Putting their best foot forward, Dannevirke's Ruahine Ramblerz leisure marching team are ready to lead more than 190 marchers down High St at the head of our Christmas parade.

The Ramblerz are hosting a display day on December 3 which co-incides with the Chamber of Commerce Christmas parade. And with 21 teams and 195 marchers in town, leading the parade is a well deserved honour Suresh Patel, of the Christmas parade committee, said.

For Ruahine Ramblerz life member, Marjory Johnson, leisure marching is all about fun, fitness and friendship.

Marjory was a member of the Body Works Vikings which began in 1992, before becoming the Dannevirke Vikings and then the Ruahine Ramblerz in 2008.


"We're non-competitive," Marjory said.

Elaine Lawson, the Ramblerz instructor, has been marching since she was seven and has been involved with the sport for 50 years.

"We practice twice a week and in each display there are 300 steps," she said.

Yes, counting is vital to keep routines precise and sharp and the nine Ramblerz are military sharp.

Leisure marching was started 25 years ago by the older generation and there are no rules or regulations, except that displays cannot be more than five minutes long.

The Ruahine Ramblerz are so keen on their sport they've travelled nine times in the past 12 months to display events.

"We'll be at the nationals in March in Porirua where 80 teams will take part," Elaine said.

"Now the younger generation, 40-year-olds, are starting their own teams and joining us."

Coming to the display day in December and joining the Christmas parade will be teams from Taranaki, Napier, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Masterton, Feilding, Lower Hutt, Tawa, Porirua and Kapiti.

Marjory has also invited 23 former marchers to see how the club has progressed over the years.

Elaine said she would love to see the public pack the Dannevirke Sports Centre for the march past at 1.30pm, followed by the official opening of the event, before the displays begin.

At the conclusion of the day it's the public's chance to join the teams for the Maze March.