North Otago Legends – Adair Craik


This week’s North Otago Legend is Adair Craik:

Heart of gold is how I would describe Adair Craik. Adair is a multi talented sports women and business leader in North Otago. She is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get things done. A big part of her business is focused on non-profit organizations and a big part of her spare time is helping the next generation of athletics have all the opportunities available to them.

North Otago legends – Jock Webster


Jock Webster is another North Otago legend:

Scientist, farmer, director, trustee and QSM, Jock Webster is a busy man in our community. In today’s podcast we talk about the many benefits that irrigation has brought to North Otago and the humble sunflower that has helped create a successful business. Jock is a family man and has passed onto his children a legacy that continues to bless the community.

Jock’s son and nephew featured on Country Calendar a few weeks ago, you can watch the episode here.

North Otago Legends – Derek Beveridge


Derek Beveridge is a North Otago Legend

It’s Sergeant Beveridge. Many young people have uttered the words ‘It’s Sergeant Beveridge’ over the last 36 years, some because they were on the wrong side of the law and others because it was Derek who believed in them and was there when they needed someone they could trust. Derek has helped more teenagers than he cares to remember, and North Otago is glad he did. Thanks Derek. 

North Otago Legends – Al Bell


Al Bell is a North Otago Legend:

Ko te joker e pai ana ki te ora (The joker who enjoys life) He calls himself the class clown or joker but in truth Al Bell just loves life and doesn’t take it too seriously.

Today’s podcast was a laugh and if Mr Bell taught you over the years you’ll know why. Al shares about teaching in the district and opens up about his art and why it’s a passion.  


North Otago Legends – Kristy Jennings


Kristy Jennings is a North Otago Legend:

From ‘Beauty Queen’ to ‘Godzone’  Kristy Jennings (Wilson) shares with us where life can take you when you say yes. A truly remarkable story of opportunities and persistence, overcoming fears and pushing yourself to the limit. Kristy is humble in her achievements and still a proud North Otago girl.

North Otago Legends – Win Stephens


Win Stephens is a North Otago Legend.

Four rowers, one cox and an exceptional coach put North Otago on the map in 1962. Win Stephens and his crew had the support of the entire district as he chased Gold at the Commonwealth Games.

North Otago Legends – Logan Docherty


Logan Docherty is chasing an Olympic rowing dream and an up and coming North Otago Legend:

How far can you push your body, what is a normal heart rate for a competing athlete? On todays podcast we chat with Logan Docherty a young man chasing an Olympic dream.

North Otago Legends – Barry Wilson


Barry Wilson is a businessman, a hunter, a practical environmentalist and a North Otago Legend:

A Businessman, hunter, and good bloke. Today we set out to chat with Barry Wilson about hunting in North Otago but got so much more. Barry shares some history of the district when recounting his first job and we found out what it takes to create a wetland for the community to enjoy. 

North Otago Legends Sally Ann Donnelly


Sally Ann Donnelly is a buisnesswoman,  a philanthropist and a North Otago Legend:

Every town needs a Sally Ann Donnelly. Someone who is hard working, a visionary and generous. Sal is unique and always puts others 1st, she has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity and gives freely of her own time to see the community blessed. Sal, North Otago loves you.                  

North Otago Legends – Kelli Williams


From accounts clerk to District Councillor, via an Air Froce helicopter pilot, Kelli Williams is a North Otago legend:

Dr. Seuss said it best when he said: “Kid, you’ll move mountains!” “Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.” “Oh the places you’ll go! – We think this sums up Kelli Williams, and after listening to her podcast you’ll see why.

North Otago Legends – Ian Hurst


Oamaru rowing coach and pastor Damien Goodsir and Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher are recording podcasts of local legends.

A conversation to help pass the time has sparked an idea that could benefit generations to come.

Over summer, Damien Goodsir spent hours driving between Oamaru and Twizel for rowing regattas, alongside Win Stephens, who was part of the 1962 Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning four.

After Mr Stephens started sharing stories from his rowing days, and Mr Goodsir heard his own father, Russell’s, stories about building the Waitaki Rail Road Bridge, he thought, ‘‘Who else knows all this?’’.

It inspired him to create a new podcast, Local legends, up and comers and a bit of history, interviewing North Otago people who have done something interesting. . . .

In this one: 

Gary and Damien interview Ian Hurst, former All Black and North Otago legend. Ian tells a good story and shares about his first All Blacks tour and what it was like playing alongside some of the greats. Ian also answers the question circulating around about a hole in one on a world famous golf course. 



Neat Places in Oamaru and Waitaki


Neat places featured include:

Clay Cliffs


Del Mar

Elephant Rocks

Grainstore Gallery

Inc Design Store

Steampunk HQ

Whitestone Cheese

You can learn more about what to see and do in the Waitaki District here.

Waitaki culinary capital


Three Waitaki restaurants are finalists in the Cuisine Good Food Awards 2021, for regions outside Auckland.

They are:


Yanina and Pablo Tacchini have taken Oamaru by the horns, with three thriving establishments in the town. All hail to them. Cucina reflects their Argentinian, Italian and Spanish heritage. So, there is pisco sour to drink; there are empanadas and pastas galore. But abandon all thoughts of autonomy and yield instead to Pablo’s tasting menu. As he says, “Trust the chef.” Too terrific. Tees St, South Hill, Oamaru /

Riverstone Kitchen:

This southern restaurant experience is one that’s well worth travelling for. Just 15km north of Oamaru, it’s the domain of chef/owner Bevan Smith, whose parents, Dot and Neil, built this family farm on a bed of river stone. Bevan has at his very fingertips an abundance of excellent produce from the extensive vegetable gardens and orchards that surround and define this place. The menu changes regularly to showcase ingredients at their very peak: you can almost smell the soil from the organic jersey bennes that have just been prised from their bed next door. Here at Riverstone, they like to keep the menu short; our memories of intense local flavour will last a whole lot longer.
1431 State Highway 1, Oamaru /

And Fleurs Place:

The legendary Fleur Sullivan’s restaurant is on the jetty, so what you get on the blackboard menu is what’s lifted from the water on the day. Pair it with vegetables from small organic growers from around the region. Drink the region’s finest, too.
69 Haven St, Moeraki /

All source as much of their produce and ingredients locally as possible.

All have delicious food, beautifully presented and served by top staff.

With three top restaurants in the top 100 from a District with only about 20,000 people, Waitaki must be a contender for culinary capital on a per head of population basis.

Oamaru & Waitaki – Neat Places


NZ’s quirkiest places – Oamaru, Moeraki, Dunedin


Waitaki Whitestone Geopark


Waitaki Whitestone Geopark is seeking to be Australasia’s first Geopark.

This gives a glimpse of some of the attractions:


Still shearing at 80


Young Farmers’ Agri-Kids completion at the North Otago A&P Show today attracted 50 teams from North Otago and South and Mid Canterbury.

There was also someone a wee bit older – Tom Marshall who is in his 80s and still shearing his own sheep.

Grow North Otago


Grow North Otago is selling the charms of the district.


Oamaru trumps Timaru


Stuff is doing a series of stories on rivalries between provincial towns and cities.

It started with Timaru vs Oamaru for the pride of the south.

Audrey Malone talked up Timaru and Hamish Rutherford penned an ode to Oamaru.

. . . It’s amazing what kids take for granted.

Only when I went to university did it dawn on me that the local bank did not necessarily have giant Corinthian columns at the entrance (or that the tellers may not know you by name).

You might not see what is remarkable about Oamaru if you have simply driven through it. From State Highway 1 it would be possible to imagine Oamaru was just another provincial New Zealand town, so very long that its main purpose is to slow you down on the way to somewhere else.

But I was lucky enough to call Oamaru home: grandiose banks, halls, churches, pubs, municipal buildings and many large houses, built on early economic prosperity and the availability of a distinctive locally quarried limestone were the norm.

Let me sing its praises. At 14,000, the population is hardly bigger than it was in the 1960s, but North Otago’s dominant town is arguably much more prosperous than many others which have grown much larger.

Oamaru has world-class offerings for food and culture, with a rich tapestry of history.

It has good cafes and a couple of restaurants which would continue to do fine if they were in bigger towns. The brewery, Scotts, relocated from Auckland, is well known for its gluten-free variety by New Zealand’s booming GF army. The Whitestone cheese factory sells to supermarkets in every part of New Zealand – and has attracted a few celebrity fans in Hollywood. It has contributed great literature, from Janet Frame to Greg McGee.

There is a lolly factory, which opened in 1949. Rainbow Confectionery recently attempted to keep Pineapple Lumps production in New Zealand after Dunedin’s Cadbury factory closes. The owners, Mondelez, refused, sending manufacturing offshore, with every other Cadbury and Pascall product. So may I offer you Rainbow’s Pineapple Chunks, available online and in the factory store?

Some of the employment is more old-school: Pukeuri, to the north, still has its freezing works, with dairy farms all the way up the beautiful Waitaki Valley. Oamaru is a good place if you are willing to work hard.

New Zealand’s first shipment of frozen meat was sent to Britain from the port just to the south. The port may now be insignificant in shipping terms compared to Timaru, but it was in Oamaru that the Terra Nova landed, carrying news that the great British explorer Robert Scott had died in his failed bid to reach the South Pole first.

A key measure of a New Zealand town’s class is in its coffee, but despite living in Timaru for a spell and still passing through several times a year, I still wouldn’t know where to go. In Oamaru, head to the area with most of the nice buildings and take your pick.

There are many great things to say about Timaru. Like almost anywhere you go, it is full of very nice people. A nationally competitive motorsport community recently gave us international rally driver Hayden Paddon. But Paddon is no Richie McCaw, who started in North Otago before going on to bigger things. . . 

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean, who lives in Oamaru, thinks it is the best wee town in the South Island. She moved there with her husband and young family decades ago, and won’t be leaving any time soon.

“We moved 30-odd years, and it’s largely because of the people we wouldn’t move away,” Dean says.

She usually flies in and out of Timaru.

“I actually like Timaru, I just like Oamaru a whole heap more.” . . .

Oamaru and Timaru are often confused by outsiders because they sound similar.

If there’s any rivalry between the two, it’s pretty low key.

For many of us on the right side of the Waitaki River, Timare is just a place you drive through on the way north.

Alps 2 Ocean Ultra starts today


When Mike Sandri first suggested athletes from round the world might like to run the Alps 2 Ocean cycleway, and would pay well for doing so, some locals were skeptical.

But months of hard work by him and his team paid off and the race starts today:

A first for New Zealand, the ultra endurance race will involve athletes running self-supported on and around the 300km-plus Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail, which extends from Aoraki Mt Cook to Oamaru, over seven stages in seven days.

As it stands, stages one and two (53.85km) on day one have a 14hr cut-off; stage three (51.34km) on day two a 13hr cutoff; stage four (86.6km) on days three and four a 34hr cut-off; stage five (43.76km) on day five a 12hr cut-off; stage six (52.66km) on day six a 13hr cutoff; and stage seven (28.67km) on the final day a 6hr cut-off. Checkpoints will be set up every 10km to 15km, offering water and electrolytes.

Self-supported runners will have to carry their own food, sleeping mat, sleeping bag and other compulsory items for the entire seven days, while supported runners will have their food and bedding carried for them to the end of each stage.

They will still have to carry all compulsory gear and food for that day. Each team will comprise up to four runners, and each member will carry the same as an individual. Its origins go back to September 2016, when Mr Sandri took part in the Canyon to Canyon Ultra, a self-supported foot race covering about 280km over six gruelling days in testing conditions in the United States.

When talking to his fellow competitors, they queried him as to why there was no organised ultra race in New Zealand.

“I thought that was actually a pretty good question,” he said.

Mr Sandri believed the terrain from Aoraki Mt Cook to Oamaru would be perfect for such as race, and when he returned from the Canyon to Canyon event, he set his idea in motion.

More than a year later, everything is set to go.

The 126 athletes who will compete hail from 15 countries with a split of about 50-50 between males and females.

Just under half of the field is made up of athletes from New Zealand. . . 

The Alps 2 Ocean Ultra website says:

From the base of New Zealand’s Highest mountain, Mount Cook, to the small, historic town of Oamaru, perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, this rugged 316km race passes by eight lakes, takes in valleys, rivers and diverse terrain. It is set to challenge the hardiest athlete, yet allow virgin ultra-athletes to test their mettle.

Run by an enthusiastic, committed team of tireless volunteers, backed by a generous range of sponsors, all proceeds from Alps 2 Ocean are heading right back into the community and the uptake of registrations means that a difference will be made. The event answers the question about why our country has not yet hosted an ultra-staged race, and the uptake of entries shows the need there was for it.

Race goals:

1.       To bring people to Godzone and showcase our amazing country. Check. √

2.       To host an inclusive race – catering for the elite athlete to the bucket lister. Check √

3.       To contribute any profits to the community, with a focus on youth. We’ll make this transparent via our social media channels.

I am in awe of anyone who is fit enough to run 316 kilometres and equally in awe of Sandri who had the vision for the race and the work down by him, his team of volunteers and the sponsors who have made it happen.

(P.S. – if you click on the website link you’ll see some of the beautiful countryside through which the race will go).


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