Central Otago no longer the place it used to be

 An ODT reader spotted this heavily camouflaged hatchback, with dazzle paint and fitted tarpaulin...
An ODT reader spotted this heavily camouflaged hatchback, with dazzle paint and fitted tarpaulin covers, at the Gardens Corner in Dunedin on Saturday. The occupant, in the left-hand front seat, drove off at speed, accompanied by the sound of electric whirring. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Are we "stuffing it up completely''?

I'm talking about Central Otago. And, while we're at it, the Mackenzie Basin and what dairying and irrigation on a grand scale have done to it.

I'm a bit surprised at how few of you have responded to my call for your vision of Central in 2050.

Does that mean most people are happy with the way it is going? Could it be that everyone is still trying to secure their slice of paradise and, for that reason, do not want to see constraints put on growth? Or is it just me out of step in wanting the place not to change too much?

Ric Johnson of Dunedin is one of those who thinks the development has gone too far.

He wrote to say: ``Central 2050? I'm very glad I won't be here to see it.

``Even now it's becoming an alien place, especially Queenstown. It is difficult to see parts of it now while dodging traffic. Any viewing point is swamped with cars, buses and tourists.

``About 45 years ago, while living in Wanaka, a friend picked up a young American tourist and asked him how he could afford to travel New Zealand. The young man said he couldn't.

```But my father came here last year,' the young tourist said, `and on arriving home he said - ``here's the ticket, son, go and see New Zealand before they stuff it up completely'.''

``What foresight that man had!

``At the age of 75 I will possibly not see the place again. But at least I travelled it many times before the developers/destroyers moved in and stuck a ghetto in every gully of peace and tranquillity.

``So I have great memories and pictures in my mind of what it once was. Maybe someone else can extract some positives for the future. I'd like to be enlightened.''

Such powerful words, Ric. Thanks for taking the time to write. How do the rest of you feel about his comments?

When your children were young

I was dead-heading the hydrangeas at the weekend and suddenly recalled a time maybe 15 or so years ago when my eldest son Joe was about 5 and helping clear a pile of such clippings from the lawn.

Going hell for leather he would come up the path on his little yellow trike with a trailer, take it off, put three or four dried-up hydrangea dead-heads in it, attach the trailer again and hare off down the path to the recycling bin.

It took him a very long time, but he eventually cleared that pile. It was so cute, and there I was standing in the garden on Sunday remembering it, with the secateurs in my hand and a silly grin on my face.

Do you have any recollections of your children ``helping'' around the house in some way? Please send them in.

The 1957 photo of the cow with triplets reminded Gavin Dann of this picture in his late mother's...
The 1957 photo of the cow with triplets reminded Gavin Dann of this picture in his late mother's photo box. This line-up of her five brothers was taken about 1911, on their farm at Woodend, north of Christchurch. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The family cow

Nice photo that Gavin Dann has shared with us today.

``I'm not sure that this cow would ever have had triplets,'' he says. ``Much more likely to have been used as the milk supply and as a school bus.

``Looking up my family records, I find the eldest boy was born in 1901 and the youngest in 1906, so the photo is likely to have been taken about 1911 or 1912. The eldest, sitting on what appears to be a crumpled kerosene tin or similar and milking into a bucket, would be my uncle Charlie Whitlow. Sitting on the cow would be uncles Ted, Geoff, David, and Ken.

``These five boys were followed by four girls - the eldest my mother Joy, then sisters Annie, Nellie, and Betty; all nine children born within 16 years and surviving to a good old age.

``They lived in the township of Woodend, north of Christchurch, on what must have been a large section. In those days it was not uncommon to have a house cow and a few hens in the backyard.''


Anyone remember the July 1957 storm?

How about the more recent Otago blizzards of June 1976 or June 1978?

The June 1976 southerly snow was a rare event - it affected the entire country and snow was recorded in Auckland.

Let me know if you have memories of these big snow dumps.

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