Friday, July 8, 2022

Deer industry celebrated

Elk and wapiti enthusiasts had plenty to bugle about at the inaugural Wapiti Celebration and Velvet Competition.

At Te Anau Events Centre on January 26, the Elk and Wapiti Society (EWS) and the Fiordland Deer Farmers Association joined forces to organise the sell-out event with the objective of attracting more velvet and hard antler competitors and generally showcasing the industry.

A $4000 prize pool included a $2000 lucky draw for all competition entrants, won by Garth Free; a $1000 cash prize for the best new competitor entrant, won by Murray Hagen; and $1000 for the best antler art, won by 19-year-old Otago university student Brianna Smith. An auction of donated prizes ranging from romantic getaways to straws of elk and wapiti semen raised just under $10,000, some of which will be used for EWS research looking at ways to improve AI in elk and wapiti.

Co-organiser and EWS president Dave Lawrence was delighted with how the event went.

“While it was a ‘Celebration of Wapiti’ it was also a showcase of the deer industry – velvet, venison and deer hide. The velvet plus the new innovations of antler art and fashion show were well received.”

He said the future of the event would be decided following a debrief.

The EWS Champion of Champions was for a three-year-old head from Nepia (Tikana) weighing in at 13.86kg. The win was particularly noteworthy for a three-year-old, co-judge Tony Pearse said, and more so because it was 2kg heavier than any previous entry in that age category.

Last year’s Champion of Champions winner Tom May (Mayfield) produced the Reserve Champion with Mojo, a six-year-old bull who cut 20.34kg. 

Section results:

  • Two- year-old: Nelson 6.3kg (Tikana)
  • Three-year-old:  Nepia 13.86kg (Tikana)
  • Four-year-old: Solomon 10.98kg (Raincliff Station)
  • Five-year-old: Sebastian 14.39kg (Tikana)
  • Open Supreme: Mojo 20.34kg (Mayfield). 

A collection of deer leather garments by Southland avant-garde fashion designer Terzann Elliot (front centre) modelled by local talent had a loosely medieval-Goth overtone and featured cuffs, collars, capes and headwear. The 31-year-old designer and model has a studio in Invercargill and takes on a range of projects in the fashion and film industry. Southland country born and bred Terzann loves the high-pressure hype and glamour world but is equally at home hunting and high-country mustering. At home in the small township of Kingston, at the foot of Lake Wakatipu, she is a member of the local fire brigade and a sometimes gun-wielding Kingston Flyer bandit.

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