Significant birthdays are always a good excuse to get dressed up and have a bit of a celebration!
So as part of the Arrowtown Community’s ‘Gold 150’ celebrations during Labour weekend this year, the Arrowtown Chinese Settlement was spruced up, repaired, swept out and generally treated to a bit of a face lift so she was looking her best for her part in the event.
The main event on Saturday October 20 was attended by most of the population of
Arrowtown, and a good number of visitors as well! DOC Wakatipu’s involvement in the celebrations mainly revolved around the Chinese Settlement.
We have been working away for several months on Chinese translations of the existing interpretation panels on site, so that they were ready for the big unveiling by the Chinese Consul-General from Christchurch, Madam Tan. This gave us a great opportunity to forge new relationships with Otago’s Chinese community and open up the site to a whole new audience.
The DOC ‘Historic Boys’ (Jim, Stephen and Richard) had a full few days in the Settlement prior to the celebrations; cleaning, sweeping, repairing, re-seeding and generally making the old girl look habitable again – including the complete re-build of the chimney on Old Tom’s hut which chose to fall over in high winds 2 weeks before the celebrations – fab job boys, it looks as good as new!
On the big day, DOC were involved in everything from marshalling crowds, to making sure the NZ Army band were in the right place at the right time.
The lawn in front of Ah Lum’s store provided the perfect site for 16,000 Chinese crackers to go off, before Madam Tan officially unveiled the new interpretation panels and the crowds were let loose to see the Chinese Village Theatre.
What with all that, the re-enactment of finding gold on the banks of the Arrow, the Army band, the craft market, the food stalls, the classic car parade, a beard-growing competition and about 150 other things going on in Arrowtown, it was a great weekend and a community event well worth being part of!