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Winter Holiday Gains Support In Bay Poll

News Release
For Immediate Release
April 3, 2006

Winter Holiday Gains Support In Bay Poll

Support is growing among Bay of Plenty residents to hold a Bay anniversary holiday in the winter months.

Businessman Jim Smylie is conducting a joint online survey with The Weekend Sun newspaper to assess local opinion on giving the Bay its own celebration holiday, rather than sharing Auckland's anniversary day.

Responses continue to pour in, showing that some three quarters of respondents support the idea of a holiday for our region, and more than half would like to move the holiday away from its current January fixture to another time of year.

A new holiday in August to break up the long period between the Queen's birthday holiday in June and October's Labour weekend is one of the most popular choices.

One respondent said, "A holiday in between June and October would be marvellous", while others referred to the "drought" of public holidays in the winter months.

There's no shortage of ideas for an occasion to centre the holiday around either. Many respondents suggest establishing a new event with initiatives as diverse as cleaning up the harbour and Mount tracks, holding a marathon or triathlon, and a celebration of local food and wine all making an appearance.

Several suggest the holiday should mark a celebration of the foundation of Tauranga itself, with a parade, music and waka races to entertain the crowds.

Says Jim Smylie, "We are excited and encouraged by the response this survey and campaign are generating. We want as many people as possible to let us know their feelings so we can make a solid case for having our own celebration day."

Western Bay of Plenty mayor, Graeme Weld, added his support to the campaign.

"I think the idea of celebrating a special Western Bay day is worth investigating. I'll be very interested to see what people think. I encourage all people to express their views, so we can address whether this idea has any legs."

To participate in the online survey, visit www.thesun.co.nz and register your name and email address.

ENDS

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