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Litterbugs off the menu at Hokitika Wildfoods Fest

Litterbugs off the menu at Hokitika Wildfoods Festival

Litterbugs are off the menu at the immensely popular Hokitika Wildfoods Festival this year by popular consent.

Hokitika on the wild West Coast of the South Island finds them too hard on the digestion – and so do festival-goers.

Snails, worms, grasshoppers, bull’s penis, huhu grubs – you name it – they all go down well with a colourful sauce and a cup of something refreshing. But litterbugs have proved they cannot be swallowed by patrons or Hokitika-ites.

The townsfolk, who have demonstrated for years that they have cast iron digestions, think litterbugs are downright dangerous to the health – digestive or otherwise – of everyone, including the litterbugs themselves.

A characteristic of litterbugs is that they leave things lying around – broken glass, untended fires, and all sorts of rubbishy bits and pieces that turn the stomach. That’s not a good look when the 3300 inhabitants of the township are trying to entertain a party of tens of thousands.

So the organisers of the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival have taken measures – safety measures, that is.

Their Downtown Strategy will make the 15th Wildfoods Festival on Saturday, March 13, 2004, the best yet, organisers say.

“Last year, for the first time in 14 years, our town was almost left in tatters by the huge number of visitors – nearly 30,000 – and our tiny infrastructure wasn’t able to cope,” Wildfoods events and marketing organiser Sue Hustwick said.

“We’ve had to make some changes that we think will make for greater enjoyment and public safety while, at the same time, helping our visitors to respect our fragile environment.”

And, after all, the hugely scenic, ruggedly captivating environment is a major part of the attraction of the Wildfoods Festival, along with the weird and wonderful food that gives the event its name.

Visitors booking their camp sites are already expressing their appreciation of the new safety measures which include:

A limit on tickets – 18,000. So be quick to order yours.

Better security for visitors’ safety and enjoyment – town centre and beach closed to glass, BYO alcohol, vehicles and freedom camping.

Special new festival campsites throughout Hokitika – for great atmosphere and the best place to leave car and gear while enjoying the festivities. Bookings are essential.

Better facilities to help visitors respect the environment by binning rubbish and ballast – more bins, more toilets.

“Visitors to the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival are always assured of a warm and friendly West Coast welcome,” Ms Hustwick said.

“We want people to take away the best experience and most fun they’ve had for a long time. All we ask is that they leave nothing but your footprints on our beach and town.”

One new campsite, Hokitika Racecourse, has already taken bookings for 600. Westland High School, another of the temporary campsites, got 100 calls for site bookings the moment it re-opened for the school year.

Campsites are Beach Camp Wildfoods, phone 03 755 8866; Hokitika Primary School, phone 03 755 7400; St Mary’s School, phone 03 755 6133; Wadeson Island, phone 03 755 6894; Westland High School, phone 03 755 6169; Woodstock Domain, phone 03 755 8909; Hokitika Racecourse, phone 03 755 8172.

The Hokitika Wildfoods Festival Website for more information is

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