Festival to offer wide range of activities



What if there was an opportunity to take part in a tour of a historic New Zealand gold rush township, enjoy good food and drink, have your children take part in outdoor activities, watch T20 cricket and contribute to a good cause?

The Tuapeka Heritage Hub has organised just such a day –  the Tuapeka Mouth Festival –  for anyone who lives in or outside the township.

“We hope to recreate the good old country days, where you would all go out as a family for a picnic,” co-organiser Vicki Yarker-Jones said.

“The Clutha Valley Cooking Club has kindly donated picnic share boxes that can be purchased, with all proceeds going to help the victims and firefighters facing the Australian bushfires.”

If weather (and river) conditions permit, the famous Tuapeka Mouth Ferry or “punt” will be in operation, giving free rides across the river.

The festival will celebrate the 125 years the punt has been in operation.

“It’s the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere,” Mrs Yarker-Jones said.

It will not be the only historical milestone to be celebrated.

The event also commemorates the 150th anniversary of the old Tuapeka Mouth School.

While no longer operational as a school, the building is still used for events.

And that is not all.

Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan will open the newly completed Tuapeka River Dam Track at 11.30am, after which there will be a guided tour to the dam.

“It’s incredible how much history there is here,” Mrs Yarker-Jones said.

Fellow organiser Colin Child agreed.

He came with his wife to the area three years ago and fell in love with the place.

“Tuapeka Mouth may not have 1800 residents and four hotels as it did in the 1880s but the small community is a happy place which will welcome you.”

“The old Presbyterian Church is now the Heritage Hub, which welcomes visitors and motorhomes,” he said.

The festival is on Saturday, February 8 (Waitangi weekend) and runs from 10am to 4pm.