THE WHĀNAU HORSE TREKKERS have been trekking from Dannevirke to Owahanga every January for almost forty years.  Unfortunately, this year the full trek didn’t happen.  Instead, tamariki mokopuna, aunties, uncles, grandparents, and parents loaded up horse trucks and horse floats and made their way to Aohanga Station to rekindle our connections with our relatives, Te Hika o Pāpāuma and to participate in the annual Aohanga Horse Sports & Rodeo.

Overall, horse numbers were low this year due to COVID19, however, the number of people who came from near and far to support the day was up on previous years.  It was a great day for this coastal community with participants and spectators contributing to the local economy – the marae kai stall sold out, the Horse Sports committee raffles sold out and the bar and gate takings were well up as well.  This is one of the few horse sports still running locally.

The Whānau Horse Trekkers were major participants in the nohinohi grade (the Kindy Ring) where every mokopuna received a ribbon for riding a horse through activities such as bending, the best trick, the chocolate chip and chocolate fish race.  Tamariki mokopuna also had a go at riding a sheep!

The adult field events were well supported by the Whānau Horse Trekkers with brothers racing each other, fathers racing sons, daughters, nephews and nieces and cousins competing with other for ribbons and prize money.  It was good to see how well our tamariki and mokopuna have grown in this sport and how well they work as one with their hōiho.

At the end of the day everyone headed to the station cattle yards for the steer riding event.  With the winner’s purse quite high there were a good number of registrations.  Everyone managed to stay on the steer – some for 1 second, some for 2, but not many for much more than that! Certainly not for the faint-hearted!

The Whānau Horse Trekkers are looking forward to next year and are already planning for the full week-long trek from Dannevirke to the coast and back again.

Hakopa-Stephenson
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