Tenth year for Paepae in the park

By Lin Ferguson, lin.ferguson@wanganuichronicle.co.nz


Patea's acclaimed annual Paepae in the Park on Waitangi Day (February 6) celebrates its 10th anniversary this year - a great milestone, say the organisers Elaine Powell and Minnie Broughton.

However, Mrs Powell said, the Paepae day hadn't always been easy to get organised on time.

"It's such a lot of work and, to be honest, we really need more volunteers for the organising committee this year. We've only got a few weeks to go and there's so much to do. If some more people could help us we'd be very, very grateful."

Marking the 10th anniversary are huge, colourful flags designed and painted on canvas by the children of the schools in the Patea area which will be hung around the outskirts of the park.

More than 250 balloons will be let go to fly high, but the release time hasn't been decided yet, Mrs Powell said.

A special anniversary cake will be cut around midday and throughout the day 1000 iced cupcakes will be given out as well as several lolly scrambles for the children.

The main band is Auckland Fusion group Sons of Zion as well as popular local bands Natural Remedies and Taranaki boys Ma Ro Pu and, of course, the illustrious Patea Maori Club.

Mrs Broughton is in charge of the catering for the officials including St John officers, police, Maori Wardens, the bands ... all the officials and organisers who need constant feeding, she laughed.

"We're giving out food all day long; it's always busy."

As well as mountains of sandwiches, there are savouries, muffins, mini chocolate eclairs and other small cakes, she said.

"My family are all my helpers. They have no choice ... they know that Paepae day they're helping me."

Organisers will be all up and out at 6am on the morning of the Paepae to make sure everything is done in time for a 9am start, Mrs Powell said.

About 30 stall holders will again set up along the side of the park, with two big hangi being put down as well.

The food stalls are always a huge hit, with the crowd selling whitebait, paua and mussel fritters and rewana (Maori bread), sandwiches and baking.

"We are looking forward to our Paepae, and it is very special, being our 10th anniversary ... but if some people could volunteer to help us as well, that would be great. We need them."

South Taranaki District Mayor Ross Dunlop will open the celebrations and Whanganui MP Chester Borrows will also speak.

A big crowd is expected.

"We usually get between 3000 and 4000 people coming in from as far as New Plymouth and Wanganui," Mrs Powell said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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