Yellow hordes invade estuary, locals flee toward Stewart Island

AMANDA PARKINSON
Last updated 05:00 21/04/2014
Southland Times photo
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
Hughie Mathieson catches the first lucky duck to float under the Riverton Bridge in the Lion's Club Aparima Duck Charity Duck Race.

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The mother duck was late to deliver her clutch at the Easter Sunday Aparima River Duck Race.

Punters hoping for a win stood along the harbour's foreshore wondering where and when the Lion's Club charity event would start. The anticipation was likened to Saturday's Riverton races, which kicked off with a false start.

Thirty-five minutes late, 584 rubber ducks were dumped over the edge of two boats just north of the heads.

Organiser Wayne Fleck said they sold the last hundred at the races yesterday.

"We weren't really late, we needed some leeway to anticipate bad weather and the tide and we needed to have a briefing to ensure all the boaties were safe too."

Fleck said it was not his lucky day with his entry winning the spot prize for sinking duck.

"Mine had a hole in it," he said.

The yellow wave of floating bath-time toys drifted up the channel on the tide, leaving punters racing for their cars.

It seemed like two races took place - spectators racing to the finish line and the one between the silent ducks, which sailed through the chop.

The Riverton Bridge became heavy with foot traffic as the first of the ducks crossed under its path.

Children, parents and grandparents all leaned over the bridge's barrier, determined to see which would be the No 1 lucky duck.

Riverton resident Jennie Kennedy's No 41 was victorious, crossing the line in 20 minutes.

"It was the very first one I bought, but I did buy four or five more because I really believe in supporting local charities," she said.

Not only did Kennedy win first place, but her son Logan won third.

The duo walked away with a trip for two to Stewart Island and a grocery hamper.

"I am going to take my husband, who has lived here all his life but never been to Stewart Island," she said.

 

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