Party not just miner matter

The Naseby and Surrounding Goldfields 150th Jubilee will start tomorrow, meaning a golden start to the new year in the Maniototo.

Naseby was once a thriving town and the business hub of Maniototo, home to 5000 goldminers after the discovery of gold in the area in 1863.

Gold was discovered when miners spread through the Manuherikia and Ida Valleys after the Dunstan rush, which was instigated by Horatio Hartley and Christopher Reilly, who found gold in the Cromwell Gorge in the winter of 1862. Naseby is now a much quieter town with a much smaller population, although remnants of the golden years remain.''

We live among the history here,'' jubilee organiser Marilyn Swinbourn said.

The celebrations begin with a Victorian and miner-themed family fun day at the Naseby Recreation Ground from 1pm, with the official opening at 3pm.

The family fun day is traditionally held on January 1. Mrs Swinbourn said because it was so ''loved by generations'' of locals and holidaymakers, they did not want to change that.

The highlight of the week-long celebrations will be the parade and concert on January 5.

That parade will involve people, floats and machinery - ''everything that's representative of the districts''.

The Going for Gold walk from Naseby to Waipiata would be another highlight, Mrs Swinbourn said.

As of Saturday, 30 people had registered to take the 19km trek from the indoor curling rink and trace the footsteps of the early miners over the gravel roads of the Maniototo Heritage Trail.

Once in Waipiata, there will be live entertainment and stagecoach rides, then transport back to Naseby.

The lead-up to the celebrations included the advent of a new business in Naseby - The Naseby Sewing Room, run by Mrs Swinbourn and Dot Davidson, of Ranfurly.

Since October, the pair have put their sewing skills to work and created a huge number of Victorian costumes for people wanting to dress in theme for the occasion.''

I've completely lost count,'' Mrs Swinbourn said.

-sarah.marquet@odt.co.nz


Golden week

January 1: Victorian/Miners-themed Naseby Family Fun Day from 1pm at the Naseby recreation ground; official opening 3pm.

January 2: Going for Gold walk from Naseby to Waipiata, tracing the footsteps of the early miners. Depart from the indoor curling rink between 8am and 9am.

January 3: Horse trek over high-country trails; four-wheel-drive tours in the Danseys Pass area; visit Oturehua; guided walks from the Naseby Town Hall, 7pm.

January 4: Vintage machinery display, Ranfurly goods shed; Victorian tea party on the Ranfurly village green 1pm-4pm; Naseby Bowling Club's 150th Classic.

January 5: 150th Jubilee parade from 1pm, followed by entertainment at the Naseby Recreation Ground.

January 6: Church service at 11am followed by official closing; ''Cribbies v Locals'' cricket match.