A winter solstice jump
A group of iron-willed and hopefully thick-skinned locals were to leap from Paremata bridge this morning to celebrate the winter solstice.
Eight men and women were to make the jump at 6.30am, then retire to event organiser Phil Edgecombe’s house for pancakes and hot showers.
Many of Mr Edgecombe’s friends made ‘‘lame’’ excuses to stay tucked up in bed, he said, but he recruited more people than he expected through Facebook.
‘‘This is something fun to do to celebrate the shortest day.’’
Mr Edgecombe, 28, is ‘‘passionate’’ about jumping off Paremata bridge, despite it getting him into hot water, so to speak, with the police six years ago.
In the winter of 2005 boredom drove Mr Edgecombe and his friends to jump off the bridge one night at 10pm.
A passerby saw the jump and drew the wrong conclusions.
‘‘Somebody saw us and thought a suicide was going on and called the police,’’ Mr Edgecombe said. ‘‘Apparently the police had gone down there with night vision and searched the inlet looking for this suicide jumper.’’
The story made it into
Kapi- Mana News, after which Mr Edgecombe confessed to police it was a false alarm.
‘‘We weren’t drunk or obnoxious in any way. We were just bored,’’ he said. ‘‘ Looking back it was probably a slightly silly thing to do but all’s well that ends well.’’
Despite a Transit NZ sign on the bridge saying ‘‘No jumping or diving’’, the activity is perfectly legal and should be celebrated, Mr Edgecombe said.
‘‘It’s natural and it’s free and it’s fun, and it’s something we should be encouraging our kids to do.’’
He hopes to make the midwinter jump an annual event.