Remembering

April 25, 2020

Eight oaks line the road on the outskirts of Enfield. Another grows in the grounds of what was the school.

Under each is a stark, white cross on which is the name of a man who was killed in WWI.

Other such trees line Severn Street on State Highway 1 in Oamaru and more are planted through the town and district,

 . . .this living memorial is being cherished by the North Otago community. The men are not forgotten. Their memory is literally implanted in the landscape of Oamaru and North Otago.


Not so much the loss

October 27, 2019

It wasn’t so much the loss, as the way the All Blacks lost that made last night’s Rugby World Cup semi-final such a disappointment.

Last week the team was on fire against Ireland, last night they looked like they’d lost their spark.

My heart has been backing Wales to win this evening but I’d rather face them than South Africa in the Plate match for third so might have to go with my head.

In other news North Otago won the Meads Cup, and this afternoon the Silver Ferns will be doing their best to beat the Diamonds in the deciding match for the Constellation Cup.


365 days of gratitude

October 13, 2018

There was a time when the Ranfurly Shield stayed stubbornly with one team.

Auckland had held it for ages when they challenged North Otago and for a few glorious minutes the score line was North Otago 5 – Auckland – 0.

The former scored no more points and Auckland added 359 by the time the final whistle blew.

Then Canterbury won the shield and staved off multiple challenges.

But in recent years challengers have managed to win and the shield has had several different homes.

Today, for the second time in recent years, it has come back to Otago.

Last time the team held it for little more than a week.

This time it will stay on the right side of the Waitaki River for at least the summer, and fingers crossed, maybe a bit longer.

However, long it’s in the hands of the blue and gold team, we’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

Tonight I’m grateful to be on the winning side.


Rugby history – kickoff goes backwards

October 27, 2013

Yesterday Meads Cup final will go down in rugby history.

Not for the score – Mid Canterbury 26 – North Otago 20, but this kickoff.

When North Otago fullback Ed Keohane restarted the game during the first half the unbelievable happened.

The kick-off not only failed to go the required 10 metres, but was picked up by the wind and carried backwards all the way over his own dead ball line.


Thanks for the stadium, Malcolm

August 8, 2011

Malcolm Farry and the team promoting the Forsyth Barr stadium have faced a barrage of criticism over the design, location and cost.

They stayed firm, focussed on building a stadium we could be proud of and it opened on Friday – more or less on time and to budget.

That was no small achievement and the stadium itself is a wonderful asset not just for Dunedin but the lower South Island and, at least until the rest of New Zealand catches up, the country.

Thank you Malcolm, you and your team have done a really good job.

Snow threatened yesterday morning and there was a polar wind blowing when we got to Dunedin an hour before kick-off in the match between North Otago and West Coast. Inside the stadium and out of the wind, though the temperature was merely cool but not uncomfortable.

We were on the lower level of the south stand near the 22m line and had a good view of the whole field. The loos were spotless and plentiful – 38 loos and 14 hand basins with high speed hand dryers for women  at either end of each level and men reported more than enough for them. 

I have just a couple of recommendations for improvements – a responsible host might consider selling water for less than $5 a bottle when beer cost just $1 more; and there would be a market for hot drinks as well as cold.

Hundreds of North Otago people had come down to inspect the stadium and cheer on the team. We were rewarded when halfback Hamish McKenzie went over for the historic first inter-provincial try at the stadium.

North Otago kept the lead, although the final score , 29-19, probably flattered the team .

For more words and some photos of the stadium and yesterday’s game check out this baby makes it all worth while by  Hayden Meikle  and a match report in the ODT and Mydeology’s day 5 of opt-out watch Forsyth Barr stadium bonanza edition.

Former Dunedin mayor Peter Chin and sitting councsellor Lee Vandervis debated stadium funding on Afternoons.


Forsyth Barr Stadium opens

August 5, 2011

The controversy over Dunedin’s new Forsyth Barr Stadium continued this week with the news that Dunedin City Holdings Limited (DCHL) won’t be able to pay an $8m dividend to the city council. Part of that would have hleped fund the stadium.

That announcement was followed by news that negotiations between the stadium and  promoters of Rod Stewart and  Meat Loaf had broken down. It is, however, a moot point whether big name acts like that should need the venue for free.

But the stadium was officially opened this morning by Prime Minister John Key  so like it or not, it’s up and running.

And I do like it  – the only stadium in the country with a roof, and able to grow grass under that roof.

The opening game will be played this afternoon between university colleges Knox and Selwyn and on Sunday North Otago plays West Coast.

 


Untrue colours

May 30, 2011

Towards the end of my time at high school the board decided on a uniform change.

The grey gym frock which we wore with short sleeved shirts and socks in summer and long sleeved shirts and black tights in winters was to be replaced with a red tartan kilt in winter and a blue dress in summer.

“Blue? Why blue when the school colours were red and black?” we asked.

Those on the right side of the Waitaki River who are interested in rugby, and some who are not, are asking a similar question today: green, why green?

The question comes in response to the decision to change the Highlanders’ jersey from blue, gold and maroon the colours of Otago, North Otago and Southland, to green the colour of um, the grass they play on and some other province.

Respondents to an ODT poll have voted 90% (1321) to 10% (148) to keep the southern colours.

The Facebook page has attracted 1,853 likes and lots of comments including this from National’s Dunedin MP (and rugby referee) Michael Woodhouse:

 . . .  As for this happening because of the many players drafted in from outside the franchise area – sorry to be blunt but it’s not about you! You will leave. The fans won’t. this is about the thousands of fans who support this team through thick and thin over the past 15 years. Not a single one of them relates to anything but blue, maroon and gold. C’mon guys, be big enough to stop or reverse the announcement.

And an online petition has been launched saying:

Tradition and recognition is a huge part of the sport and yet the Highlanders Management seek to dissociate the Highlanders from the region. Sign this petition and Boycott the Force game!

The Highlanders have struggled for several seasons, severely testing the loyalty of fans. This year they’ve had some good wins and have been  regaining  support. This silly change in colours threatens to lose it again.

Have the people behind it spent too much time at the bottom of rucks?


39 – 18 to North Otago

October 31, 2010

The sun shone in North Otago yesterday and so did the rugby team – winning the Meads Cup by beating W(h)anganui 39 -18.


No pressure

October 30, 2010

Southland started the rugby season with the Ranfurly Shield but now it’s moved north – though thankfully not off the Mainland.

Otago hit rock bottom.

Today North Otago has the opportunity to bring a little rugby pride back to the right side of the Waitaki River when the Old Golds play W(h)anganui in the final game for the Meads Cup.

No pressure, boys, but all fingers and toes are crossed (and they’ll need to be if Keeping Stock’s assessment is correct).


North Otago won – now it’s Southland’s turn

October 9, 2010

North Otago leads the Heartland rugby race for the Meads Cup after a 21-16 win against W(h)anganui in Oamaru this afternoon.

Pleased as I am about that, I won’t be celebrating until the end of the Ranfurly Shield challenge tonight.

I’d back Canterbury against any team from the north but my first allegiance is with teams from the right side of the Waitaki River so I’m hoping Southland holds tight to the shield tonight.

UPDATE: 26-16. Ah well, at least the shield is still on the Mainland.


North Otago vs Southland

July 9, 2010

North Otago’s experience with Ranfurly Shield challenges is not a happy one.

The Oamaru Mail records:

1938  lost to Otago 12-0; 1946 lost to Southland `5-3; 1947 lost to Otago 42 -3; 1971 lost to Canterbury 14-0; 1973 lost to Malborough 26 -9; 1974 lost to South Canterbury 9-3; 1983 lost to Canterbury 88-0; 1993 lost to Auckland 139 -5; 2000 lost to Waikato 95-17; 2003 lost to Canterbury 85-24; 2008 lost to Auckland 113 -3.

Even the most ardent North Otago fans aren’t expecting miracles when the team meets Southland at Rugby Park tonight but they are expecting fun.

One of our staff manages the North Otago team and presented one of our Southland staff with a North Otago jacket when he was up here on Wednesday. The Southlander has promised to wear it, though he’ll also be wearing his Stags’ hat and scarf.

The whole Southland province has embraced its shield win with enthusiasm and there’s a sell-out crowd for tonight’s game. Regardless of the result, rugby may really be the winner.

UPDATE: The ODt interviews Doug Grant who played for North Otago in the 1971 shield challenge against a Canterbury team fielding 11 All Blacks with another in the reserves.


Sport talk

December 11, 2009

*Lisa Tamati is nearly at the end of her goal to run the length of New Zealand in 33 days.

* A friend emailed us a photo captioned look what I got for my birthday, come and get it.

The photo showed him sitting beside this:

I suspect it will be the first of many taunts which come our way because North Otago will be the first to challenge Southland for the shield next year.

* Where’s the line between legitimate interest in a sporting figure’s private life and prurience and has it been crossed by the saturation coverage of Tiger Woods?


North Otago wins Lochore Cup

October 31, 2009

North Otago won the Lochore Cup in a match against West Coast today.

Also celebrating his local team is Inventory 2 who makes a brief return at Keeping Stock to record that Wanganui won the Meads Cup.

Apropos of sport, all the best to those dedicated souls (and soles) participating in the Auckland marathon tomorrow.


Another day another gym

September 12, 2009

The view from this gym might not be quite as spectacular as the one from last Saturday’s, but it’s still pretty good:

hp gym 1


Hawkes Bay seeks drought declaration

April 27, 2009

The third successive dry year has forced the Hawkes Bay Drought Committee to ask for the region to be declared a drought area.

Committee chair Lawrence Yule said:

“An autumn drought is worse than a spring drought. At the moment there’s lower levels of grass growing around which you need to carry stock through the winter,’ he said.

“This is Central Hawke’s Bay’s third drought in a row, farmers’ morale is very low, many haven’t been able to generate the income to service their stock.’

Mr Yule said there was also a major cricket problem in CHB as the insects were attracted to the district’s clay soils.

“There are areas that have been eaten by crickets, hundreds of them are getting into houses and there are whole hills which have been eaten out by crickets,’ he said.

After visitng Gisborne which was declared a drought area last week, Agriculture Minister David Carter said that winter drought is harder to explain to non-farmers:

. . . these farmers are going into their third year of drought; with soil temperatures dropping, rain is too late for grass growth. The positives, in contrast to last year, are the price of store stock is up, the price of supplementary feed is down, and the region’s farmers do not have to compete for feed with other drought stricken areas.

The North Island’s East Coast seems to be the only area in New Zealand that hasn’t enjoyed a reasonable autumn. I have done a fair bit of travelling over the past month and farmers up and down the country are generally very positive, despite the global economic situation.

Improved prices for stock and less competition for suplementary food will make things a little less difficult this season, as will lower interest rates and a fall in the price of fertiliser. But some farmers won’t be able to afford fertilister at any price and the other points are very small slivers of silver in the cloud of drought hanging over the province.

We were in Hawkes Bay in spring 2007 and autumn last year and the impact of dry weather was evident then. We’ve got used to irrigation providing some insurance against dry weather in North Otago and Canterbury but all the farms we visited in the North Island were totally reliant on rain.

North Otago had a dry summer but February’s rain set us up for autumn. We haven’t had any significant falls since then so although it’s getting a bit late for much growth before winter sets in, enough rain to get soil moisture levels up for spring growth would be very welcome. 

A couple of good showers would be enough for us, but the North Island’s East Coast needs sustained rain to break the drought. Until that happens making the drought official will trigger government measures such as tax relief and funding for management advice and Rural Support Trusts.


Dansey’s Pass Pub for sale

April 20, 2009

The ODT reports  that the Dansey’s Pass hotel is on the market.

The hotel is a few kilometres from Naseby. It was built in 1862, and is one of the few old coach inns which remain.

We celebrated a 50th birthday there last year and can recommend the comfort of the bed and the standard of the food.

The pass is the border between North and Central Otago. It’s a scenic drive through tussock covered hills but the road is unsealed, narrow with lots of twists and turns so not recommended for inexperienced drivers or passengers who get car sick.

Whitestone Cheese named a farmhouse style cheese  after it.

It’s also the subject of an Owen Marshall poem, from Occasional, published by Hazard Press.

                           – Dansey’s Pass –

Walk the wind arch of this burnished place.

Leave the gravel road behind like childhood.

Tussock flayed by austere Waitaki winds

is harsh, archaic and blown quite clean.

Here nature still defies all subjugation

and I rejoice in blissful arrogance

standing solitary upon the lion’s back.

 

– Owen Marshall –


Norovirus strikes Dunedin Hospital again

October 20, 2008

Dunedin Hopsital is in code black – it’s highest alert – as it tries to contain its second major outbreak of norovirus in recent months.

The last outbreak, in August, led to a ban on visitors and a cancellation of clinics and non-urgent admissions.

Last week the Oamaru Mail reported a high incidence of stomach bugs in North Otago but the cause wasn’t identified.


Record price paid for N.O. farm

October 4, 2008

A 105.6 hectare farm on the Lower Waitaki Plains has sold for $5,210,000.

That’s a little under $50,000 a hectare which PGG Wrightson real estate agent Dave Finlay says is a record for land in North Otago.

The property is spray irrigated from the Lower Waitaki irrigation scheme and had been a cropping farm. It was bought by a diary farmer who plans to use it for dairy support.


Keeping waterways clean

October 3, 2008

A report by Fish and Game and Forest and Bird concludes that the Dairy and Clean Streams Accord:

 has failed to achieve its major goal to reduce the impact of dairying on the quality of New Zealand’s streams, rivers, lakes, goundwater and wetlands.

Susie McKeague, Otago Regional Council  manager of land resources said that in South and West Otago there was a declining trend in ammonia as a result of fencing and planting along waterways, the Clutha River was clean because the volume of water diluted contaminants but water quality in small streams and tributaries was deteriorating.

She put this down to intensive farming on wet soils. Fencing and planting along waterways to keep animals away from them helps prevent run off, but dung and urine move through the soil structure and leach into waterways. One solution to this would be more use of feed pads, particularly in winter when it rained more, so that animals weren’t on the paddocks when they were soaked.

North Otago waterways are cleaner than those further south and Susie put this down to a drier climate and the Environmental Farm Plans which are a requirement for every farm which gets water from the North Otago Irrigation Company.

“The EFPs are the best choice for environmental protection and they are driving good practice more than anything in other areas,” she said.

Susie said that it would be impossible to protect waterways from pollution during floods but at other times it was necessary to capture everything on farm or have remedies if more nutrients than desirable leached into water.

“For example, if phosphorus makes algae grow then we need something to reduce any concentration of phosphorus.”

Susie believes that the best way to solve any problems is to tell farmers what the issues are and leave them to find solutions.

“They have the best ideas to achieve what’s needed. Farmers are switched on, well networked and they know how to find answers.

“EFPs are making a difference in areas we didn’t anticipate and are leading change. Farmers are monitoring soil moisture, irrigation scheduling and effluent disposal and have a real desire to get it right.”


Darker dawn doesn’t do it for me

September 26, 2008

This Sunday the clocks go forward an hour, far too early for postponing sunset by an hour in the evening to make up for losing an hour of light in the morning.

 

The trade off between lighter dawns and longer dusks has escaped the people who pressed for daylight saving to be extended, as has the knowledge that early spring and late autumn weather, down here in North Otago at least, is rarely warm enough to enjoy outdoor activities in the evenings.

 

People further north don’t benefit from the long twilights we get in the south and there is sense in postponing sunset to enable everyone to enjoy lighter mid-summer evenings. But I strongly oppose the plan to start daylight saving a week earlier and finish it a fortnight later.

 

One argument for extending daylight savings is that other countries have longer with the clocks forward than we do, but that doesn’t take into account longitude and latitude, which affect when the sun rises and sets, and temperature. Australia is further north than us so has fewer hours of daylight in summer and more in winter than we do. It is also a continent so heats up more quickly than our islands and it is closer to the equator which also makes it warmer than us.

 

When our hotter neighbour doesn’t introduce daylight saving until November why would we rush into it at the end of September? Last year when the clocks went back as early as they ever had because October 1 happened to be a Sunday, it was very cold and not just in the south. There was snow in Hawkes Bay and temperatures further north were more akin to winter than spring.

 

All the arguments for extending daylight saving are about leisure, which is important. But so too is work and farmers find it difficult to do what has to be done early in the morning when it is still dark. By the end of September the sun rises here at about 6 15, then the clocks go back and it is dark until after 7.00.

 

There is a similar problem in autumn. It is pitch black at 6am from the middle of February, the sun is not rising until after 7.00 by early March and extending daylight saving until the end of March the sun doesn’t rise until about 7.30 in North Otago, nearly 8.00 in Dunedin and later still further south. That’s much the same as it is in mid winter.

 

It is not just farmers but their children who have problems with dawn that late because many will be going to catch school buses in the dark.

 

That’s a high price to pay for an extra hour of daylight in the evenings, when for the first and last few weeks it coincides with the dinner hour for most people anyway.

 

I accept the benefits of daylight saving which allows more evening light in mid summer so we can play but in spring and autumn we need more early morning light so we can work.

 

Sunrise and sunset times for the main centres are here (with standard time) and here  (adjusted for daylight saving).

 

Poneke puts the case for the negative here.

 


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