Oamaru aims for stardom

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Oamaru has been chosen as one of New Zealand’s sharpest towns by TV One’s Seven Sharp.

The show’s Matt Chisholm was in town yesterday and on Sunday to give the rest of the country a glimpse into some of the best Oamaru has to offer.

The TV One show called for nominations of “sharp” towns and received about 50 for towns around the country.

That list was narrowed down to five, based on the number of nominations and where the best stories would come from.

“Oamaru was fortunate enough to be selected and here we are, putting Oamaru on the map,” Mr Chisholm said.

New Zealanders can vote for what they think is the sharpest town _ out of Oamaru, Motueka, Ohakune, Okaihau and Te Anau _ after Oamaru features on Friday night.

The Seven Sharp team will return to the town with the most votes to film a live show.

On Sunday, Mr Chisholm visited the Victorian Precinct, getting clips of the market and the Precinct, as well as steampunk and the penguin colony nearby.

“We shot the rivers, the mountains and the ocean, we talked to a surfer, we talked to a real estate agent about inexpensive housing here in Oamaru,” he said.

Yesterday morning, they were at Waitaki Boys’ High School to film some clips from an assembly.

It was a special moment for Mr Chisholm, who is an ex-student of the school.

“It was a really cool day and a special day for me because, from the age of 11 through to 18, I lived in Oamaru and it was a cool place to live,” he said.

“It’s a really special trip to come back and I was a little bit moved, even, talking to [Waitaki Boys’ High School students].

“I am really proud to be an Oamaru boy and a Waitakian, and it’s nice to come back and hopefully help to build the profile of the town.” His visit brought back memories for some Waitaki Boys’ High School teachers too, who remembered the television reporter as “pretty wild and a little bit naughty”.

“I think I’m still a little bit cheeky and that’s what helps me with the job,” he said.

“I think I can say my charm, if that’s what you call it, is the fact that I’m a country kid and I respect people, and a lot of that came from the schooling and education I had.”

But times had changed in Oamaru since his schooling days, he said.

“It seems like there’s a really cool vibe here now. It’s a lot more happening and there’s a nice mix of people, and a good buzz around the place,” he said.

Find out more about voting by watching TV One’s Seven Sharp on Friday night.

“We really want to get Oamaru in behind it and vote their guts out so we can come back,” Mr Chisholm said.

“It would be really awesome for me if Oamaru had the most votes and we were able to come back here, and spend a few more days and do a whole entire show out of here. It would be great.”

By Rebecca Ryan