New ‘magic stick’ performs its tricks

Papatowai Big Dig organiser Wayne Allen helps Ella Day, of Queenstown (11, left), find a prize...
Papatowai Big Dig organiser Wayne Allen helps Ella Day, of Queenstown (11, left), find a prize capsule with the guidance of his ‘‘magic stick’’ while friend Lucy Cruickshank (also 11) looks on at the Catlins event on New Year’s Eve.
Ella shows her delight after the magic stick works yet again. PHOTOS: RICHARD DAVISON
Ella shows her delight after the magic stick works yet again. PHOTOS: RICHARD DAVISON
Visiting children take part in the tug-o-war event at the Papatowai Beach Carnival on New Year’s...
Visiting children take part in the tug-o-war event at the Papatowai Beach Carnival on New Year’s Eve.
Nick Rush (6), of Wellington, is on the receiving end of a bad egg during family games at the...
Nick Rush (6), of Wellington, is on the receiving end of a bad egg during family games at the beach carnival.

It may not be the original "magic stick", but it still works.

About 200 people visited Papatowai on New Year’s Eve for the Catlins township’s annual Beach Carnival and Big Dig.

Presiding over the Big Dig, as he has with friend and fellow crib-owner Peter Hill for the past 30 years, was Wayne Allen, bearing a substitute magic stick this year.

Mr Allen uses the stick to help youngsters find buried prizes during the popular family event.

He explained the original stick had been left "up a mountain", after conditions on a recent tramp became challenging.

"The magic stick doubles as a walking stick and, unfortunately, it came down to a hands-and-feet scramble, and a choice between leaving me up the mountain, or the stick.

"I won."

However, a little magic had evidently rubbed off on the new stick, as it successfully located several unclaimed prizes for hopeful youngsters on New Year’s Eve.

"The magic usually only works for the littlies, strangely. The older ones can’t seem to figure it out," Mr Allen joked.

"And there’s no beer or whisky buried here, so grown-ups need not apply."

Carnival convener Fiona Walker said forecast rain appeared to have kept numbers down.

"As you can see the forecast is wrong again, which is great for everyone here.

"We keep it pretty low key; it’s really a nice, traditional family event for the cribbies and community here. Everyone just tootles along and enjoys the fun and games."

 

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