Fun-filled day at the races for those braving the rain
It was a rain-soaked affair at the Pirongia Boxing Day races yesterday.
Thousands turned up but organisers said attendance was less than half the number they had expected.
Racegoers cheerfully sheltered under the clubhouse as they watched the racing or set up under trees with a chilly bin and a lawn chair.
Josh Clarke sat drinking a few brews with friends under tree shade, saying he wasn't going to let the rain spoil his day.
Mr Clarke, visiting family in Taupiri from Australia, said the races were always on his holiday must-do list.
"Most years I haven't been able to get near the track to watch the races so it's kind of good to not have as many people here," he said.
"But it's all about having a catchup with friends and getting away from the hustle bustle of the business in the city."
Held on the first nine holes of the Pirongia Golf Club, the Alexandra Racing Club's annual ten race galloping and trotting programme has been drawing in the crowds for years.
Russell Camp, a long-time race day punter, said the event had become a post-Christmas tradition for him, his wife and their two daughters.
The family set up under camper van shade, which Mr Camp admitted was usually used to shield from the sun, and relaxed.
"As long as it's not pouring, it doesn't matter," Mr Camp said. "It's a laidback atmosphere and we have a great time."
And in the spirit of the day he put on a few bets, though he never expects to win big.
"It's all just an equaliser," he said.