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Welcome ... Totara Estate head of kitchen Annie Baxter (left) and property lead Keren Mackay are excited for the estate's upcoming programme. PHOTO: RUBY HEYWARD

Totara Estate and Clarks Mill are welcoming visitors once again.

Last month, Totara Estate opened its doors to the public for the season and Clarks Mill followed suit at the weekend.

Following an ‘‘excellent’’ summer season last year, property lead Keren Mackay had noticed a ‘‘slowdown’’ this year.

‘‘People are very hesitant — there’s so much uncertainty out there,’’ Mrs Mackay said.

The estate certainly had its advantages under Level 2 restrictions.

‘‘We have plenty of wide open spaces — we can easily accommodate visitors.’’

After many years of opening seven days a week, the estate had reduced its open days. It would now close on Tuesdays and Wednesdays — but still had plenty to offer from Thursday to Monday.

Though this year’s Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations were cancelled, Clarks Mill and the estate would continue with their Heritage Week programme. Continuing with the ‘‘highland fling’’ theme, the estate would hold tours and tea ‘‘with Scottish flavour’’ from November 18 to 20. At Clarks Mill, stories of the Scottish families who ran it would be told during guided tours on November 18 and 21.

‘‘We are just emphasising that part of our story because the Totara Estate was owned by the New Zealand and Australian Land Company for four decades.’’

The company, run from its head office in Glasgow, also owned Clarks Mill, she said.

‘‘It was under them that all these innovations occurred, so the Scottish have been very
famous for their innovative engineering abilities and that filters down to here.’’

On November 14, Anne Te Maiharoa-Dodds would be kicking off the estate’s season of learned lectures by sharing her stories and connection to the Waitaha Taoka/Stewart Willetts Family Collection held in the Waitaki Museum and Archive.

Also something to look forward to was the estate’s Victorian Christmas afternoon tea and its 140th anniversary in February.