The Donkey & Mule Society of NZ (Inc.)

Inaugural International Day of The Donkey October 7, 2006

Meeanee, Hawkes Bay

By Gabrielle Harper.

Via the magazine I would like to thank Susan our Hawkes Bay Area Delegate and Steve Rogerson for inviting us to gather at their property, Parson's Road, Meeanee for the first International Donkey Day. A well-fenced enclosure in front of their new home provided a most suitable venue for the days events.

On a beautiful sunny Hawkes Bay day reinforcements arrived on cue to assist with loading Biggles. He walked in perfectly, however Phoebe was quickly bundled in with no time for second thoughts. This was her first big outing and we were leaving her mother at home.

We arrived at Meeanee an hour early to find our hosts well organized and ready to start the activities. Humphrey, Whoopy, Billy Brown, Sparky Tony, Patches and Harry were waiting to welcome the visitors.

A challenging obstacle course had been set out in the paddock and markers placed in readiness for games. In the garage/laundry information on Donkey Welfare, Hoof Care and magazines were on display. Members had generously donated three great raffles. Continuous morning tea and coffee with home-made baking was offered to the visitors on arrival.

The sack race was entertaining. Deirdre Thorsen-Lavery took part with Hyacinth and for a while they were leading. Lunchtime gave us all a well-earned break from the donkey rides and games. It was nice to chat with Maggie McCoward and friends sitting on the veranda in the shade. About eighty supporters called during the day.

Twelve donkeys took part in the morning programme. Jenny Strawbridge travelled from Waipukurau with Fozzy Bear (left) and Heidi. She is always a good sport and showed the children in the Apple Bobbing Competition how to bite the apple floating in the bucket of water without using her hands! There were some very wet kids. Most of whom were unfamiliar with these old games. I'm not sure that Anne Phillips had a boiled egg at lunchtime after the egg and spoon race. Several were squashed in the paddock.

photo right: Gabrielle Harper with Biggles

The afternoon programme was training, long reining and harnessed donkeys gave the children rides. All of the visiting donkeys walked into their floats without any fuss, weary and ready to go home. Maybe the treats on offer helped. Members tidied away the gear and a great day finished with lots of positive thoughts. Non-competitive days are great fun.
What a wonderful day we all shared.

photo below left: Tony the donkey