Whiskers sprout for 150th

By Janna Sherman

Whiskers are flourishing in Hokitika as more and more men take on the rugged look of old-time gold diggers in time for the town’s approaching sesquicentennial celebrations.
A beard-growing competition is one of the organised events over the December 20 weekend. Exactly how it will feature is still being organised. However, it could include some sort of parade, similar to that held in the town’s centennial in 1964.
Hokitika Goldrush 150 committee chairwoman Sonja Barker said Heritage Hokitika had expressed an interest in helping to facilitate the beard event, which had gained quite a following since starting three months ago.
“Whenever I walk around town I see more and more men with beards,” Mrs Barker said.
Bearded fan David Verrall said he was going for the “full-spade” look.
“It was very much a trend on the goldfields to have a full-spade beard. But, of course, I’m sure there will be lots of moustaches and other beards in celebration of the hirsute male,” Mr Verrall said.
Colin Growcott said it had been 50 years since his last full beard, when he was selected to lead the procession through town as a bearded goldminer during the Hokitika centennial.
Details around a street parade will be firmed up at the next Goldrush 150 committee meeting this week.