Festive fun to the fore at Waitangi Day event


Lake Hāwea was split down the middle yesterday as the town took part in the annual Waitangi Day top-town challenge.

While previous years’ events had pitted Lake Hāwea’s "town" against Hāwea Flat’s "country", changing demographics meant organisers opted for a more balanced "East v West" theme.

Children take part in a sack race at the Hāwea Waitangi Day celebrations at Peter Fraser Park...
Children take part in a sack race at the Hāwea Waitangi Day celebrations at Peter Fraser Park yesterday. PHOTOS: REGAN HARRIS
Starting on Monday with a quiz night at the Lake Hāwea Community Centre, residents competed in games of golf, netball, cricket and tennis, all in the hope of accruing the most points for either team "Blue’' (East) or "Red" (West).

The challenge came to a head at Peter Fraser Park yesterday afternoon, where a more family-oriented event was held involving games, waterslides and a sausage sizzle.

Blusterly northwesterlies and a blanket of cloud kept temperatures in the low 20s throughout the day, but it was not enough to stop more than 200 people from turning up to represent their side of town.

The afternoon’s events included sack races and egg-cup and spud-gun relays, followed by a tug of war competition.

Firing tennis balls into the crowd for the spud-gun relay are Ron Sasse (left) and Dave Prattley,...
Firing tennis balls into the crowd for the spud-gun relay are Ron Sasse (left) and Dave Prattley, both of Hāwea.
Speaking before the afternoon’s festivities, event organiser Tom Merrell said the tug of war was often regarded as the highlight of the day as it involved everyone, including the oldest members of the community "still silly enough to do tug of war".

"We’ve got a bloke in his 90s who usually comes and competes in the tug of war — hopefully he will today."

Mr Merrell said the event, now in its 17th year, was a great opportunity to bring the community together in a way that would not otherwise happen.

"My own children, they think this is Waitangi Day. They actually go, oh, are we going to Waitangi Day this year?

"For them, this is what we do on Waitangi Day — we come up and we play cricket, we play netball."

regan.harris@odt.co.nz

 

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