Waimate reaps ben­e­fits from ma­jor events

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - ME­GAN SUTHER­LAND

The Waimate econ­omy could be boosted to the tune of nearly half a mil­lion dol­lars this week­end, with thou­sands ex­pected to pour into the town for two ma­jor events.

The 50th edi­tion of the an­nual Waimate Shears, at the town’s new $800,000 pav­il­ion, started last night, while the pop­u­lar Waimate 50 mo­tor­sport event kicks off on Fri­day, when the first week­ends of rac­ing starts.

The Waimate Shears run un­til Sun­day. Waimate Dis­trict Mayor Craig Row­ley said the dis­trict could ex­pect to draw in be­tween $300,000 and $400,000 from the events.

‘‘It’s great for the town, and not just that, the whole dis­trict.’’

With ac­com­mo­da­tion ‘‘pretty well booked’’ in Waimate, many ac­com­mo­da­tion providers in of two smaller towns like Makik­ihi would reap the ben­e­fits from the event, he said. ’’Peo­ple know Waimate throws a good party, which we do with our events.’’

Waimate Shears Spring So­ci­ety ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Eileen Smith said there would be more than 130 com­peti­tors from across New Zealand and over­seas com­pet­ing in wool han­dling, and blade and ma­chine shear­ing.

The 50th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions were set to be kick­started with a din­ner fea­tur­ing guest speaker Sir David Fa­gan, 16-time Golden Shears cham­pion. Smith said many of the original shear­ers would be at­tend­ing the event.

So­ci­ety pres­i­dent War­ren White said it would be ‘‘a big week­end for Waimate; there will be lots of peo­ple in town’’. Waimate 50 spokesman Rob Aik­man said many national com­peti­tors would be at the event, which had mo­tor­cy­cle rac­ing added this year.

‘‘It is the only place in New Zealand that shuts down the whole street,’’ Aik­man said, pre­dict­ing some 10,000 peo­ple could come to Waimate over the course of the event.

While the two events would be ‘‘com­pet­ing’’ for peo­ple, Aik­man said it was a ‘‘great thing’’ for Waimate to have so many peo­ple com­ing in.

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