Hi­matangi Big Dig ducks the big surf

The Tribune (NZ) - - GARDENING - JA­NINE RANKIN

The wind dropped and the rain stayed away for just long enough for more than 1300 beach­go­ers to bur­row in the Hi­matangi Beach sands for the Big Dig.

The an­nual event raises money for the Palmer­ston North Surf Life­sav­ing Club, which this year made more than $4100 from Satur­day’s dig.

Club trea­surer Kate Dench said the turnout was re­ally pleas­ing, es­pe­cially in light of the bad weather be­fore and af­ter­wards.

She said the money raised this year would go to­wards the pur­chase of a new van.

The club’s cur­rent van was more than 12 years old, start­ing to run up main­te­nance costs and needed to be re­placed.

The van is used to ferry vol­un­teer surf life­savers from Palmer­ston North and Mar­ton to the beach each week­end dur­ing the sum­mer.

While it was not enough to buy a new van, ev­i­dence of the fundrais­ing strength­ened the club’s ap­pli­ca­tions to trusts to make up the dif­fer­ence.

Hi­matangi Beach has three paid life­savers on duty on week­days for five weeks from the week be­fore Christ­mas un­til the end of Jan­uary, paid for through Surf Life­sav­ing New Zealand.

For sum­mer week­ends, beach­go­ers de­pended on the vol- un­teer ser­vice, with about eight peo­ple on pa­trol at any time, sup­ported by grants from the Manawatu District Coun­cil and Palmer­ston North City Coun­cil.

The vol­un­teers would con­tinue on duty at week­ends un­til the end of March.

Dench said it had been a rel­a­tively quiet sum­mer at the beach this year, mostly be­cause weather con­di­tions had been dis­courag- ing, and the beach had been closed on a num­ber of days when it had been too dan­ger­ous to let peo­ple in the wa­ter.

WAR­WICK SMITH/ FAIFAX NZ

Is­abelle Stock, 3, with the BBQ she won with the to­ken she dug up.

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