Bring a picnic to the regatta, but to the prize-giving and dance bring your crumpled cash and plastic

by | 24 Jan 2008 | Regatta 2008 | 0 comments

Mahurangi Regatta Saturday 26 January
Regatta: Sullivans Bay, Mahurangi Regional Park 11.00 a.m.–5.00 p.m.
Prize-giving and dance: Scotts Landing, Mahurangi Regional Park 6.30–10.00 p.m.
Prize-giving outside the marquee

Ritual Prize-Giving: The prize-giving and dance was part of Mahurangi Regatta tradition, until the regatta lapsed, during World War Two. It was reintroduced at this gathering in 2005, to launch the Mahurangi Action Plan—the scene having been set by the previous year’s Mahurangi Regatta Ball held to mark Warkworth’s 150th. photographer Stephen Horsley

The vision was to recreate the traditional picnic regatta.

When Friends of the Mahurangi revived the Mahurangi Regatta, in 1977, the elders were adamant it was to be a traditional picnic regatta, where the only thing provided was hot water for folks to make a pot of tea, and nothing to spend money on and cause kids to harass hard-pressed parents for cash all day.

The trap, however, is that today’s folk are not Depression-conditioned and don’t necessarily think to pack bacon and egg pies, sandwiches and ‘the Thermos’ before family expeditions. Or maybe they do, if they are regular users of the regional parks. Either way, the regatta picnic policy sits very comfortably with the parks policy, even if there were a few years when vendors managed to inveigle their various wares in—those who, on occasions, found themselves manning posts downwind of a dilapidated Mr Whippy van and its noxious generator certainly don’t miss ’em.

The Mahurangi Regatta Prize-Giving and Dance message is very different:

Please leave your food and drink aboard and patronise the bar and gourmet burgers in the marquee.

This apparently contradictory regime is justified because it is the bar and burgers that pay for the marquee and band. And while McEntee Hire kindly provide the marquee at a discounted rate, and the 18-piece Prohibition Big Band play for costs only, the money has to come from somewhere.

An admission charge is not an option. Not only would an admission charge result in a less inclusive event, it would be a non-starter in respect to park policy, which is for the park to be open to all, and be given over exclusively to one group of people. And not even just parts of it—the venue had become extremely sought-after for weddings under marquee, Scott Homestead nicely providing the Victorian ambience. The parks’ policymakers, however, considered it inappropriate and put the kibosh on weddings and other large events. The exception is the Mahurangi Regatta, on account of its historical link with Scotts Landing and the homestead.

The bar both helps fund the event and champions local brands:

  • Ransom Wines is a key supporter of the Mahurangi Regatta and uses only grapes grown in its vineyard beside the Mahurangi River.
  • Ti Point Vineyard is a key supporter of the Jane Gifford and markets wine from both locally grown and from Marlborough grapes.

As it is both irresponsible and unlawful to serve alcohol without serving food, a dedicated team produces gourmet burgers, hundreds of them in a very short space of time.

The challenge now is to get the message out that the bar and burgers pay for the prize-giving and dance. So please:

  • Bring your picnic to the regatta; but
  • bring only your cash or plastic to the prize-giving and dance.


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