Ballad of Waitaki

There were no takers for a repeat of last year’s post a song a day throughout New Zealand Music Month but I’ll give it a go by myself.

The Waitaki has been not just a geographical boundary between Otago and Canterbury it’s also been an historical, political and emotional one.

The Scots settled in Otago and Southland on the south side of the river while English settlers moved in to Canterbury on the northern side.

On the right side of the river we’re blue and gold, on the other side they’re red and black.

My family used to have an annual trip up the Waitaki Valley to see the Benmore Dam being built.

The Waitaki power schemes not only generate electricity, the lakes formed behind dams have provided recreational opportunities for swimming, boating, water skiing and fishing.

Lake Ruataniwha is a mecca for rowers and every second year the national secondary schools’ rowing competition for the Maadi Cup brings a couple of thousand people to Twizel.

Oh, and about the song – I thought I remembered John Hore singing it, but this version is by the Plainsmen.

2 Responses to Ballad of Waitaki

  1. Gravedodger says:

    If my internal time log is functioning this ballad preceded the upper Waitaki scheme that multiplied the options for additional control of this tremendous resource. The canal system that links Tekapo, Pukaki, and Ohau. Imagine if you will the luddites reaction to the initial Waitaki Dam let alone the multiplier effects of the other schemes in not only producing the power but the additional control that allows the summer take and still have a healthy if somewhat altered river system. It would be stopped in its tracks.
    A wonderful song of its time especially with the pictures but Probably doesn’t get much playtime at luddite sorry green party/ labour party gatherings, they will be still trying to master on the road again,ten guitars and country road as they try to recapture past glory.


  2. Raymond A Francis says:

    When ever I am on a marae I feel quite happy to say my river is the Waitaki
    Although over 5 generations we have been born on alternative sides we tend to be followers of the blue and gold
    It is amazing how many b/g mail boxes are over here compared with the red/black ones
    My wife (who was/is a Taranaki girl) when asked by a die hard why said “Canterbury has plenty of supporter already” possibly while holding one hand over her eye


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