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2015 Milestone for Turangawaewae Regatta

Turangawaewae Regatta will celebrate its 120th event when the 2015 regatta is held on 21 March.

Originally known as the Ngaruawahia Regatta and held on the banks of the Waikato River, the regatta has a rich history and is renowned as one of the area’s most popular events.

Regatta Committee chairperson, Delwyn Abraham, said Turangawaewae Marae was proud to be custodian of the regatta, having taken over from the Ngaruawahia township in 1973. Each year the regatta attracts visitors from throughout New Zealand and around the world who are drawn to its unique offerings.

“This regatta is the second oldest regatta in the South Pacific and Australia and the only one of its kind in the world.  The annual parade of our waka taua (war canoes) is a spectacular sight that never fails to inspire. This alongside top class kapa haka performances, live barge entertainment, cultural exhibitions, guided tours of Turangawaewae Marae, river races, craft stalls and Māori cuisine make it a fantastic fun family outing,” she said.

Big news for the regatta on its 120th is the return of wood chopping. Previously one of its most popular features, the committee is working in partnership with the Northern Axemen’s North Island Association (NANIA) to bring wood chopping back.

“We’ve listened to feedback from the public and are proud to announce that wood chopping is returning. We’re equally delighted to announce that NZ Forestry Ltd has come on board as major sponsor of the Turangawaewae Loggers Wood Chopping Arena. This is a sponsorship that has helped to secure wood chopping’s return,” said Delwyn.

Paul Silcock, Forest Development Manager for NZ Forestry Ltd, said: “We have a close association with the people of Waikato-Tainui and we’re thrilled to lend our support not just to the return of wood chopping but to a long-standing community, cultural and family oriented event.”

NANIA is event manager and will hold it as grade elimination championships. NANIA secretary Bevin Cavey said classes would include standing, underhand, single saw, double saw, Jack and Jill, and a chainsaw class. Competitors are expected from throughout the country.

“The skilled art of the axeman has been around for hundreds of years and to this day stands as an ultimate test of speed, strength, focus and precision. We are proud to be working with Turangawaewae Marae to bring wood chopping back to the regatta,” said Bevin.

Event Details:
Address: Turangawaewae Marae, 29 River Rd, Ngaruawahia
Date: Saturday 21 March 2015
Time: 9am-5pm
        Waka taua parades at 11am and 3pm
Cost: $5 per person, under-5s and over-65s free, primary school students a gold coin.
Attractions: Traditional Māori war canoes, kapa haka performances, all-day river barge entertainment, amusement rides, school kopapa racing, craft and food stalls, waka taua and raupatu 20th anniversary exhibitions, guided marae tours, wood chopping.
Sponsors:  NZ Forestry Ltd
               Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust
               Verdict Communications Ltd
               The Base
                Radio Tainui

For more information please contact:
Sonya Haggie 021 946633