Fun, fitness and friendship is what leisure marching is all about and Dannevirke's Ruahine Ramblerz want to share this with the community at an open day tomorrow.

The team of 10 leisure marchers will hold the open day at the Sports Centre between 10am and noon when they will practise their display for two hours.

Members of the public are invited to attend and the marchers hope people will join in with the marching.

An open day was held last year but the turnout was disappointing so coach and leader Elaine Lawson hopes tomorrow's event will be well supported.


"We hope people will come along and practise some of the movements with us," says Lawson.

The open day is a prelude to a leisure marching display day on Saturday, December 7 when 20 teams will be taking part.

Lawson said a display day took a lot of organising so she hoped the public would give it plenty of support.

The display day follows on from the Dannevirke Christmas parade which starts at noon.

Marching teams will meet at the Sports Centre for a run through to familiarise themselves with the area they will be marching in prior to the parade.

The visiting teams wishing to take part in the parade will then be taken by bus to the parade starting point.

Once the parade is over the marching teams will return to the Sports Centre for a march past of about 200 marchers. This will be followed by the official opening of the display day.

Maggie Regan from the Department of Internal Affairs, which oversees and supports New Zealand's 27,458 registered charities, will take the salute.


The teams will then perform their individual display which is to be no longer than five minutes. The order of appearance is decided by a draw held earlier in the day.

Leisure marching is a year-round activity with the season beginning in April and the first event held in July.

Lawson said some teams create new displays each year while others refine their displays.

She said leisure marching was non-competitive and there were no rules, apart from the time limit on a display and the number of marchers in a team which can range from a minimum of three or four to a maximum of 24.

It's an activity that attracts a wide age group with marchers ranging from their 40s right through to their 80s.

Ruahine Ramblerz were formed 27 years ago and some of the current team were original members, while others have never marched before.

They practise twice a week for an hour.

Lawson said apart from the fitness aspect, leisure marching was good for the memory.

The Ruahine Ramblerz take part in 10 events each year and of those travel away for nine of them. Events are held from the Hutt right up to Taupo.

With so much travelling involved funding was always an issue, Lawson said.

Consequently the display day is an important event at which to raise money.

"Local businesses are very generous with sponsorship and allow us to have wonderful raffles at the display day. We will also have plenty of food for people to buy throughout the day."

The final event at the display day will be the teams' maze march which members of the public are invited to take part in.