Oamaru trumps Timaru

March 16, 2018

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.


Canterbury too big for one council

October 10, 2012

ECan commissioners have recommended that a unitary authority be considered for Canterbury for the 2016 elections.

I’m supportive of the idea of unitary authorities in general.

Separate city or district and regional councils add costs and layers of bureaucracy which could be reduced if their functions came under one local body.

But Canterbury is too big and diverse for a single council.

The size of the existing regional council, dominance of Christchurch and distance from it has always been problematic for people in that part of the Waitaki District which comes under ECan, it would be even worse under a single authority.

The Waitaki River has long been a physical and social boundary between Canterbury and Otago, but there could be a case for combining the Waitaki, Waimate and Mackenzie councils as a unitary authority.

It might need Timaru as well to give the numbers and rating base for a viable council and that would provide a reasonable urban/rural balance.

The districts north of the Rangitata River could unite to form another unitary authority with Christchurch.

Two unitary authorities might work, one over such a large area with so many disparate concerns and issues would not.


Tuesday’s answers

May 5, 2009

Gravedodger got three out of five in yesterday’s quiz.

The answer’s are:

1. What’s the name of the mother of Dog’s pups in Footrot Flats?

Jess.

2. Who wrote Backblocks Baby Doctor?

Doris Gordon, one of the first women doctors in New Zealand.

3. Where was Phar Lap born?

At Seadown, near Timaru. His sire Night Raid, stood at Elderslie near Enfield in North Otago and his dam Entreaty was brought down for the mating in 1925 according to the book From Teaneraki to Enfield by Lindsay Malcolm where I found this photo.

dairy-10001

Night Raid is in the stall, Entreaty is the horse on the right; the horse on the left and the foal were full siblings of Phar Lap.

4. Who said, “No-one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions. He had money as well.”?

Margaret Thatcher – The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations says it was in a television interview on January 6, 1986 and in The Times  six days later.

5. The Corriedale was the result of crossing which breeds of sheep?

Lincoln & Merino. James Little came from Scotland to Corriedale in North Otago where he started cross breeding merinos and continued experimenting until he developed the breed after moving to North Canterbury.


Who are the Timaru Labour Government MPs?

May 29, 2008

At the left of the masthead for The Courier  is an advertisement for Aoraki MP Jo Goodhew with her contact details and the Parliamentary crest and a small National logo which is the sort of thing an electorate MP routinely does.

 

At the right of the same masthead is an advertisement in which the Labour logo takes up a third of the space and under this is “Timaru Government MPs’ office, your link to Government” with an address, and both a Timaru and 0800 phone number. It also carries the parliamentary crest.

 

Trouble is there is no person who is the Government MP for Timaru (and the placement of the apostrophe after the s means it’s referring to more than one Timaru Government MP). This means it can’t be a constituency or list MP’s or MPs’ advertisement so it must be an election advertisement – so why does it have the Parliamentary crest (which means you and I have paid for it) and why doesn’t it have authorisation as required by the EFA?

 

The central vetting committee which Audrey Young  reports has been set up to inspect every proposed publication by every Labour MP and candidate can’t have seen this, unless they think Labour Government MPs don’t count. Of maybe the law of common sense doesn’t apply here.

 

For the record, I rang both numbers and got an answer phone telling me I’d phoned the Timaru Labour Government MP’s (or maybe MPs’) office. Just wondering if you and I pay for that too.


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