Record Tug of Peace win for Nelmac

Yesterday's Nelson Hospice Tug of Peace finished in an epic battle between sea-going Talley's workers and land-based Nelmac employees.

Now in its 15th year, the competition raises funds and awareness for the Nelson Tasman Region Hospice, which relies on community donations and funding from the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board to operate.

The NMDHB was represented, as was Gibbons Construction, the Nelson Police, ANZ, More FM, two teams from Talley's and the reigning champions, Nelmac.

The environmental management company owned by Nelson City Council has won the Tug of Peace trophy each year since 2010. They claimed it for a record-breaking fifth time yesterday after an eight-second clash with Talley's.

Talley's team leader Larry Moses said prior to the competition that his group were "quietly confident", but some were literally dragged off their feet in the rapid defeat that ensued.

Nelmac leader Duncan Renwick said the team had dedicated their efforts to two people who had recently died. Rex Harvey, a former Nelmac employee, succumbed to health problems before Christmas, and Glenys Scott was the wife of a Nelmac worker. She died of cancer two weeks ago.

Organiser Phil Wright, of the Wright Firewood Company, said five wins in a row was unprecedented. He said the best previous effort was made by Carter Holt Harvey, which held the trophy for three years. Co-organiser Kent Robertson described Nelmac's team as "great big men" who had an effective technique.

"These guys are organised. They have practices, and t-shirts."

He said the hospice was always there to provide help when it was needed, and also praised the bosses who allowed their workers to participate in the Tug of Peace.

Mayor Rachel Reese presented the trophy. She said the win was "fantastic", sending her best wishes to hospice trust chairwoman Elspeth Kennedy who is in hospital.

"We're so lucky to have a hospice which gets right behind people when they need it."