The March Issue
Omarama tourism complex Ladybird Hill for sale
Ladybird Hill, which features a vineyard, salmon fishing, restaurant and
bar, two houses and a heliport on 26ha with water rights, was put on
the market last month for $3.9 million.
It has been owned by Rodger and Donna Smaill since 2010.
Tourism Properties Ltd which is marketing the property states the
3.5ha vineyard, established in 1988 is "New Zealand’s highest" vineyard, at 440m above sea level, and "consists of approximately 5265
grape vines, producing around 2700 bottles of Pinot Noir, 1890 bottles
of Pinot Gris and 395 bottles of Pinot Blanc".
It also says there is potential for a camper van park, motel or hotel
resort complex to be built on the additional land title of 7,008m2 at the
front of the property, subject to Waitaki District Council final planning
approval of the concept plans.
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David and Karen Ellis
David and Karen Ellis want to personally thank each and every one – not only those
who tackled the blaze at Tara Hills last month, but also all those who supported the
fire fighters on site.
As well as both FENZ Omarama brigades, rural fire crews from throughout the district
- Kurow, Otematata, Twizel and Waitaki – were called to fight the fire which began in
Excavators and two helicopters with monsoon buckets were also brought in to help.
As well, community volunteers supplied crews with food and drink throughout.
“It’s hard for us to express our thanks to each of those people personally. Many are
not known to us," Dave says.
The couple singled out Omarama chief fire officer Terry Walsh and Mike Harrison,
deputy principal rural fire officer for Waitaki, for special praise for their leadership
throughout the event.
Dave says he was especially appreciative the fire fighters were willing and able to
just drop what they were doing at work and “go and do this”.
The Ellis family has made a donation to FENZ Omarama and asked chief fire officer
Terry Walsh to distribute it as he sees fit.
Dave urges any farmer who can help to seriously consider becoming a fire brigade
The fire which involved about 1,000 hay bales and spread to a nearby silage pit was
likely caused by spontaneous combustion, he says.
The total loss to the farm was about $140,000.
He was confident every precaution was taken by the “experienced baler” to ensure
the winter feed which was all grown on the property was completely dry.
“It’s just one of things that happens in farming. Everyday can be a challenge.
“Awe don’t make it to burn it.”
Farm manager James Hurst, who is a highly-regarded employee, had been the butt
of a few good-natured jokes and been given a “bit of a hard time” since, he says,
Quite coincidentally, the farm manager's
position at Tara Hills station has just been
advertised because James would be
moving to The Glens - another unit within
the Ellis-lea group - to gain dairy
experience, he says.