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.
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.
"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."