Hokitika Stories and Tips

The Event

The night before the festival there were bands set up around the town playing different music, either because they had been booked or were busking. The town was a sea of people with every drinking hole and eating place full and spilled out into the streets. The area near the beach was more family orientated although as it got later the families were replaced with groups of happy, drunk people enjoying the night.

The festival itself was massive, 23,000 people fitting into the area of a few football fields. Either get in early and quickly try as much food and drink as you can or wait until after the rush at about 2pm. By 2pm people have eaten there fill and started drinking in the sun, listening to the free bands.

The foods range from sheep eyes, scorpions, huhu grubs, wild bull testicles and penis sausage, wild pig and bulls, haggis and many other edible items not found in most restaurants.

By the time the events finished and people kicked out at 5pm most people are drunk but not unruly so. The crowd heads to other pubs to drink or to the beach and then stay out on the town or head back later to the festival area for more bands, most people stay out on the town. There are bonfires everywhere on the beach and the vibe is very relaxed.

For the size of the event and the near lack of visible security, the festival had minimal times of aggresion (I saw 1 fight between 2 drunk uni kids) and I can highly recommend it for people of any age.

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