International climbers head to Taranaki
A world-class field will descend on Stratford this weekend to compete in the Taranaki Open Tree Climbing competition.
And for the first time in the four-year history of the event, a film festival is to be added to the bill.
Organiser Nicky Ward-Allen, who is the female world champ in the sport, hoped the public would come and support the event.
She said the films, some of which had never been viewed before, had come from places like America and Africa, as well around New Zealand and provided a unique insight into the tree-climbing world.
''There's so much footage but no forum for it,'' she said.
In the week leading up to the competition Ward-Allan will be busy preparing the trees in and around King Edward Park which will be used on competition day for such events like the speed climb and the aerial rescue.
''It has to be hard enough to challenge but not hard enough to not finish on time,'' she said.
More than 30 climbers are expected to compete, including competitors from Italy, Austria and Japan.
''It's a fair international swag,'' said Ward-Allan, who will also take part.
She said a top panel of judges would be on hand with prizes up for grabs for the winners.
Ward-Allen said she had her fingers crossed about the forecast for the day-long event and only hoped the rain stayed away.
''It literally puts a dampener on things,'' she said.
Trees, Movies, Mountain - Taranaki Open Tree Climbing film festival starts at 6pm at the TET King's Theatre in Stratford on Saturday.
The competition kicks off at 9.30am on Sunday at the King Edward Park (by the Malone gates) in Stratford.
Taranaki Daily News