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Benefits Of Hokitika Wildfoods Sell-Out Spread

Benefits Of Hokitika Wildfoods Sell-Out Spread Widely

The fifteenth annual Hokitika Wildfoods Festival has injected more than $3 million into local coffers from a sell-out day on Saturday with patrons fully supporting new rules including street glass bans, restrictions on freedom camping and a limit on numbers attending.

Festival organiser, Michael Keenan said that while the $3 million estimate of “foreign currency” injected into the district is probably conservative, “the benefits go much wider with individual stall proceeds helping communities up and down the Coast from a new kitchen in the Little Wanganui Hall at Karamea, to a science field trip for local primary schools and assisting the Sacred Heart golden oldies netballers from Cobden go to a Brisbane tournament.

“The community ownership of this event is the secret of its continuing success and the fact that we stay true to our heritage – we know we are a bit on the wild side here on the West Coast and outsiders like to come and experience our special character first hand.”

19,100 people attended the Festival with 91 stalls and whitebait either as shooters, patties or individually garnished by far the most popular item. New and exotic foods included hare’s testicles with the turbot and sandfly sauce served by the Sacred Heart girls really turbot with a lemon and poppy seed sauce. Magpie Pie won best new food and was also a sell-out.

All this was washed down with more than 16,000 litres of Monteith’s finest, “about 5 kegs down on last year” according to one of the army of barmen.

Keenan says the new rules in place this year for the first time seemed to meet widespread approval from visitors and locals alike, “the support of The New Zealand Community Trust to help us put the infrastructure in place meant that everyone felt safer and more relaxed not having to step over glass in the street, dodge traffic and an overload on facilities.

The temporary camping facilities set up at the Hokitika schools and racecourse were booked out with the 50 pupil Kaniere School benefiting by more than $8,000 for its efforts at the racecourse, “that’s worth around four annual galas to us” commented a committee member.

Keenan says that while arrests were up on last year, “it would be fair to say most were the usual breach of the peace variety with a few of the more serious in town and on the beach due to substances not offered by the sponsors”.

One of the impressive organisational efforts on the day was the huge bar run by more than 140 members of the Hokitika Golf Club. Club spokesman, Ron Hazeldine said their efforts at the Festival over the last four years would allow them to complete clubhouse extensions worth $180,000.


Happy Campers Campsites at local schools and at the racecourse proved popular for visitors. At Westland High, US exchange students from get ready for the big day in Hokitika. From left: Jay from Atlanta, Erin from South Carolina, Andrew also from Atlanta and Dawn from New York.

Forty and Frightening Three party animals from up north in town to celebrate their fortieth birthdays. From left: Carol Sutherland, Coromandel, with Aucklanders Patti Syme and Sue Monro.

Having a Ball in Hoki Christchurchite, Vanessa Hole sizing up a mountain oyster, in the raw like its seabed cousin – a popular derivative of the sheep scrotum.

Open Wide Chris Ward of Hokitika Rotary Club dispensing liquorice tasting “Jed’s Brew” via a drench gun to Juliet McLeod of Christchurch.

Crispy Creatures Caitlin Reid of Hokitika displaying the crouching grasshopper with peanut sauce. The insects were specially bred for their fate.

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