Monster pigs, pimped-up possums all for a good cause
Possums with painted nails and dresses and more pork than you would find in a piggery was on show at Uruti's inaugural pig hunt competition yesterday.
There was hunting gear, gumboots and carcasses as far as the eye could see when hundreds turned out at Uruti School to weigh in their catch.
More than 120 people registered for the main event, not to mention the dozens of dressed possums, magpies, rabbits and goat heads that the children were swapping tales about.
The competition time ran from 1am on Thursday morning to 4pm yesterday and hunters, from Whangamomona to Okoki and throughout Uruti, headed bush en masse.
Prize for the heaviest pig, a 91.5-kilogram beast, was won by Russell Zehnder, of Ahititi.
The other big crowd puller on the day was the best-dressed possum division.
Everything from sunbathing to boxing, driving and painting possums were on show as the schoolchildren put their creativity to the test on a dead fluffy pest.
Prizewinners were Hannah Harrison (up to 6 years), Lydia Hansen (6 to 9 years) and Levi Oxenham (10 to 14 years).
Whangamomona's "Pork" Hutchinson was in the thick of it at the weigh-in.
He had caught three pigs which he weighed and racked in hope of taking out a prize or two.
"These competitions are good because it actually makes you go out and hunt," he said.
"Otherwise I just go out when the kids start whingeing they're hungry and there's nothing to eat."
Mr Hutchinson's biggest catch of the day weighed in at just over 63kg and took a couple of hours of grunt work to haul it out of the bush. "It feels good on your back for about the first 10 minutes then it gets hard.
"The worst I've ever had to carry was an 86kg pig that took me about 12 hours to get home," he said.
Event organiser Martinelle Lobb said she was "blown away" by the turnout.
"This is Uruti and how we do things, and so many people have come in support," Mrs Lobb said.
The competition day was a fundraiser for the school which has a roll of 14 pupils.
"There's only so many raffles you can force on people in such a small community and I saw an opening for something like this instead," she said.
"The aim is to raise between $3000 and $4000 to pay for a new shade cloth at the school."
Taranaki Daily News