Asking the questions 
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Ōmārama Gazette
July 2022

The July Issue 

Community demands answers
Clearing the roads - whose job is it?
Monumental move takes place
Let's talk rubbish
'Bird box' becomes airborne
Remembering all that is important 

Regular Features

Something to Puzzle Over 
The Noticeboard 

The Community Reports 
The Directory
The Last Page is Classifieds
The Weather that Was
Community demands answers
Ōmārama First response team volunteers train to assist an injured person on the Alps to Ocean cycle trail. Facebook:

Editorial by Ruth Grundy
Is this a matter of life or death? Potentially.
Is it a matter of unnecessarily prolonging suffering and mental anguish? Absolutely.
Despite assurances from St John late last year, there is strong evidence to suggest that its  emergency call centre continues to withhold 111 medical calls from the Ōmārama Volunteer Fire Brigade First Response unit. 
It is important to note these decisions are not made by ambulance field staff - those on the ground - but by the St John call centre.


Fire and Emergency New Zealand and St John set up a memorandum of understanding in 2014 to work more closely to ensure faster responses to emergencies and better outcomes for patients.
It was updated in 2018 to mean that Fire Brigade first response units could be called to all 111 medical emergencies.
The Ōmārama First Response was used to trial this practice in 2017 and, although the 'enhanced trial response' model was unanimously declared to be a success, it was never formalised.
This came as a surprise to the First Response crew when, in August last year, they were told this in response to their enquiries about why they had suddenly stopped being called to all 111 medical calls.
Following the Ōmārama Gazette investigation in November, the First Response was assured that although a review of the practice was underway, in the interim the practice would return to the 'enhanced trial  model' and they would once again be turned out to all medical 111 emergency calls.
There has been no follow through.
[Read the December story here]

St John is pleading overwork and under-funding in answer to headlines around the country which read “No ambulance, no answers to painful wait”.
Which begs the question, why is it not making more use of its first response partners who can be at a patient’s side within five to 10 minutes of being called.?
Fenz also have a responsibility.
The Fenz hierarchy seems reluctant to put pressure on St John to rectify the matter and the Ōmārama Gazette understands from the various groups spoken to that there are stringent  gagging orders on any in the lower ranks who might feel morally obliged to speak out.
Rumours are volunteers are being threatened with suspension if they break rank and do not toe the official line.

These are volunteers.
People want to quit but it is their professionalism, loyalty and concern for community which is holding them back.
To date, the response from  the organisations to questions put to them has been to deny, distract and delay.
The First Response continues to be turned out to 111 calls triaged as immediately life-threatening red and purple calls, but not routinely called to orange – urgent or potentially serious, or green and grey – non-urgent calls. 
Triaging by phone, even by the very best, is an inexact science.
If a call is not made at the time to turn out a resource – a hands-on assessment and good diagnostic equipment; pain relief and oxygen – resources that are only minutes away, then it is clear a patient can be left suffering and anxious for much longer than necessary.
The mood is such the Residents’ Association, on behalf of the Ōmārama community and its surrounding areas, is calling St John and Fenz to a public forum to explain their positions and come up with a plan to rectify the situation.
The catalyst for this has been letters from three residents detailing their recent experiences and concerns and a statement from the Ōmārama Co-Response Trust. 
In their letter Boots and Jandals Hotel proprietors Bruce and Julie Dyson say;

“Over the past ten months we at Boots and Jandals Hotel Ōmārama have noticed the reduction in the number of times the Ōmārama First Response has been called to help assist the patient until St John arrives. We alone have had three calls that St John have not dispatched the Ōmārama First Response to assist….
“I will remind you the Co-Response [Ōmārama First Response] was set up to support St John as there is no ambulance in the area.
“More importantly for our community back in 1997, and again in 2014 it was agreed [between St John and the First Response] that the First Response would  go to all medical calls.”
Read Mr and Mrs Dyson's letter in full here 
Long time resident Sharon Rogers whose husband John was fire chief when the Ōmārama First Response was established recounts her recent experience in her letter (in full here). 
“I have had personal experience of this recently. On April 25, I dialled 111 and asked for assistance from the Ōmārama Medical First response team. This was refused. Instead, an ambulance was sent from Kurow some 40 minutes away…
I would like to know on whose authority our first response service has effectively been cut?
Personally, I have needed the first response service on many occasions. It is so reassuring when the first responders turn up in a matter of minutes and help is there.
I was absolutely gutted, when seriously ill, I had to lie and wait for help to arrive from out of town to think that help, with familiar faces, was just five minutes away.”
Most recently resident Rebekah Cochrane endured a four hour wait for help.
“At 6.45pm we rung 111 and requested the First Response through the fire department.
I was put through to the ambulance services who told me that First Response did not response to the injury I was describing.
At the time I thought it was a dislocated knee that had not gone back into place.
The ambulance dispatch took over and proceeded to tell me that an ambulance was being organised to be dispatched.
Roughly every 30 minutes, ambulance dispatch rung and asked about my situation and said that an ambulance was going to be on its way, but if there was another emergency on route, they would attend to that first.
When they called back at 9pm, I asked where the ambulance was coming from and if they had left yet.
I was advised it was coming from Oamaru and it had not left as they were trying to sort one out. I was told it would take the ambulance up to an hour and a half to get to Omarama but could be longer depending on the road conditions.
At 11.15pm the ambulance arrived, meaning it was a four-hour wait from the original phone call to 111, then another two-hour ride to Oamaru Hospital, arriving at 1.15am.
After arriving to hospital and having x-rays the next day, I was told I had fractures in my knee and a ruptured tendon.” 
Read Rebekah’s letter in full here.
On Monday the Gazette forwarded these letters to St John, Fire and Emergency New Zealand  and to Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean for their response.
The full response from St John Southland Otago District operations manager Pauline Buchanan is as follows:
 “St John continues to review the way we work with our Fenz partners to ensure resources are allocated appropriately.
In 2017, St John initiated an enhanced Fenz first response trial in Ōmārama where the Fenz first response brigade is dispatched by St John Ambulance to relevant medical responses.
While this remains the case and there has been no change, St John Ambulance is experiencing extremely high demand for ambulance services across the country, with incident numbers regularly exceeding those seen during the Omicron surge.
The increase in demand is impacting both our 111 communications centres and our ability to respond with emergency ambulances.
Callers to our 111 communications centres may experience a delay before their call is answered, and we may not be able to send an ambulance immediately where a problem is non-life threatening.
For this reason, we are asking the public to call their GP or Healthline for non-life-threatening problems, and to reserve ambulances for life or limb threatening emergencies.
We want to acknowledge any concerns raised by the Ōmārama community and reassure that Fenz first response brigade will be dispatched by St John Ambulance to all relevant medical responses.
On reviewing the last 12 months of incident data for the Ōmārama community, Fenz first response have on average been dispatched to four calls per month.
Three of these calls fit the typical FRU [First Responding Unit] dispatch criteria and about one per month come under the enhanced trial criteria.
There is no overall increasing or decreasing trend.”
[FRU dispatch criteria are often used in the case of motor vehicle accidents.]
In her email Mrs Dean said she was “very concerned’ about the information passed to her.
“Local residents should be safe in the knowledge that when they ring 111 - agreed protocols will be followed and they will receive the care they need in a timely manner.
“I have outlined my concerns and that of residents who’ve made contact with the Gazette, to both the Minister of Health and the Minister of Internal Affairs – these are the Ministers responsible and who have oversight in this situation.
“I have also ensured that St. John is aware that I have raised this issue with the respective Ministers’ so that we can better understand what the expectation is for emergency response protocols for Omarama, with particular reference to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between St. John and Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
“Local volunteers do a wonderful job of supporting others in their community who need help. If people are ready and willing to assist others, and have had the training to do so, it makes sense that they should be utilised and called-upon to support St. John when needed.
“Once I have received a response from the Ministers involved, I will be happy to share it with Omarama Gazette readers.”
Here is the link to the letter Mrs Dean sent to the ministers. 
Ōmārama Co-Response [First Response] Trust  spokesperson Craig Dawson outlines its concerns in his statement; 
“Unfortunately, there has been a concerning number of occasions, where our team has been thwarted in their attempts to provide immediate care to those in need of help…
“Our personnel have made many representations to Fenz and St John Ambulance about this breakdown in communication and the unnecessary stress that results for a patient requiring urgent assistance.
To date, there has been no remedy put forward by either Fenz or St John, which brings us to the conclusion that we must call a public meeting involving all the relevant parties, to get a firm resolution to solve this impasse.”
Read the full statement here. 
Mr Dawson urges the community to come out in force and support its first response team “in their desire to help save lives and provide better outcomes for people in need of urgent medical assistance”.

The meeting will be hosted by the Residents’ Association of Ōmārama with Mathew Bayliss, Meridian energy senior manager, of Twizel, as an independent facilitator.
It will be 11am Saturday, August 20, at the Ōmārama Memorial Hall.
In case of emergency - what can the First Response do?

- Fenz brigades in rural and remote areas are trained as First Responders by St John. They are qualified in a higher level of first aid and initiate patient care until an ambulance arrives.
- on arrival the scene is assessed, it's not always what is reported.
- they collect patient information, the what, why, when etc of the problem, then take baseline observations and report this back to the ambulance staff so they know more about what they are attending and if more resources are needed.  The ambulance staff are able to let the First Response know where it is on the journey and its expected arrival time.
- First Response has a secure number to a St John medic, and if needed can be guided to administer pain relief or other assistance needed to keep the patient comfortable and safe until further help arrives.
- The unit carries a defibrillator, oxygen, other resuscitation equipment, a suction machine, a blood glucose testing machine and basics like a thermometer, eye torch, stethoscope, dressings, bandages, splints
- It is a 4-wheel drive vehicle that carries equipment which means it can venture off road if need be.
Initially, volunteers are trained at a four-day course and then complete a full day training every six months, all with St John.
They meet every Wednesday evening also join with the Otematata First Response or Twizel Ambulance for practices.
Clearing the roads - whose job is it?
The snowplough stops in Ōmārama at 1pm on Monday June 13, 
 en route to clear the state highways outside of the town boundaries.

Despite last month’s snow and ice causing considerable difficulty for residents and visitors to town neither of the council’s two road inspections identified anything at that time which required remedial action.
“Roads at Omarama were inspected by the Waitaki District Council during the snow fall on two consecutive days with one inspection coinciding with the snow stop 12-hour period. The roads inspected were thawing and passable at that time,” council roading manager Mike Harrison said.

There was considerable snow on the Lindis Pass and in Omarama the town woke on Monday morning to drifts of about 10cm to 20cm deep.
This had still not been cleared from the streets and public carparks by noon the following day, Tuesday.
On Monday there were graders at work on SH8 and SH83 and they were witnessed ‘raising the blades’ at 70km signs at the entrance to the town.
Subsequent freezing conditions meant  many struggled to make their way safely through town by vehicle or on foot. There was a slight thaw that afternoon but then another frost.
There was no grit applied to the highways or streets in town.
The council-owned car parks were not cleared.
Broken Hut, Quailburn and Birchwood Roads were cleared by residents.
Residents in Ahuriri Heights were effectively isolated until this road was cleared by a resident.

Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Greg Harper emailed photos to elected representatives and the council and voiced his concerns, in particular about how emergency services could have coped should there have been a call out.
“I was clearing the snow from my driveway when a Waitaki District council vehicle went passed with lights flashing and a sign on the that read ‘road inspection’ I thought the  South Roads team would follow. But we are still waiting…
“As far as our volunteers are concerned, we train to keep ourselves as safe as we can but the extra dangers created on our roads during this week I am pleased we were lucky enough to have any calls.”
In response to Mr Harper’s email both Councillor Colin Wollstein and Mayor Gary Kircher said that the council did not maintain SH8 or SH 83 depicted in the photos but that these were the responsibility of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
In reply, Mr Harper said the main issue were the carparks and  “the uneven frozen footpaths” a day later, and that there seemed to be some confusion over which agency had the responsibility to clear roads within the town boundary.
“It was dangerous and almost impossible to walk on… I would like think the areas where there is foot traffic would be as important as the road i.e. in front of the shops and toilets, as well as the parking areas .
As far as the photos are concerned yes that is the State Highway but the other streets looked the same.
When the snow ploughs hit the town boundary, they lifted the blades and drove through town.”
Mr Kircher said most of the images sent to him showed the state highways, “which aren’t ours”.
“That isn’t a case of fobbing people off – it is simply a recognition that our finances and resources are limited and need to go on the roads that are our responsibility, not NZTA who has much deeper pockets than ours.
“Our team had indeed been busy dealing with our roads, though they can’t get to them all at once so some had to wait due to the overall demand.
The other factor taken into account with snowfalls is whether it is likely to snow again, and when.
The footpaths and car park areas are ours, and I will follow up on what the procedure is for those areas in snow events like this.”
The Omarama Gazette has also followed this up with additional questions to Waka Kotahi and the council to ask what contingencies are in place to tackle a future event.
Mr Harrison said the council was responsible for the maintenance of local streets and roads and this included responding in the case of a snowfall. 
The council call centre received "a report that did not require an immediate response” and the road inspection showed roads inspected were thawing and passable at that time.
“Snow clearing decisions are not an exact science. If we begin clearing too soon, it slows the thaw and can increase the time of the hazard and the snow windrowing creates a new hazard.
Clearing too late has the traffic packing the snow to ice.
“As an employer we consider the safety of the work crews as well as the public before, during and after the weather event”, Mr Harrison said.
Graeme Hall, Waka Kotahi System Manager for Otago, said it held full debrief after the recent snowfall event – “given there were several days of lengthy closures and unhappy local people and road users”. 
“After a snowfall event, key highways are cleared by grader, prioritising those that are high volume key freight and tourist arterial routes. The Lindis Pass is a key route and does receive high priority.
“The severity of the event contributes to the ability of staff to clear roads successfully and then keep them open safely. 
“As you will be aware this was a significant snowfall through the Lindis Pass and crews were working hard to try and keep on top of it. Closures had to be used to ensure people did not get stuck in areas with no cell coverage and nowhere to stay warm.
“Grit and CMA (de-icing agent calcium magnesium acetate) are applied as preventative measures for frost and ice based on forecasting information.  Grit can also be applied in response to unexpected frost and icy conditions. Grit and CMA were both used on this route, however, the deepness of the snow meant it was of little value until the grader was able to make inroads.”
“Additional staff have now been deployed to the area to undertake further training and support and ensure the locally based team are well supported to respond to future winter events,” Mr Hall said.

Photos below:
Snow and ice affects Sutherland Rd and the council-owned carpark noon, Wednesday, June 15
The town centre and carpark on the morning after the snowfall, Monday June 13.
Monumental move takes place
The Ōmārama Memorial Rock, weighing eight tonne plus, was moved today Friday, June 30, 2022)  from its position outside the Police Station to the Ōmārama Memorial Hall.
The move, which was arranged by the Ōmārama Residents’ Association, was sanctioned by Upper Waitaki Returned and Services Association.
The flagpole has also been shifted.
With grateful thanks to Grant Hayman, Headford Propagators Ltd who donated his time and efforts to manage the move.
Let's Talk Rubbish 
Price increases at transfer stations from July 1
The Omarama Residents' Association
will next month host a public meeting to discuss
waste management and the increase in charges 
at the council-owned transfer stations.

Waitaki District Council solid waste manager Steve Clark  and waste minimisation officer Lucianne White will be attending to discuss the present situation and answer questions. (See Steve's letter below) 
The meeting will be
7pm, Thursday, July 14 
at the Omarama Community Centre.

An invitation is extended to all.

Otematata residents are also welcome.
Letter from Waitaki District Council Solid Waste manager Steve Clarke to Residents' Association chairperson Lindsay Purvis, June 15, 2022

Hi Lindsay,
Firstly, I acknowledge the tough economic times that we are all experiencing. It seems that every time I access the news the stories are about price rises, inflation is up, interest rates are up and we’re getting less for more!

As a follow up from our chat this morning I provide some info and figures for you to share with your residents.
Council has a legislated responsibility through the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 to promote and provide ways to minimise the waste produced by its residents.
In terms of the disposal of waste generated by residents there is no law that requires councils to take responsibility and provide the appropriate services.
However, as far as I am aware all councils have some form of waste management service.
In the Waitaki, the council owns four Transfer Stations located at Omarama, Otematata, Kurow and Hampden, three recycling hubs at Enfield, Papakaio and Herbert, and a small landfill in Palmerston
Council contracts WasteCo to manage these seven sites and Whitestone manages the Palmerston Landfill
The contract value for the site management for WasteCo is approx. $450k
Fees collected from dropping of waste at these sites are approx. $120k
As you can see the transfer stations are already subsidised by $320k per annum
In general:
The amount of waste taken to transfer stations 430 tonne
As part of the contract WasteCo charges $260t to dispose of this waste which equals $113k
Transfer Station charges $150 per cubic metre ($280t) generating $120k of revenue which only just covers the disposal costs part of the contract.
The WasteCo charge is forecasted to rise to $300t, an increase of $40t. This increase is due to government waste levy charges rising by $10t and ETS Carbon Credits rising from $55t July 2021 to $85t forecasted for July 2022. These are fixed legislated costs.
By way of comparison the following charges apply:
Waitaki District Council Transfer Stations - $150m3 which equals $280 tonne
Waste Management Oamaru Transfer Station - $299 tonne
MacKenzie District Transfer Stations - $349 tonne
Dunedin City Council Green Island Landfill - $200 tonne
Timaru District Council Redruth Landfill - $250 tonne
Lucianne White (our waste minimisation officer) and I would welcome the opportunity to meet Omarama residents and listen to the feedback and talk over the waste minimisation programme we are embarking on currently.
Steve Clarke
Solid Waste Manager
'Bird box' becomes airborne 
Last month the newly constructed Ōmārama Rodeo Club announcers'  Birdbox took flight to it's final destination.
With thanks to David O'Neill Contracting and the Omarama Shed Group, the birdbox made its way from its construction site in town to its final position in pride of place at the rodeo club grounds at Ben Omar.
The Rodeo Club has donated $2,500 to the group in thanks for its efforts.
Photos: by Stephen Grundy.
The Ōmārama Rodeo Club needs a new secretary's office.  
We want to buy a 'Portacom' building, or 'container' office.
Any help/ideas/contacts would be appreciated.
Phone Wendy Parsons 027 451 6054 or 03 438 9568
Facebook: Omarama Rodeo
Remembering all that is important
together with friends.
And with grateful thanks from all of us to Bruce and Julie Dyson Boots & Jandals Hotel Omarama and their team for yet another amazing Pink Ribbon Brunch to raise funds for breast cancer research.
As usual your generosity is unbeaten - great food and great times!
It was an afternoon to make new friends, catch up with old friends and a time for fun and laughter; to celebrate great memories, and of course to raise money for a cause that touches so many.
Generous sponsors from throughout the community donated goods and baskets for raffles and an auction.
And a special thank you to speaker Doreen Leopold
and auctioneer Mike King.
A total of $4293.00 was raised.
To see more photos on the Omarama Gazette Facebook page click here
Something to puzzle over 
The Ōmārama ram wears his winter coat.
The Noticeboard

To have your community notice included here email:
Congratulations to John and Sharon Rogers who celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary last month and to Lindsay and Bev Purvis, who have reached 47 years.

John and Sharon (pictured above) were married at the Otematata Church, back in the day, and celebrated their reception at the Omarama Hotel. This year, John, 'the old romantic', surprised Sharon with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. 

Thank you to all;
- from Sharon Rogers
"I would like to thank the Ōmārama Community Care group and Michelle and Todd Hancox of the Oasis Café for their wonderful care to me in my hour of need, also for the delicious meals, for the housework, and going to the shop for me. What a great community we live in, very much appreciated."
- from Doreen and Wingy Leopold
"Pat and I would like to thank the community and friends for providing food and coming to see us and being so thoughtful after Pat's recent injury."

'Omarama: Place of Light' now has its first Adventure Lab - by Sandy Webb
Adventure Labs are popping up all over New Zealand and most have five locations that people visit, answer a question and enter it in the app on their phones. Then are given the location of the next place. Some have themes, such as street art or food, but for this one I chose some of the things that make Omarama unique, and that I thought visitors would be interested in.
This is an offshoot of Geocaching, but has a separate app.
It can be completed in less than an hour on foot, or under half an hour on a bike.

To get the app go to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plunket Line: 0800 933 922
Ōmārama Plunket Committee: Aimee Snelgrove 
022 350 5536
The August issue of the Ōmārama Gazette
is Wednesday, August 3, 2022

The close-off for this is Thursday, July 28.

Office hours are from 8am to 10am, Monday to Friday
Advertising pays for
production and distribution
To find out about publication and close-off dates,
and how much it costs to place your advertisment, 
 phone 021 294 8002, 03 438 9766 or email
The Community Reports
Upper Waitaki Police
Hi folks,
So it’s been a couple of months since my last news.

In my last newsletter I mentioned that I was going to be concentrating on drink-driving. Unfortunately due to other pressing matters I haven’t spent as much time on this as I’d hoped. So to be able to say that I’ve still charged five people with drink driving is pretty disappointing to say the least. This consisted of a 20-year-old female holidaying in Otematata, two young farm lads from Ōmārama, an older gentleman who actually crashed, where his vehicle flipped onto its roof ejecting him out through the windscreen on the way, and the last one, a clown from Oamaru, he actually blew 1140 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath and was driving at high speed to boot. Considering the limit is now 250, it goes to show what an Einstein he is.


Not only that but the Dunedin Road policing guys, who were recently here, also apprehended a local in Otematata and another in Twizel. They also wrote out 140 odd tickets for two days. Obviously I’ve got some work to do in this area. Drink and drive and I’m out to get you, so you don’t kill yourself or someone else.
I’ve also been kept pretty busy attending at least nine car crashes mainly due to the recent cold spell. Yes, the ice does cause issues but a few of these crashes were definitely avoidable if the drivers had just driven to the conditions. There has even been a couple of occasions where locals have been caught unaware, especially through the cutting as you leave town towards Twizel, and the Otematata saddle. So just a warning, drive to the conditions be wary of those shaded areas even later on in the day when you think that it would’ve thawed out, and don’t forget the grit which can be almost as bad as the ice, especially on those corners.
I’ve been fairly busy with a large file for about the last 6 weeks in which I’ve been investigating a scammer.
In short, a person has been masquerading as a builder and advertising his services on Facebook. Once he receives a request, he’ll provide a quote and ask for a deposit usually 25% to 50% of the total amount. Once he gets this he may turn up and complete a few hours work and drop off a small amount of timber. After that he’s never to be seen again. Because he’s done some work he’s arguing that the matter is civil not criminal meaning police can’t do anything about it and the client would need to take him to the disputes tribunal.
In a way he’s actually correct, but in this case his pattern of behaviour shows his criminal intent. Thankfully the victims are all out of town. 
I inherited the files once I spoke with this person who recently moved into town. He’s currently before the court facing 10 charges which means 10 victims with a total of just over $41,000 taken.
The reason I mention this is to warn you trusting folk that not everyone out there is legitimate. If you’re going to hire a tradesmen etc especially if it’s some random from Facebook, check their credentials before you hand over your hard-earned cash.
Another moan, sorry. I’m a member of a few local pages on Facebook and every now and then see someone informing everyone else about a crime they witnessed or were a victim of.
It dumbfounds me that they take the time to put up a post about it on social media but don’t report it to police. PLEASE we want to know! It’s an easy enough process. If it’s a non-emergency phone 105. If its an emergency 111 – simple. Or phone me directly, you should all have my number by now.
Lastly well done to the Kurow Rugby club in winning the big final for two years in a row now. Not only that but for both weekends (Semi’s and the Final) not a single drink driver was detected despite a large police presence. There were sober drivers and courtesy vans galore.
It was great to see, both me and Pete were pretty stoked.
That’s it from me.
Stay safe Bean

Senior Constable Nayland Smith 
Sole charge Constable / Omarama / Po Box 101, Omarama 9448.
Phone:  (03) 438 9559 / Ext:  34580 /

Ōmārama Rodeo Club 
Ōmārama Golf Club
By Christine Bowman

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

Club captain James Moynihan, phone: 027 215 8266;
Secretary: Christine Bowman phone: 027 209 2320
Waitaki Recreation and Boating Club
By Debbie Smith

Hi all ,
Just to let you know what the Waitaki Recreation Club is planning in July. Believe me it sounds like a lot of fun. I'm booking in now.
Friday 22nd July - Make your way down to Invercargill at your leisure, in car, motor bike , or fire engine!
(You can organize your own accommodation but we have a deal at The Ascot Park Hotel (mention "Waitaki Social Club") motels $135 a night or superior room $165.
The beauty of the Ascot is the cars are out of view and everything we need is there, restaurant, bar etc.
Phone 03 219 9076
Saturday 23rd July- Have you heard of "Dig This Invercargill"? Google this place it looks so much fun and a lot of laughs.
We will have exclusive and full access to the entire venue, including the classroom (complete with table and chairs) all machinery, instructors and other amenities while there. Attendees will have about an hour on a 15 ton digger, bulldozer, 4 ton skid steer, or 5ton digger, there will be a revolving mini dig competition where a single winner will be found. $169 per person
We have also got a turbo deal for our club into Bill Richardson Transport World and Classic Motorcycle Mecca (if more than 10 people, $48 for a pass to both.) Maybe we could meet at the Classic Motorcycle Mecca café on Sunday morning for breakfast have a look around and head home from there.

For those people who are totally not into these activities, other Attractions:
  • Shopping
  • Seriously Good Chocolate Company
  • Splash Palace
  • Queens Park etc.
  • Shopping (in case you missed it )
  • BAR
Any information needed please email Joppy on
P. S. don't the forget the power boat racing at Queens Birthday Weekend (see above)
Debbie Smith
027 229 4376
Ōmārama Land Search and Rescue
Last night, members of the Ōmārama Land Search and Rescue team gathered at the Ōmārama Sar shed to carry out an exercise.
The exercise was based on the scenario of a massive earthquake caused by the rupture of the alpine fault.
The team was put through its paces over two hours with locals posing as members of the public affected by the disaster to challenge the team's skills.
A debrief was held at the conclusion of training. 
Just a note to say that in the event of a disaster the community welfare centre will be the Omarama Memorial Hall.

As well Ōmārama and Oamaru  North Otago Land Search and Rescue teams spent a weekend training, last month, in the  Ahuriri Valley. Exercises covered  skills needed in the field, like search techniques, tracking, clue site processing and awareness, followed by a campfire debrief to warm up.
The exercise was organised by Senior Constable Nayland Smith, of Omarama Police.
Check out these photos taken by Mike King and Jane Strang on the LandSar Facebook page
Ahuriri Catchment Community Group
By Nicola McKerchar - Facilitator

We are still here! We have had a few changes and had to refocus the group. Thanks to the team
from the past two years, the group is now an Incorporated Society and is in a position to receive
funding, which was no easy feat. Environment Canterbury have given us some start up funding to get up and running.

We are looking for people who would like to be involved and help us shape this into a useful vehicle.
This is not designed to be another committee having a meeting for the sake of it. Action and
usefulness are the goals.
Nationwide, catchment groups are being looked at by regional councils, and the Government, as the
voice of the community on the seemingly endless agricultural regulation changes. It is also the
correct vehicle for accessing funding for projects, or requesting experts come to Omarama to assist
with these regulation changes.
We need to use this to ensure the Ahuriri gets its share of the pie.
We sent out a survey to our rural members and received some great feedback.
Primarily the feedback was around more information on upcoming regulation which we are constantly asking
ECan for, and the establishment of a local nursery which we are investigating.
We welcome any other suggestions.

Waitaki District Plan DRAFT – Currently open for public feedback
We would like to draw everyone’s attention to the Waitaki District Plan Draft that is out for public
review. I understand some landowners have been contacted if there are zoning changes to their
properties, however it would be prudent to check on the online map for your own property.
Some zoning changes will mean resource consents will be required for some activities.
This contact may have been a letter in the mail a year ago, so may not have come to your attention.

Waitaki District Council are going to hold “drop in” sessions (see poster below) to answer any
questions people may have.
All feedback and submissions need to be in to the council by August 31, 2022.
From there the Proposed District Plan will be drawn up after any investigations, and they are
hopeful to have a Final plan ready for August 2023 which will then be law.

Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to know more.
Nicola McKerchar - Facilitator
Ph: 022 612 7570
Ōmārama Shed
The Ōmārama Shed group meets at 10am each Saturday 
and at other times, too.
For further information contact: Murray Stuart 027 432 7537

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

Contacts: Georgie  027 486 1525 or Yvonne  027 476 7473
Ōmārama Playgroup
Ōmārama Playgroup meets at 9.30am each Wednesday during the primary school term at the Ōmārama Community Centre.  
For more information contact:
president Nic McKerchar 022 612 7570
or secretary Tarsh Bell  027 349 0016 
Plunket: Aimee Snelgrove 022 350 5536
Ōmārama School 
By Michelle Green, Ōmārama School  Principal.

Hello everyone
Thank you to all the people who showed the resilience and team spirit that Ōmārama School fosters after the recent snow storm!
From our teachers, to our handy parents, to the bus drivers willing to go the extra mile and the parents who delivered children to school I am super proud and impressed. 
I had a great day in the snow with the children.
Friends of Ōmārama School 
By Carla Hunter

Sending a big thank you to the community from Ōmārama Friends of School for their support in buying cheese rolls. This year we made 586 doz 😊 

Also, a big thank you to MacKenzie Supply Services for delivering a freezer to the school free of charge!

Ōmārama School Board of Trustees
Ōmārama School Board Elections

Parent Election Notice 

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

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

Ōmārama Residents' Association is
7pm, Thursday, July 21, 2022

at the Ōmārama Community Centre

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

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

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

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

or email

Ōmārama Gliding Club
Winter winching weekends

Just as we head towards the shortest day and start to come out the warmer side of our first taste of winter, it’s good to share a bit of news of what’s been happening at Ōmārama recently.
The weekend of 28/29 May saw a hardy few brave the chill and get some excellent soaring in on the Saturday. Terry Jones took out the prize for the longest and highest flight of the weekend with ridge and wave to over 10,000 ft available straight off the launch. Sunday was much colder and stable but allowed for more flights with productive training.
Next up was the Queen's Birthday long weekend and a great time was had by all. Craig Clapham came down to check out the Skylaunch winch and was quickly inducted into the fold of the 'Wuthering Winchies' and went on to do over 20 launches over the weekend.
The weather was frosty and stable so great for training and very pleasant when the sun was out…as it was on Saturday when we managed 20 launches. Sunday by contrast was a real chiller. 
After a frosty start, the temperature went from -2 to +4... but as the cloud closed back in it rapidly dropped back to +1... and then the rain arrived. Having started flying at 1045hrs we had managed 19 launches before stopping at 1500hrs and retreating to the warmth of “The Clubhouse” where the evening meal was another feast.
Monday was again sunny after another good frost and what we thought would be a quiet day ended up being another busy one with a few more people arriving to fly and 16 launches achieved.

Here's some feedback from a few who braved the elements.
From Tomas C; “It was cold but really worth it to keep going. Thank you very much to the instructing team . Roger, Graham, John, Craig. Also Malcolm, Geoff and Thom on the winch. I had a really good fun time last weekend at Ōmārama."

From Moki, who has already seen the new Top Gun movie twice; "I quite enjoy the experience of feeling what its like to be flying because when you are flying in a big passenger airplane, it doesn't feel quite real, it's noisy and you don't feel the air like you do in a glider. It’s really cool that we get to know different people and get to fly with different instructors - I feel very lucky!"

From Craig Clapham who started his winch driver training and consolidated his time in the back seat of the Duo; “The significant bit to me is the combined commitment of the students/instructors/overnight hosts/winch people/ and those others helping on the ground to working to a high standard in all areas involved in running the weekend. Lifting the game is easy when everybody just gets on with it. Thanks for a great weekend.”
From Ted McFadgen wearing the shorts; "The best thing about last weekend was completing a whole circuit by myself for the first time, unassisted. The adrenaline rush I felt when coming onto that final turn is like nothing else. Remember everything at once, the aiming point and the imaginary line in the runway, set the speed, set the attitude, pull the brakes out, and finally take a big deep breath in before flaring out. And only once the glider has come to a full stop I finally remember to stop holding my breath, and let it all out.”

Coming up...
- Winching weekend July 8 to 10
- Flying start week October 8-16
We will be running the Flying Start week again. This will be a full week of flying, primarily using the winch, and we hope there will be towing available.
This week is great for requalifying skills ready for the new season or even just getting some early flying in, so please take advantage of it.
- Mountain Flying Course November 28 to December 2
Once again this will be run the week before the South Island Regionals. As soon as the SI Regional's dates are confirmed by the Gliding New Zealand racing committee we will put the registration form on the GNZ website.
- South Island Regionals  December 3 to 7
Dates to be confirmed by the GNZ racing committee.

Brian Savage
Omarama Gliding Club president 021 619 539

Photos above and below: Supplied

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

Contributions are welcome 
Update to 4SQ Omarama Trading Hours
As from Monday July 4
our trading hours will be
9am to 5pm
seven days a week

- Alona and Blair Shaw

Here's the Covid stuff 😀 

NB Our community Care Group is here to help in anyway, not only if Covid hits!


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

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

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

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

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

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

Help for businesses
Free business helpline: 0800 505 096

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

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

It's important to take it easy as you recover from Covid-19 and other viruses this winter.
Keep up healthy habits to protect yourself, your whānau and your community.
If you continue to feel unwell, or become unwell again, talk to your healthcare provider or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.
The Directory 


phone 021 294 8002 or email

The last page is classifieds

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

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

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

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

We all really appreciate what you do.

If you find anything amiss in the Ōmārama  Gazette
please contact Ruth Grundy, 021 294 8002 or email
and I will do my very best to put it right.
Contact the Ōmārama Gazette
Tips for getting all the info...

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Please let me know if there are any problems.
Ōmārama Gazette
Editor: Ruth Grundy,
021 294 8002, 03 438 9766
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