Thousands enjoy Republic Day

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 28/01/2013
ROBERT CHARLES

Action from the Whangamomona Republic Day

Whangamomona Republic day
ROBERT CHARLES Zoom
Taranaki Daily News photographer Robert Charles caught all the action at Whangamomona Republic Day.
republic stand
ROBERT CHARLES
The main road at Whangamomona was packed with revellers during the Republic Day.

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The Republic of Whangamomona has a new president.

The Foreigner, who campaigned under the slogan Choose the Czech and whose supporters included a bevy of beauties, has ousted the incumbent president Murt Kennard.

Thousands of people descended on the tiny far-eastern Taranaki town for the announcement on Saturday during its biennial day of defiance.

While one woman vocally demanded a recount the result appeared popular with the majority of the crowd.

Despite claims of bribery, corruption and vote rigging the new president, who is known only as "The Czech" or "The Foreigner" denied any wrongdoing.

"Everything was fair."

He vowed to do his best for the people of the republic during his term. "I'm a president, I will do what I have to do."

For 24 years the town has called itself a republic after it was officially made part of the Whanganui-Manawatu region and word of its rebellion celebrations have spread far and wide.

Moya Mullan, who owns the Moya Lodge in the Bombay Hills, travelled the Forgotten World Highway 43 to experience a day of whip cracking, sheep shearing, wood chopping, possum skinning and sheep races.

"I thought, gee this sounds good, I want to do this myself," she said.

French tourists Nica Chenais, 23, and Jenny Hardy, 22, said they had read about the day in a guidebook and were having a great time. "It's really fun and the road to come here is really nice too," Miss Hardy said.

Republic Day regular Pilgrim, of Taupo, was working at passport control.

"In the evenings we go back to the farm and have a couple of beers, those are the best times."

Chas Mills, of Strathmore, said it was a great opportunity to catch-up with old mates. "It is just a good day out for the boys."

First timers at republic day Kyla Hamblyn, of Stratford, Anna Kirk and Melanie Clark, of New Plymouth, were enjoying the festivities.

"It's way good," Miss Kirk said.

"It's a great day to bring everybody out," Miss Hamblyn said.

Pictures: Page 5

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