Plug pulled on Festival of Lights

ALASTAIR PAULIN
Last updated 12:58 11/04/2014

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Apathy has killed off Motueka's Festival of Lights.

Our Town Motueka will not organise the midwinter festival this year after few people offered to help and business community feedback was that the event did not help them.

"All the shops don't think it made any difference in terms of income or in attracting people to town," said OTM secretary Linda Woodgate.

She said she had sent out four different emails asking for support and no-one was willing to help run the month-long festival. Only one business owner turned up to a meeting to discuss plans for this year's festival.

The festival began in 2007 as a way to draw people to Motueka over the slow winter season.

Peter Assaf admired the Christmas lights display on Murray Hellewell's house and thought, "If we had these lights at midwinter, we wouldn't have to wait until 10pm to see them".

He approached Hellewell with the idea and the two men formed a committee. The centrepiece of the festival over the years has been stringing lights across High St and neon Christmas lights in shop windows throughout July.

The 2008 festival concluded with Motueka's first public fireworks show in memory, held at the Motueka Sandspit, and the festival evolved into a month-long series of community events under the organisational and promotional umbrella of OTM.

But since the OTM subcommittee that organised the festival folded three years ago, the festival had become harder to organise. It took a hiatus in 2012 and last year's festival was a reduced version. Last year Woodgate distributed 2000 flyers promoting the festival in Richmond and Nelson along with radio and newspaper promotion to little effect, she said.

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