Brandishing wooden cutlasses and shouting "Argh" to frighten scurvy dogs, marauding hordes of young pirates invaded the Mapua wharf.
They came to conquer the third annual Mapua Pirate Day, held to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Most of the world observes the day on September 19, but the organiser of the day, pirate chief Richard de Hamel, said Mapua celebrates it on the first Sunday of the school holidays because, after the busy end of term, "it's the first chance we get to go, 'Argh, there's nothing on, let's go have fun"'.
The Mapua Boat Club and the Tahama Sea Scouts helped to run the event. It featured a treasure hunt, boat rides and sea shanties, and was mostly "a nice excuse to have a fun time", said Mr de Hamel, who, when he takes off his pirate wig, is the educator at Mapua's Touch the Sea Aquarium.
Josh and Ella Holmes got into the pirate spirit with elaborate costumes their grandmother, Anne Holmes, had made, complete with a rat peeking out of Josh's hat.
"We're a bit of a boating family," explained their mother, Jane-Maree Holmes, who said the children were always keen to don their pirate outfits.
Greg Olsen, from Sir Greg Theatrics, enjoyed repelling the marauders by occasionally letting off blasts from his ship's cannon or firing his replica 1762 Brown Bess musket.
He was firing gunpowder and paper, since real shot would be twice as loud and scare the children, he said.
John and Faye Foulds took their gaff-rigged ketch Gilpie to the wharf, where she served as the end point of the treasure hunt.
The young pirates were thrilled to find a chest of gold doubloons stashed on deck and probably even more delighted when they discovered chocolate under the gold foil.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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