Running from the 15 – 31 August this annual event is designed to attract people to Northland’s beautiful Tutukaka Coast during what is historically a quiet period for the area. The multi-faceted festival runs across the last two weeks of August (with events targeted around the three weekends), and is now in its second year.
Rated as one of the top coastal destinations on the planet by National Geographic Traveler Magazine, the Tutukaka Coast is home to about 1,500 locals and was recently voted one of the ‘Top Ten Must-Do’s in New Zealand’. A summer destination for many with pristine white sand beaches, stunning coastal bush walks, and the incredible Poor Knights Marine Reserve the areas is certainly a favourite with locals and tourists alike. The Tutukaka Coast Winter Festival festival creates a variety of reasons for people to visit the region – enjoy the restaurants and bars and participate in activities and provide benefit too to local service providers. Longstanding members of the community the Ray White Tutukaka team, whose office is situated on the foreshore, have been a part of the local community now for over eight years and regularly support events in the area.
Ray White Tutukaka secured naming rights to the raft race which was launched at his years festival now known as the Ray White Raft Race – which saw over 20 teams compete in hand-made rafts (which could be constructed from any material other than existing watercraft and/or flotation devices). Competitors tackled the course in either business or open class categories from the boat ramp – finishing up at the Ray White Tutukaka office for prizegiving – with the winners in each category taking home a $500 cheque – and others receiving various spot prizes. Other events at the festival include a stand-up paddle board race, dragonboat regatta, fishing competition, movie nights and a comedy festival.
Peter Vink, Ray White Tutukaka Office Manager and local salesperson says “the overall objective is to continue this annual event to increase in scope year on year and become a serious contender on the national festival calendar. We love the area and always enjoy sharing and celebrating it with others… We had a great time building our rather questionably designed raft – which almost sank at the starting line – to the entertainment of many bystanders.” Peter was joined in his raft by fellow office members: Chris Windust, Alan Dowsett and Raewyn McKay.
John Monteith, Co-Director of Ray White Allens (which encompasses the Ray White Whangarei, Tutukaka and Bream Bay offices) was “blown away by the enthusiasm and level of support the Ray White Raft Race had in the community. The effort people went to with their costumes and raft building and design was inspiring to see”. He adds that he hoped the event will continue to strengthen the local community and rise to the levels of Russell’s Birdman Festival and the Queenstown Winter-Festival.