Celebrating the new year at school is a child's nightmare, but for motorhome-owning adults who have converged on Foxton Beach over the past week it is a dream come true.
The unusual arrangement that the Manawhenua Area Branch of the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association has with Foxton Beach School is now into its fifth year and it's growing in popularity.
Close to 130 motorhomes and their owners have already converged on the school's sports fields for the organisation's annual rally.
They hire the school from December 23 to January 4 for music in the hall, tennis, swimming and a number of other social activities - it is the longest motorhome rally in New Zealand.
Manawhenua branch chairman Trevor Hardy said the group had a great relationship with the school as they essentially provided free security over the time they were there and they were committed to leaving the place spotless.
"There's a bit of bad press around about motorhomes at the moment and the effect of freedom camping but that side of things is definitely not us.
"Each van here is fully certified - they can last at least two or three days without needing to empty waste. We care a lot about the image we have because we're owners ourselves."
Mr Hardy said the increase in numbers this time around was a sign of the fun the group had, and New Year's Eve was the crowning night. For 2013/14 the theme was everything Scottish, with live music and odes to a haggis. "It's the friendship, the fellowship and the comradeship that brings people back."
Campers were predominantly between 50 and 80 years old and there were some in the 90s, which forced campers to socialise and check on each other's health, Mr Hardy said.
This year's weather had been good although a downpour on Saturday night when many were at the Foxton RSA had caught many campers unawares.
Mr Hardy's motorhome, affectionately named "Enjoy 'N' Life" has been in the family eight years. He encouraged anyone looking to buy one to consider joining the club.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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