There was literally not a cloud in the clear blue sky and nothing to indicate that the Coast would be hit by a devastating weather bomb a few short weeks later. “The West Coast’s full,” we were told; as well as the wildfoods festival, the Wanaka A&P show was on, one of the very few shows of its type to be blessed with increasing visitor numbers each year. Then there were races at Reefton and the Marchfest beer and music festival in Nelson. So it was not surprising that tents littered the sand dunes and that people young and old thronged downtown Hokitika on the Friday evening prior to the festival. We’d been a bit concerned that there may be noise issues but all we heard that night was the soothing sound of waves crashing on the shore some five blocks away from where we were staying.

Hokitika welcome sign

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This year, 2019, saw the Hokitika wildfoods festival celebrate its 30th anniversary, and Cindy Fleming from Destination Westland told me they were well on track to sell the anticipated 10,000 tickets. “And just look at the weather,” she enthused, pointing to the bright skies.

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