Town pulls together for parade
There may have only been one float parade in Te Puke this December, but organiser Rebecca Larsen feels like she has organised two.
After the parade was postponed on the morning of its original staging date of December 1, Rebecca immediately began the task of working out if it was going to be possible to squeeze in a new date before Christmas.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council came to the party and agreed a new date, December 15, but there was still doubt about how many entrants would be able to make the rescheduled event. Emails were fired, here there and everywhere, invitations were issued and fingers were crossed. The massive thunderstorm of Friday night added more stress, but a largely dry Saturday morning meant the parade went ahead at the second attempt.
“For me it’s been like running two events back to back,” says Rebecca, Epic Te Puke’s marketing manager.
While Saturday’s parade was smaller than many, that didn’t make it any less successful with an appreciative crowd lining Jellicoe St.
‘‘It went really well. It was good it worked out in the end after all the struggles,’’ says Rebecca. ‘‘And we were really pleased with the turnout of floats and the people that came on the day and responded to our request for them to bring their special cars. We had extra floats turn up that I didn’t realise were going to be there.’’
One highlight for Rebecca — who has written two children’s books — was that her books and Ko Mauao te Maunga: Legend of Mauao by Debbie Mccauley and Debbie Tipuna were chosen as the theme for the Jemma’s Homebased childcare float. The float had originally been entered in the Tauranga parade that had also fallen victim of the December 1 storm.
“That obviously meant a lot to me because that’s the first time anyone has done anything like that with my books as far as I’m aware.”
Astro Cheer cheerleaders from Mount Maunganui and Tauranga Skatescool also headed to Te Puke on Saturday for the parade.
While some of the organisations that had entered the first parade weren’t able to make it to the rearranged one, Te Puke scouts were determined to be there and were rewarded with the supreme award for the best entry.
“The scouts had been in contact with me ever since the postponement of the first parade — they obviously put a lot of work into their float and thoroughly deserved the supreme prize.”
All the category winners were given their winnings in Epic dollars — that can only be spent in Te Puke.
“We’ve injected $2600 of Epic dollars back into town and that’s important for the retailers — it’s a way of giving back to the retailers.”
Aroha Kapi and her team from Jemma’s home-based childcare chose to donate part of their prize to Kai Aroha.
AFFCO Rangiuru — Community Organisations: 1st Te Puke Tigers Rugby League Club, 2nd Skatescool Tauranga, 3rd Vector Group/tai Chi.
Ultimate Motor Group — Education Sector: 1st JEMMAS Homebased Childcare.
Zespri Business and Commercial: 1st Logicool Ltd, 2nd E Sensual Beauty, 3rd Astro Cheer.
DMS Progrowers Supreme award: Te Puke Scouts who won the Te Puke Jewellers trophy.
Te Puke Scouts won the overall prize for the best float at the Seek Te Puke Christmas Float Parade.
Keely Schoonderwoerd from the Astro Cheer cheerleaders is launched into the air from a human “basket”.