The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]
North Otago Agricultural And Pastoral Association (Incorporated under the Unclassified Societies' Act, 1878). Officers for 1904–5: Messrs James Reid (president), Allan Hedley (honorary treasurer), and A. A. McKinnon (secretary). The society was originated in 1863, and the late Mr. Alexander McMaster was its first president. The showgrounds, which were granted by the Provincial Government of Otago, are six acres in extent, and front Arun, Wharfe and Hull Streets. The property is completely fenced with six feet galvanised iron, and a sum of £1700 has been expended in improvements, which include a grandstand to accommodate six hundred persons, buildings for the exhibition of produce, grain, etc., and a secretary's office—all of which are erected in stone, and were built in 1885. There was a debt of £1200 upon the society's property, but it now (1904) stands at £500. The spring show, which is held on the third Thursday and Friday in November, is largely attended. A ram fair is held in the month of March, and a horse parade in September. The value of the prizes distributed at the various shows amounts to about £350 a year. The society has a membership of about 240.
Mr. James Reid , President of the North Otago Agricultural and Pastoral Society, was born at Largs, Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1841. He was educated in his native place, and brought up to the business of a black-smith by his father, who was in that line of business, and was also a brother of Mr. Reid of the firm of Reid and Gray. Mr. Reid came to Port Chalmers in 1887 by the ship “Vicksburg.” and entered the employment of the firm of Reid and Gray, for whom he was manager in Oamaru for over twenty years. In 1898 he left the firm, and began business on his own account in premises between Tyne and Tees Streets. Mr. Reid has a large shop with two forges, and does a considerable trade. His private residence is in Humber Street. He has been connected with the North Otago Agricultural Society since the seventies, and served for many years on the committee before being elected to the office of president. He has also been a member of the Caledonian Society. As a Scottish volunteer, he served in the No. 4 Ayrshire Rifles for about ten years, and at the time of the Grand Review in 1860 was present as a bandsman. As a member of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows, he has passed the chairs. Mr. Reid was married, on the 14th of September, 1871, to a daughter of the late Mr. James Woonton, of Oamaru, and has two sons and six daughters.
Mr. and Mrs J. Reid.
Mr. William Gardiner , Junior, of Papakaio, was for some time President of the North Otago Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and was President of the Oamaru Caledonian Society in 1897. He was born at Papakaio in 1868, is the only son of Mr. William Gardiner, of Island Cliff, Ngapara, and was from boyhood brought up to farming. Mr. Gardiner resides at the Grange, Papakaio, which originally consisted of 240 acres, purchased from the late Mr. Robert Stewart, but has been increased by the addition of 550 acres of first class land adjoining. As a breeder and exhibitor of draught stock, Mr. Gardiner has been very successful, and has won many prizes with his famous stallions, “Cedric the Saxon,” “Agitator” and “Sandy Erskine,” and also with the progeny of these noted sires. Mr. Gardiner has long taken an interest in agricultural and pastoral matters, and has been connected with the Agricultural and Pastoral Association for over ten years. He was married, in July, 1894, to the youngest daughter of the late Mr. John Nimmo, of West Taieri.
Mr. W. Gardiner, Junr.
Oamaru Caledonian Society . Officers for 1903: Messrs St. John McLean Buckley (president), J. Macdonald, junior, and A. Potter (vice-presidents), A. A. McKinnon (treasurer), and R. L. Rule (secretary). This popular and successful institution dates back to 1868, and has all along been one of the “real live” organisations of Oamaru. Annual gatherings have been regularly held at New Year, usually on two consecutive days, and large sums have been distributed in prizes. All kinds of sports, games, pastimes, and feats of agility are encouraged, and the carnival finishes with a magnificent pyrotechnic display, the fireworks page 523 for which are specially imported from the factory of Messrs Pain and Son, London. The attendance at the gatherings, which are held at the Agricultural and Pastoral Association show-grounds, often amounts to 4000 persons. The membership of the society includes leading settlers, citizens, and the society itself is in the unique position of having some hundreds of pounds to its credit, mostly on fixed deposit, and with no liabilities. The receipts at the New Year's gathering average from £400 to £500.
Mr. Robert Lawrence Rule , Secretary of the Oamaru Caledonian Society, was born in Cumberland, England. At the age of twelve he arrived in Port Chalmers with his parents, by the ship “Daniel Rankin,” and having completed his school course, was apprenticed as a printer on the “Oamaru Times,” of which he was afterwards for a time the principal proprietor as the largest shareholder in the firm of W. J. Steward and Co. He is a good marksman, and scored second for the Federal Belt at the New Zealand Rifle Association's meeting of 1896. Mr. Rule has long worked earnestly in the interests of the Caledonian Society. He has been its secretary since 1879, and, latterly, he has also been its handicapper.
The Waitaki and Waimate Acclimatization Society was established in 1877, and has done good work in connection with the introduction of fish and birds into New Zealand. It has gardens adjoining the Oamaru Public Gardens; they cover between ten and twelve acres, and are under the charge of Mr. J. Thompson as curator. The income of the society is derived largely from fish licenses, and there is a membership of nearly one hundred. The fishing in the district is said to be the finest in the Colony; baskets of from sixty pounds to seventy pounds weight, one rod for one day, being common, and fish from one pound to twenty-two pounds. Every year the society sends home to the Fisheries Exhibition, Royal Aquarium, Westminster, boxes of fish from its different rivers, so that experts and others may see for themselves. The fish are sent home in solid ice, and the society re-stocks its rivers every year from its splendid hatcheries. Deer and other game abound in the district.
North Otago Horticultural Society . This society was established in 1895, and holds two shows annually; the summer in December, and the autumn in March, of each year. A considerable sum of money is distributed in prizes on each occasion, and the shows attract visitors from all parts of the district.