Fine fare at village fete in St Bathans

St Bathans village lies at the end of the Manuherikia Valley and is renowned for its heritage, which includes gold-mining relics, historic buildings and the Blue Lake.

Gold mining was a significant industry in the 1860s, at its peak St Bathans was a booming town with two banks and a police station, 15 pubs, a cottage hospital, courthouse, two churches and two schools. Miners sluiced away a 120m hill, leaving a 69m-deep hole which is today known as the Blue Lake. 

Today St Bathans has a handful of permanent residents, holiday cribs and one pub. The surrounding area, including Cambrian and St Bathans Downs, is characterised by high country pastoral farming - particularly of merino sheep, cattle and deer. Every year in summer the village hosts the St Bathans Village Fete featuring a good variety of art, crafts and food stalls.

Now its its ninth year, the fete is organised by Cambrian St Bathans Rural Women and is the only annual event based in the village. It was such a hot day at the 2011 event that many of the family groups at the fete headed down to the lake afterwards for a swim.

Organisers have their fingers crossed for another scorching summer's day.