Regatta at Sullivans always a picnic
Event date Saturday 30 January 2010
Venue Sullivan Bay, Mahurangi regional Park, Mahurangi West
High tide 07:47 (1.30 m) then 20:03 (1.21 m)
Shoreside events Friends of the Mahurangi
Sailing events Mahurangi Cruising Club
Philippa posses, in common with many of her sex, an unappeasable passion for picnics, and her ingenuity for devising them is only equalled by her gift for enduring their rigours.
Some Experiences of an Irish R.M.
Edith Somerville & Martin Ross (Violet Florence Martin) 1899
It was to be a picnic regatta.
The elders of the Friends of the Mahurangi executive, when they were planning the revival of the regatta, were adamant that it should be a good old-fashioned leave-your-wallet-at-home picnic regatta.
They were adamant that the day be free of vendors and the attendant excuses for children to hassle money from their parents.
Even hot water was laid on to allow teapots to be constantly refilled—this was a generation marked by the Depression.
At the time of the first of the ‘modern’ regattas, 1977, the Mahurangi Regional Park had yet to open, but Sullivan Bay was made available by the ever-obliging resident ranger, Peter Baker. Peter’s role was primarily one of farmer and he extended the hospitality typical of farmers of the day. Locals were welcome to park at the end of Ngārewa Drive and walk down through the paddock to Te Muri.
In time Sullivan Bay was opened to the public and the relationship between Friends of the Mahurangi and regional park management gradually formalised. It was only then that it was appreciated how fortuitous the decision to start non-commercial was—it dovetailed perfectly with parks’ inclusive, family-friendly philosophy.
The free family day format paid off in another way.
The regatta acquired a sponsor in the form of Sun Alliance, an insurance company that just happened to be headed up by a family connection of a resident ranger. In return, in any attendant publicity, Sun Alliance would be credited for making possible ‘this good, old-fashioned, leave-your-wallet-at-home picnic regatta!’
One of the regatta morning chores used to be erecting the regatta signs, a task that involved starting at daybreak at the highway. The signs were necessary because not only was it a new event for many, the park itself was not initially signed-posted. But while the need to advertise the event, much less the route to Sullivan Bay, has long since passed, there is still a public service communication need:
This is a picnic regatta—there is nothing edible for sale at Sullivans!