Norsewood is set to celebrate its Scandinavian heritage with its first ever Viking Festival.

The event on Saturday, February 29 and Sunday, March 1 will see Matthews Park transformed into an authentic living Viking town.

One of the organisers, Debbie van Asch, says creating a Viking town will give people an insight into how the Vikings used to live.

The two days will be packed with Viking inspired activities and there will be many games for children to enjoy.


Among the activities that visitors to the festival can experience are archery and axe throwing which were vital skills for Vikings.

There will be spinning and weaving demonstrations and there will be traditional items made from wool and leather as well as carvings made from wood and bone.

A skilled blacksmith will be forging traditional Viking items, and original Viking horses, the Fjord horse breed, will be at the festival.

"Visitors will be able to learn about the history of the breed and have a photograph taken with them."

There are roughly 20 to 25 Fjord horses in New Zealand.

It's an ancient and very strong breed from the mountainous regions of Western Norway and is one of the world's oldest domesticated breeds having been valued for 4000 years.

People will be able to sample Viking food from the many food stalls.

The Norsewood Pottery Group and Keirunga pottery will have stalls on the Saturday.


Norsewood and Districts School will be welcoming visitors to the school grounds and showcasing some of the students' work.

Events on both days of the festival will begin with a parade from Matthews Park into Norsewood and back to the park.

There will follow tales of Vikings from a Norwegian storyteller and traditional maypole dancing that will celebrate summer.

At 1pm on both days a film on the history of Norsewood will be shown and this will be followed by a guided tour around the town and the cemetery.

Viking warrior women will then present a live show featuring archery and combat and Norsemen will demonstrate their traditional combat skills and techniques.

A live concert will feature Coel Manawatū playing traditional songs on the Saturday evening.

Van Asch says if the festival is successful it could become a regular event that will raise money for community projects and help promote the town.

Money from this year's event will go toward upgrading facilities at Matthews Park to make it more accessible for campers.

"A lot of overseas tourists know about Norsewood and do visit the area, but we would like to make it more accessible," said van Asch.

"There is a little bit of heritage in Norsewood and it's a great community."