Locals bag top Bonanza prizes

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Kaitaia man Neil Sides shows his delight at winning the $30,000 top prize, with organiser Dave Collard (left) and Northland MP Mike Sabin.
Kaitaia man Neil Sides shows his delight at winning the $30,000 top prize, with organiser Dave Collard (left) and Northland MP Mike Sabin.

Far Northerners have won the two top prizes in the 2014 Ninety Mile Beach Snapper Bonanza.

Kaitaia mill worker Neil Sides pocketed $30,000 yesterday for landing the heaviest fish of the tournament, weighing in at 9.995kg. Mr Sides hooked the whopper on Tuesday less than three hours into the tournament, giving his family a sleepless four-day wait while the other 700-plus anglers tried to land something bigger.

Mr Sides has yet to decide what to do with the money but his wife, Marion, is keen to have a holiday in Fiji or Rarotonga.

The top lucky draw prize, a Mitsubishi Triton ute, was won by forestry worker Simon Job of Ngataki, about 60km north of Kaitaia.

Mr Job, who was competing for the ninth time, failed to land a single snapper this year but that hardly mattered after winning a $48,000 ute.

''I'm over the moon. I never expected it. I would've been happy with any prize.''

A downpour just as the final weigh-in closed at 4.30pm cut power to contest headquarters, delaying the prizegiving and leaving the bar ankle-deep in water. It did not dampen the festive mood, however.

Full report and results in Monday's paper.

- Northern Advocate

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