Cr Lloyd McCall

Cr Lloyd McCall

Deputy Chairperson - Molyneux Constituency

Email Lloyd.McCall@orc.govt.nz

Tel 027 248 9090

Cr Lloyd McCall and his dog

Almost heaven, West Otago, blue ridged mountains, Pomahaka River. Country roads will take you to ORC Deputy Chair Lloyd McCall’s home in Tapanui (if you get lost, just ask at the Four Square and someone will put down their pie and say, “follow me”).

 

Tapanui’s slogan is ‘edge of the forest’. Once a sawmill town, it sits at the base of Tapuae-o-Uenuku (the footprint of the rainbow). Lloyd has planted his very own forest of natives on an acre right next to the house.

“It’s my happy place,” he says.

It’s also the happy place of his dog, Eileen, who loves to bound around the paths chasing bunnies.

Seven winters have passed, and the forest is now home to 16 varieties of kōwhai, as well as Rimu, brown pine, ‘all the beeches’, a Jurassic-age swamp tree, Kahikatea (which grows to 50 metres), mataī, and a kauri which will one day rival Tāne Mahuta.

Lloyd and wife Robbie have been married for 41 so far (they met in Lincoln when Lloyd was at university) and have two children and five grandchildren. Lloyd is a ‘bite off more than you can chew’ person; he’s an instigator, an ideas man. Robbie is now in charge of the community nursery they started six years ago and its 40,000 seedlings.

“Another of my ideas that got out of control. I like to start with zero experience and immediately get in way above my head,” he jokes.

“You struggle for the first year, but by the third year, you’re solid.”

His journey from accountant/farmer to regional councillor began with the purchase of an equity partnership dairy farm.

“Over time, we bought out our two partners. The farm is now run by our son and daughter-in-law, who have a 50% share of the farm. I decided I didn’t want to still be milking at 60”.

The farm borders the Pomahaka River.

“Our farm’s long and narrow. We started pretty much with nothing. She’s no Picasso, put it that way.”

Still, there’s an art to the way Lloyd founded the Pomahaka Water Care Group in 2014 after attending a meeting hosted by the then regional council and NZ Landcare Trust, where he learnt about the degraded state of the Pomahaka River.

“I was shocked. I had no idea. I said, ‘you guys can’t fix this. The only people who can fix this are the people who live here’.”

Later that week, down the pub, six farmers formed the first catchment group.

“We sat and made a plan. Then applied for funding. It’s grown to 190 members of the 350 farmers on the Pomahaka. Currently a $3.7M Jobs for Nature project will see riparian planting on 115 different farms, 100 kilometres of fencing, establishing more than 240,000 riparian plants.

We’re just a group of cockies out there doing it,” says Lloyd, “but the model would work for all communities.”

After the gains made by the catchment group, it was suggested Lloyd stand for local government.

First, Lloyd stood in the 2021 Clutha by-election and served 18 months on the Clutha District Council.

“I learned quite a lot in that time. I’m indebted to the Clutha council for training me.”

Next, he put his hat in the ring for election to ORC in 2022.

Lloyd has spent three years learning te reo Māori.

“My son-in-law is a Māori language teacher, and my two mokopuna in New Plymouth are bilingual. It is important they know and are proud of their heritage. Learning the language was the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my whole life.

“Learning te reo has opened up the doorway to the Māori world view. Everything is connected. Especially when it comes to water.

“We must look after the lifeforce of water – tiakina te mauri o te wai. What we do here affects people in the whole catchment. It’s all about awareness: of your water, your community.”

Page last updated 21 June 2024.