Town swells for annual fun day

In the normally quiet Maniototo township of Naseby about 1000 people gathered yesterday for the fifth annual Naseby Family Fun Day - about 10 times the town's usual population.

Fun day organiser Bill Morice, of Naseby, said many were frm the Maniototo but there were also holidaymakers and ''people from the surrounding areas'', many dressed in Victorian-era costume.

The annual event also marked the beginning of a week-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the discovery of gold in the area.

Children and adults alike took part in ''traditional old-time games'' such as egg-and-spoon races, wheelbarrow races and a tug-of-war before the celebrations were officially opened by Stewart Francis.

Mr Morice said he was amazed at the turnout, ''especially because of the weather - it was blowing 100 miles an hour before [earlier yesterday afternoon].

''Please just give us some decent weather tomorrow'', he said.

The second event of the gold celebrations, a 19km walk from Naseby to Waipiata, begins today between 8am and 9am and is followed by another fun day in Waipiata.