Sunday, 30 December 2007

Axemen photos

The Axemen competition -- what a show it was.

Competitors came from Wales, Canada, Australia, the North Island, the West Coast and Canterbury. With such a strong international contingent and the best from Southland and Otago, the competition was fast and furious, and the wood chips were flying.

World champions and newcomers alike used strength, technique and sheer guts to chop and saw their way to axeman infamy.

Generations of families were there as well, taking part in a sport that has such a long history in the Western Southland with its legacy of sawmilling. The Corbins (Riverton) are shown here in the Jack and Jill sawing competition while their son, who also competed in woodchopping, urges them on.

There were a few snags with the equipment. Some axes actually broke in half due to all the brute strength about the place, and that dashed the hopes of a few.

Near the end of the day before the last jigger board race, there was a team relay competition of chopping and sawing between the South Island and everyone else. The South Island team won!

I have many more pictures than space allows though unfortunately I missed the axe-throwing and other events but hopefully you can see this was a quite a fun day and much appreciated by the crowd.

Thanks to the Railway Hotel and all the sponsors for helping to bring this great event to our town.

Friday, 28 December 2007

Axemen Log-in to Otautau

The Southland Otago Axemen Competition chops its way into Otautau on 29 December. The competition features teams from Australia, Wales and Canada. Events include axe throwing, chainsaw and hardsaw competition and jigger board. Jason Wynyard, 7-time world champion will be here too. It all starts at 10am behind the Railway Hotel. There'll be food during the day and a $10/plate BBQ at tea time. The day is organised by the Otautau Sports & Social Club. The competition then heads for Riverton and Tuatapere. For more info:

Now what's a jigger board?

Saturday, 15 December 2007

A little break

The Otautau Blogger is going to take a little break to contemplate and prepare for 2008. Meanwhile, she wishes everyone safe and happy holidays.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Te Hikoi - part 2

Te Hikoi, the Riverton Heritage Centre, was officially opened today. What started as a big idea a few years ago has finally come to fruition.

The crowd steadily grew until the time of the unveiling of the plaque. It was hot and sunny, and thankfully there were chairs to sit on for the older folks while they waited. But first, there were a few speeches.

Mayor Frana Cardno emphasised that this heritage centre demonstrates what's possible when a small community puts its mind to something, part of the old 'just get on with it' attitude.

Next, Ted Woodhill, Chairman of the Heritage Centre Trust spoke as well as a Trustee from Community Trust of Southland (a major funder of the project) acknowledging the many hours of volunteer work involved.

Prime Minister Clark said that this heritage centre not only makes history compelling and accessible but will be an important stopping point for tourists on the Southern Scenic Route.

It was pointed out that Riverton has only 1900 residents; some of them are on fixed income and some don't live there all year round. Yet they managed to raise about $400,000 themselves for this project. The overall outcome is inspiring.

Today was a free day but starting Monday admission will be $12/adults and $4/children ages 6-17; 5 and under get in free.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Opening of Te Hikoi

The long-awaited opening of Te Hikoi - Southern Journey is happening this Saturday, 8 Dec, 10am in Riverton. Admission will be free. Te Hikoi depicts the history of Southern Maori and European settlers along the coast of Murihiku and the offshore islands. Activities, stalls and demonstrations are also planned for the day.

I had a sneak preview of this new heritage centre and found that many of the displays were visually compelling and added insight and meaning to the history of the area. In addition to the new exhibition there is also a new art gallery and new information centre, but most-importantly the building retains the Wallace Early Settlers Archives, a storehouse of valuable genealogical information on the people of Wallace County.
The picture above was taken this morning and shows some of the core drivers of this project installing a beautiful sign on the side of the heritage centre.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Some upcoming events

As we swing into summer, here are some events and classes to watch out for:

  • 5 Dec - Supervalue Christmas Party, 3pm-5:30pm.
  • 6 Dec - Otautau Garden Club Christmas Luncheon, $5 gift exchange, 11:30am rose competitors, noon for others, Otautau Hotel.
  • 7 Dec - Friday Night Golf starts, pair up with experienced golfer, prizes, raffles, fun, cost $5, 5:30pm, Otautau Golf Club.
  • 9 Dec - Museum Volunteers Afternoon Tea, a thank-you to museum volunteers; others interested in the museum are welcome, 3pm, Otautau Courthouse.


  • 14-18 Jan - Swimming Lessons - Isla Bank, Rochelle Point swim coach, $50 per child, email:
  • 21-25 Jan - Swimming Lessons - Blackmount, Graeme Laing, $75, ages 4 1/2 and up.
  • 22 Feb - Autumn Flower Show, Otautau Garden Club.
  • 19 Mar - Yoga Classes start, $35, 9:30am-2:30pm, Otautau Courthouse. Contact community development co-ordinator at SDC office, 03 225 8069 EXT 706.
  • 29 Mar - Gowan Hill Classic Mountain Bike Ride, 3 courses, prizes, to register email:, proceeds go to medical services and equipment for Ohai and Nightcaps District.

Remember, if you want an event or class listed, send them to

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