.  
Through Saturday morning, near Duntroon, work was continuing to find missing Oamaru man Russell "Rusty" McDonald.
The same Omarama Landsar team had helped with the extensive search of a large section of the Waitaki river the previous afternoon after it was reported that three people had gone into the water when their jet­boat capsized near Black Point 
The search was called off for the night but resumed early Saturday morning and later police confirmed  a body had been found. 
“It was good to find Rusty and return him to his family,” Bean said. 
Fortuitously, a Sar river and flood safety course had been planned and so two specialist instructors were there with dry suits and appropriate rescue equipment to search the waterways.
“We’re grateful to Meridian Energy for lowering the river levels to assist in the search.
“And to the North Otago Irrigation Company for operating the gates to Bortons Pond."
 As well, Bean wanted to thank all volunteers - LandSar Twizel and Oamaru  and jet boat owners from throughout the district, who helped in the search.
Plans to improve behaviour at holiday spot
A "working group of stakeholders" is to come up with plan to curb unruly behaviour by under-aged drinkers in Otematata and at the lakeside camping areas at Labour Weekends. 
Since this past weekend, when fed-up residents and campers were once again left in clean-up mode, police, the council and "local stakeholders" including the Ahuriri Community Board and businesses had  "conducted a debrief" and formed a  group to come up with a strategy to try to tackle the issue, Senior Constable Nayland (Bean) Smith, said.

Otematata and nearby Loch Laird have become a place of annual pilgrimage for young people celebrating the end of their studies.
Once again, unruly behaviour by some - mostly under-aged drinkers - left people concerned about the dangers posed by drunk drivers and saw public areas littered in broken glass and other trash.
Many took to social media to voice their concerns.
“This year was no different to any other," Snr Cnst Smith said

“Once again there were unsupervised 16 and 17-year-olds wandering around the township who have been supplied with alcohol by parents and allowed to roam freely.
“Parents need to take responsibility, the police and council are not baby-sitters."
There was the same police presence as other years and there were regular police patrols of the area, he said.

It was "disappointing" there were some smashing bottles in public areas which families and children use.
"It was also brought to our attention that people contacted the council via Facebook regarding unruly behaviour instead of phoning the police.
"In an emergency phone 111 and if it is not an emergency the number to call is 105.
"[On the other hand] every single kid dealt with was respectful and emptied out their booze when asked.”
Incidents occurred in the usual places – the public toilets and around the Loch, he said.
However, when the weather took a turn for the worse young people moved from the camping grounds to the cribs.
That was when they began walking the streets and breaking bottles in town, Snr Const Smith said.

The map below shows the Waitaki District Council liquor ban area
and is a link to its website detailing the conditions of the bylaw.

Good result and lessons learned
Lessons learned after several yachts capsized on Lake Aviemore during the Timaru Yacht and Power Boat Club’s annual regatta at Labour Weekend will be discussed at a debrief “to better improve response”.
However, overall organisers were "very pleased" with the response, Maury Bootherstone, who manned race control headquarters for the event, said.
There had been 58 entered in the Aviemore Classic but only 30 ventured out for Sunday’s race, he said.
Three boats “suffered knockdowns” - capsized - which put 15 people in the water for a short time.
Environment Canterbury's  Coastguard was “on the water safety run” and there were seven other boats on patrol which meant each capsized vessel had at least two boats attending. 
A boat also overturned on  Saturday afternoon and one person treated for mild hypothermia by Otematata First Response, Mr Bootherstone said. 
Police were notified at 12.05pm on Sunday that several yachts had capsized at the annual yachting regatta.
Senior Constable Nayland Smith, of Omarama Police, said the rescue went well but there were “a few communication issues” which led to some confusion. 
It was fortuitous the coastguard was there and there were enough safety boats, he said.
But they would be meeting to discuss what improvements could be made. 
“We were very happy with the way the whole thing was handled. Everyone was safe,” Mr Bootherstone said.
Read more about the club's Saturday's family fun event below.
Partnership to help drive progress
Otematata Residents' Association chairperson Steve Dalley and committee member Richard Paton  believe a new collaboration will offer "great opportunities" for the town.

The  Otematata Community is about to sign up to a five-year programme which will see it in the driver’s seat putting in place and directing tailor-made solutions to the issues it faces.
Called a Community-Led Development Programme, it is a scheme run by the Department of Internal Affairs in partnership with a community to help it reach the goals it has identified as important to its progress. 
It aims to be a ground-up rather than a top-down approach to managing social issues.
It’s principles are based on collaboration, building local leadership and using skills within the community to achieve the goals it deems important. 
At present, 19 diverse communities throughout New Zealand are benefiting from the scheme, each receiving a share of the $4.5million in Government funding allocated each year. 
Otematata is the newest community to be accepted for the programme, Otematata Residents' Association committee member Richard Paton said.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for Otematata." 
The Residents’ Association has led the initiative and has been accepted by the DIA  as the governance group.
As well, there are eight on a working group formed to establish processes for involving the community, groups and stakeholders.
In addition to Richard, this group comprises Waitaki District councillor Ross McRobie, Petrea McRobie, Greg Sanders, Stephen and Diane Loach, Kath Bond and Brent Cowles.
The ultimate aim is “well-managed and carefully considered change, while retaining the integrity and identity of the town", Richard said.
The DIA's role is one of “guidance, mentoring and working alongside us.” 
Plus it provides "human and financial resources".
It has appointed Anna Frost to manage the Otematata programme.
The scheme has  “strong structures of accountability and governance" in place, he said.
Before committing the DIA had “wanted to look at our structures” to get assurance the association was a “well-rounded group that could manage the process”.
It asked for detailed information about Otematata and the ways it could benefit.
“We had to show them our level of professional responsibility,” Richard said.
And it's not all about funding.
It might not necessarily be that the DIA provides funds for a project but its support could be used as leverage to pull in necessary resources from elsewhere, ORA chairperson Steve Dalley said.
The recent Waitaki District Council town centre workshops had provided a “cornerstone” for the work.
“As a partner with the council we can bring a lot to the table.”
Although, the DIA specifies the scheme is not to help community groups or agencies with their ongoing programmes, service delivery, or service development priorities. 
The Residents' Association and working group are hoping the community will begin to come forward with their ideas to direct plans.
One of the core principles of the programme is to encourage wide participation and involvement, Richard said.
And establishing relationships with Tangata Whenua – in this case Ngai Tahu -  is seen by the DIA as foundational.  
Otematata faced some unique social issues  – for example more than  70% of the dwellings were holiday houses, a large portion of its small population was semi-retired, there was a small workforce and few young people and children, Steve said. 
And the demographics were changing.
There were more tourists travelling through, and more retiring to the town and “working remotely”, Richard said.
"We need to make fundamental changes to attract more to live here, to use all the wheels and cogs to try to do that,” Steve said.
Although about a year’s work had gone into making the project a reality already it was still in its early stages and, as such, wanted direction from the community, Steve said. 
As part of that the working group is to hold a barbeque at the sports grounds starting noon next Saturday where the memorandum of understanding with the DIA will be signed.
People will be able to learn more about the programme as well as put forward their ideas, he said.
For more details about the event see the poster below.
Melbourne Cup celebrated in high style
But I “Vow and Declare” it stops our two heartland towns as well.
Spring racing was celebrated in high style – who needs fashion in the field when “they’re putting on their top hats and polishing their nails” not to mention popping on their best frocks and flaunting a little frippery for Melbourne Cup 2019 in Omarama and Otematata - as seen at Boots & Jandals Hotel, Omarama, the Otematata District Club, Otematata Eatery, Bar & Lodging, CJ's Bar and Restaurant.
And doesn’t everyone scrub up well?!
Boots & Jandals award for best-dressed couple went to Bev and Lindsay Purvis and best dressed lady was Ann Patterson.
Otematata District Club best dressed woman Lyn Stewart, best dressed man James Denniston and best horse???Rob Allen!
Dr Dave dispenses the best medicine
Laughter really is the best medicine and Dr Dave Baldwin, The ‘Flying Doctor’, dispensed it in super-size doses alongside some serious tips on men’s health as he paid a flying visit to Boots & Jandals Hotel Omarama, on Monday evening.
It may have been a school night but good numbers rocked on up and enjoyed a generous meal - Bruce and Julie Dyson donated all proceeds from meal tickets to the evening’s cause, Omarama School. Read more and view the photos of 'The Great Shave-Off on our Facebook page here
Trail Adventures changes hands
Omarama-based Alps 2 Ocean cycle business Trail Adventures has changed hands.
Auckland couple Vaughan Williams and Aimee Snellgrove, of Waiau Pa, South Auckland, took over the business from Scott and Dee-Ann Fitzgerald in the middle of last month.
Vaughan said he and Aimee had spent time in the south tackling some of the ‘great walks’ and also exploring some other cycle trails in the region.
They were looking for a lifestyle change and so seized  the opportunity when they saw the business come on the market, Vaughan said.
Vaughan was the service manager for a rapid door company for 14 months and prior to that was facilities manager for Alfriston College, a secondary school where Aimee also works.
Aimee will continue in her job teaching physical education and health in the meantime, Vaughan said.
He said the couple had no immediate plans to make changes to the oepration and would continue with the lease arrangement to use part of the former St Thomas’ Church as the company’s depot.
Initially, he planned to “get to know the business”, but the couple did not want to embark on any major developments at present.
They had made the decision so they could enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle and that was what they intended to do, he said.
“We know this is going to be us.”
The Fitzgeralds set up the business in Omarama at the end of 2017.
A welcome reception at Top 10
The Chapman family and new staff members, (at back) Tony,  Sainimere Tania, Marica Bati, and Amanda,  and (front) Vaciseva Vudidra and Jess, celebrate as the doors at  Omarama Top 10 Holiday Park's new reception open to receive guests. Photo: supplied
Hot Tubs Omarama - end of an era
Andy and Emma Moore are the new owners of Hot Tubs Omarama taking over from Jan and Lance Thomas who opened the complex 10 years ago.

What has become an Omarama icon – just Google ‘Omarama’ and you’ll see – is about to change hands but the new owners won’t have far to go to work.
Jan and Lance Thomas have sold Hot Tubs Omarama to local couple Andy and Emma Moore.
And after just on 10 years helping others to unwind they are looking forward to taking time out for themselves.
“We plan to get a campervan, go on a tiki tour – get it out of our system, and then go back to Timaru to our kids and grandkids,” Jan says.
“We’re thrilled [to be handing over to Andy and Emma].
“It’s awesome, they just understand the business…I can see them taking it to the next level.”
Andy and Emma, who also own Supplymoore Yard, have always had a close association with the Hot Tubs – they supply the firewood for the complex.
The Moores, and their young family – Yvie is now nine-years-of-age, Jacob is seven, and Jimmy, six, moved to Omarama from Mosgiel in 2012 to set up their landscape gardening and building business.
Andy says they always thought the Hot Tubs would be a “perfect fit” with Supplymoore but that it had seemed “like a bit of a pipe dream”.
“But things kept evolving…it’s pretty exciting.”
“We can see its potential, these guys [Lance and Jan] have done an amazing job,” Emma says.
The couple will continue to operate Supplymoore “– it just won’t be me chopping the wood”, Emma says, laughing.
Jan and Lance’s “amazing journey” began about five years before the complex opened in what was “a paddock full of broom, gorse and weeds” between the Omarama Stream and SH8.
Initially, the couple who moved from Timaru, planned to set up a freshwater crayfish enterprise and combine that with tourism, Jan says.
Changes to regulations regarding water consents put paid to that idea.
But then came inspiration in the form of sitting in a hot tub, under the stars, overlooking the sea. Others might love this experience too, they thought.
“It was Lance’s dream, and my nightmare.
“But it became something of which we’re really proud.”
With help from friends and family – “lugging rocks and digging trenches” and with 10 red cedar hot tubs and a sauna set in landscaped surroundings around a man-made pond, all designed to take in 360 degrees of classic high-country scenery, the complex opened March 4, 2009,
A massage service became part of the package and later the tubs were replaced with stainless steel models.
Nowadays, the Alps 2 Ocean Trail brings travel weary cyclists to the front door, and a newly-installed Tesla EV charging station – Tesla’s first in the South Island – has put it on the map for the environmentally-conscious tourist.
Over the years, Lance has added his own creative twist to the complex – like the sculpture at the entrance made from recycled materials which each winter is transformed by Omarama’s hard frost into a towering cascade of icicles.
Each year photos of the spectacle sweep across social media sites around the globe.
Marketing the complex has never been a problem, Jan says.
She and Lance firmly believe ‘word of mouth’ is the most effective tool and making sure every customer “leaves happy” is key to that.
The two visitors’ books “chokka with amazing comments” are testament to them achieving that goal.
The Hot Tubs have featured as backdrop to countless romantic occasions, including many marriage proposals, experiences again shared extensively across social media.
They have captured the attention of international travel writers and featured in various languages in glossy magazines around the world.
Jan and Lance say they wouldn't be where they are today without the support of family and friends.
“A massive thank you to those who helped us … supported us through the years, to all those who have bought a hot tub or a voucher.”
Alongside building the business Jan has played a role in community affairs.
“I believe in being involved in the community.”
She has led the town business group, has had a six-year stint as chairperson of the Omarama School Board of Trustees, and is on the St Thomas Church community committee.
These days she is also a member of the Waitaki tourism strategy working group, something she is particularly enthusiastic about and plans to continue.
The six staff will continue in their roles.
Agencies to manage camping separately
It appears there will be no combined agency efforts to manage freedom camping in the region this summer, however there are assurances from each of the three involved in the Omarama area that they will continue to work together, informally.
This, despite promises made to the Omarama community last year that long-term combined agency strategic plans would be in force for this season.
The traditional camping season begins Labour Weekend and continues until Easter each year. 
Last year, through a combined funding bid between the Waitaki and Mackenzie district councils and the Department of Conservation government funding was secured to build an additional accessible toilet at the Doc-managed Ahuriri River Bridge campsite to complement the existing long-drop, and to erect fencing to limit the area where campers could go. 
The three were members of the Mackenzie and Waitaki Basins Responsible Camping Strategy Working Group set up last year to apply for, distribute and manage $548,000 of MBIE funding for visitor education, monitoring and compliance, toilets, signage, vehicle counters and fencing at various sites along SH 8.  
Land Information New Zealand and the New Zealand Transport Agency were also members of this group.  
At the time, the Omarama Community, who had voiced concerns over the management of the Ahuriri River Bridge campsite was assured it was only a short-term measure until a long-term strategy was drawn up by the group.
This year, in September, the Mackenzie District Council and Doc were successful in their joint bid for a further $215,011 from MBIE to be spent on “responsible camping ambassadors”, signage and education, servicing and maintenance of existing camping sites within its district 
At the same time MBIE approved Waitaki's bid for $170,000 for staff, freedom camping information and signage, and the servicing of toilets on the Katiki straight. 
Last month, the Omarama Gazette emailed questions to the Mackenzie and Waitaki District Council and Doc to ask how they planned to use those funds  to manage freedom camping in the Omarama-Ohau and Ahuriri this season. 
Recently appointed Doc Twizel operations manager Karina Morrow said its successful joint bid with the Mackenzie District Council meant Doc would employ a contractor to monitor and service the Ahuriri Bridge campsite over the upcoming summer season. 
“The frequency of monitoring/servicing varies over the season depending on camper numbers etc, she said in the email. 
Doc does not have plans to further reduce the size of the campsite. 
“As it isn’t a booked campsite, we don’t have a mechanism for restricting numbers.
“This was one of the reasons for reducing the space last year.” 
Doc would also be doing some work to improve the entrance and roading before Christmas. 
“Compliance and education is also undertaken by Doc staff as and when required, and we continue to work closely with WDC and MDC responsible camping ambassadors.” 
Newly-appointed Mackenzie District Council communications advisor Chris Clarke said, whereas last season it had put in a joint funding proposal with Waitaki District Council, this year it decided to make a separate application.
“The MDC funding application therefore only covers camping areas within the MDC. 
“The Ahuriri camping area is in Waitaki district so MDC’s camping ambassadors will not be travelling to this site.” 
 MDC employs two ambassadors on a fixed term agreement.
"They will work a split shift, early morning and evenings.
"In the evenings they will be primarily operating in an advisory/educational role - asking campers where they are staying that night. If they aren’t self-contained then campers will be directed to campsites where they can stay. Campers trying to stay illegally will be moved along.
"Brochures have been created for the MDC region to provide advice to campers.
"The morning shift is more likely to be when infringement notices are issued from those who have camped illegally overnight."
The ambassadors will also survey campers to gather information about why they are camping, and what activities they do in the region, Mr Clarke said.  
In council recreation manager Erik van der Spek’s absence Waitaki District regulatory manager Andrew Bardsley confirmed the Waitaki would be employing two part-time ambassadors.
“One is for the Coastal Waitaki area and the other is for the Waitaki and Ahuriri valley.
“They will focus on the established freedom camping locations.” 
They advise campers where they can and cannot camp, monitor the length of stays and gather feedback, respond to complaints and issue infringements if required, Mr Bardsley said.  
In September,  Mr Van der Spek said they would be meeting with the Mackenzie council to discuss “how we can work together”. 
In Easter this year, the Omarama Gazette requested copies of the reports from wardens  who had been monitoring the Ahuriri River Bridge Campsite.
In July, Mackenzie District Council chief executive Suizette van Aswegen, who was chair of the working group told the Omarama Gazette the reports had been verbal only but that would be remedied this coming season.
"We will do it differently, i.e. making sure we collect and record information and managing the entire project differently.  This does not include any Waitaki District Council land, only land belonging to Doc and MDC."
As part of its new "strategic project"  Destination Mackenzie, there would be improved consultation with the community.
"[The strategy will] include the Upper Waitaki basin and land belonging to Doc, including the Ahuriri River bridge site and having a better handle on the numbers going through there and travel patterns is part of our goals," Ms van Aswegen said. 
Last week, when asked about seeing reports from wardens Ms Morrow said the Ahuriri campsite was managed solely by Doc, with no involvement from MDC or MDC ambassadors.
“As such any undertakings from MDC to provide reports do not relate to this site. 
“We were very happy with the last summer season and the monitoring work undertaken by our staff to ensure adherence with camp boundaries etc. 
“We plan on taking the same approach this season and do not anticipate any significant issues," she said.
Town masterplans process - next steps
Although a summary of submissions made by Omarama and Otematata residents on proposed concept plans for the towns has been made available on the Waitaki District Council website the transcripts have not yet been made available.
This week the Omarama Gazette asked to see the submissions and as yet has received no reply.
In a press release on October 1, the council said 43 written submissions were received on the Otematata town concept plans and there were nine about the Omarama concepts.
A summary of the feedback for Omarama and Otematata can be found here and here.
According to the summary for Omarama managing vehicle movements and parking was seen to be the issue of most concern. As well, people wanted more affordable and eco-housing, improvements to intersection of State Highways 8 and 83, mixed use development along SH8, a new retail hub on ex Rabbit Board land  and an activity/adventure zone on land behind the community centre
According to the summary, Otematat residents want an adventure playground, an A2O kiosk at the intersection of West Road and SH83 (in front of community centre), a hydro-dam sculpture at the intersection of SH83 and Loch Laird Road, establishment of community gardens, a small business area with shared resources and additional commercial/light industrial land along River Tce.
At present council planners are working through the feedback to develop a preferred masterplan options for both towns which will be presented to the new Ahuriri Community Board in December
It is expected the final concept will be given approval by the board and council early next year before going out for consultation as part of the council's District Plan process.
We say goodbye
About 500 people gathered from throughout the South Island and from overseas to attend the funeral of 13-year-old Eliza-Jayne Coetzee who died after a fall from her horse early last month.
Pastor Danny Steele of the Inspire Community Church, Twizel, led the service at the Omarama Memorial Hall. 
Those who paid tribute included Eliza-Jayne's mother, Tania, brother Brand junior and father Brand Senior, and there was a tribute in dance from her dance group.
Friends in the Omarama community decorated the hall in her honour and supplied morning tea.
Farewell, our sunshine girl, with a song always in your heart.
We will miss your amazing smile.
Eliza-Jayne Coetzee. June 2, 2006 - October 4, 2019

Piper - Archie Thomas
The Noticeboard
To have your community notice included here email:

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

St Thomas' Omarama Community church services: contact: Kay Verheul 03 438 9538 or Rev Ken Light 027 211 1501.

The Omarama Golf Club  Saturdays tee-off 12.30pm.  Club Captain Adrian Tuffley, 027 347 8276.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read more,  enjoy more photos and watch our place 'come to life' check out our Facebook page and website and Instagram.

To receive email alerts between monthly editions of the Omarama Gazette sign up to our 'Local List'.
and put 'Local List' in the subject line.
The December issue of the Omarama Gazette
is Wednesday, December 4, 2019.
Please submit copy
by Friday, November 29.
Advertising pays for
production and distribution
To find out about publication and close-off dates,
and how much it costs to place your advertisment, 
 phone 021 294 8002, 03 438 9766 or email
The Community Reports
Upper Waitaki police news 

By Ruth Grundy

The Omarama Golf Club was broken into sometime overnight Sunday October 20 or Monday October 21.
It was most likely “opportunistic”, Senior Constable Nayland (Bean) Smith said.
It was an “easy target” because of its isolation. 
However, it is unlikely it would happen again because the club was installing security lights and remotely-monitored security cameras, he said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact police.
Omarama Golf Club president Greg Harper said money, alcohol and food was taken – “anything in boxes”.
As well as the extra security measures alcohol would no longer be kept on the premises, he said.
He was said he was extremely annoyed  by the incident.
The cost to carry out the necessary repairs and replace the stock taken was an extra burden on a small club, he said.

Other recent burglaries
A 46-year-old male, who was charged with burglary and receiving stolen property in relation to break-ins at the salmon farm near Twizel, has appeared in court and was  remanded without plea, Bean said.
In a separate incident, three people from the Timaru area were charged - one was remanded in custody and two released on bail - in relation to the recent burglaries of the Riverside Café and the Four Square in Kurow. They appear to have been responsible for several incidents in the surrounding district, Bean said.
FENZ Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade
The restricted fire season is upon us. Remember the permit system has changed and now they are done on the Fire and Emergency website.
If you need help phone 0800 658 628 or email 
At the moment, there is a total fire ban due to the extreme heat of the last few days.
Remember, if you live in the urban areas, no fires, rubbish or braziers.
Guy Fawkes is upon us. Please be careful if you choose to have fireworks but remember if there is total ban you may not let any off. 
The tourists are starting to appear on our roads so please be patient out there.

Keep yourselves safe. Chief Fire Officer  Greg Harper
FENZ Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade meets 7pm each Wednesday and has its meeting at 7:30pm on the third Wednesday of the month. 
And, in breaking news... woohoowoohoowoohoo
It's here and 'aint it grand?!
Fenz Omarama took delivery of  a new firetruck on Tuesday. 
It will be here for two weeks so firefighters can take it for a few test drives before it goes for its 'fit-out' to  make any necessary adjustments before being returned and put into service, chief fire officer Greg Harper said. (More to come in the next issue) 
Omarama Golf Club
Summer is just around the corner and our course is looking great.  We are continuing to work on our new green, which is about to be seeded. Three new tee blocks are also in the process of being developed. This is a step towards our long-term goal of having 18 different tee blocks, which will continue to enhance our course. 
The Labour Weekend tournament was another great day with good support for Omarama Fire Brigade. (see story below) 
The following are the top results, all three teams were on the same score so results were by lot.
1st           Adrian Tuffley and Ali Brosnan
2nd          Tony Sheppard and Christine Bowman
3rd           James Moynihan and Peter McGee
We welcome  the following new members to the club: Brendon May, Kaye Johnston-May
We would like to thank Ballance in Kurow for their kind donation of fertiliser to go on our fairways.  This will ensure our fairways stay in good condition.
If you have friends, family visiting over Christmas/New Year put January 4  in your diary as this New Year’s tournament date.

Happiness may be a long walk with a putter but the best fun to be had must be the Omarama Golf Club’s annual Labour Weekend four-ball best-ball golf tournament.
Held each year to raise funds for Fenz Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade, this year’s tournament attracted 29 players from throughout the valley and beyond.
Teams of four battled somewhat blustery conditions – more suited to the gliding taking place over head than golf – to make it to the shelter of clubhouse following play where raffles were drawn, and an evening meal served courtesy of volunteers and local business sponsorship.
Meanwhile on another part of the course, a tournament of ‘galactic’ significance was taking place.
For the 12th year running, the Copson family, of Dunedin, were at the course competing for the Galactic Cup. 
Never heard of it?
The ‘Golfing and other Leisure Activities Championship Trophy for Inter-generational Copsons’ takes place each year at the Omarama Golf Course, under a “very sophisticated handicap system”, as part of the family’s annual get together in Omarama, ‘Dad’ Steve Copson says.
About 20 family members, with grandchildren aged from three to 28, made time to catch up by spending the long weekend together based at Omarama Station's shearers' quarters. 
And the 2019 GALACTIC trophy champion was ... grandfather and octogenarian Jeff.
It is the first time he has won the trophy, Steve says.

Below: Copson family members (from left) Patrick, Nigel, Graham, John, Steve (on the ride-on) and Jeff compete for the ‘Golfing and other Leisure Activities Championship Trophy for Inter-generational Copsons’ aka the Galactic Trophy as part of their annual Labour weekend family get together.
Jeff won the trophy for the first time.
Omarama Residents' Association
From the annual meeting, October 17, 2019
There were 15 people present and three apologies.
The new officers are:
Chairperson, Tony Chapman
Vice-chairperson Ann Patterson
(Jemma Gloag will fill in for Tony or Ann if they are unable to attend a meeting.)
Secretary, Yvonne Jones
Treasurer: Stephen Grundy
Committee: Jemma Gloag, Judy Piner, Lorraine King, Charlotte Newfield, Hank Verheul, Kay Verheul, Gary Sutherland.
Charlotte Newfield will continue as curator.
Ross Menzies has resigned from the committee because of conflicting obligations with his appointment to the Ahuriri Board.
The Omarama Emergency Response Group asked to hold a key for the hall.   This will be stored at the Omarama Land SAR base.  The Hall will be used as the Civil Defence Centre in any emergency
The Sports Complex sub-committee met twice during October.
Consents are now issued. There is a shortfall of $4,000 and the committee agreed to meet this from the savings account, if necessary.
Jemma will confirm with the council that transactions can be made through the  Omarama Hall rates accounts to recover the GST.  
The Otago Community Trust has confirmed its conditions have been met and it has deposited the $50,000 grant.
The contract has been signed with Kevin Grant and work should start this month.
Jemma has received an email confirming the Seager family are happy to have their plaque shifted to under the cherry tree.
An inventory of kitchen equipment has been made.
There is an $800 deficit in payments for the town maps - Payments from business should already have been received.   Outstanding accounts will be followed up.   Charlotte to contact Pam Young
In general, business concerns were raised once again about the numbers staying at the Ahuriri River Bridge campsite.  The association want to be kept informed about the situation and see warden’s reports this season. The Department of Conservation, Mackenzie and Waitaki district council have received grants in the latest round of Government funding to manage responsible comping for the season.
 The next meeting is 7.30pm Thursday, November 21, 2019

All are welcome
Contacts: Tony Chapman, chairperson, 0272 428 605.
Yvonne Jones, secretary, 0274 767 473. 
Could all those who want contact the association by mail, send accounts to be paid, or have correspondence considered at the monthly meetings ensure it is addressed to: The Secretary,  P O Box 93, Omarama 9448. The association's email address is

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

Omarama Community Library

The Omarama Community Library  is open  
9am to 10am,  Wednesdays and Saturdays,
 at the Omarama Community Centre.
Omarama School
School Camp 2019

From Tuesday the 15th to Friday the 18th we ventured to our school camp, which was enjoyed by all who participated. The camp provided many high-energy activities coupled with many learning experiences in the Discovery World and the museums.
Room one recount about camp
We had a great time on camp, swimming, hydro-sliding, climbing and leaping at clip 'n' climb/ leap and bouncing at Inflatable World.
Unfortunately the train broke down on Amelia Mays birthday but we still enjoyed the day going to the Early Settlers Museum instead.
We would love to do it again but we were so tired we thought we better come home to rest.
We celebrated Halloween at school on Thursday the 31st of October with competitions and fun games.
The categories were funniest, scarcest, most creative and favourite costume decided by individual’s votes. The winners were Jacob and Lochie the funniest, Pippa and Amelia May the scariest and Arabella and Taylor the most creative.
The most popular costume went to Ella and Maggie.
We would like to thank the Year 7 & 8’s for organising this great day, fun games and the certificates! and to Lex and Jan for Lex for allowing us, to use their spooky decorations for Halloween last week.
Spooktacular surprise for school bus driver 

A line-up up of spooks, spectres and ghostests with the mostests greeted Omarama School bus driver Lex Perriam last week. Simply boo-tiful outfits, guys (and parents!) Photos: Lex Perriam
St Thomas' Church Community
The St Thomas’ Church Community management committee held its annual meeting in Omarama, last month.
The past year had been a “relatively quiet” year compared with 2018-2019, chairperson Rev Ken Light said.
The congregation now met at the Omarama Memorial Hall.
“It took some getting used to but the easy informality which is the mark of St Thomas' was as strong as ever,” he said.
The committee was almost at the end of its second year in the present lease agreement with Tourism Waitaki for the building to be used as an Information Centre and the depot for A20 cycle business, Trail Adventures, and it was pleased with the upkeep of the building, grounds and carpark. 
Last year’s Christmas Carols service was held on the Sunday before Christmas Eve which was easier for those travelling long distances to lead the service.  However, attendance at the service seemed to suffer, Rev Light said. 
This year it will once again be on Christmas Eve and the committee is looking for a pianist or organist to accompany the singing.
“The Easter Day service held in April, again although low in numbers, was attended by local people.”
Travel difficulties through winter, other work and family commitments, and illness meant the number of management meetings were fewer and the volunteer thanksgiving service had to be cancelled because there were not enough people to plan and organise it. 
“But this highlights a problem that we have.  We are a small committee.  Most of us are ‘out of towners’ and Jan [Thomas] and Kay[Verheul] are the only locals but because they are involved in the hospitality industry and are very busy at certain times of the year, there are not a lot of people around to do the work.”  
Three committee members resigned this year; Sally Galvin, Elspeth Wallace and June Taylor. 
“On the other hand, the committee began to pay travel and service costs for clergy and treasurer.  It was step toward self-sufficiency probably for the first time in our history.
 “Visiting and finding new members remains a priority for the clergy.” 
At the meeting it was decided to continue to keep the pews in storage and review that decision once it was known what Tourism Waitaki decided to do when its lease came up for renewal next year. 
The main issue the committtee dealt with last year was the request from the Waitaki District Council for an easement across the back of the church property so children could walk from the west of Omarama to school. 
There had been an informal arrangement for many years and the creation of a new subdivision in Park Lane meant it was possible for the council, with the church’s agreement, to create a legal easement.
“The [church] committee was in favour of the idea, as was the Kurow Presbyterian Church but our problem was that the title for the church section was held with the Otago Foundation Trust Board (Presbyterian Synod of Otago and Southland).” 
A public meeting was held last November to discuss the proposal, explain who had the final decision and “some side issues such a new water main”.  
“The meeting recommended a two-metre wide, wheelchair friendly path, fenced and lit, along the back fence of the church section connecting with Munro Lane.” 
The Presbyterian Church made the final decision in favour early this year. 
“Work on the walkway took place recently but not along the fence line at the rear of the section with contractors laying down a sealed path.  
“If left as it is it means that the easement is now three-metre wide and the agreement needs to be altered to recognise this.” 
In her report, secretary Lee Kearon, who is minister-probationer of the Kurow Presbyterian Parish said the challenge remained “to keep working to further build and nurture a sense of fellowship in a particularly seasonal community with a transitory population in the tourist season”. 
“Administration has been an ongoing task. The easement has taken time, legal advice and negotiation to get right but the benefit to the community is that the children have an assured safe passage from the school, away from the traffic. 
"Work continues on the preparation of a Fire Evacuation Plan for the building which is leased to Tourism Waitaki.”
Chairperson: Rev Ken Light,
Secretary: Lee Kearon,


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

Please contact Rev Ken Light 027 211 1501
Ōhau Conservation Trust

Windy wilding trees working bee

Well, we picked our days alright! The westerly gale was at its height, but 12 Ōhau Conservation Trust volunteers went out on Labour weekend Sunday to remove wilding trees.
We cleared an area of wilding trees in the QEII Trust area just south of the two large wetlands, next to Lake Ōhau road, on Ōhau Downs Station. (In case you are wondering, the wilding trees around the wetlands have been treated with a basal spray and will die over time, so no need to cut them).
The volunteers included some of our regular helpers and some new to wilding tree removal - and they were heard to say; "this is quite addictive, I can see myself doing this again".
A big thank you to them all.  Some of the trees were quite hard to remove as they had branches growing in the soil around them - the photo shows a particular stubborn tree being dealt with!
The dry land shrub-land we were working in is fantastic. It has a profusion of native broom species, cotton wood, matagouri, and other native shrub species, with ephemeral wetland areas in the gullies - rich and thriving native ecosystems.
The Trust's next work session (the last one for 2019) is on Sunday, November 17. Check on our website for details, or join our supporters email list - register via the "contact us" form on our website
Copy and photos by: By Viv Smith-Campbell
Chairperson, The Ōhau Conservation Trust
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The Otematata Noticeboard
To have Otematata community notices included here email:

Otematata District Club:
2pm Monday, November 11, Gone Crackers - Bring your relish and savoury biscuit recipe to swap, share or demonstrate.

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

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

FENZ Otematata Volunteer Fire Brigade 
There were 62 callouts from January to October 2019.
(The total for the entire year of 2018 was 62, so we are in for a busier year). 
25 medicals
8 private fire alarm activations
8 motor vehicle accidents
14 fires
7 special service

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

Family fun at sailing regatta
There were rumours of crocs on Lake Aviemore at Labour Weekend, and kidnapped fairies and cutlasses drawn. 
Captain Hook and his band of pirates were up to their old tricks.
But never fear Peter Pan with Tinkerbell at his side and a fleet of others who ‘never grew up’ - in the best possible way - were out in force mounting a rescue.
About 10 yachts headed out from the calm of the Otematata Boat Harbour into a slight breeze on the lake for the  31st annual Timaru Yacht and Powerboat Club fun race.
The theme for this year’s race was Peter Pan.
The base for the weekend event, which features Sunday's Aviemore Classic was the Otematata Boat Harbour.
The Henderson Family - Brackley (5) and  Ruby(6) - of Browns near Winton, won the best-dressed award for the  fun event. They are pictured below.
It was indeed, "wow"!
A group of 14 Otematata women gather in the foyer of Wellington’s TSB Arena before enjoying the spectacle that is the ‘World of WearableArt’. Photo: supplied.

Early last month 14 Otematata women headed north to the capital city for four days to attend Wellington’s ‘World of WearableArt’.
Organiser Deborah Simpson said they "did it all".
“Delicious food, fabulous shopping, sightseeing and local attractions.
“A fabulous time was had by all, and we didn’t lose anyone!
“The show was just amazing and well worth the trip.
“And, all we could say was ‘WOW’ “.
Deborah says she is working on ideas for a trip next year.
Otematata Residents' Association

From the October meeting
Omarama Gazette editor Ruth Grundy spoke at the public forum about the Otematata Chronicle. From February it will be published on the third Wednesday of each month with the deadline being the Friday before. All contributions are welcome. Those who wish to subscribe are encouraged to email
Environment Canterbury has agreed to supply new plantings for the Wetlands walkaway.
Money is allocated. Health and safety signage is now up.
Work is continuing on the drawing up an overall health and safety policy.
However, the association is waiting for feedback from the council so it can proceed.
The carpark development is part of this.
Chairperson Steve Dalley said this would need to be followed by the new committee after this month’s annual meeting.
The association has received a grant of $543 from the Donald and Nellye Malcolm Trust.
A resolution was made to engage a lawyer to review and update the constitution. Funding for this could be available from the Department of Internal Affairs.
James Armstrong has offered to work on the dirt mounds in the playground to remove rocks and smooth them to make it easier for children biking.
The Community-led Development Programme has been signed off with the Department of Internal Affairs and Ngai Tahu, and a working group of committee and community members has been set up. Anna Frost, of DIA, will work with this group.
Hall update: Because some committee members were away decisions regarding some operational matters have been held over until the next meeting.
The annual meeting will be 10am Saturday, November 9
at the Otematata Community Centre. 
Contact: Steve Dalley, chairperson 021 768 719
Secretary: Petrea McRobie 0274 369 233
‘The Otematata  Page' is dedicated to
Otematata news,
including from clubs, groups and sports teams.
Contributions are welcome 
Omarama Airfield Ltd
An update from the directors following their October 2019 board meeting.

Airfield maintenance manager
The board is pleased to announce the appointment of Pete McKenzie as maintenance manager.
Pete is well known to the gliding community and will be a familiar friendly face on the airfield and we hope he will also make the most of the opportunity to progress his gliding career.
Airfield Operations
Work is underway to prepare the winching strip for Youth Glide's Skylaunch winch that will arrive in November. Youth Glide members have held a number of well-attended working bees to remove briar roots from the strip and the company is about to undertake ground levelling and an extension of the irrigation system. The irrigation system will assist the establishment of new grass on the strip to enable successful and smooth operations.
Omarama master-plan workshop
The company was represented at the recent master-plan workshop where a number of proposals were agreed for the future development of Omarama.
A district council sub group is working on a Destination Management Plan for the Waitaki Valley and the two projects should produce some positive outcomes for the district.
Wastewater disposal field.
The disposal field has been installed and the rehabilitated site is receiving extra care and attention to ensure the grass establishes and the area continues to be suitable for operations.
Coming Up
Between now and Christmas the airfield will host Jerry’s Cross Country Course, the South Island Gliding Championships and the national Youth Glide Camp, and each of these events is working to build on the success of past years.
Glide Omarama have a mobile operations centre (the MOCCA) which will provide them with an operations and client facility at the launch  point. The unit is a welcome addition to the airfield and all airfield users will benefit from its presence.
The board is progressing :
- investigation into a joint venture garage.
- a marketing plan for the airfield
- liaison with Omarama-based community groups to progress the interests of both parties and the company has completed its annual audit with no significant issues raised.

Clive Geddes
Terry Jones
Richard Subtil
Glen Claridge
Waitaki District Council - news in brief
The council has engaged Ryder Environmental herpetologist Mandy Tocher to help it create a management plan for geckos and skinks because of a bridge upgrade planned for Lake Ohau Rd in January.
A herpetologist is someone who specialises in the study of reptiles and amphibians.
Dr Tocher has completed a field study which has confirmed the presence of Southern Alps geckos and southern grass skinks which are at risk and declining, and another skink known by some as the drylands grass skink within the consent zone on Lake Ohau Rd where the council plan to upgrade two bridges.
The council needs resource consent from Environment Canterbury and to obtain Wildlife Act authority from the Department of Conservation.
The consent compels protection of any listed species and if lizards are found, a Lizard Management Plan is needed.
The plan would list the impact of any work and any mitigation needed.
The land concerned is on Lake Ohau Station and Doc-managed  land, meaning they will both need to work together to protect the lizards.
If necessary, a lizard salvage will be carried out  and a new habitat created for the lizards that is safe.
The council has been given a water quality testing kit for use by community groups.
The kit was bought by the Lower Waitaki River Management Society with funding from the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment’s Participatory Science Fund.
The society had been using it in a project with St Kevin’s College to test water quality in the habitat of the Canterbury mudfish and now that is complete have decided to donate the kit to the council.
The council will hold the kit and keep the machine calibrated, stocked and available for
community groups. Anybody who wants to use the equipment can contact council compliance analyst Madeline Sinha.
The council will hold a free family-friendly New Year’s Eve event, Party at the Harbour’, from 6pm to 12midnight on December 31 in the area between Scotts Brewery and Harbour Street. The line-up will include bands, children’s entertainers, an MC, face painting, kid’s activities and food stalls.

Dates to note if you need a Building Consent, Resource Consent, Special Event Alcohol Licence or Food Premise Registration before Christmas:
Building Consent and Resource Consent (not-notified)
Under the Building Act 2004 and the Resource Management Act 1991 the statutory clock stops on December 20 and restarts January 10. The council continues to receive and work on consents during this time, except for the period December 24, 2019 to January 6, 2020 when council offices are closed.
Alcohol – Special Licence
Under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, any days between December 20 and January 15 inclusive are deemed to be non-working days.
For events that are being held between December 20, 2019 and January 15,2020, all applications must be received before November 22, 2019.
For events that are being held after January 15, 2020, all applications must be received at least 20 working days prior to your event.
Land Information Memorandum (LIM)
Standard LIM applications need to be submitted by December 6, 2019
Urgent LIM applications need to be submitted by December 16, 2019
Food and Mobile Shops
Any new food registrations or Mobile Shop applications are required to be submitted by December 13, 2019
Council offices in Oamaru will be closed from noon, December 24, reopening 8am, January 6, 2020. Waihemo Service Centre/Library will close noon December 24, reopening 8.30am January 6, 2020.
Ward councillor makes his declaration
Ahuriri Ward councillor-elect Ross McRobie was sworn in last week at the first official council meeting following this year’s Waitaki District Council elections.
Cr McRobie is not new to local body politics having served one term as Wanaka ward councillor on the Queenstown Lakes District Council.
Read more on the Omarama Gazette Facebook page here
NB. Minutes from the last Waitaki District Council meeting of the term held on  October 8 - including copies of the valedictory speeches given by councillors Craig Dawson and Hugh Perkins were not available at the time of publication.

The Omarama Gazette extended an invitation to all those elected to the Ahuriri Community Board to provide a short profile for readers, introducing themselves to the community. The responses received before publication are printed below.
Ross Menzies (Omarama)
My name is Ross Menzies and I'm married to Pauline and between us we have two children Anna and John, and two grandchildren. I grew up in Kurow and then spent most of the early days in the Omarama area before heading off to own and run a number of businesses around the South Island.  In 1984, I went back to school and learned about computer coding and, after spending time with ECNZ in Twizel, I worked for a Christchurch company and built a computer system for them. Then, in 2005, cashed up and moved to Blenheim and owned a tourist 17-unit motel.  We finally retired to Omarama in November of 2017.  We feel that we have done the full circle and are now home.  For the past year I have been involved with the Omarama Rate Payers Association. The skills I offer are in management, computing and tourism.
Vicky Munro (Otematata)
A Sense of Place 
Starting my third term as a member of the Ahuriri Board, I am looking forward to the opportunity of representing the residents from the Ahuriri Ward and particularly those from the Duntroon District which has recently been included in the Ward. I welcome this proactive community and will consider it a privilege to work with them. 
During these past two terms I have been involved in community development with residents and community groups and from this experience I consider the grass-roots level to be the most important local government position. I will continue to seek out and listen to the concerns of residents and community groups and ensure these are heard as priorities at both the Board and Council tables. I will continue to contribute to sound decision-making based on local government policies and to work
co-operatively with the Waitaki District council, staff, and Ahuriri Ward councillor. I personally believe, as in the past, we will all continue to work as a team.
Dr June Slee (Otekaieke)
I am pleased to represent the people of the Ahuriri Ward as a Community Board Member for the next three years, and welcome the opportunity to represent Duntroon residents as members of this Ward.
In the past I have represented the Waitaki Electorate on Environment Canterbury (2004-2007), and more recently, the Ahuriri Ward on the Waitaki District Council (2013-2016). These experiences provided me with both knowledge and skills needed to support the Ahuriri residents in their interactions with the Waitaki District Council; interactions that can be quite challenging in some cases. Throughout my term as your representative, I will strive to ensure that the Waitaki District Council meets its obligations to the residents of the Ahuriri Ward, particularly in the core areas of roading, waste management and fair rating charges.
As well, I will encourage sustainable and responsible tourism that not only meets the needs of the industry, but observes the rights of Ahuriri community members to live peacefully in one of the most beautiful places in the world.  
Thank you, June Slee
(Photo: supplied)
The inaugural
 Ahuriri Community Board meeting

is 2.30pm to 4.30pm Wednesday, November 13, 2019.
The proposed venue is the Duntroon Community Hall.

(This is subject to final confirmation check here for updates).
Environment Canterbury - news in brief
Election of Environment Canterbury Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson
Christchurch North-East – Ōrei Regional councillor Jenny Hughey was elected ECan chairperson at its inaugural meeting of the new term.
South Canterbury – Ōtuhituhi councillor Peter Scott, who was deputy chair during the last term, was re-elected to the role after a tied vote saw his name drawn ahead of North Canterbury – Ōpukepuke Councillor Claire McKay, who had also been nominated.
Cr Hughey was the only nomination for chair person. She has a master's degree in law and has spent 11 years in governance and community support and leadership roles at Christchurch City Council, and has been an Environmental Inquiry Commissioner.
Cr Scott is a mixed-crop farmer. As well as deputy chair, he also had portfolio responsibilities for Air Quality, Regional Transport and Freshwater during the last term. 
Read more
ECan navigation safety officer Gary Manch wants safety to be at the forefront of people’s minds before they head back to the water this summer. Read more.

ECan’s efforts to control wilding conifers in the high country are clearing large areas from colonisation by the introduced species. Read more.
ECan Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee chair man Simon Cameron has given an update on the action being taken to address a decline in water quality in the Ahuriri Arm of Lake Benmore. Read more.
ECan has produced a checklist to help farmers reduce run-off, minimise on-farm costs and loss of contaminants to waterways this summer. Read more.
ECan Po Mātai Kō Mananui Ramsden recently gave a TEDx talk in Christchurch designed to inspire other with a vision of indigenous sustainability. Read more.
ECan staff have been out and about in Upper Waitaki putting up posters. There are five different versions - Tekapō/Takapō, Aoraki, Ōmarāma, Ōtematata and Twizel - which have news and information specific to each area.
If you'd like a poster sent to you to display at a location in Upper Waitaki, get in touch or you can download a PDF version here.
The next public meeting of  Environment Canterbury's 
Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee will be

February, 2020. (Dates to be advised.)

Minutes and agendas are posted at:
Those FAQs

The Five Awkward Questions with...

Karen Greenslade - Hungry Hydro, Otematata
After managing to keep my husband Pete in the wheat-belt of Western Australia for 21 years it was time to return him to the mountains and a temperature under 45 degrees. We moved to Oamaru in 2010 then Otematata.  The coffee van was purchased from Ted in Duntoon and I opened in September last year closing over the winter months. I have had great support from locals and visitors and I'm looking forward in catching up with all the summer people over the next few months. Check out The Hungry Hydro tasty treats on FB.
1. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
"You can't change what happened yesterday so have the best day today !!"
2. Tell us something about Otematata we might not know.
"Otematata… I think the secret is out."
3.What was your best impulse buy?
"Buying  a pub in Australia."

4. What is your best day outside the office?
"Is spending time with family and friends... but have you seen the view from my office?"
5. What is your wish for the world?
"To stop and smell the roses."
The Directory

phone 021 294 8002 or email



business card
would look great
right here!
The Situations Vacant
The Weather that was - October
The Garden Diary

Just weeding
When shadows fill the days…I “need to sit quiet in the garden and get in amongst it”. 
“All day I am sitting in the vegetable garden
in the sun, trying to get things straight.”
Weeding works.
There is solitude kneeling behind the weeds in the vege garden, and breathing space, and time for contemplation or not.
Hands in the warm dirt, tugging at roots, sun on my back. Until a chill breeze sends shadowing clouds scudding. Jacket on, then off again.
It’s neither still nor silent but constant mind chatter slows, quiets and then stills.
The quieter you become the more you hear.
The bees are humming, sleepily drunk on the flowering weeds and purple sprouting broccoli. 
Should I pull those or leave them? The chooks will love this bouquet.
There is a rustle behind me as Scarface our pugilist blackbird gathers up worms, grubs and beetles from the loosened soil. I think, despite himself, he occasionally swallows, for a moment forgetting he has a growing brood to feed. Between songs the tiny busy dunnocks riffle through the apple blossom overhead.
Goldfinches are working through the golden conifer harvesting spider silk to bind the nests they are building in the same tree which is fast becoming a fully occupied 'apartment block'.
The thrush has stopped work already and is singing from the very top – doesn’t matter where but it has to be the very top!
Stealthily the karearea soars overhead in hunt but the signal has gone out and ahead of its gliding shadow a hush falls in the chattering garden.
Then there is the Omarama 'sound of summer' as gliders are towed, released and in silence catch the wave off Mt Horrible
A jet passing overhead makes a clean slice through from Auckland to Queenstown, or maybe it’s Aussie-bound. I’m reminded over again of the line in Jim Morris’ poem, Different Worlds.
“Looking skyward,
Way above,
See Jumbo jet,
Sydney bound.”

Do they look down? What can you see of me in the garden? 
“We’re worlds apart”, or are we?
Whatever my world I would not change places, hands in the warm dirt, tugging.
I lift my eyes to Tōtara Kaimaka - the Benmore Range.
It’s time for a cuppa, and a sit down on the warm wall of sleepers.

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

*  Vegetable garden poem I, by Cilla McQueen.
The View from the Chook House
"What do you mean, 'wait a minute and you'll feed us' ?
You do realise the Romans once
consulted us as oracles!"
Omarama Gazette
Editor: Ruth Grundy,
021 294 8002, 03 438 9766
Copyright © 2016-2019, Omarama Gazette, All rights reserved.

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