This article was first published in the Tararua Tramper in August 1999 Winter Solstice Party at Waerenga Hut Wednesday 23 June 1999 The trip list said it was our last chance to celebrate a winter solstice before the millennium. We knew it could also be our last chance to experience one of Edith's popular events at Waerenga with the entertainment (Edith's surprise), a visit from Julifer and a pot luck feast.
50-60 walked the Five Mile, sustained by jellybeans at various sustenance points. We crossed the chilly but very low Orongorongo River and made our way up to Waerenga. Inside, plates of food sat on top of each other, the table unable to cope. The two enormous pavlovas had to sit on the bench until space was available. Outside we enjoyed talking to friends, some of whom we'd not seen for a while and some for whom it was their first Edith Winter Solstice. How could they have stayed away?
Lunch was announced, and there was soon plenty of room on the table for the pavs. "How on earth did they get here?" was heard (it was thanks to Edith's loyal helper - Keena).
Then back out into the warm sunshine for the Best Dressed competition: "clothes for the Y2K tramper" and "clothes in bad taste for the tramper". The main theme for Y2K seemed to be protection from polluted air and hi-tech communications. Julifer (Einer Jensen) was prepared for <U>Y3K</U> with his own canisters of air and breathing apparatus, and red crash helmet under his Santa cap. Most unsuitable for tramping was a 1950s layered frilly lace petticoat and a military mess jacket sporting three pips, set off by a hat decorated with red and white roses, which blended admirably with the blue of the jacket.
Janet Andrews and Pam Hansen, attired in silver survival tunics and multicoloured foil strip wigs adjudicated, assisted by Doff Gentry. Every entry received a lucky dip prize.
Then came the presentations. A thank you to Edith for organising fourteen winter solstice celebrations and a gift for Pat Crosby from Edith for twisting her arm for the last 2-3 years.
Before we departed, Jan Heine of HVTC read a poem she'd written:
To cavort on mid-winter day.
They came with glee to make amends
With summer that's on its way.
They trotted 'cross the 5-mile track,
They crossed the Orongo cold and rude.
They trotted on, no looking back,
Because they hoped for lots of food.
They ate, they drank, they laughed real well,
All on this sunny day.
But before too long, it was - oh hell -
Time to return to workaday.
We thank you Edith for this chance
To have such fun together,
And we hope that you've had time to glance
At your wonderful weather.
Marjorie Gee - scribe.