Friday, 16 November 2012

The Old Cemetery

Our old cemetery has improved steadily over the last few years. The grass is tidier, gravel covers openings where concrete had broken due to subsidence. The vast crop of gorse and broom in the gully has been dealt to. Many dedicated people have made this happen. Some descendants have put in plaques where none existed before. But there is a noticeable decline amongst some graves.

This is Joseph Swap's grave photographed in 2007. Joseph came from Aberdeen, Scotland and  became a prominent resident in the town from about 1879 to his death in 1908. He built many of the buildings we still have today including the Catholic Church. In this photo, his grave had been sprayed for weeds, but the obelisk is on a lean due to subsidence - the ground underneath the monument has given way. The wrought iron has been mangled due to the harvest of trees (I think in the 1960s).

This is his plot today.

Traditionally, descendants are expected to care for family graves. But many descendants often don't know the state of their ancestors' graves because they are not kept informed and do not live close by. Also some of the people buried here and in the new cemetery do not have descendants. Harry and Priscilla Holt for whom Holt Park was named had no children.
The Otautau Lions have been very active in helping to restore the old cemetery. And there are locals who would like to be a part of the restoration as well: restoring the headstones and wrought iron fencing, filling the holes in the ground left by the harvest of the trees. Maybe there is a way to reach these descendants and keep them up to date. Maybe they would be more than willing to contribute to the cost of this restoration.
I hope that when I take photos in another five years, Joseph Swap's obelisk will be among the many that have been restored and that the whole cemetery becomes a place to learn about the early residents of Otautau and surrounding districts.

Monday, 12 November 2012

A Mere 10km

 Cathy Beck photographing Sharon Peterson who is about to finish running 10km. She's in training for a half-marathon.
 Sharon arrives victorious and wondered why all the photographers.

The lovely Beck Family (l to r): Roger Beck, Sharon Peterson, Ian & Cathy Beck, and Tove Peterson.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

November Calendar


  • Until 19 Dec: A Body of Work: cloth sculpture figurines, by Hayley Lawn. Delightful characters made from fabric and found materials. Otautau Museum, 146 Main Street, Otautau. Open Wed & Sun, 2pm-4pm and by request. Wheelchair accessible. Blog.
  • Until 2013: Otautau Main Street Businesses. Otautau Museum, 146 Main Street, Otautau. Open Weds & Sun, 2pm to 4pm and by request. Wheelchair accessible. For more information, see blog and website.
  • Until 18 Nov: Far North, Deep South: Northland and Southland Connect exhibition. Works from selected Northland artists on show in the deep South. Wed-Sun, 12pm-4pm, Riverton Community Arts Centre 129 Palmerston Street, Riverton. (03) 234-9932 or email.


  • 24 Nov: "Antagonist Freak Show" - NOTICE - this show has been re-scheduled for January 2013.
  • 14 Dec: Otautau Street Party. Crafts, stalls, entertainment and food. A great time for the community to gather and have fun. All welcome. 5pm-8pm, Main Street, Otautau. To book a stall contact Otautau Promotions, 027-488-3945 or 027-225-8213.


  • 15 Nov: Wallace Community Board meeting. Public welcome. If you wish to make a presentation to the Board, please advise Kelly Tagg no later than 48 hours before the meeting, 0800-732-732 ext 3652. Meets at SDC office, 176 Main Street, Otautau, side entrance, 6pm.
  • 20 Nov: Otautau Golf Club AGM. All golfers and intending golfers welcome. Clubhouse, 8pm.


  • 1-10 Jan: "Antagonist Freak Show" art exhibition by local artist Quint Baker, starring Southland models: Ashley Kluyts, Nina Poelman and Chelsea Clark. Styles include post postmodern, new media art, mock art and swampy fashion. At the Courthouse, 146 Main Street. Open 8am to 6pm every day.
  • 10 & 11 Jan: SDC Holiday Programme in Otautau. Registration forms at SDC offices and $6/child per day
  • 9 Feb: Otautau Three Churches Flower and Quilt Walk. Any artists or craftspeople wishing to have a display or sales table, please contact Faimie 03 225-8530 or email
  • 24 Feb: All Ford Day. Holt Park, Otautau.
  • 16 Mar: Otautau Golf Club 90th Anniversary. Celebrations include golf and BBQ.

Town Icon

Otautau Promotions is seeking ideas for a town icon - something distinctive and a good photo opportunity. All entries go in the draw to win a $50 meal voucher from the Otautau Hotel. The suggestion box is in the Council office.

(Photo: NZPost, Town Icons 1998)

Election 2017

Election season has swung into gear with the next General Election on Saturday, September 23rd - 7 1/2 weeks away. Not much has changed with...