Maze owners forced to turn on taps

By Amy Shanks

The effects of a long hot summer predicted to hit Hawke's Bay in the coming months have already taken hold at A Maze 'n Fun in Hastings.

For the first time in its 10-year history, the maze's owners have been forced to irrigate the maize crop, to ensure hundreds of plants reach the desired height in time to welcome the crowds.

"Maize plants thrive in a warm climate and are usually fairly tolerant of dry conditions," A Maze 'n Fun owner Cal Huddleston said.

"All the nutrients are there but the plants just can't access them due to the lack of moisture in the soil. In order for the plants to be tall enough by opening, we've opted to embark on this quite costly and time-involved process."

Preparations for the summer season were well under way with a new pattern in the maize crop and other infrastructure installed. The plants should be approximately head-high for opening day, and will grow to reach 2.8m by mid January.

"With this water everything grows remarkably; certainly in nine days time it should be at least shoulder height."

Mr Huddleston said the decision to irrigate came about three months ago, as it became clear the long range forecast yielded only sunshine.

"We have been keeping a really close eye on the Metservice, but typical of Hawke's Bay, it would say it's going to rain and as the date drew near it would evaporate. We have not had a substantial amount of rain in about three months."

However, a long, hot, dry summer also had its perks for the business.

"We won't be plagued by rain like we were last year, so that's great."

A Maze 'n Fun and Corncob Crazy Golf will open on Thursday, December 27 with the first CornEvil show on Friday, January 4.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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