Rural round-up

November 14, 2018

Mackenzie Country and Waitaki: Balancing the extremes – Sally Rae:

Over the past two decades, the Mackenzie Basin and Waitaki Valley have undergone significant change.

The region has gone from a little known backwater to one of the highest profile battlegrounds over environmental protection and agricultural intensification, farmer Annabelle Subtil says.

The Omarama woman  addressed  delegates at the New Zealand Grassland Association’s 80th annual conference in Twizel last week. . . 

Farmers find irrigation can be controversial -Sally Rae:

For Glenn and Sarah Fastier, farming Simons Hill Station  on the eastern side of State Highway 8 between Tekapo and Twizel  is like living in a glasshouse.

The Mackenzie district was an area  many New Zealanders felt connected to and, when it came to land use, there were a lot of differing opinions as to what was appropriate, Mr Fastier said.

They farm next to Simons Pass Station, where a high-profile dairying operation is being established by  Dunedin businessman Murray Valentine,  attracting the ire of environmental activists.

“There’s definitely a different public perception on anything related to dairy. I don’t often think it’s justified. . . 

Guiney for the protest and McBride for the promise – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra shareholders have spoken loudly with the re-election of Leonie Guiney and election of soon-to-be-former Zespri chairman Peter McBride.

One director position is unfilled because incumbent Ashley Waugh, Maori farming leader Jamie Tuuta and multi-farm Canterbury candidate John Nicholls did not reach the required 50% approval of votes cast.

Waugh’s failure to reach the threshold is another aspect of the protest vote and the mood for change among farmer-shareholders after Fonterra’s worst year in financial results and setbacks. . . 

Details vague on proposed rewards scheme – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra will introduce a single on-farm assurance and recognition scheme including the existing milk quality, animal welfare and environmental requirements.

The scheme will begin next season, farmers at the annual meeting in Lichfield were told.

Chairman John Monaghan said the new scheme has not been named and Farm Source employees will interview farmers on the types of recognition and rewards it should contain.

“Once the commercial value is better understood we will decide whether to expand the programme to include financial incentives.”

A small minority of farmers who do not meet minimum standards will be subject to demerits, as is the case now. . . 

Profits up at Westland Milk pre-tax – Brendon McMahon:

Westland Milk Products yesterday posted a before-tax profit of $3.25million as it tries to claw its way to profitability.

Last year’s before-tax profit was just $29,000.

On releasing its annual report the West Coast farmer-owned co-operative acknowledged it was still not industry competitive and lacked “financial flexibility” due to high debt levels and the need for more working capital. . . 

Four Mycoplasma bovis myths busted:

Many farmers are going through a challenging time with the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. But the Ministry for Primary Industries says their stress and anxiety is being compounded by some misinformation. Here the MPI dispels some of those myths:

Myth 1: Mycoplasma bovis has been in New Zealand since around 2004

All of the available research, as well as data collated during on-farm investigations, indicates that Mycoplasma bovis is likely to have arrived in New Zealand in late 2015 to early 2016. Although investigations are ongoing, two pieces of evidence give MPI confidence about that: . . 

Three young leaders up for major agribusiness award :

THREE young agriculturalists from Australia and New Zealand are through to the final for the prestigious 2019 Zanda McDonald Award. 

The award is widely recognised as a badge of honour in the agriculture industry, recognising future leaders and innovative young professionals from both sides of the Tasman.

The 2019 finalists are made up by two Australians and one New Zealander, who were described by judges as ‘diverse and equally impressive’.  . . 


366 days of gratitude

April 7, 2016

The Alps to Ocean cycle trail which goes from Mount Cook to Oamaru Harbour brings people from all over the world down the Waitaki and Waiareka Valleys which have previously been by-passed by most tourists.

It’s not yet finished but has already created jobs and is reinvigorating the towns along the route.

On The Panel today, Chris Gallavin, extolled its beauty singling out for praise my neighbourhood.

The rolling hills of the North Otago downlands are an under-recognised part of New Zealand and today I’m grateful for visitors like Chris who appreciate them.


Rural round-up

April 8, 2014

A taste of Waitaki –  Pam Jones:

Pam Jones travels a create-your-own wine and food trail in Waitaki Valley and gives the region top marks.

There is no formal wine and food trail in Waitaki Valley but it is not hard to create your own.

Take a trip from Omarama to Kurow and back to Oamaru and you will discover pinot noirs and aromatics that knock your socks off with their flavours and minerality.

Then add some gourmet treats or rustic farmers’ fare on the side.

It is a recipe for a wonderful day of wining and dining, or stay the night at places along the way to turn it into a multiday sojourn.

We start our loop at the Ladybird Hill Cafe, Restaurant and Winery in Omarama, tucked to the side at the southern entrance of the busy crossroads town. . .

Edendale Nursery sold to large forestry biotech – Sally Rae:

Forestry biotech company ArborGen has expanded its stable of nurseries with the acquisition of Edendale Nursery in Southland.

ArborGen, in which NZX-listed Rubicon has a 31.67% stake, is the largest supplier of seedlings in New Zealand.

It sells up to 25 million trees annually, predominantly in the North Island, and owns five production nurseries, two seed orchards, and a manufacturing facility for the production of radiata varietal seedlings. . . .

Making horseshoe among Young Farmers tasks – Sally Rae:

When Sonja Dobbie entered the North Otago district final of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest, she did not expect to do well.

The competition was held at Totara Estate, near Oamaru, last November and members of her Five Forks club encouraged each other to enter to ensure good representation.

But Miss Dobbie (23), a first-time entrant, finished third behind Marshall Smith (Upper Waitaki Young Farmers) and Steven Smit (Glenavy-Waimate), ensuring her a place in this month’s Aorangi regional final. . .

Sustainable, High-Performing Dairy Operation Collects Supreme Award In 2014 Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Okaihau dairy farmers Roger and Jane Hutchings are the Supreme winners of the 2014 Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Judges described the Hutchings’ 680-cow business in the Bay Of Islands, Lodore Farm Ltd, as a very sustainable high-input system which is profitable across all aspects of the operation.

“There is a clear balance between the financial performance of the operation and the environmental and social aspects.”  . . .

 Beef + Lamb New Zealand appoints top genetics positions:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has appointed a Chairman and General Manager to run the new entity Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics.

Former Landcorp CEO and Massey University Chancellor Chris Kelly will chair the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics Board and Graham Alder the former Genetics Business Manager of Zoetis, has been appointed General Manager of Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics.

The appointments follow the successful vote at the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Annual Meeting to combine the organisation’s current genetics investments. This means Sheep Improvement Ltd (the national sheep genetic dataset), the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Central Progeny Test and Ovita, with added investment in beef genetics, come together with government funds to create the new entity Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics. . .

More success for PGP programmes:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming success by three Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programmes this week, including an award nomination for a revolutionary seafood programme.

“The Precision Seafood Harvesting Programme has been nominated for a KiwiNet Research & Business Partnership Award. This is fitting recognition for a programme that could revolutionise the global fishing industry.

“The programme is developing new sustainable fishing technology that will allow fish to be landed on fishing boats alive, and in perfect condition, while safely releasing small fish and other species.

“The potential economic and environmental benefits of this are huge, and it’s no surprise it is attracting so much attention. This is a $52 million project with funding coming from both industry and government.” .

Another PGP programme – Shellfish Production and Technology New Zealand Ltd (SPATnz) – has also reached a milestone in selective breeding of greenshell mussels. . .

Telecom’s expanding mobile network connects locals in the Far North:

Locals and visitors to Houhora, Pukenui and the coastline north to Rarawa Bay may notice a boost in mobile coverage in the area, with Telecom announcing today that it has invested more than $175,000 on improved coverage to the region.

Telecom’s investment in the Houhora Central Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) site responds to the increasing demand for mobile coverage in the area and will give locals and visitors added access to voice, mobile broadband and text services over the Telecom mobile network, which has been built specifically for smart phones.

The improved mobile coverage is part of Telecom’s commitment to open up access to mobile data and applications for rural communities. . .

New Zealand seafood goes online in China promotion:

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) has joined forces for the first time with China’s most popular business-to-consumer online shopping platform Tmall.com, to promote New Zealand seafood in a week-long campaign.

The promotion with Tmall.com will take place between 9-15 April, allowing Chinese shoppers to buy live seafood fresh from the sea in New Zealand, then have it packaged and air freighted to Shanghai within 36 hours. Within 72 hours, the seafood orders will be delivered to Chinese consumers across the country. The New Zealand products available for sale include paua, greenshell mussels and Bluff and Pacific oysters.

The ability to sell and deliver live seafood to Chinese consumers is a significant milestone. A similar Tmall.com campaign with Alaskan seafood last year resulted in a total of 50 metric tonnes supplied to Chinese consumers. . .

The ‘B’ word – Mad Bush Farm:

Yesterday I read the forecast for Northland and I used the “B” word. It’s now Autumn, and yet again we’re in a drought. So is the Waikato and things are looking rather grim where rainfall goes. I’m letting the Toyota crew there say the “B” word on my behalf, and the rest of the rural crew out there looking up at the skies and praying it rains and soon!


Another reason to vote for Oamaru

July 6, 2013

Warren Barton suggests you wend your way to Waitaki:

Don’t write off the Waitaki Valley, which straddles the boundary between North Otago and Canterbury, as a producer of quality wines – especially pinot noir.

This from Grant Taylor from Valli Wines, following the pullout from the area of two of the bigger producers, Craggy Range and now Pasquale, the latter owned by an Italian who spent millions establishing vineyards and a winery there.

If anyone should know it is Taylor -who grew up in Kurow, in the Waitaki Valley, honed his skills in the United States and returned in 1993, when the entire Otago vineyard was measured at just 20 hectares, to become the winemaker at Gibbston Valley Wines. . .

The proximity to the Waitaki Valley with its wonderful wines, honey, salmon and trout fishing, skiing – snow and water – tramping, yachting, boating, Vanished World fossil trail . . . is another reason to vote for Oamaru as the country’s Sharpest Town.

Seven Sharp’s video showing more of the town’s attractions is here.

You can vote here.

sharp


Hip, funky, hot and cool

April 3, 2012

Last month Cuisine listed Oamaru as one of the 25 hippest places in the world, this month AA Directions reckons it’s funky:

‘Character’ according to the dictionary is the quality of being individual, typically in an interesting or unusual way. With that definition in mind, we went in search of New Zealand towns with genuine character, towns with strong, distinct personalities. Here’s what we found…

Walk the cobbled streets of Oamaru’s heritage precinct outside school hours, and there’s a good chance of spotting the fugitive sky pirate, Sir Livin Hope, or a small girl carrying a case full of deadly ray guns.

These are characters who reside in the weird and wonderful world of Steampunk – an imagined Victorian future where electricity fizzled out and steam remained king.

Some call it science fiction, others an alternative history. It’s a style of dress, a form of art and, for a select few, a way of life. However it’s defined, one thing is certain: Steampunk is alive and well in Oamaru.

It all started two years ago, with a beer mug. . .

Stempunk is fascinating and fun, think art meets science mixed with history and fantasy.

It’s as small as a piece of jewellery or as large as a steam train which rewards those who feed it with $2 coins with a light and sound show:

Steampunk isn’t the only thing that’s hot down here, via Oamaru Life I discovered that wine blogger Robert Giorgione asks if Waitaki could be the next wine hot spot:

Before we proceed any further, I know exactly what you’re thinking right now. Who or what the hell is Waitaki? More to the point – where is Waitaki, more like? To put it plainly and simply, the Waitaki Valley (a.k.a Waitaki) is a very small wine region out in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand. Or as Kiwis would say – “it’s out in the woop woops mate!” In fact, I passed through this remote and picturesque little piece of bush in 2004 during my road trip around the South Island. . .

Passing quickly over the phrase which is not woop wopps but wop wops and the quibble that there’s little if any bush left in the valley, his praise is welcome recognition of the valley’s growing wine industry.

The Waitaki Valley isn’t the easiest place in which to grow grapes, but the wine which results from those who persevere has a growing reputation for its quality.


Tourist hot-spots and hot tourist spots

March 1, 2012

There are tourist hot spots and there are hot tourist spots.

The hot-spots are the ones most people know about and where most tourists will be directed by travel agents.

The hot tourist spots are often less well known and none the less attractive for that. Among these is Oamaru and its hinterland and it’s not just parochial people like me who think so.

In this month’s 25th anniversary issue of Cuisine Amanda Hyde lists 25 of the hippest destinations.

Only two of the hip destinations are in New Zealand – one of those is the Te Araroa Trail, the other is the Waitaki Valley and Oamaru.

 Want your holiday to come with spectacular scenery, good food, top wine and cute penguins? Head to New Zealand’s Waitaki Valley.

Oamaru’s beautiful historic stone buildings will transport you back several centuries – complete the illusion with morning tea at Annie’s Victorian Tea Rooms, where you’ll be served leaf tea and homemade cakes by staff dressed in period costume.

Steampunk HQ continues the historic vibe – through art, music, film and machines, it imagines a world where steam power is king.

The region is also home to the renowned Riverstone Kitchen, Fleurs Place and The Loan & Merc, as well as a host of vineyards and, of course, the blue penguin colony. visitoamaru.co.nz

The ODT and Oamaru Mail have more on the story.

If you want to learn more about the area’s charms, have a look at Oamaru Life. This is the blog written by the owner of Pen-y-bryn Lodge, a  five star, category-one historic residence. He has travelled widely and lived in many different exotic locations but is now pleased and proud to call Oamaru home.


Top 10 quintessential Kiwi foods

April 29, 2009

Adam Smith started it at Inquiring Mind with

1  Bluff Oysters in batter

2 Pavlova

3 Meat Pie

4 ANZAC Biscuits

5 Colonial Goose

6 Mince on toast

7 Whitebait fritters

8 Crayfish

9 Blue cod & chips

10 Whitestone cheese

Adolf carried it on at No Minister with:

1. Roast lamb (Merino/South Suffolk cross – killed at 14 months) and mint sauce, accompanied by steamed new potaoes, fresh green peas and sweet corn on the cob, all with lashings of butter.

2. Carefully prepared Maori hangi – pork, mutton, potato, kumara, beet root, puha.

3. Steamed pipi, cockles and kutai (mussels) with lots of fresh bread and butter.

4. Steamed Tarakihi or Hapuka with mashed potato and kumara (combined) and plenty of fresh greens. Plenty of salt and cracked black pepper along with lemon juice over the fish.

5. An eighteen inch long slab of sirloin steak, turned on the char grill for forty minutes while continually basted in a brew compising red wine, worchester sauce, tomato sauce, hot chilli sauce, garlic, soy sauce, balsamic viegar and any thing else which gets in the road. Black on the outside, nipple pink in the middle. Char grilled vegies on the side.

6. Steam pudding with custard sauce.

7. Roast chicken with roast vegies and silver beet. Lotsa gravy.

8. Bacon and eggs with baked beans and tomato.

9. TipTop Icecream

10. KFC for South Aucklanders.

And my list, based on the food I miss most when out of the country, in no particular order is:

1. Vogels bread, toasted with cottage cheese and kiwi fruit or vegemite, cottage cheese and tomato.

2. Hokey pokey ice cream.

3. Pavlova topped with cream and kiwifruit.

4. Lamb backstraps, topped with grainy mustard and soy sauce, grilled until still pink, served with broccoli, carrots, roasted red onion and kumera.

5. Blue cod from Fleurs Place.

6. Waitaki Valley strawberries.

7. Central Otago apricots and peaches.

8. Totara Lowlands cherries.

9. Milkshakes

10. Fresh asaparagus with Whitestone Windsor Blue cheese.

And an extra one: my favourite childhood dinner (which I probably haven’t had for more than 30 years): Roast mutton with roast potatoes, mint sauce, gravy and mashed swedes.


%d bloggers like this: