Waipa set to cash in on busy summer season

06 January 2017


Whether it's on land, water or on stage - the Waipa district is kicking off 2017 with an impressive roster of events and entertainment to make the most of the summer season.

Waipa District Council allocated $100,000 for events during the 2016/2017 year and can expect millions of dollars in return as visitors arrive and open up their wallets during their stay in the district.

Many of the events will be held at the Mighty River Domain, Lake Karapiro, and the venue's manager Liz Stolwyk said the 2016/17 summer event calender was the fullest its ever been.

"In fact we've had to bring in new staff to cope with the demand. The next four months are going to be very busy, but rewarding and finally we've got the site working to the level we wanted."

Stolwyk, a Cambridge ward councillor, said the economic return from summer events would "be massive".

"Everyone will benefit, from retailers through to accommodation providers and restaurants. The good thing about Waipa now is that we have the infrastructure to deal with the demand."

Two international events and one new national event feature as major drawcards at the domain. It includes the Asia and Oceania IWWF World Waterski Championships 2017 (February 3-5) the World Masters Games (April 21-30) and the National Dragon Boat Racing Regatta (April 7-8).

The World Waterski Championships will include wakeboarding and racing where visitors will also be able to get up close to the big Formula 1 race boats, meet the top wakeboard riders and be entertained by the world-renowned Australian show ski team.

The rowing and cycling sections of the World Masters will be held at Lake Karapiro and the Avantidrome respectively. The region is expected to host more than 10 per cent of an anticipated 25,000 people in New Zealand for the World Masters Games in April. It was allocated the largest portion, $25,000, from council's funding pool for events.

It has been a number of years since the National Dragon Boat Racing regatta was held and organisers are hoping for a new start at Lake Karapiro.

Other features at the lake include Hydro Thunder, where Grand Prix Hydroplanes race for the Australian AE Baker Cup and Masport Cup from February 11-12.

But the first major event at Lake Karapiro this year will be the week-long Te W?nanga o Aotearoa Waka Ama Sprint Nationals, from January 16-21.

The 2016 waka ama event attracted 8000 competitors and visitors. Research for the council showed visitor income from the waka ama event equated to $4.45 million.

Another major water sports events coming to the district this year is the Maadi Cup, March 27 to April 2.

The rowing event will include more than 2000 students from 120 schools, aiming to win the New Zealand Secondary School Champion title.

This event alternates between Cambridge and Twizel. It was last held in Cambridge in 2015, bringing thousands of students and their families to Cambridge.

Visitor income from the 2015 Maadi Cup equated to $7.55 million.

The Cambridge Town Cup/North Island Championships are also coming to Lake Karapiro from January 27-30.

This year the format of the rowing competitions is slightly different, with only age groups being competed at the Cambridge Town Cup and all club events being competed at the North Island Club Championships that will be sharing the same venue at the same time.

February brings Waipa an international horse event as well.

Polo will be played between England and New Zealand at the Nga Rakau Polo Ground in Kihikihi on February 11.

The day will feature New Zealand's top young polo players challenging each other in the curtain raiser, followed by the New Zealand team taking on the international invitation team in a test match.

For those that aren't into water sports, there are plenty of other things to take part in.

Festival One is coming back to the Mystery Creek Events Centre this year, which could satisfy those wanting a taste of live music, creative arts, and culture this summer.

Running from January 27-30, the festival will bring all of those aspects together to create a community atmosphere.

Musical acts include Airports, Beautiful Eulogy, Chem, Fends, Ike Ndolo, Julia Grace, Kings Kaleidoscope, Lead Us Forth, Sleepy Knee and more.

Confirmed speakers are Graham Burt, Sam Bloore, Charles and Janine Williams.

Of course the regular Waipa markets are happening again after the Christmas break, so there is something happening every weekend.

- Emma James, Stuff

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