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From Northland to Southland, 271 dancers have come to town to compete in the New Zealand Highland and National Dancing Championships.
North Otago Piping and Dancing Society committee member Vicki Jamison said it was a prestigious event in the world of highland dancing.
"This is what they are working towards," Mrs Jamison said.
The junior competition, which took place over the past couple of days, attracted 190 competitors.
Yesterday afternoon, the official national championships started for senior competitors.
Most of the competition is being held at the Oamaru Opera House, but to accommodate the large number of junior entries, St Paul’s Presbyterian Church is also being used.
"It’s quite a lot of people coming to town for four days," Mrs Jamison said.
Competitors and their families would be booking accommodation, eating out, and shopping in Oamaru, which was great for the town, she said.
Last year the competition was postponed because of Covid-19, so it was a great relief when it went ahead this year, she said.
The 18-person committee had been planning the event for two and a-half years.
"It was a mammoth task," she said.
"We have a good community behind us."
The national competition was a great chance for people who did not know a lot about highland dancing to come along and watch.
"The senior dancers are fantastic to watch. The quality of dance is extremely high," she said.
The competition finishes tomorrow afternoon, when the top 10 dancers will be announced.