Friday, 17 June 2011

Beauty in Winter

Winter? Bahh. I'm just hitting my prime.
I'm more purple than you can handle.
I eat frost for breakfast.
All photographs © 2011 Cathy Onellion

Old Shed

On my walks around Otautau, I take pictures of interesting things. Most of it never makes it to the blog but this caught my eye. This old shed, on the edge of town, has seen better days. A tree or two have put down roots, and livestock visit once in a while. The Aparima River plain is in the background. Photograph © 2011 Cathy Onellion

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Any Questions? and Te Ara

"Any questions?" That's what teachers innocently ask after giving a 'Mission Impossible' assignment.

But there is a website that actually helps students with assignments - called Any Questions? Librarians are standing by, waiting to help kids find the answers to their homework questions. From 1pm-6pm every weekday, they are online and ready to help. Just log in and ask!

Librarians have always been experts at helping others find information. So it's a no-brainer that they are well-placed to help students with homework via the web. Why didn't we think of this before? I guess because we didn't notice that with the rise of information technology in the last 20 years, the old stereotype of a librarian with her nose in a book no longer applies. Librarians are very geeky these days - online chats, emails, txts, tweets. They are probably more adept at finding information on the internet than the average person.

So, if you are a parent and homework is not your thing, show your child alternatives. Go to Any Questions and ask a librarian for help. Who knows? It might inspire them to become librarians too.

This website is supported by the Ministry of Education, the National Library of NZ and public libraries.

While we're at it - let's talk encyclopedias. When I was a kid, we had the Encyclopedia Brittanica in our house. I poured over these heavy volumes often though they were well above my vocabulary level which made them very user-unfriendly. Now, of course with global information being created so quickly, printed encyclopedias are nearly obsolete.

But the Digital Age is keeping encyclopedias alive. The completely digital New Zealand encyclopedia is called Te Ara. It incorporates words, sounds, and video for a much fuller experience of discovering the world around us.

This is yet another reliable tool that school kids should be familiar with. I've especially liked the coverage of the Canterbury quakes. I've learned about the now evident Port Hills fault (Feb and Jun quakes) which was jolted into action by the previously hidden Greendale fault (Sep 2010 quake), and there is a map that shows the extent of aftershocks in the Lyttelton/Christchurch area.

The other neat thing about this encyclopedia is that it is interactive. If you want to leave a comment, you can. If you want to upload your own photos to their Flickr site, you can.

It even gives you the correct way to reference a page for your written assignments.

This website is offered through the Ministry of Culture and Heritage so the information in it is reliable.

So there it is, two tools that rural kids should take full advantage of in their school and individual studies.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Te Reo Post-Grad Dip in Education

This is a good opportunity for local teachers to develop their skills in Te Reo Maori and bring the knowledge back to our community.

The University of Canterbury College of Education in association with Ngāi Tahu invites certificated, registered teachers to apply for this postgraduate programme.

Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Hōaka Pounamu: Bilingual and Immersion Teaching)

Programme dates:
30 January to 14 December 2012

Applications to the University of Canterbury close:
31 August 2011

Information Sessions:
Date: Thursday 23 June 2011
Time: 4:30 - 5:30pm
RSVP: Tuesday 21 June 2011

Date: Friday 22 July 2011
Time: 1:00 – 2:00pm
RSVP: Tuesday 19 July 2011

Course coordinators will be available to answer your questions regarding the programme and application process. Applicants will be interviewed at a later date. Please RSVP to Tate Tiatia indicating which information session you will attend.

Applicants will be interviewed (at a date to be advised) to assess their proficiency of te reo Māori and may require to attend Summer School with Aotahi, School of Māori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Canterbury at their own cost.

Applicants may be eligible for financial assistance. For information about and applications for Study awards see:

Tate Tiatia
School Administrator
School of Māori,Social and Cultural Studies in Education
University of Canterbury, College of Education

int: 44296
ext: 03 345 8296

Hours 8am-4pm Mon, Tues, Thurs & Fri

Tertiary Scholarships

The Community Trust of Southland's funding round for tertiary scholarships is coming up. According to their website:

"The Community Trust of Southland (CTOS) offers Tertiary Education Scholarships for individuals planning to undertake or currently undertaking study at a New Zealand tertiary institution. The scholarships are valued at $2,000 per annum, and may be awarded for up to three years. The scholarships are not means-tested; however Trustees may consider giving additional financial support to individuals who demonstrate particular financial hardship. Applications are welcome from students of all ages, from school leavers through to mature students."

They will be offering up to 50 scholarships for either full or part time study for the 2012 year. Application closing date is Friday, 12 August 2011.

Find out more on the Community Trust of Southland website.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Mobile Green Grocer

The Mobile Green Grocer's next delivery to Otautau is Wednesday 15th June

We can deliver to any home or business. Minimum order = $10.
If nobody home we will check letterbox for payment and leave fruit at front door.

Weekly Special: Pacific Rose Apples – Crisp, Sweet, Family Favourite: $6 per 5kg
Sonya Apples – Very sweet gala-like flavour: $10 per 5kg, $5 per 2kg
Braeburn Apples – Crunchy, Acidic, Bursting with flavour: $10 per 5kg, $5 per 2kg
Granny Smith Apples – Crisp, Sour, Green Apple: $10 per 5kg, $5 per 2kg
Doyenne Du Comice Pears – Delicious and Sweet: $5 per 2kg
Pumpkins – Great for winter soups: $4 each

Satusuma Mandarins – Sweet, Seedless, Easy-peel: $5 per 1kg
Green Kiwifruit – Traditional favourite: $3 per 1kg
Hass Avocadoes – Great for Toast: $2 each
Naval Oranges (Imported from USA - the FAR north island)– Lovely and Sweet: $5 per 1kg

FAX: 03-976-7506

Last minute orders on day:
TEXT/PHONE: 027-814-5352
PHONE: 0800-00-10-60 (connects to mobile)

Cash or cheque on delivery.

Currently delivering to Otautau about every two weeks. Product range will vary each fortnight. We are based in Alexandra and purchase local products direct from growers whenever possible. Other products are selected for high quality from wholesale markets in Dunedin and Invercargill.

Shortly we will be adding an automated email system. You can only be on this list if we have your permission. Please Click Here To Join Our Mailing List

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Red Skies

Photograph © 2011 Cathy Onellion
This is last night's sunset and this morning's sunrise in Otautau, courtesy of the ash spreading from the Chilean volcanic eruption.
Photograph © 2011 Cathy Onellion
Of course if you really want to see great pictures of the eruption, lightning and ash, go to the Boston Globe's Big Picture website and prepare to be astounded.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Cross Country Champs

Believe it or not, on this purely frigid day, the Southland Cross Country Champs was held at Holt Park. All areas of Southland were represented by the best of its young cross country runners (up to age 13). Photograph © 2011 Cathy Onellion.
These kids battled rugged conditions, climbing hills, crossing creeks, breathing the icy air. I arrived late, only to see the 13-year old boys and girls races - a 3.5km course through the backside of Holt Park. I witnessed more than a few giving it their all and collapsing at the finish line. Photograph © 2011 Cathy Onellion.
But the look of pride and accomplishment was more than evident for those whose names were called to the winners' podium. Photograph © 2011 Cathy Onellion.

Photograph © 2011 Cathy Onellion.

Winter Arrives

We've had some cold days but this morning's frost is probably our coldest so far. This picture was taken at noon time, and the frost is still hanging on the grasses. In the distance, the railway bridge spans the Otautau Stream. Photograph © 2011 Cathy Onellion.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Lookin' for Content

I'm not an avid writer so I find myself looking for people to generate content for this blog. If you have your finger on the pulse of the town through local events, issues facing your club or group; or have knowledge to share (e.g. how to grow vegetables in Otautau or fix a bike), or have memories and reflections to share, then consider writing about it. Don't worry about spelling or grammar. I can fix those things. You can even be 'anonymous' if that suits!

You, too, could become a blogger and help the community stay connected. : )

Email the blog.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Otautau School Survey

Otautau School has an online survey for parents. It's called the Community Survey 2011. The survey closes 10 June so there are only a few days left to give your views and suggestions.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

'Growing New Zealand' Photo Contest

PGG Wrightson's national photo contest is on. The theme is 'Growing New Zealand'. The grand prize is $2000 cash and a Nikon camera. The deadline is 30 June. Check out the details on the PGG Wrightson Photo Competition webpage.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

AGMs - A Big Opportunity

There are three annual general meetings this month. AGMs are big opportunities to get involved in your community and make a difference at the level of governance. Governance is the vision of where the group wants to go. And AGMs are where new trustees are welcomed onto those boards and given the voice to enhance and advance the vision.

If you are interested in the Otautau Bowling Club, the Otautau Museum Trust, or Otautau Community Health Trust - go along to their annual general meeting this month. Dates and times are listed on the right under Meetings.

The Otautau Museum is especially looking for trustees so now is the time to express your interest in writing to them - emails will do.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Town Hall - Community Centre - Have Your Say

The future of our Town Hall has been in question ever since the Wallace Community Board and SDC staff held a public meeting in November 2008 to tell the public that the hall didn't meet the seismic standards of the 2004 Building Act.

The Town Hall and Otautau's future itself became a central concern for many residents. The Otautau Community Action Group has formed to tackle these issues. They've met with the Wallace Community Board, the mayor of Southland as well as Venture Southland on the feasibility of a new community centre for the town.

The current thinking of our Group is that we are against the demolition of our Town Hall without there being a suitable replacement. That the $800,000 required to strengthen the old Hall would be better spent on a totally new Community Centre that would be more user-friendly, having catering facilities, be multi-purpose in configuration, i.e. having rooms varying in size to suit all purposes which will be warm and allowing in plenty of sunlight. A large auditorium with staging, dressing rooms and good acoustics would be retained. The new Hall/Community Centre would fully comply with the new earthquake requirements. (Source: OCAG letter to Otautau clubs)

The action group obtained an independent report on this issue and this can be found at the SDC Otautau office. The action group will be sending out a short questionnaire to local groups in order to guage interest in a community centre and whether groups would use it. If you belong to a group, fill out this form, include your comments and send it back asap. The sooner the forms get returned, the sooner this group can take the next step.

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