Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

19 July 2010

Altavady: North Otago

Travelling east on state highway 83 between Duntroon and Oamaru, along the south bank of life-giving Waitaki River (the boundary between North Otago and South Canterbury) we’re suddenly confronted by this piece of topiary on a grand scale.

The sheep farm was named ‘Altavady’ by Samuel Wilson, the second owner of the property; I have not been able to find out its meaning – although ‘alta’ suggests ‘high’.

‘A-L-T-A-V-A-D-Y’ was first laid out in giant pine letters by Ted Aubrey in 1931 when the plantation that surrounds it was first planted.

Farther north, across the river near Waimate, a similar example of man’s desire to build monuments exists as a white horse bas-relief set in a hillside. Unlike similar horses in England that are carved into chalk, the Waimate horse is whitened by concrete slabs. They’ll probably last a lot longer than Altavady but Ted Aubrey’s made his mark.

© DON DONOVAN
donovan@ihug.co.nz
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RANDOM SAMPLINGS F...
By Don Donovan