A month of celebrations planned for Greymouth's 150th

By Ben Aulakh

A gold treasure hunt, fireworks display, a mile run and an old-time dance have been confirmed as part of Greymouth 150th celebrations later this year.
A month of celebrations is planned in September-October, although the actual anniversary is on July 26-27, which marks 150 years since pioneer storekeeper Reuben Waite stepped ashore and set up shop on the site now occupied by Cafe DP1, on Mawhera Quay.
It was decided to move the celebrations out of winter and to give more time to organise the festival of events.
The ‘Big Dig’ gold treasure hunt will launch the celebrations on September 26, with a fireworks display from Cobden Island the following night.
At an organising committee meeting yesterday, Ali Grooby said the fireworks were estimated to cost between $5000 and $9000 of the $30,000 budget set aside for the sesquicentennial.
The committee was also looking at the possibility of including local fishing boats and Coastguard flares in the display.
People taking part in the treasure hunt, to be held on the beach between Watsons Creek and the Suburbs Rugby League ground, will be looking for small, plastic medicine bottles, some with consolation prizes while those painted gold will be redeemed for real gold.
Committee member Phil Lemon suggested a specific area be set aside for children under-five to prevent them being “trampled” by adults and older children, and Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn suggested asking McDonald’s to sponsor a children-only dig area.
Mr Lemon said local sports teams would be encouraged to put forward their fastest runner to take part in the mile run, which would cover a mile section of the town centre, with the finish line outside the Greymouth Star newspaper office in Mackay Street.
This year also marks the centennial of the Greymouth Competition Society Festival of Dance, to be staged at the Regent Theatre.
Ms Grooby said the Tai Poutini Polytechnic band, and the Brewery Hill Band could play at the dance festival this year.
The committee also discussed holding a short memorial service at the Blaketown boat ramp, to remember those who had been lost at sea through the years.
She also suggested a beard growing competition, which would include one of the town’s pubs.