Prize-giving and dance bring-your-own
A good old-fashioned leave-your-wallet-at-home picnic regatta.
That was the adamant view of the Friends of the Mahurangi when it revived the Mahurangi Regatta, in 1977. Many of the committee members had experienced the Great Depression, and believed parents of young children deserved a day where they were spared the constant requests for money for the likes of Mr Whippy.
After a number of years hawkers inveigled their way onto the otherwise idyllic scene at Sullivan Bay, but it didn’t suit the philosophy of either the regatta or the regional parks. An end was put to it, and also to the discomfort of those downwind of the invariably noisome Mr Whippy generator.
When the prize-giving and dance was revived, at Scotts Landing—to launch the Mahurangi Action Plan—it too was to follow the leave-your-wallet-at-home format. The dance had lapsed, along with the regatta, during World War Two. The previous year, as the finale of Warkworth’s 150th celebrations, the Mahurangi Regatta Ball had been held as a $65-ticket affair, and organisers were keen to keep the 2005 event low-key, and accessible to all comers. However, with the regional council reneging on its undertaking to provide food—a hāngi had been planned—alternatives had to be provided at short notice. This established the cash-bar-and-burger format that prevailed for the following five events, but at considerable cost to the vast team of volunteers required.
With the advent of Auckland Council, the prospects for the Mahurangi Regatta becoming a truly collaborative affair have become much brighter. Consequently, from the 28 January 2012 event onward, the prize-giving and dance will be on a bring-your-own basis—with the former cash-bar-and-burger volunteers able to dance in the marquee to the swing era Prohibition Big Band, along with everyone else.
The challenge now is to get the bring-your-own word out—the last thing the organisers want is for folk to arrive unprepared, and go hungry or thirsty. But while the participating yacht clubs are being contacted, it is inevitable that some will arrive with cash or cash-flow card only, having heeded the call at earlier events to not bring-your-own, but to support the fund-raising necessary to pay for hire and band costs. Parties attending the prize-giving and dance are being asked to take a little extra food for the odd parched and starving sailor.
There are distinct advantages in having both the picnic regatta and the after-match function bring-your-own. Aside from being more consistently family-friendly, and nicely aligning with the regional parks philosophy, it makes the event potentially more attractive to a sponsor:
Thanks to [name of sponsor], the Mahurangi Regatta is an old-fashioned leave-your-wallet-at-home picnic regatta.