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.

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