Caught by surprise

The four buses arrive at Hidden Lake in Cambridge.

Four busloads of Australian tourists arrived in Cambridge on Sunday, but the town didn’t roll out the red carpet for the first overseas visitors in over two years – because most residents were unaware they were coming.

The New South Wales contingent included four under 14 hockey teams and their families who filled up Hidden Lake Hotel, The Podium and boarders’ rooms at St Peter’s School.

The four buses arrive at Hidden Lake in Cambridge.

After arriving from Matamata, where they visited Hobbiton, and before booking into their hotels, the four buses and their 200 plus occupants parked up outside the Town Hall where they could be seen eating takeaways on the steps of the hall and the iSite.

One parent spoken to by The News said she thought it was strange but understood New Zealand closed on Sunday afternoons.

Also in town were their opponents and families from around New Zealand for the first Go Hockey Under 14 Anzac Challenge at the St Peter’s School Hockey Centre. They arrived the previous day. In all more than 500 people were attending the tournament.

Go Hockey owner Brent Edwards admitted to The News he stuffed up by not letting the town’s information centre know they were coming.

“We didn’t think about that,” he said. “But wait till you hear about our future plans. We’re coming back.”

The company intends running three tournaments in Cambridge next year with similar numbers for the first two and teams from Holland, Belgium South Africa and Australia for the third one, an international challenge tournament, in July.

Liz Stolwyk

Liz Stolwyk

Deputy mayor and former Destination Cambridge manager Liz Stolwyk described the arrival of the first significant number of overseas tourists in two years as a “missed opportunity.”

“What a shame, we would have put out the welcome mat, rolled out the red carpet.

“This is a wake up call for us, we’ve got to get better.”

Stolwyk now manages Mighty River Domain at Lake Karāpiro which hosts hundreds of events every year.

She maintains an events’ calendar which feeds into the Destination Cambridge one. That means retailers, businesses and accommodation outlets all know what events – and how many tourists – are due in town.

Kelly Bouzaid

Cambridge Chamber of Commerce chief executive Kelly Bouzaid said she would remind members of the importance of letting people know about events taking place in the district.

“We can’t miss out on these opportunities,” she said.

Edwards reassured The News he would tap into the Cambridge network for future tournaments and said local restaurants and eateries had benefited from the current tournament which ended yesterday.

Henry Richards from the Australian Joeys team sets off on attack.





More Recent News

Quarries – where they are in Waipā

Feedback from businesses on the proposed quarry just outside Cambridge’s eastern boundary has prompted the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce to open its one-minute survey to residents so the chamber can get a clearer community view…

A couple of servers

Waipā couple Ken and Karen Morris, pictured with the Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro at Government House in Wellington last week when they received Queen Service Medals (QSM) for their services to the community. The Cambridge…

New church berm blessed

A new memorial berm at St Stephen’s Church, Tamahere, is a nod to the past as well as the future. The church, built in 1970 following a night of arson which saw three churches attacked…

New code for councillors

A new Code of Conduct to keep tabs on elected members’ behaviour has been adopted by Waipā District Council. The biggest change from the previous one adopted in November 2020 is an independent process to…