Queen’s Birthday full steam ahead

Anything but boaring: Dean Hansen runs to keep up with daughter Charli at last weekend's Fiordland Big 3 Hunting tournament in Te Anau. PHOTO: Bill Jarvie

Chilly weather didn't stop people from making it out to the plethora of events in Southland over Queen's Birthday weekend.

The events calendar kicked off on Thursday evening (May 31) with the return of the Fiordland Big 3 hunting tournament. Teams had until Sunday afternoon to bring back their best pig, deer and fish. 

Team "After Hours" brought in a 124kg deer and an 80kg pig to win the event's major prize of a hunting trip for four people into Fiordland sponsored by Te Anau Helicopter Services. 

Fiordland Big 3 committee member Stephanie Jones said the committee was really pleased with how it turned out, with 32 adult teams and 40 kids teams participating. Mrs Jones said they were still tallying the final total of funds raised for the Te Anau Rugby Club. 

In addition to the big weigh-in on Sunday, adults and kids alike got to take part in a pig carry and possum throw. Next year they were hoping to bring in even more family-friendly activities for the Sunday weigh-in at the club, Mrs Jones said. 

On Friday evening, the Fiordland Community Events Centre opened its doors to the 25th annual Friends of the Library book sale. It didn't take long for people to fill up the aisles of bargain-priced books that filled the events centre's community hall. Most books cost no more than two dollars, with children's books going for ten cents each. 

Friends of the Library chairperson Marilyn Hunter said looking back at 25 years of the event, the group was proud to be able to offer good quality books to children that anyone in Te Anau could afford. She said research showed that having books in the home helped foster an early love of reading. 

Mrs Hunter said this year's event raised around $7000 for the group, which was on par with what they had raised for the last four to five years. Funds would help the group buy books for the Te Anau Library, as well as bring in authors to Te Anau. 

For example, Mrs Hunter said scientist and children's book author Dr Simon Pollard would be coming to Te Anau in October and would be working with Kids Restore the Kepler.

It didn't take long for people to fill up the aisles of bargain-priced books that filled the events centre's community hall. PHOTO: Claire Kaplan

Around 70 pedestrians and cyclists showed up to Manapouri on Sunday afternoon to check out the latest 4.7km section of the Lake2Lake Cycle Trail. The trust behind it aims to provide a multi-use trail connecting Te Anau and Manapouri, and the latest section connects Manapouri to Supply Bay. 

"Save Manapouri" campaigner Sir Alan Mark was the guest speaker and opened the ceremonial gate to the new trail section, applauding the project in his opening remarks.

Arun O'Connor of Invercargill was the senior winner of this year's New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards in Gore.

After 45 years of being a stand-alone event the New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards is planning to join forces with other events on the same weekend to create a festival next year. Gore District Council events and promotions coordinator Emma Carle hoped next year would be the first of its kind. 

Over nearly half a century the Gold Guitar Awards had given Gore its 'capital of country music' title but during that time several other events had popped up alongside it. 

Other events outside of the NZ Gold Guitar Awards included the truck parade, Freeze Ya Bits Off Busking Competition, MLT Songwriting Awards, MLT Music Roundup, Hands of Fame Induction and the NZ Country Music Awards. 

"There's a whole lot of other things that sort of piece together to create a festival-like event but there is no over-arching festival and I think that's important just to tie all those things together and to help better communicate what does happen in Gore over that week," Ms Carle said. 

NZ Gold Guitars committee convener Philip Geary backed the idea. 

"As far as Gold Guitars being part of a larger festival we're very much in favour of that," he said.

"The main thing is to offer more to the audiences and get more people along to enjoy both the festival and the Gold Guitars."


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