7 Jul 2017

Otorohanga's Big Night Out

From Country Life, 9:15 pm on 7 July 2017
Otorohanga Club

Photo: itravelNZ®

Once a year, on a wintry Wednesday night, Otorohanga's farmers come to town.

They come in their utes and in cars with tell-tale splatterings of mud and make their way to the Otorohanga Club for the town's biggest night of the year.

There's plenty of hearty food and free drinks, all paid for by the local business community.

It's their way of saying 'thank you' to the farmers for spending money locally.

This year, for the 20th annual Farmers' Party, 72 businesses chipped in.

"Everybody just pays in a little piece of what they think they can pay," says local businessman and Otorohanga Club president, Eric Tait.

"Normally we have people queuing up to pay rather than us knocking on doors saying 'hey are you ready to write out a cheque'. So that's the spirit of the evening.

"If we don't have a town that's successful we don't have good schools, we don't have good education and we don't have anyone who is going to repair your tractor on Christmas Eve when it's broken down and you've got a thousand bales to put into the shed tomorrow.''

The farmers love it, Eric says, catching up with up with neighbours, farmers they don't see from one Farmers' Party to the next, and with local business people who range from accountants to bank managers, the timber supply merchant, the vet and the local digger operator.

Guy Whittaker owns Otorohanga's only appliance store and happily sponsors the event.

"This is really just one of our chances to actually give something back to our customers. People have options these days... and this is one way of showing our appreciation."

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