Wednesday, 31 October 2007


The Takitimu Primary Health Organisation (PHO) had their annual general meeting last night in Tuatapere. It was well-attended by folks from the district, but I do believe it needs to be better advertised. An organisation that is supposed to be closely collaborating with the community on primary health needs to let that community know when it is holding its meetings.

But that aside, there were a few things said at the meeting that seemed very positive. 1) they are keenly aware that we have a transportation problem, i.e. that people find it difficult to get to their appointments at Southland Hospital either because they have no car or can't physically drive; they propose that the medical trusts in each community or anyone who has a clever idea, submit their plan to the PHO for consideration. This is a problem we can solve so let's do it! 2) the PHO has a surplus of money this year that could be used for new health initiatives. They are already funding an initiative for fruit in schools at Takitimu Primary. There was talk about healthy homes insulation etc. 3) Maori health is getting attention through the formation of a new group of Maori representatives from each PHO in Murihiku. With Maori health outcomes being poorer than non-Maori, it's good to see something is being done.

What I'd like to see happen is that the various medical centres in the Takitimu area become networked so that nurses and doctors who are relieving on the weekends in areas that aren't normally theirs can have access to patient records and give more personalised advice. I don't think that happens now. Anything to help on-call medical personnel to do their job would be worth doing imho.

It's hard to know if people are any healthier than they were three years ago when the PHO started, but I am noticing that there are more health days for the community to get checks without having to go to the doctor. That's got to be a good thing.

You can find out more about the Takitimu PHO by going to their website: or emailing them at

Auction Night a success

I heard that the Auction Night for the Otautau Baths Committee was a great success. Well done to the organisers, donators and attendees.

Results of Poll

Eight people responded to the poll 'What does Otautau need?' All agreed that a cafe was most needed, followed by recreational walkways. Thanks to those who responded!

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Algidus - a good read

I read a really good book this week - The Good Logs of Algidus by Mona Anderson. It traces through 100 years of life in a high country station in Canterbury. I wasn't sure I'd be interested in the topic but the author brilliantly links the lives of each owner to their successor from the 1860s to the 1960s. It's really well-written and ties in so many little gaps of Canterbury history and the lives of the early pioneers.

I was lucky enough to pick this book up at the Otautau Booksale but you can order it at the local SDC library or the Invercargill Library

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Spinners and Weavers

Southland weather has been rough the last few days with heavy rain and gale force winds, but today Otautau turned on its sunny best for the Open Day of the Otautau Spinners and Weavers group. For the ridiculously low entry of $5, visitors from far and wide were treated to beautiful wool crafts, tasty food all day, guest speakers and lively conversations. It was a special day had by all and nice to see younger folks coming to these events as well. It gives hope that these handcrafts will survive through these digital times. Thanks to members Catherine Beck and Janet Macrae for letting me take photos.

(Pictured top left is a banner made by a member from Tuatapere who recently passed away; right, a bag of alpaca wool from local growers; bottom left, some entries in the wool hat competition, in the centre a hat made by Karen Workman who came all the way from Bluff for the day.)

Friday, 19 October 2007

Crafty Women

This Labour Weekend, the Otautau Craft & Patchwork Group are staging their annual exhibition at the Courthouse. As you gaze at the array of handmade quilts, dresses, bags and ornaments, you may zero in on one in particular and ask 'how much is this stunning piece?', but the answer is always 'it's not for sale'. In that way, this exhibition is a big teaser. But how can a price be put on something that is so finely detailed and so exquisitely crafted? In a very real sense, all of the items are priceless. (Pictured right is Flutterby Fantasy, a quilt by Leslee Deacon).

The feature piece of the show is a large quilt entitled Mama, is that a piece of my dress? by Faimie McGlen (pictured left). It is composed of recycled fabric from past incarnations and has a strong feeling of reminiscince. Each piece has patterns that were popular decades ago. She states, "I like a look that is fairly traditional and scrappy rather than beautifully contrived." It took her two years to make what I thought would've taken ten. Its monetary value is probably in the thousands.

The craft group is as fascinating as its creations. It is made up of 17 members from all over the district (including Tuatapere, Riverton, Orepuki & Drummond) and meets every Tuesday at the Otautau Bowling Club. Members bring their materials, current projects, and any equipment (yes, even machines) for a full day of connection, concentration and focus on their crafts. They also go on trips to various locales, and have a relationship with the Tapanui crafts group - visiting each other now and then and catching up on the latest news. I was most impressed to hear that the members take a whole day from an otherwise very distractible weekly routine to devote to their art. What a great ethic! (Pictured above left is a dress by Helen Todd; and right, a Yellow-Eyed Penguin quilt by Jan Appleby).
Also featured at this exhibition are paintings from some of the Otautau Primary School students. What talent they have! (pictured is One Tree, a painting by Mariel Gill, Year 8). There are also raffles and a chance to give your vote for the Viewers Choice. The exhibition continues through to Monday, closing at 4pm. Go see it!

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Children's book reading at library

This Wednesday, the Otautau Library features a reading of the book Grumble Rumble Mumbler written by Melanie Drewery, read by Zola Ayson. The story is of a child who has trouble sleeping due to noises in the night. The reading starts at 10:30am sharp. Be there.

Correction re Auction Night and pool update

NOTICE - Robyn Broughton will not be at the Otautau Baths Auction Night due to double booking! Instead, Chris Parvin (pictured right) will be compere/comedian for the evening. Chris runs 'Outrageous', the spunky, outside-the-square advertising agency based in Queenstown. Check out his site:

(Hmmm, I can think of a town that needs some rebranding, but I digress...)

The prizes for the auction include outdoor furniture, a night at the Ascot, a trip to Doubtful Sound and much more. Tickets are $200 for a table of 8 however the organisers are considering selling individual tickets so that more people can come. Remember this is a fundraiser for the swimming pool so it's a worthy cause to support.

Speaking of the pool ... it has been freshly painted by a local business and looks absolutely fabulous. There are a few more odd jobs to do such as getting the lines painted and some heating repairs, but the committee is looking at perhaps a mid- to late-November opening for key holders.

Getting this facility up and running seems like an enormous job. I take my hat off to the Otautau Baths Committee for giving it their all just so that we can have a pool for the summer.

They will need help forming their roster for the pool so if you have some free time, please do contact them. Like the old adage 'it takes a village to raise a child' - it also takes a village to keep a pool open. It's not a job just for the committee members; the wider community needs to do its part.

A jolt in the night

Fiordland was rocking and rolling last night starting at 1:29am with a 6.7 earthquake centred 60km west of Milford Sound. What better reminder that the earth is still alive and changing? Unfortunately, being that I was half asleep, I failed to "drop, cover and hold". The best I could do was look at the clock and announce 'it's an earthquake'. But I was motivated this morning to look up emergency preparedness sites and get a bit more informed:

Also found the page on how to quake safe your home:

Details of the quake and aftershocks are on GeoNet:

Friday, 12 October 2007

Auction Night features Sting coach

The Otautau Baths Committee's Auction Night (27 Oct) features guest speaker Robyn Broughton, coach of the highly successful Sting franchise. This is a prime opportunity to be sports-inspired AND to show your support for the swimming program in Otautau. Tables of 8 are $200. Donations of goods to be auctioned is encouraged. Contact Janice at the Otautau Joinery Showroom. And do NOT miss Robyn.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Remember to vote this week

The voting period for local body elections is nearly over. Send in your ballots to the Southland District Council, 15 Forth St, Invercargill by 12 noon, Saturday 13 October 2007. Or, you may be able to drop them off to our local Otautau SDC office too. Either way, it's important to vote.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Scrub a dub

The swimming pool had a big clean up last Saturday. The grime was no match for the local folk who scrubbed, scraped, sanded, and swept it from top to bottom. The fire engine was also on hand for the big rinse up. The pool covers were taken onto the tennis courts, and the kids had a blast washing them and each other. This week the pool is scheduled for a much-needed paint job. Thanks to the efforts of the organisers and volunteers, it looks like the pool will be in great shape this summer. (Pictured: Janice de Clifford, leading by example; Butch McDonald with fire hose; and other folks whose names I didn't catch).

Fashion Injection

The Classic Cothing Spring Fashion Show was an enjoyable evening. Lovely models (all local women) and lovely clothes (36 outfits in all). Unfortunately, being the newbie shutterbug that I am, I dont have lovely photos to show for it. All my photos came out blurry. Ah well. It was a nice evening and I think people enjoyed themselves. Thanks to the Classic Clothing people (Marilyn and Christine) for coming out to Otautau with their fashion injection. And thanks to the wonderful models and the Creative Arts Trust for organising the show. (Pictured above are the models).

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Working Bee Today

The working bee for the Otautau swimming pool is happening today, starting at 10am. Even if you don't use the pool (as I don't), this is an important community resource to support. We'll be doing general clean up and possibly painting the pool. If you can spare an hour or two, please do. Many hands, make light work. The pool is on Hulme St, near the sports complex.

Thursday, 4 October 2007


This is a farm in Wairio just a little north of Otautau. Lambs are everywhere. Some ewes as this one have triplets. But the real attraction for me was the Takitimu Mountains. My photo doesn't do it justice.

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