Hunters' efforts boost appeal
Two-year-old Inara Herdman is about $5000 nearer to receiving specialist medical therapy in Austria thanks to Murchison's intrepid pig hunters.
Hampden Hotel Pig Hunt organiser Kim Jamieson said she knew Murchison was a "big hunting community" and wanted to do something to help the little girl, who was diagnosed with a 5 per cent chance of survival while still in the womb.
Ms Jamieson ran the hunt over Friday, Saturday and Sunday from her mother Leigh Knowles' pub in Fairfax St.
During the weekend, Inara's family had their first holiday away from their Rangiora home since before her birth, staying for free at the Kiwi Park Motels & Holiday Park.
Her mother, Bonnie Lintott, said Inara was "really upset" when she met a live pig for the hunt's promotional photographs, but once she realised that the dead ones were not going to hurt her, she was very interested in looking at them and touching them.
Inara was born with a Morgagni diaphragmatic hernia, a life-threatening condition so rare that her family receive no funding from the state.
Ms Lintott said Inara spent so long in intensive care as a baby that she was psychologically dependent on taking goat's milk through a feeding tube, even though there was no longer any physical reason why she could not eat solid food.
Ms Lintott and husband Ryan Herdman hope Inara's feeding problem can be corrected by an Austrian facility, the NoTube clinic, in Graz. They are aiming to raise about $60,000 to pay for themselves, Inara and her three siblings to travel to Austria for a three-week course of intensive therapy in March next year.
"Inara is a bright little girl who runs around and tries to do everything that another girl would do at her age, but she can't eat and has not been gaining weight for a long time," said Ms Lintott.
Their fund for Inara's treatment stood at over $37,000 before the pig hunt.
Ms Lintott said she was confident that the family would reach their target before March, despite recent news that Inara would require flowing oxygen for the flight, which added $15,000 to $20,000 to the bill.
Ms Jamieson said the charity competition was short on pigs, because they had missed the peak hunting season, but the fundraising aspect was a success.
Out of 16 boars caught by 62 adult entrants, the largest animal weighed 85 kilograms and was caught by the Matiri tribe.
Glen Pettigrew claimed the prize for the largest stag out of two caught, and Logan Huxford won the average boar weight award.
Ms Jamieson said the Murchison community got behind her initiative, with 10 raffles put on by "the local ladies" offering donated prizes, ranging from a George Foreman grill to a whole sheep carcass.
A bucket that was passed around during the judging came back with $350 in cash, and two auctions sponsored by Ultimate Descents and Steel and Tube Christchurch raised a further $2600. Murchison store PGG Wrightson provided prize packs for the 50 children who entered the hunt. "People were just putting their hands in their pockets," Ms Jamieson said.
Inara's appeal can be found on Facebook at "Inara Herdman - I deserve to eat".