The Hawke's Bay Orienteering Club found just the way to get everyone involved in its annual meeting yesterday, combining the formals with a relay, annual prizegiving and Christmas party at the Guthrie Smith Arboretum at Tutira, north of Napier.

About 100 attended, and all fronted for the AGM - staged between the mains and the dessert.

"They all stayed," said club official Karen Beckman.

In a touch of irony, the meeting was delayed about half an hour to accommodate late finishers in the relay which was contested by 28 teams of three, and won by a team led by orienteering stalwart Derek Morrison, who was made a life member at last year's AGM. His teammates were son Ross and Ross's girlfriend Hanna Raitanen, both home from Finland.


It had three legs, the first and third covering 2.5km each, and the middle leg slightly shorter, the fastest time being just under two hours. "The relay was a bit longer than we thought it would be, " Mrs Beckman said, adding the challenge was more the long grass than the wind that plagued other parts of Hawke's Bay. "It was quite sheltered."

It proved a valuable exercise, with a junior orienteering camp now being scheduled next year for the Arboretum, which is also open to the public each Sunday until next May.

The club, which has about 200 members, will be embarking on its urban summer series weekly on Wednesday evenings starting at Napier Boys High School from January 21.

At yesterday's prizegiving, the club recognised NBHS teacher Hugh Forlong-Ford for service to the sport, while Devon Beckman and Vida Fox were named the season's top male and female competitors respectively.