NZ’s quirkiest places – Oamaru, Moeraki, Dunedin

12/12/2020

National Lamb Day

24/05/2020

It’s National Lamb Day:

National Lamb Day is celebrated on the 24th of May to commemorate the day in 1882 when the first shipment of frozen sheep meat arrived in the UK aboard the Dunedin. The shipment was organised by two entrepreneurs, William Davidson and Thomas Brydone and left New Zealand on February 15th from Port Chalmers, Otago. William Davidson, was a British-based general manager of the New Zealand and Australian Land Company, whose landholdings in the two countries exceeded 1 million hectares. Davidson had taken an interest in refrigerated experiments, which had proved the concept, if not yet the economic viability, of shipping frozen meat around the globe. That historic journey of around 5,000 carcasses was the beginning of what is now a multi billion dollar industry. New Zealand farmers produce some of the best lamb and the rest of the world just can’t get enough.

Beef + Lamb NZ has a gallery of photos from New Zealand farms featuring lambs here.

 


366 days of gratitude

30/08/2016

My farmer had a meeting in Dunedin this afternoon which gave me an opportunity to have a couple of hours in the city.

My mother’s family lived there so we went down periodically when I was young to visit relatives which also provided the opportunity to go to Moana Pool.

Like most who studied at Otago, I hold fond memories of Dunedin as a student city.

A few years later my children were born there and although two of them also died there the standard of care we received takes the edge off that sadness.

Later still I returned to the city to study again which gave me a different but still positive perspective on Dunedin student life.

When I’ve gone down more recently it’s been for a particular purpose so I enjoyed the opportunity for a little retail therapy and a wander this afternoon.

Today I’m grateful for memories of Dunedin. being able to visit the city and also that I can come home to the country.


Quote of the day

06/05/2015

 ”You can’t leave a big pig in the middle of the road – it’s a bit dangerous.” An unnamed Dunedin woman whose close encounter with a pig she tried to rescue left her nursing bruises.


Bring the 7s to Dunedin

10/02/2015

The Wellington 7s used to attract a sell-out crowd.

This year numbers were well below that :

In past years, Wellington Sevens tickets sold out in minutes, but this year the crowd peaked at 18,000 in the 34,500-capacity Westpac Stadium.

That has opened an opportunity that Dunedin is keen to seize.

A Facebook page has been created and garnered more than 4,000 likes in a couple of days.

There’s a long way from there to winning the right to host the tournament but it’s an enthusiastic start.

 


Seize the day Dunedin

27/11/2014

Dear Dunedin,

Congratulations.

You’ve won the Gigatown competition and will be the first in the country to get one gigabit per second internet connection.

Please seize the day and make the most of it.

Your success is vital for the success of the south and in the past few years you’ve been letting the rest of us down.

While North, Central and South Otago and Southland have been positive and doing their best to help themselves, too much of the news from Dunedin has been negative.

Being the first Gigatown in the country is your opportunity for to build on your strengths which include education, health, technology and the community spirit which helped you win the competition.

Companies like Animation Research and Natural History have shown the way without ultrafast broadband.

Now you’ve got the communications edge on the rest of the country they and others will be able to do so much more.

The university has always attracted young people from around the country and other parts of the world but the city has been able to keep too few of them after graduation.

You now have the opportunity to create jobs which will entice graduates to stay and strengthen the city’s economic and social fabric.

You’ve worked hard to win the competition but you can’t stop now.

The real prize will be what you do with the opportunities it will enable you to grab and build on.

Go for it for your own sake and that of the south.

 


Red to purple to blue

16/08/2014

Dunedin is supposed to be the second reddest patch in the country after South Auckland.

In his speech launching the National Party campaign for Michael Woodhouse and Hamish Walker last night, deputy leader Bill English gave the numbers from the last few elections which shows that is no longer the case.

National candidates have been steadily eroding Labour majorities in the Dunedin North and South seats and National’s party vote has been steadily rising.

He also gave some numbers which showed why Dunedin voters should be supporting National which included unemployment below the national average at less than 4%.

You wouldn’t know that from the way some of the city leaders, who ought to be building Dunedin up, keep talking it down.

National has a much more positive view of the city and the team – MPs, candidates and volunteers including a very active group of Young Nats – are working hard to get the good news out.

The city that was red could now be considered purple which is getting very close to blue.

npdn

Mike, Hamish, Tamaki MP Simon O’Connor and Bill.


Fantastic Fact about the south #50

02/08/2014

With 50 days to the election I'll be posting 50 fantastic facts about Dunedin and the Southern region. Fantastic fact #50:


Development welcomed and not

17/04/2014

In Dunedin: Hotel project terminated.

Plans for a $100 million waterfront hotel in Dunedin have been scrapped and the developers’ partnership with the Dunedin City Council has descended into acrimony.

Hotel developer Jing Song yesterday confirmed she had torn up a memorandum of understanding with the council, signed just last month, which had aimed to find ways to progress the project. . . .

In Auckland: New luxury hotel to boost Auckland economy:

A new five-star hotel development on Auckland’s waterfront will strengthen the region’s visitor economy says Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).

Waterfront Auckland and Beijing based developer Fu Wah International Group have formed a partnership to build a 200 room hotel on the western edge of the Viaduct Harbour by 2017.

ATEED Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says the new hotel will be excellent for Auckland and help contribute to growing the visitor economy, in line with the targets in the Auckland Visitor Plan.
“The hotel – in its amazing location on the water’s edge in the heart of Auckland’s innovation precinct – will enhance our premium accommodation offering. As part of our strategy to attract more high-net wealth individuals to holiday and do business here, we’ve been working with the Fu Wah Group to help them identify the advantages of doing business in Auckland,” he says.
“We are focussed on positioning Auckland as a premium destination and having a globally recognised luxury hotel will add to the tourism offering.” . . .

This looks like two cities with two difference approaches to development.

One welcomes it the other does not.

Whether or not that is fair, is moot, but that’s the perception and anyone contemplating investment will be aware of it.


Dunedin has a choice

21/01/2014

Dunedin City councillor Andrew Whiley writes:

The residents of Dunedin have a choice to either embrace the concept of the city being a hub for offshore gas companies or accept the alternative and encourage the companies to set up their hub in Invercargill.

Neither the residents of Dunedin nor the Dunedin City Council are in the position to say if gas exploration goes ahead off the coast of Otago.

That decision has already been made – like it or not. The decision in our control is where these exploration companies will base themselves.

Will it be Dunedin or Invercargill? Which community will reap the rewards of playing host? The residents of Dunedin, the DCC and the council’s economic development unit must support and embrace all new businesses keen to establish in our city.

The employment opportunities and family and economic benefits this exploration hub would bring to the city are significant. . . .

Industries such as ship repair, provedores, construction, engineering, helicopter services, software and IT will all increase as will road and rail freight movements and airport and port traffic.

There will be strengthened links to Otago University in health sciences, earth science and surveying plus more dollars spent in the city’s accommodation, entertainment and hospitality industries.

Dunedin has been lamenting the loss of businesses and jobs, it now has the opportunity to gain many more back.

But what about the ethical debate about using fossil fuels, climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and the future of the planet?

These are all serious issues and ones that governments, corporations, scientists and universities around the world are all working on to address. Globally, most of us are now aware of these challenges and are worried about the role of CO2 in climate change.

We should actually welcome exploration and production of natural gas as it can contribute to a significant reduction in those emissions. According to a report from the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions issued in June 2013, ”Increased use of natural gas in the US energy supply is contributing to a decline in greenhouse gas emissions”. . .

Dunedin is ideally suited to play host to the support industries for offshore exploration and we will see a dramatic increase in smart minds staying in Dunedin to be a part of the future in the energy and engineering sector.

These minds will look outside the box and will look at positive alternatives that can make for a cleaner and greener future.

So a plea to the Dunedin and Otago region: let’s embrace the opportunity to play host as the southern exploration hub for the companies that are coming.

If it isn’t Dunedin then it will be Invercargill!

The south will benefit wherever the base is but Dunedin could make itself the more attractive option if the city, and its leaders, made the company welcome.

 


Standing up for Otago

19/01/2014

Dunedin mayor Dave Cull’s campaign to Stand Up Otago has gone quiet with his less than enthusiastic response to the news that Shell plans to drill for oil and gas in the Great South Basin.

But Waitaki mayor Gary Kircher is happy to stand up for jobs.

Anadarko is due to start exploratory deep-sea drilling in the next few weeks, and Mr Kircher said yesterday’s meeting had provided a chance to ensure that safeguards were taken to protect the environment, as well as a chance to ensure the district was well placed to take advantage of any opportunities that could arise.

”The potential is absolutely enormous for our region. Oil and gas has transformed the Taranaki region, bringing prosperity, jobs and opportunities for the whole area. Test results indicate that the area being tested off Otago may have much greater reserves than Taranaki.

”I was elected on the basis of growing our economy in the Waitaki district and I see this as a major possible game-changer for us all.

”Even if the production is based in Dunedin, the flow-on effects for our district will be significant.”

He said he would always be willing to listen to any concerns people might have about oil and gas exploration.

”I represent our district and will do what I can to pass on those concerns and ensure they are dealt with properly.” . . .

Otago won’t be as strong as it should be if Dunedin is weak.

The jobs and economic growth that would flow from Shell basing its exploration in Dunedin would benefit the whole province.

This prospect has its detractors but there’s more than a little hypocrisy in their protests as these letters to the editor in the weekend ODT says:

The front page article (ODT, 13.1.14) regarding the small group of protesters who want to block the offshore drilling by Anadarko gave prominence to an incredibly small proportion of the Dunedin population; as such it did not deserve front page positioning. That said it was interesting to note these people who wish to limit oil exploration were using boats and boards, wetsuits and probably vehicles to get to Port Chalmers, all of which need petroleum products in their manufacture.

This group would carry a greater message if they used wooden canoes, dressed in wool, and used cork as their flotation aid. If this group want alternatives why can’t they come up with bright ideas and interesting conversations, not protests and negativity? R.J. McKenzie.

Oh the irony of the Oil Free Otago rent-a-mob pictured on the front page. Virtually every object and action in your pictures of the so-called protesters is ultimately derived from the use of fossil fuels – including the PVC jackets, neoprene wetsuits, plastic kayaks, the paint on the banners to the smart phones and computers used to organise the mob. It even appears as though the majority of protesters travelled to Port Chalmers from Dunedin in private motor cars and one wonders how much fossil fuel was burnt in travelling to Dunedin by participants in the Oil Free Future Summit. When will these people learn that in every single moment of every day everybody uses something that is either drilled or mined and that include the alternative future technologies so beloved of the rent-a-mob. The alternative is the Stone-Age. Peter Dymock.

Anti-tobacco lobbyists who smoked would have no credibility, anti-progress protesters who use the fuels against which the rail and provide no alternatives for sustainable growth are little better.

Waitaki’s mayor understands the importance of economic growth in the region and is standing up for Otago, I’m not sure Dunedin’s does and is.


The people are speaking

11/01/2014

Dunedin mayor Dave Cull and some of his councillors are less than enthusiastic about the prospect of Shell drilling for oil and gas in the Great South Basin.

But yesterday’s ODT (print edition) had three letters under the heading ‘silent majority’ needs to stand up for Otago.

Stand up Otago. An empty slogan or a real call for action? The Otago Daily times (8.1.14) headlined with the dreadful news of major cutbacks at Macraes. As with all big business job losses the impact will be felt far beyond those directly affected. These jobs are skilled and well paid, making them even harder to replace in a region where wages have been driven down relentlessly in a crowded marketplace. . .

There is hope for a reversal of our sad fortune, particularly in the field of engineering. Peter McIntyre’s call for support of Dunedin’s push to service the gas industry in its exploration of southern waters should be a rallying call for our future.

Dunedin’s famous silent majority needs to lose its inhibitions and start shouting really loudly to drown out the lunatic fringe whose drums are already beating. Gareth Hughes is up and running with his beak in our business, babbling on with the usual scaremongering that is the trademark of his breed. Dave Cull needs to get off the fence and start thinking about real jobs for real people. Tim Shadbolt will be more than happy to champion Invercargill’s virtues as a base for drilling.

Dunedin still has the skills and equipment to support this enterprise. Should we lose out this time, we will have neither in the future.

Stand up Otago. The revolution starts now!Richard O’Mahony.

Wake Up Dunedin. You should be doing all you can to attract the drilling by Shell off the coast to be based in Dunedin. I visited Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1980 and it was a dull, old grey-stone city. When I visited again in the 1990s it was a bustling, bright city. Why? Because oil had been found in the North Sea and Aberdeen was the onshore base.

Our city could be rejuvenated if something similar was found off our coast. Come on Dunedin mayor and councillors, do everything in tyour powers to encourage use by shell and co of our city and have what could be a bright, vigorous future. Invercargill will take a welcoming attitude. Alexa Craig.

It is great news to hear that Shell has announced, along with its partners OMV and Mitsui E&P, it will go ahead with a $200 million test well for natural gas in the Great South Basin. the well will be located 150 KM offshore from Dunedin in 1350m of water, making Dunedin the ideal base.

Should a discover be made and the gas fields fully developed, then within five years, the potential employment opportunities and benefits for local business would be huge. The Berl report estimates the potential benefits will be: 256 jobs, $179 million spent regionally and $71 million generated per year in GDP for the local community over 45 years. In the first few years of development, there would be an excess of 1000 jobs created and $1 billion spent.

Dunedin and the Otago region need to roll out the red carpet to support the supply hub to be based in Dunedin. We are fortunate that we already have many of the required support businesses based in our city. Now we need the entire community to support this new industry. – Cr Andrew Whiley.

The ODT itself opines:

. . . What we cannot afford as a community is for one sector to stand against the chance of experiencing a possible huge economic boom. To convince Shell to establish here, and possibly keep Macraes operating longer, the whole community and its representatives must be united as one. Let us not allow this opportunity to pass by.

Shell has a choice about where it will base its on-shore support.

No-one doubts that Invercargill will put out the welcome mat.

Mayor Cull must get over his personal antipathy to the development and show the sort of enthusiasm these correspondents are if Dunedin and Otago are to have an even chance of being chosen.


Bad and good

09/01/2014

Yesterday’s ODT led with the bad news of job losses at Macraes mine.

That’s followed up by today’s story of more job losses in firms which service and supply the mine.

Yesterday’s paper also had the good news story of Shell’s decision to drill in the Great South Basin.

This is how life goes. Good things happen during bad times and bad things happen during better times.

But the outlook for those people who have lost jobs or business because of Oceana Gold’s slow-down at Macraes is better now the economy is improving than it would have been even a year ago.

It would be better still if Dunedin was showing a warmer welcome to Shell.

The city is vying with Invercargill to be Shell’s base and mayor Dave Cull is at best lukewarm:

. . . Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull – who remained personally opposed to the increasingly difficult search for fossil fuels – said he was nevertheless ”cautiously optimistic” the city could benefit from Shell’s plans.

He was encouraged the company was prepared to invest up to $200 million in its search for natural gas, and not oil, off the city’s coast.

However, with the test drill not scheduled until 2016, and any full-scale extraction – if it eventuated – a decade away, he cautioned against too much excitment, too soon.

”What comes out of it, in terms of job creation and business and economic development, will depend on the size of what they find.

”If they are going to be drilling, this is pretty good, and clearly Dunedin is very well placed to offer the services and facilities that they might need,” he said. . .

Two councillors are even less enthusiastic:

. . . including Cr Aaron Hawkins, who said the council had a ”moral obligation” to protect the interests of future generations.

”I don’t think it’s fair to clamour over a few jobs now and leave our grandchildren to pick up the tab environmentally and economically.

”Frankly, I think that’s a very selfish way of looking at economic development.”

Cr Jinty MacTavish agreed, saying the city would not spend money to try to attract the ”unethical” tobacco industry, and should avoid the oil and gas industry for the same reasons.

”It’s an unethical business and I wouldn’t like to see Dunedin setting out to attract it.” . . .

Contrast this with the reaction from Invercargill.

Yesterday’s Southland Times devoted its whole front page to telling the story – consortium backs $200m basin well –  and followed up with enthusiastic welcome for drill plan.

Today’s story is headlined drilling holds promise of job bonanza.

Shell will make its decision on where it’s based on a variety of factors, one of which will be the attitude of the city.

In good times and bad, you have to do what you can to help yourself.

Invercargill is doing that, Dunedin must do better.


NZ’s best university city

21/11/2013

Dunedin is New Zealand’s best university city for several reasons.

It is the site of the country’s first and best university – Otago. *

The city itself has only about 120,000 residents so the 20,000 or so students plus staff make a significant, and largely positive, impact on it.

The majority of students come from outside Dunedin and most live on or near the campus creating a student-friendly environment not found anywhere else in the country.

It didn’t however, feature in London-based Quacquarelli Symonds’  annual Best Student Cities ranking because the qualifying criteria include being a city of at least 250,000, and having at least two world ranked universities in the city. So Dunedin – like some other small university cities, including Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, Princeton in the US, and St Andrews in Scotland, wasn’t considered.

The Herald has picked up the story and is running a poll to determine the country’s best university city.

The only one to pick is of course Dunedin.

* in my totally biased and subjective opinion.

 


Loving the stadium

20/10/2013

Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr stadium wasn’t universally welcomed and mumblings about its cost to ratepayers continues.

But yesterday the city was buzzing and a near-capacity crowd enjoyed a wonderful game of rugby there in comfort.

It was a mild evening but even so it was probably the first time most of the crowd had watched a test in Dunedin in shirt sleeves.

The roof climate-proofs events and that matters this far south.

Rugby was the winner last night but the stadium is used for a variety of other activities which are much more enjoyable for being held under cover.

Among these is the Otago wine and food festival which will take place at the stadium on November 23rd.

Economists say that people putting the case for stadiums overestimate the benefits and underestimate the costs.

But not everything can be measured in money.

Dunedin isn’t feeling very positive at the moment but the stadium is a bright spot which brings locals together and attracts people from other places too.


Labour’s abaondoned the south

28/08/2013

Labour’s holding 12 meetings around the country to let its three aspiring leaders meet members.

But in further evidence the party has abandoned the south, the southernmost meeting is in Dunedin.

Sterling service from the local MPs, Clutha Southland’s Bill English and  Invercargill’s Eric Roy have painted the south of the south blue.

But if Labour had any interest in that part of the country you’d think the leadership meeting would be a good opportunity to garner some interest and reconnect with Southlanders.

The cost of getting to Invercargill can’t be the excuse for not going because the three candidates are travelling the country on the public purse.


MP challenges city to say yes

26/07/2012

Dunedin has joined some other councils in calling moratorium on fracking – hydraulic fracturing.

National MP Michael Woodhouse, has responded by challenging the city to say yes.

He’s calling on Dunedin’s city leaders to publicly state their support for oil and gas exploration as long as environmental risks can be managed.

Speaking in yesterday’s General Debate he compared the national GDP per capita of $46,000 with that of Taranaki where the GDP per capita is $88,000.

In that province agriculture, tourism and oil and gas exploration co-exist. The latter adds significantly to the economic and social benefits without environmental problems.


False complaint backfires

17/11/2011

What is believed to have been a politically motivated complaint against the National Party’s human hoardings team backfired when it resulted in a story and photo in the ODT.

A complaint to Dunedin police yesterday morning about the potential hazard posed to drivers from these National Party hoarding carriers appeared to be politically motivated, Senior Sergeant Mel Aitken said.

The complainant had been on foot, not driving, she said . . . 

Dunedin North National candidate Michael Woodhouse also suspected the complaint was politically motivated, as the supporters had carried out the promotion responsibly.

He believed Dunedin Labour was concerned by the “visibility” and energy of National’s Dunedin election campaign.

Dunedin is supposed to be a red city.

A dedicated group of National Party members, supporting Michael and Dunedin South candidate Joanne Hayes, are doing their best to turn it blue as this photo of the “Hayes stack” shows:

The human hoardings are part of the strategy and thanks to the false complaint they’ve been seen not just by passers-by but everyone who reads the ODT.


What didn’t happen

11/09/2011

Dunedin was buzzing when we got down there late yesterday afternoon and the city’s first rugby World Cup game was a success.

No-one got stuck on trains.

No-one we saw did anything they ought not have done.

None of the RWC volunteers, security people and police was anything but, friendly, polite and helpful.

The Otago Stadium didn’t disappoint the capacity crowd.

There were no long queues at the women’s loos (although the men did have a bit of a wait).

The crowd didn’t have any trouble dispersing when the game ended.

Argentina didn’t win.

I didn’t say bugger (but only because I don’t know how to in Spanish).

In other sports news, the Nude Blacks didn’t win their game agaisnt the Spanish Senoritas (warning nudity).

The Spanish team had won a video competition for the right to challenge the Nude Blacks.


Not enough rooms at the inns

12/04/2011

Friends had been planning to spend the night in Dunedin but couldn’t find a bed.

The Crusaders were playing the Highlanders and there might have been another special event attracting visitors to the city but whatever the reason there was no room at any of the inns.

That isn’t unusual in Dunedin. 

Any time there is an event which brings people to Dunedin it’s difficult to find a spare bed.  When something like the Masters games, conferences, capping or  test matches is on it’s not unusual for accommodation providers – hotels, motels, B&Bs, backpackers and camping grounds – as far away as Oamaru and Balclutha to get bookings from those who aren’t able to stay in the city.

The new Forsyth Barr stadium might have been able to hold one of the  Rugby World Cup quarter-finals which were to have been played in Christchurch but lack of accommodation for the crowds the game would attract ruled it out.

The stadium will bring people to Dunedin but a venue isn’t enough by itself.

If the city is to get maximum benefit from the new facility it will need to come up with more beds for the visitors.


%d bloggers like this: