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Rising to the occasion . . . Heritage New Zealand property manager Anne Sutherland in front of Clarks Mill. PHOTO: SHANNON GILLIES

Oamaru’s historic Clarks Mill is again set to become a focus as Heritage New Zealand and the Department of Conservation combine to mark 150 years of the mill’s existence.

On Thursday, special guests and members of the public will descend on the mill, the last remaining flour mill in New Zealand with its early machinery still intact, to plant 150 native trees, including kowhai, in the surrounding area.

The planting will be part of Doc’s conservation week.

Clarks Mill property manager Anne Sutherland said the mill’s birthday would be split into two events: the September plantings and an event in February to mark when the business started selling flour under the brand name Snow Wreath

She said the mill was an important part of Otago’s history, especially given that North Otago, once a big wheat growing area, was home to 13 mills at one stage, and now Clarks Mill was the last remaining flour mill the public could access.

“We just feel it needs to be looked after and the stories need to be shared.

“We want to protect history and share it with everybody in the area and international visitors.”

The Heritage New Zealand property was built in 1866, and by February 1867, it was producing and selling flour.

Totara Estate commissioned the mill, just north of Maheno, to be built, she said.

The last bag of Snow Wreath flour was produced on December 23, 1976.