See New Year in with Fun and Games
Every New Year’s Day thousands of people come to the Waipu Highland Games to watch one of the world’s most interesting and daunting sports competitions.
Scottish heavyweight events are the original extreme sports. The feats performed by these competitors would leave most Olympic athletes in awe.
Twenty-two pound or 9.98kg Gaelic hammers are thrown, 25.4kg weights on short chains are thrown for both distance and height, 9kg rocks are thrown like a shot-put, sheaves of wheat weighing in at 6.35kg are hefted over a very high bar with a pitch fork. The bar goes higher and higher.
The mighty caber is a real spectacle. Weighing a huge 58.97kilos it has to be tossed end over end to qualify. The heavy weight events culminate with the Farmers Walk where competitors carry a 72.57kg set of weights in each hand for as far as they can. Local ex-All Black Ritchie Guy held this record for many years.
It has become a tradition for locals and visitors alike to come to see these behemoths of fitness compete to take out the prestigious Northpine Heavyweight prizes. These are jealously guarded by past winners and competitors who come from around New Zealand and offshore.
The heavyweight competitions hark back to a time when Scottish Kings and clan Chiefs assessed the agility, cunning and physical strength of their soldiers. All these events require excellent timing, balance and technique and look so much more impressive in a kilt!
People also come for the fun of the fair and to spend an enjoyable day after a hard night of celebrating on seeing in the New Year. But if you have never experienced the spectacle make sure you visit the Waipu Highland Games on January 1 where you will be in for a day of Scottish tradition, food, dancing, piping, and so much more.
n WHAT: Waipu Highland Games. WHERE: Caledonian Park, Waipu. WHEN: January 1, 9am -4pm, Ceilidh 7pm.
HEAVYWEIGHTS: Tossing the caber is a favourite with the crowds.