Taihape is famous for its gumboot throwing, an annual event which put the Central North Island town firmly on the map — and the world stage.
This year's Gumboot Day, and the 2019 Skellerup World Boot Throwing Championships, will be held in Taihape on Saturday, March 23. I caught up with Taihape Community Development Trust project and event coordinator Eva George and asked her a bit about the iconic event.
How long has Gumboot Day in Taihape been running?
How many people attend?
Every year between 2000 and 3000
Where do people come from?
Mainly from the Rangitikei region, Wellington region, Taranaki, Hawke's Bay and Waikato
What happens on Gumboot Day?
We have loads of fun and throw gumboots
Are records set and/or broken?
Yes. This is where it all started. Gumboot throwing developed from a little bit of fun into a sport that made the Guinness Book of Records to national and international championships.
Is it the same events each year?
We host a large amount of activities. The day is free to enter, and most activities are either free or koha. This year there will be live music and shows all day. We are hosting a craft, arts and food market; rides and activities — bouncy castles, face painting, pony petting, circus zone; workshops including bees wax wrap making, wood work, tile decorating and rock painting; competitions — cake baking, soap carving, Fred Dagg dress up, gumboot decorating; displays — fire engines, St John, Museum, vintage cars and demonstrations — art, blacksmithing, dog wash. To top it off we have RNZAF pay us a visit. There will be a picnic area where people can enjoy the atmosphere while the children have a great time enjoying all the activities that are available.
How many people on the organising committee?
That varies per year. The event is being organised and run mainly by volunteers.
How long do you spend organising it?
We start with the organisation six months out.
Is it a rain or shine event?
Yes it is.
Why do people love this event so much?
It's unique to Taihape and has a rural flavour to it. It's a family event that has something for both children and adults alike. It's an affordable day out.
How long to people train for the main event?
Keen throwers train extensively before competitions.
We organise training sessions in Taihape before competitions, but throwers generally train in their backyard or out on the farm. But many people just get up and have a go on the day.
Gumboot Day, Saturday, March 23, Memorial Park and entry is right next to the Taihape Grand Stand.
Throwing categories cover all ages from 10 years to 91 years, with the Open Women/Open Men being the highlight of the competition.
There will also be teams' competitions – national teams (New Zealand and Germany) and women's/men's teams (three per team).
For more information or if you are interested in throwing gumboots at the world championships you can register before Sunday, March 17 at firstname.lastname@example.org: or visit https://taihape.co.nz/worldbootthrowingchamps/.