The June Issue

A lifetime of 'giving back' honoured

JA champion of young women entering the sport of gliding, who, herself, has broken records in what is a male-dominated sport, has been recognised for her work in this year’s Queens Birthday honours. Yvonne Loader is recipient of the Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the sport of gliding. Mrs Loader, who lives in Christchurch and has been coming to Omarama “every year since 1977”, was New Zealand Association of Women in Aviation president from 1986 to 1988, and has introduced many young women to aviation, particularly gliding. She holds national gliding records for altitude, distance, and speed, and set a world record in 1988 for greatest height gain by a glider that still stands today. “I was incredibly surprised and excited, [to be awarded the honour] I couldn’t believe it." She had always been of the belief that if you get something out of a sport, especially if it is a volunteer organisation, then you ought to also make a contribution. “It’s been my 'putting back' into a sport, a sport that’s given me such wonderful times. “I’m very proud to have been an inspiration to women who have gone on to do pretty amazing things.” Mrs Loader is heavily involved with the New Zealand gliding community and has instructed for the Omarama and Canterbury Gliding Clubs. She was secretary of the Canterbury Club from 2000 to 2014, of the Omarama Club from 2008 to 2014, and was made a life member of Youth Glide New Zealand in 2014. ... >>> continue reading... <<<

Omarama Gazette Latest Issue
Omarama Gazette Sponsor

This issue ...


Johnson Gluyas Tractors Ltd managing director Chris Johnson (left, of Timaru) met up with a group of Otematata Wetlands Walkway volunteers (from left) Stephen Loach, Graham Sullivan, Greg Sanders, Carson Welsh, Steve Dalley and Peter Kirk to observe the Kubota L3800 tractor in action.

For the volunteers who maintain Otematata’s Wetlands Walkway the willingness of a Timaru-based farm machinery company to go the extra mile could not have been more well-timed or more welcome.
Ageing equipment plus issues using stock to manage undergrowth in the Wetlands had left the group urgently seeking a new, cost-effective solution, long-serving Walkway volunteer Peter Kirk says. The former Greenfields company Quailburn farm manager had been scouting around for a solution when he met Johnson Gluyas Tractors Ltd managing director Chris Johnson at the Mackenzie Highland Show in Fairlie, last year. Chris not only listened he was keen to help. Foremost on the group’s wish list was something to keep the grass down and something to do the heavy lifting. Johnson Gluyas could supply a 38Hp Kubota L3800 tractor fitted with a LA524 loader and a Fieldmaster pasture topper which was ideal. But Chris went one step further. A significant maintenance task in the Wetlands is the clearing of woodland slash and debris. He suggested Johnson Gluyas design a fit-for-purpose grab specifically for the small tractor, so it could tackle that job also. Urgent fundraising began. The warm winter coupled with a wet spring resulted in exceptional growth in the Wetlands. It threatened to be an extreme fire-hazard if it could not be brought under control immediately before the summer dry hit, Peter says. Chris came to the rescue yet again. Rather than waiting until the group had the money Johnson Gluyas handed over the equipment at the end of spring and were willing to sponsor the use of the machinery until the group could raise the necessary funds to pay for it – which they have now done. It also paid for the insurance, registration and “threw in” free maintenance for the first 50 hours, plus paid the cost of the necessary modifications needed for the grab. Peter says at one point he quizzed Chris about his obvious interest in the project and readiness to help. He was pleased to help “people that care”, was Chris’s reply. Another volunteer Carson Welsh operates the new toy and Peter estimates he has already covered more than 15ha “just mowing”. “It’s improved the place by 100%,” Peter says. Although, the group did have an old tractor it was no longer “up to the job” And protecting new plants from browsing stock was costly. In the past the length of netting needed to create 80 plant protectors cost $150, nowadays the same length costs $350, he says. Plus, many like to walk with their dogs along the trails and the dogs-stock combination doesn’t always work, he says. Otematata Residents’ Association chairman Steve Dalley says the community rallied behind the project. They sold Devonshire teas and raffles, Maree White donated proceeds from her art exhibition and, in a nostalgic tribute to times past, an ‘It’s in the Bag’ event was staged at the Otematata Club. The group was especially thankful for those donations and also grateful for the “very generous funding” from Otago Community Trust, the Lottery Grants Board, the Southern Trust and the Ahuriri Community Board, Steve says Background: The Otematata Wetlands Walkway, which features more than 5km of tracks through established and new plantings of exotic and native trees, is the product of many thousands of hours work and fundraising by hundreds of volunteers over more than 10 years. In that time, what was a virtual no-man’s land left behind after the construction of the Benmore Dam - the site of gravel pits and an airstrip, swampy at times and overgrown with bramble, bracken, gorse and broom - has been transformed into an extensive wilderness walkway featuring the wetlands created by natural run-off from the surrounding hills. It now supports a multitude of wildlife. The Walkway is under the guardianship of the Otematata Residents’ Association and is fast becoming a regional tourist attraction.
The Otematata Wetlands Walkway is situated between the shores of Lake Aviemore and Loch Laird Rd. There are many sign-posted entrances to the walk, from the various camping grounds between the Otematata Boat Harbour and Benmore Dam. The A2O cycle trail runs adjacent to the walkway.
It is ordinarily closed to vehicles, but access can be arranged as required.