Monday, 30 April 2007

Library Online Databases

I discovered a neat resource the other day which is available to anyone who has a library card through the SDC library system. There is a collection of online databases that you can access simply by putting in your password which is on the back of your library card. Most of the databases are not specific to New Zealand but they do have the Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre which is great for accessing newspapers and magazines.

You can find the links to the databases here:

Just click on a database, sign in, and put in the keywords that you are looking for. It's great that we have this resource for free. Thanks SDC.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Otautau War Memorial

Pictured left is the Otautau War Memorial on Main Street with wreaths laid on Anzac Day 2007. On all four sides of the centre section are the names of soldiers lost in WWI.

To the right are the names of soldiers who died in WWII.

While I was searching for something else on the web I ran across an old letter to the editor in the Southland Times that referred to a soldier buried in the old Otautau Cemetery who had died in Gallipoli in WWI.

Saturday, 28 April 2007


Since we had such a nice comment about the McKenzie Arboretum and picnic area, I thought I'd post a recent photo I took while on the trail in the Pourakino area.

The Pourakino picnic area is only about 10km from Otautau. You have to leave your car at the main entrance and walk into the area because there are such deep ruts in the road that driving would be unwise. But it is a very short and pleasant walk and hints at the wonderful, native forest within.

There is the old steam engine there of course and blocks where the saw mill once stood. For walkers, there are two trails to choose from. Both trails are loops so there is no chance of getting lost. The trail pictured starts with a wooden bridge built by DoC and proceeds along a waterway with occasional signs to point out features.

In the centre of this photo you can barely see the arched concrete bridge that covers Granite Stream. This bridge was used for carting out logs with bush tractors and locomotives.

The trail takes approximately 45 minutes to walk and is a very lovely, quiet experience.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Anzac Day

Yesterday morning in the dark before dawn, a few of us gathered at the Cenotaph for Anzac commemorations. The weather was just drizzly enough that it was decided to move the ceremony indoors to the Town Hall.

Soon the room was full of up to 200 men, women and children. RSA men added more rows of chairs for those who wanted to sit down while people set up the sound system. The bagpipes sounded just outside the building. The veterans lined up in the front of the room first. There were officers from the fire department, policemen, the local Scouts troop, and girls from Otautau Primary to read official letters from the Prime Minister and other dignitaries. Volunteers from St John Ambulance were there too. I didnt catch the name of the gentleman who officiated the ceremony but he was accompanied by Judith Day who led us in prayers and hymns.

This was my first Anzac ceremony since I'd moved to New Zealand and it was quite an experience. I thought back to my home town and couldn't recall seeing the town gather for anything other than midnight mass at the Catholic Church once a year. It made me realise that there is a real community here and these kinds of events are part of what binds them together. War has had its affect on Otautau through soldiers lost during both world wars. It's important to remember the loss and cost of these wars to our local families.

I tried to get some photos after the ceremony but none turned out very well. If anyone would like to post a photo or send a comment please do so.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Bob Bickerton Celtic Concert

The Otautau & Districts Creative Arts Trust are presenting a Celtic Concert next month.

Bob Bickerton, a Nelson-based musician, will be performing traditional and contemporary Celtic music at the Otautau Courthouse on Saturday, 12 May 2007 at 8pm. He will delighting listeners with a variety of musical instruments including uillean (Irish) pipes, harp, flute, guitar, whistle and bodhran. This promises to be a beautiful evening of magical music.

Tickets are on sale now at $10 per person. Limited seating available. To enquire or purchase a ticket phone 03 225 8596.


This sunrise was taken on 20 April 2007 overlooking the Aparima River in Otautau. Beautiful!

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Antiques Roadshow

The Otautau Museum is getting ready for its first Antiques Roadshow on Sunday, 22 April, 2pm at the Sunday School Hall.

If you would like to bring an item but havent registered, you can still come by and see if there is room, between the hours of 9am and 1:30pm on Sunday. They will be accepting items at that time. The shows starts at 2pm and there is a $5 entry fee. Come on out and have a fun afternoon at the Roadshow.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Make your own website

Many people may not know but there is a Western Southland website that hosts free webpages for local folks (businesses, community groups and individuals). Many Otautau businesses and groups have already gotten their webpages published and they look great.

It's easy to make your own page, just click on the link in the right hand column for "Western Southland" and follow the instructions to get started.

Venture Southland meeting

Venture Southland is holding a community forum to discuss our local venues for sports, recreation and community events. The meeting will be held Tuesday, 17 April, 8pm, at the SDC Otautau building. All are invited.

To find out more about Venture Southland's review of sports, recreation and community facilities, go to:

There, you will find previous reviews for Central and Northern Southland.

The current review is for Western Southland including Otautau, Tuatapere and Riverton.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

April -- Calendar of Events


4 -- Wallace Community Board mtg, 6pm, SDC office, Otautau.

12 -- AGM, Otautau Creative Arts Trust, 7:30pm, Old Courthouse.

14 -- Otautau Rugby (senior), Holt Park.

17 -- Silent Auction closing date (Playstation 2 + games), Otautau & Districts Toy Cupboard.

17 -- Venture Southland community forum, provision of facilities for local groups, 8pm, SDC office, Otautau.

19 -- Leadlighting for Kids (ages 7-12), 1:30pm-3:30pm, Old Courthouse, $10.

21 -- Otautau Rugby (senior), Holt Park.

21 -- "Small Feat" band, Railway Hotel, 9pm.

22 -- Otautau Antiques Roadshow, 2pm, Sunday School Hall, $5.

24 -- Takitimu PHO mtg, 7:30pm, SDC office, Otautau.

9am -- Otautau Patchwork and Craft, Otautau Bowling Club.
9:30am -- Otautau Walking Group, meets at the Sports Complex.
9:30am-noon -- Aparima Playgroup, Aparima Hall.
7:30pm -- Takitimu PHO board mtg, 4th Tuesday of every month, SDC office, Otautau, open to the public.

10am-11:30am -- Jumping Jacks Playgroup, every 1st and 3rd Wed.

7:30pm-8:30pm -- Western Southland Toastmasters, at Otautau Primary School, every 2nd and 4th Thursday.
7:30pm -- Otautau Plunket mtg/speakers, Otautau Plunket Rooms, 3rd or 4th Thursday.

2pm -- Otautau Senior Citizens, Otautau Bowling Club Pavilion, 2nd and 4th Friday.
? -- Western Netball (social), Sports Complex, starts April 13.

2pm-4pm -- Otautau Museum open, the Old Courthouse, 146 Main Street.

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