Time for a Southland parrrty

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 11/06/2014
eric roy
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ

PARTY TIME: Invercargill MP Eric Roy with all things Southland.

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Whatever makes you a quintessential Southlander, embrace it, celebrate it and throw a party.

Proud Southlander Eric Roy is organising a party in Parliament and promises guests will not be tested at the door for rolling R's.

Southland is where he felt connected - his turangawaewae - where his heart lay.

Most staunch Southlanders felt this way, so it was fitting those who jumped the fence got a change to celebrate their roots.

Most people from the region shared a bond with it when they left, he said.

"This is a celebration of Southland and an opportunity for former Southlanders to network and show off their region."

It was former Southland District Council chief executive Dave Adamson who best summed up how Roy felt about the province, he said. "Southland was like a lobster pot; a bit difficult to get into but very hard to get out of."

Hospitality and the generosity of the friendly people were intrinsically linked to Southland.

"We [Southlanders] didn't sit down and decide these - they somehow became a manifesto of who we are."

Roy's last hurrah on July 25 will be bittersweet - the retiring MP's last party was expected to be one of the biggest yet.

The Southland Party, which had been going for 15 years before an eight-year hiatus, was resurrected three years ago and is now a biennial event.

The party would not happen without the generosity of Southland businesses, Roy said.

Southland food business such as Alliance Group, Barnes Oysters and Blue River will have produce on offer.

Other Southland organisations, such as Venture Southland, Invercargill Licensing Trust, Southern Steel and Rugby Southland, would also be supporting the party.

The Beehive banquet hall would be decorated with in all things Southland - including hay bales.

The committee would invite Southlanders who had "made it in the world" to give the event some pizzazz, he said.

About 350 tickets for the party would go on sale during the the next two weeks. Any profits generated from the event will be donated to the Bluff Coastguard appeal for its new vessel.

collette.devlin@stl.co.nz

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