Flipping out at Plimmerton pancake race

Last updated 14:02 12/02/2013

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Pancakes were flipped with style, but many of the contestants lost points and precious time, at the annual Plimmerton Pancake Race on Tuesday.

A few splashes of rain could not keep over 100 people away from the footpath outside St Andrew's Church on Steyne Ave, with teams from the suburb's kindergarten, Paremata School, Aotea Summerset and charity Bellyful among those taking part.

All proceeds raised went to Bellyful, who make meals for families with new babies.

The event, in its ninth year, marks Shrove Tuesday, celebrated on the day before the Christian festival of Lent begins. This year a dozen teams took part in the race against the clock, which involved a relay with pans and pancakes and compulsory flips during each leg.

Extra marks were awarded for the most stylish pancake ''tossers''. Many more pancakes hit the ground than in previous years as teams put pace before grace.

St Andrew's Church vicar Danny Te Hiko, who took over from Jenny Dawson late last year, says it is a great event which brings the community together.

''It's something really fun for all ages and a real part of the Plimmerton calendar. It reminds us of what this time of year is about, that Easter is approaching, and a chance to help a fantastic local cause like Bellyful.''

Mr Te Hiko was the vicar in Churton Park for 10 years before taking on his new role. He says he is enjoying being in charge of a large and busy parish.

''We have a great team of people here and I love the seaside feel of Plimmerton.''

In New Zealand, Lent, along with the aspect of fasting before Easter, has come to represent the waning of summer.

The Shrove Tuesday pancake race is a tradition also carried out in the UK and Australia and is said to have started in the 15th century in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England, when a housewife was so busy cooking pancakes that she lost track of time. Hearing the church bells ringing, signalling the start of Shrove Tuesday, she ran to church, still flipping her pancakes in the pan.

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