Local story comes to an end


An Arrowtown old-timer who died before Christmas has been described as one of life’s true gentlemen.

Alan Lindsay Reid died at his Arrowtown home on December 19, aged 93.

Lakes District Museum chief David Clarke says Reid, who would have turned 94 on Christmas Eve, was one of the last true born-and-bred locals and a great story teller.

Clarke, who records anecdotes for the museum, says his one regret is not getting Reid on tape.

As one of the last old boys to have links to the original Arrowtown settlers, he reckons his personal stories would have been great.

“He was sharp as a tack to the end.”

Daughter Helen Reid remembers her dad as hard-working and honest - traits he developed growing up on a farm.

Alan’s father owned Branches Station as well as Willowbrook Farm on Malaghans Road and Glenpanel Farm near Queenstown. A farming career wasn’t on his agenda and Helen says her dad hoped to be an engineer.

That dream was dashed when his father died suddenly, leaving Alan to manage the farm.

Helen says her father was a typical example of old-fashioned Kiwi ingenuity. “If he didn’t have it he made it.”

As a kid he fashioned snow chains for his bike and Helen recalls he was always making things, particularly with metal, like a cattle crush for the farm.

His farming days started before the introduction of machinery, she says.

“He worked with a horse and plough. A tractor wasn’t brought on to the farm until the early 1940s. Dad told stories of walking stock to Cromwell, travelling on horseback.”

Reid was a keen gardener, boasting some of the best tomatoes in the district, an active member of the Arrowtown community, involved in building the local pool - and partial to a whiskey.

But, family always came first.

“He had a wicked sense of humour.

“I do know I was lucky to have him for as long as I did,” Helen says.