Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Wajax Fire Brigade Competition

Otautau White Team at the start line.

Last weekend, the Wajax Fire Brigade Competition was held at Holt Park. Loads of teams competed including Middlemarch and Hedgehope, and for some, it was their first time.
At the water pump.
 Skill and speed can be the difference between life and death, so these members were putting everything on the line. It was great to see our Otautau teams and how good they are at what they do. We rely on their skills every day.
The first Otautau team, including Brendon Roff on right.
Otautau Women's Team at the start line.
The women's team did great, coming third in their competition. It was their first time competing.

For more photos, see the Otautau Facebook page - the link is in the sidebar.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Note to Subscribers

For those of you who get this blog via email - sometimes what you're getting is a rough draft. I often edit and update for the next day or so after that, so check the blog if you want to read the whole story as it won't be updated in your email. Thanks!

Unpaid Work Stats (Updated)

A statistic I have long wondered about is how many people volunteer for organisations in Otautau. StatisticsNZ had the answer. In the 2006 census, 111 Otautau people said they voluntarily work for a group, organisation or marae. The population was 753 in 2006, so that means that 14.74% of the population kept the emergency services, sports, culture, youth, heritage and many other facets of our community together. That's amazing. Such a small group of volunteers but the incredible work they do to make Otautau a better place. This is a little less than the national statistic which is 15.4%

Of course most of our unpaid time is spent working at home - cooking, cleaning, repairs, gardening. Second to that is time spent taking care of children who either live at home or don't, and then comes volunteer work with groups.

This next graph shows the national statistics of people who do other voluntary work such as for an organisation, group or marae, broken down by age and sex from the 2006 census. 

Reading Linda Graff's article on the baby boomer generation and volunteering got me wondering how her ideas might play out in Otautau. In 2006, the first year of baby boomers (BB), those born in 1946, were aged 60. This seems to correspond with the 60-64 age group being the biggest group of volunteers nationally, just edging out the 40-44 year-olds. 

Since the 2006 census, the first baby boomers have hit retirement age starting in 2011. According to the graph, age 65+ is a time when volunteering drops off. It will be interesting to see in the next census whether volunteer drop-off is occurring sooner as the BB generation looks for more personally fulfilling ways to spend their time than the usual maintenance roles (governance, fundraising etc) that are at the core of most volunteer organisations. Will we see a decline in both the 60-64 and 65+ age groups? Still, the sheer number of people in those age brackets might make up for any shortfall, and it might not be noticeable at the grassroots level. 

On the other hand, it may be that baby boomers will select volunteer jobs that meet a variety of needs such as being fun, making a difference, and enhancing their quality of life. This is a lot different from the 65+ generation of the past who tended to volunteer out of civic duty rather than personal gain. Unfortunately the 2013 census is not tracking the types of organisations or groups that people volunteer for, the jobs they take on or their motivations for volunteering. Now those would be interesting and useful statistics! I suspect there will be changes over time that result in the types of groups that survive and sustain themselves and those that don't. This could be the legacy of the BBs in the volunteer sector. Some organisations may crash and burn because they can't attract or retain BB members. We'll wait and see.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Census and Election Stats

The 2013 census is days away, and it will be interesting to see if there have been any significant changes since the 2006 census. That census showed a 3.3% population increase in Otautau from the 2001 census. Our 'usual resident' population in 2006 was 753. In 2001, it was 729. Yet in 1996, it was 813. Still, we make up less than 1% of the Southland population. Hard to believe! We had more males than females because we have more males under age 15 than females. We actually have more adult females than males. Our European population was 80.6% and the Māori population was 10.9%.

A surprising stat was that 44% of Otautau residents age 15 and over didn't have school qualifications. It would be interesting to know if there is a specific age group that makes up the bulk of this stat.

In the workforce, we have more labourers than any other profession. Unfortunately, the QuickStats don't show our unemployment rate but digging a little deeper into the stats website, I collated the following information.
Otautau employment census statistics for 1996, 2001, and 2006
It shows unemployment has gone down slightly during the previous three censuses. That's good news. Of course that was 7 years ago! We've had a few meltdowns since then.

It will be months before the results of Tuesday's census are in, and with the help of StatsNZ, we will be able to compare Otautau's profile over the last 17 years. But in the meantime, it does bring to mind another set of statistics that are interesting to look at - the 2011 election. I know - it's old news by now, but still interesting because it shows that Otautau is changing slowly. New people are coming in and increasing our electoral diversity - even if it's ever so slight.

Otautau voter numbers were down in 2011 - only 479 compared to 523 in the 2008 election. In fact, party votes for National, Labour and ACT were down while NZ First, the Greens and the Conservative Party showed significant gains.

Otautau election results from 2008 and 2011
Politically, Otautau is much the same as it's always been, but it will be interesting to watch how it adapts in these times of rapid technological change, dairy expansions, low export prices, and global economic belt-tightening. Will our political demographics change too or stay the same?

March Calendar


  • 5 Mar - Census Day You can fill in the hard copy or use the online form here 
  • 16-17 Mar - Otautau Golf Club's 90th Jubilee.
  • 23 Mar - Wajax Fire Brigade Competition 2013 at Holt Park. This will be a great family day out as 180 male and female competitors from across Otago and Southland race in teams of four to carry hoses and set up equipment. Starts at 8am. Food available all day.
  • 19 May - Plunket Garage Sale. Register your garage with Plunket so that it can be put on the map.


  • 7 Mar, 6pm - Wallace Community Board meeting at the SDC office. To make a presentation, contact Kelly Tagg at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.
  • 11 Mar, 7:30pm - Otautau Combined Sports Complex AGM at the Complex.


Election 2017

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