Sports day rings in the new year

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Standing heat at the woodchopping at the Riverton Domain during the Christmas Circuit last year. Photo: Supplied

THE Southland institution that is the Tuatapere Axemen’s Athletic Sports Day is set to welcome in the new year once again.

“It’s a great family day out. Everything is laid on for the kids,” Tuatapere Axemen’s Athletic Society president Peter Templeton said.

Now in its 108th year, the annual sports day consists of a full range of athletics, cycling, highland dancing and claybird shooting as well as traditional children’s events such as egg and spoon and sack races.

Mr Templeton said the programme had not varied a lot over the years, which was the secret to its popularity and longevity.

The woodchopping competition, the main professional sport at the event, has attracted axemen from Australia, the United States and Canada and current world champion Adam Lowe, of Nelson, this year.

“Our Southland boys will be pushing [Lowe] all the way.”

Former world champion Bobby Dowling would also be competing as he made his comeback in the sport, Mr Templeton said.

As always, the Waimatuku Pipe Band would be performing at noon, he said.

“When you hear the bagpipes, you know you are at the sports.”

There will also be a variety of other entertainment for children to enjoy, including mini jeeps and face painting, and a selection of food outlets on site.

Mr Templeton said people considering attending the sports day should not judge the weather based on Invercargill’s weather, as more often than not the weather was better in Tuatapere than anywhere else in Southland.

The Tuatapere sports day had only been cancelled twice in its 108-year history because of the weather, he said.

Tuatapere Axemen’s Athletic Sports Day, Tuatapere Domain, January 1, 10am to 4.30pm. Adults $5, all children free

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