Group goes extra mile for the Gatsby Picnic

By Amy Shanks

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Some excitement from last years Gatsby Picnic. Photo/Warren Buckland
Some excitement from last years Gatsby Picnic. Photo/Warren Buckland

Between blankets and baskets splayed out along Marine Parade for the Gatsby Picnic, is a tent with a difference.

It belongs to Team Tiger, a group of friends from Wellington and Hawke's Bay who, for the past four years have designed and executed themes with an impressive centre piece.

Last year the group re-created a cricket match at the Gatsby Picnic.

Richard Niven has created everything from a high-wing monoplane to a 20-m rowing boat, set to make its debut on Sunday.

Made in six sections, from recycled material it will be transported Wellington on a roof rack and assembled here.

"We like to plan a year in advance if possible, so we can do something different. We choose an idea that's based on historic events which are significant, that lends itself to costumes for men and women," Mr Niven said.

For 2014 they are bringing to life the 100th anniversary of a traditional rowing race between Cambridge and Oxford Universities.

"We have got nine polo shirts which we are modifying to the '20s, '30s style so people walking past can put one on and have their photo taken in the boat."

They may even have a Cambridge graduate as part of the festivities.

"One of the other members has a brother who did his doctorate there, so he may join us."

If the forecast for rain eventuated Team Tiger would simply adapt their plan to suit.

"It may be a tight fit if we have to take the boat in under the awning, but we are pretty inventive.

"It's such an alive event, what's wonderful about doing Hawke's Bay Art Deco is everyone has got their kit on, there's shops willing to assist, where you can pick up a feather boa or a hat - the place is humming.

"There are all sorts of events, some of which are free ... they do it exceptionally, I have been to the Timaru Victorian weekend but they need to aim for what Napier, Hastings and Hawke's Bay do, it's in a class of its own."

Local Team Tiger member Adrienne Mist has been following Art Deco Weekend for about 15-years, after her eldest son took a shine to the era.

"It's just gotten bigger and bigger, and we are seeing more and more overseas people all the time."

She said the picnic was a particularly special part as it brought generations together.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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