History repeats for Hatrick Raceway

By John Maslin

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Erin Woods with the Visit Whanganui tourism trophy (left) and the similar award Hatrick Raceway won the last time the business awards were held three years ago. Photo/Stuart Munro
Erin Woods with the Visit Whanganui tourism trophy (left) and the similar award Hatrick Raceway won the last time the business awards were held three years ago. Photo/Stuart Munro

The resurrection of Whanganui's business awards became a matter of deja vu for the team at Hatrick Raceway.

Three years ago the greyhound track and function centre won the hospitality and tourism trophy and earlier this month it was named winner of the tourism award at the Whanganui Chamber of Commerce business awards.

It was also runner-up in the hospitality category which Hatrick manager Erin Woods said spoke volumes of the team she had behind her.

Club manager Erin Woods has been in her role for almost two years and said while thrilled with the award said it was only possible with the support of a dedicated staff.

They had 20 staff working there last year but that's up to 32 this year. While not all are fulltime the numbers are need to run an enterprise that is always busy.

Ms Woods said as a finalist in the awards she had to front a judging panel and there she emphasised the numbers of people coming to Whanganui just to come to Hatrick.

The track attracts trainers from South Island and from Te Kauwhata in South Auckland, most of them coming to Whanganui twice a week for the greyhound races.

"Then there are big numbers of Australians who wouldn't normally come to Whanganui but come here specifically to be at our track.

"We also get a lot of domestic tourists here but I don't really care where they come from. We'll take them as long as they're here and spending their money in Whanganui," Ms Woods said.

With licences to 102 meetings a year it means Hatrick is staging two race meetings a week.

"We've got a huge export product here because our races are televised around the country and into Australia as well."

Outside of Addington (Christchurch) Hatrick Raceway is the busiest greyhound venue in the country.

But it's not just the races. Ms Woods and her team are always promoting Hatrick as a function centre. It's become a popular place for weddings.

"The thing is these people hiring the venue are spending their money here and we're spending it locally as well."

"We're a not-for-profit organisation and our latest audit shows we spent a quarter of a million dollars locally this last year on goods and services. A lot of our sponsors are local so we'll use them as direct suppliers as well."

This latest award is the second Hatrick has picked up this year. It won the NZ Racing Board's WOW award for its 2015 Christmas at the Races events. It beat out 47 race centres throughout New Zealand. Its Christmas events this year are already booked out.

"We're going to win it (WOW) again. We've upped our game and are determined to get it," Ms Woods said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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