District recognises champions of past 125 years

Sporting legends Stewart McKnight, now of Ranfurly, and Murray McSkimming, now of Waimate, unveil...
Sporting legends Stewart McKnight, now of Ranfurly, and Murray McSkimming, now of Waimate, unveil a sporting honours board at the Oturehua Hall yesterday. Photo: Jono Edwards.
The rich sporting history of Oturehua and surrounding districts was recognised yesterday.

About 270 people packed into the town’s hall to watch the unveiling of a sporting honours board, celebrating top-level athletes from Oturehua, Blackstone Hill and Ida Valley throughout the past 125 years.

The mahogany board bears the names of 35 athletes, 18 of whom are still alive.A photographic replica will be mounted outside.

New Zealand cricketing legend Glenn Turner was the guest speaker and was accompanied by his wife, Dame Sukhi.

The gathering was hosted by former first-class Otago cricketer, Taieri College principal David Hunter.

Murray McSkimming’s (85) name was put on the board for his shearing efforts.

McSkimming won the New Zealand Merino Shearing Title in 1962 and 1966.

It was a "great honour" to be recognised among the other names, he said.

"It’s hard to believe such a small district produced so many champions."

Stewart McKnight (81) was on the board for cricket and curling.

"The locals have done a great job. A lot of the people who did this haven’t been in the district very long, so I think it’s great they have an interest in this," he said.

Oturehua Working Group committee member John Hellier said he had the idea more than two years ago and it was embraced by other locals.

The turnout yesterday was "overwhelming", he said.

To qualify for the board a person needed to have been born, educated and played for a sporting club in the area, and to have either a New Zealand title or have played in a New Zealand team.

jono.edwards@odt.co.nz

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