PARTICIPATION in the inaugural Opotiki Little 3 far exceeded the organiser’s expectations, with 260 young hunters competing.
The entrants came from both within and outside the Opotiki district. More than 1000 kilograms of possums, hares, rabbits and magpies were caught over the three-day event, with entries from Matawai, Edgecumbe, Whakatane, Te Kaha and Rotorua.
“When we first dreamed of pulling together a fun weekend for the kids, we never could have imagined it would have generated this much interest from entrants and sponsors,” said Little 3 committee member Rachael Bakalich.
“Sixty kids and we will be happy,” we said.
With an entry price of $5, the event was open to children aged 11 and under.
The aim was for each child to bring in a possum, a magpie and a hare or rabbit, which were tied together and weighed.
Seven-year-old Nevaeh-Jane Morris was the overall winner, receiving the trophy provided by Mitre 10 Opotiki. The combined weight of her possum, magpie and hare was 10.4kg.
Though Opotiki Little 3 committee member Rebecca Ericksen said she noticed a lack of magpies over the weekend, children were encouraged to bring in whatever they had caught, with every entry receiving a goodie bag at the prizegiving, to reward those who gave it a go.
Radio 1XX’s LJ Dobbin was MC for the night, presenting the first, second and third-place prizes among the age groups, followed by the overall winner’s trophy. After this the spot prizes were drawn.
Among these prizes were a jet boat trip up the Motu River, a helicopter joy-ride for the whole family and a snapper-fishing trip.
Opotiki Playcentre ran a barbecue on prizegiving day, providing a sausage sizzle and venison sandwiches for the centre’s annual fundraiser.
“I think it is safe to say that our first Opotiki Little 3 hunting competition was a great day had by all,” said Ms Ericksen.
“The weather was kind, animals abundant and children were smiling and proud. What more could we ask for?”