The broad swordsman

FRANCESCA LEE
Last updated 05:00 11/11/2012
Gerry Brownlee
STACEY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ
OPENING ACT: MP and Games chieftain Gerry Brownlee opens the Hororata Highland Games watched by sword-bearer Bruce Nell yesterday.

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Tartan, longswords, mace-flourishing, and even a taste of haggis lured thousands of Cantabrians to the Hororata Highland Games yesterday.

The event attracted huge crowds, some, such as Earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee, in kilts to enjoy everything Scottish, from sports to whisky.

The proceeds of the games will go into rebuilding Hororata, which was badly damaged by the September 2010 quake.

Lucy Green, a British tourist, said the games were "spectacular".

"I have a [bag]piper in the family and at home I have been to highland games, but never before in the setting of the southern hemisphere."

Bob Blythe, a Scots expat living in Christchurch, said the games had an authentic flavour. "The accents are slightly different. Otherwise they are as good as in Scotland, with better weather."

Organiser Ainsley Walter said it felt as if there were a lot more people than last year's event, which drew a crowd of 8000. She and fellow organiser Mark Stewart relaunched the famous Hororata pies at the games and they sold at a rate of 40 every two minutes.

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