A community stalwart says that it's great to see horse sports prominent once again in Kawhia after years of decline.
Wood chips, hot chips, horses and mobs of unashamedly biased supporters on the side-lines. Yesterday marked the 74th anniversary of the annual Awaroa Sports Day.
Faye Gilbert says, “The numbers of people attending have swelled since the beginning of the horse games, which they brought in 4 years ago to the Awaroa Sports.”
The event was born out of a need to keep horse sports and traditions alive within the area. Supporter Faye Gilbert says that most importantly it's about coming together as one.
Gilbert says, “It's important for it to keep going because of the whakawhanaungatanga that we have here.”
Te Piwa Tuapiki has been attending Awaroa Sports Day since he was eight years old. An event close to his heart because of the region's love of horses.
Tauapiki says, “Horses are an important part of our way of living. For a while the horse culture was slowly declining, but now it's picking back up again.”
It's easy to see horse culture is well and truly alive here in Kawhia. Locals say they hope to see even more people here next year.