'No idea' on 175th anniversary numbers

The 175th anniversary of the establishment of the whaling settlement at Moeraki will be celebrated on Boxing Day.

The 175th anniversary committee had "no idea" how many people would arrive for the celebration, committee chairman Rod Philip, of Bushey, said yesterday.

He said it could range from the high hundreds to several thousand people.

Many past Moeraki residents and crib owners were likely to attend to catch up with their relatives and friends, he said.

The programme will begin with a church service at 9am on Boxing Day. An official opening by Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton and local leader David Higgins at 10am will include the dedication of the 175th anniversary plaque.

A fun day will include a sand castle competition and a treasure hunt at 10.30am. A fun run will start at 11.30am.

There will be a multicultural group performance, museum and photo displays, charter boat rides and helicopter rides. There will be food and souvenir stalls and children's entertainment will be provided.

A dance will be held at Coronation Hall, Moeraki, starting at 7pm.

Three earlier anniversaries were celebrated with major projects to benefit the community.

In 1937, Centennial Park on the Moeraki waterfront was developed. The celebrations had been delayed for a year by an outbreak of polio in 1936 that restricted many public gatherings.

In 1961, the Moeraki church, Kotahitanga was shifted from the Moeraki Kaik to the waterfront in Moeraki village and was again shifted to its present site further west in Haven St.

In 1986, the lookout on the hill just east of Moeraki was opened.



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