These smiling European and Maori children pictured in 1932 at Poukawa, south of Hastings, are about to have a sack race.
The tradition of climbing into a potato sack and hopping to a fixed point in the distance was said to have been begun by British soldiers in the late 18th century, wanting to pass the time when not fighting.
The activity gained great popularity, and in 1904 the humble sack race was included as an official Olympic event at the St Louis games.
Sack races were normally part of any large social gathering in New Zealand in the 20th century, and often provided hilarious viewing as the participants attempted to remain upright while furiously hopped along.
At the Hawke's Bay Lowland Stakes Races in Hastings one of the listed activities is sack races. Eighty years since the Poukawa sack race, the potato sacks have mostly been replaced by synthetic l bags and at commercial events carry sponsors' names.
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