Rural round-up


Plaque honours irrigation pioneer – Sally Brooker:

The man who brought water to Waitaki farmland has been honoured with a plaque alongside Bortons Pond.

Sid Hurst, who died aged 97 in July 2016, is now officially commemorated as a “Visionary Farmer and Irrigation Pioneer; Champion of the Waitaki”.

The plaque site was chosen for its significance to the Lower Waitaki irrigation scheme, which Mr Hurst instigated. Bortons Pond, just west of Georgetown, is where water diverted from the Waitaki River is held for distribution to thousands of hectares of drought-prone land. . . 

Farmers want clarity – Annette Scott:

The effects of the Mycoplasma bovis response are being felt by a Cambridge farmer whose farms are under Primary Industries Ministry Notice of Direction.

“We are under movement restriction with three properties.

“We were told we were suspect and slapped under restriction on March 5.”

MPI said there are no properties under Restricted Place Notice in the North Island but there might be some on Notices of Direction, effectively a stock movement restriction. . . 

New animal welfare regulations will reinforce New Zealand’s high global standing:

The introduction of regulations to support compliance with New Zealand’s animal welfare legislation will add further weight to New Zealand’s animal welfare standards, according to Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

Dave Harrison, General Manager Policy and Advocacy of Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) said: “World Animal Protection has given New Zealand an ‘A’ ranking on its Animal Protection Index, one of only four countries to achieve that standard.

“This reflects the fact we have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, and it is important that these high standards are maintained’” says Harrison. . . 

Central Hawke’s Bay Dairy Farm Wins East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Parkhill Dairy Farm at Ashley Clinton has won the East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards -entered by owner Andrea Barry and manager Craig Pennell. The win was announced at an awards dinner at the Napier Conference Centre on Wednesday night (March 28). They will host a field day in April.

Parkhill was one of the first three dairy farms converted by Andrea and her late husband Peter Barry in 1994. Andrea Barry is proud of the work that has been done and is still being done on Parkhill. . . 

Record investment into mouse threat :

THE largest investment into mouse-related research ever made in Australia was announced by the GRDC today.

The GRDC is injecting more than $4.1 million into mouse control research, development and extension initiatives in response to the increasing prevalence of mice in many key grain-growing regions of Australia.

GRDC managing director Steve Jefferies says the GRDC recognises the enormity of the mouse problem and the severe impact it has on our growers’ businesses, their families, their communities and the broader industry. . .

Hon Dr, OBE & inspirational bloke

In his typically modest way Sid concluded his speech last night by saying, “In honouring me you have honoured yourselves because we have all been part of this.” He had a point, but he was the leader and continues to be an inspiration. 

The invitation was to celebrate the contribution Sid Hurst had made to the Lower Waitaki Irrigation Company and the evening was a tribute to a man who is still doing more at 91 than many people half his age.


He learned about the importance of water early because North Otago was drought prone and farms were dependent on rain to supply water for stock and houses.


Sid’s family was one of the first in the district to install a flush loo in their home. It would have been an improvement on a longdrop but water shortages meant it could be flushed just once a day.


Sid was one of the people behind the Windsor Rural Water Scheme, New Zealand’s first, and one of the first to use irrigation in North Otago. He was also the driving force behind the development of irrigation on the Lower Waitaki.


Last night’s celebration was at Riverstone Kitchen which wouldn’t be there, offering superbly cooked fresh food, had irrigation not transformed the arid Waitaki Valley bringing more people, making more money and improving the environment.


Sid had been an innovator in farming and business, succeeding in both and helping other people and the wider community. His service was recognised when he was conferred with an honorary Doctorate of Science from Lincoln University and awarded an OBE.


In his typically modest way, Sid concluded his remarks last night by saying, “In honouring me you have honoured yourselves because we have all been part of this.”


He had a point but he was the leader and continues to be an inspiration.



Old Boy recounts old days


The oldest Old Boy at Waitaki Boys’ High School’s 125th anniversary celebrations Sid Hurst told yesterday’s assembly about school life in the 1930s:

Mr Hurst, who is “just on 90” years of age, recalled travelling each day to school by train, arriving just in time for assembly.

The first week of school was always “barracks week” – which concluded with a mock battle using blank ammunition against St Kevins – when pupils were taught military values and “to keep in step with each other and society”.

“It was only years later that I realised how important that military training was,” he said.

Discipline was paramount. Every teacher and even the head prefect had the right to cane pupils.

In those days, pupils had to swim in the school pool without swimming togs and Dr Hurst said it was plain to see who had been in trouble.

These days Waitaki and St Kevins confine their battles to the sports field and Waitaki won the annual rugby match 16-13 yesterday.

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