'Death-defying' pub crawl labelled a non-event
Despite being called a "non event" by police, the annual Hawera Push Bike Pub Crawl on Saturday was a death-defying affair for some.
Both the South Taranaki District Council and police discouraged the annual event from going ahead but a small band of faithfuls were determined to carry the flame on Saturday.
However rumours persist around Hawera that the traditional pub crawl held on the last Saturday before Christmas could still occur next Saturday. As there are no official organisers, no-one is able to confirm this.
When the Taranaki Daily News stopped to observe about six cyclists on the pub crawl at noon on Saturday, intoxication levels appeared to be high.
The group were biking north towards Normanby along the shoulder of a State Highway 3 passing lane.
Two girls, dressed in pirate costumes, fell off their bikes and on to the road as they attempted to wave at a reporter and photographer.
State Highway 3 traffic continued to speed past the group at 100kmh despite a highway patrol car slowly following the group about 100 metres behind.
Sergeant Robyn Burnett and Senior Constable Mark Crawshaw were patrolling the stretch of highway on bikes.
Mr Crawshaw said there was nothing police could do to stop people riding bikes while drunk.
"There's no law to stop it," Mr Crawshaw said. "It's a catch 22."
Nor could police stop the event from going ahead. "It's not an organised event so we can't ban it."
Numbers for the pub crawl this year had nothing on past years, he said.
"It's just a big non-event."
In 2010 there were about 13 arrests when 800 to 900 people took part in the crawl.
In an attempt to deter people from taking part, the South Taranaki District Council organised Alt Fest on Saturday afternoon.
The event featured headline acts Ladi6, aka Karoline Tamati and Kids of 88 at the Egmont A&P Showgrounds.
Fine weather and a good spirited crowd made the second ever Alt Fest a success, organiser Phil Waite said.
Mr Waite said a crowd of about 250 attended the festival and there were no arrests that he knew of.
"Everyone was really happy with the standard of behaviour and the fact that everyone came along and enjoyed themselves," Mr Waite said.
The fine weather put everyone in a good mood, he said.
"In terms of weather we couldn't have had it any better," Mr Waite said.
The R16 event ran from 2pm to about 8.30pm, he said.
Taranaki Daily News