Have you sponsored a duck?

Children from Havelock North Central Kindergarten with one of the wheelie bins full of ducks.
Megan Hunt

Children from Havelock North Central Kindergarten with one of the wheelie bins full of ducks.

Havelock North Central Kindergarten has a set of five green wheelie bins which come out each May.

The large plastic bins aren't housing garden waste or rubbish, instead they hold a set of 2000 little yellow rubber ducks.

May 21 marks the kindergarten's ninth annual duck race and major fundraiser for the year, with funds going towards the completion of the centre's outdoor area.

People and businesses can sponsor a duck for $5 each and receive a numbered bird to race for them in return.

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The ducks float along Karamu Stream at Crosses Road bridge, with the first 10 birds and last bird across the finish line winning prizes.

The centre's head teacher Frances Blake said to get the children excited this year each one took a duck home over the Easter holidays.

"They all took them home to help train them up," she said. "Some went swimming in the pool, some went to the ocean, some went on a plane and one met an All Black."

The kindergarten went bit duck crazy each May, with different duck-themed activities for the children.

"But throughout the year the kids will drive past the stream and say 'that's the duck race stream'."

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Blake came up with the idea for the race nine years ago when researching different fundraising options. 

The first year raised around $2000, but the event has grown over time to raise $13,000 in 2016.

For the first couple of years the kindergarten hired the ducks, before they found a person who happened to have a set of 2000 ducks to sell.

To prepare Hawke's Bay Regional Council clears weed from the race site and organisers painstakingly spend the days before counting the ducks to ensure the full set is accounted for.

The kindergarten will have a number of stalls available on the river banks, including bouncy castles, a sausage sizzle, craft table, handmade items and face painting. 

Blake said the community got right in behind the event with thousands of dollars donated each year in prizes, plus people displaying posters, sponsoring ducks and heading along on the day. 

* Gates open at 10am on May 21, with the race starting at 11am.

 - Stuff

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