Forty flags for festival

(Becky Manawatu)

Forty flags will soon flutter over Westport heralding the upcoming Fusion Festival.Buller Reap, New Coasters and the Buller District Council (BDC) made a call in September for flag designs from locals. Yesterday Buller Mayor Garry Howard announced the overall winner and runners-up outside the Clocktower Chambers.

The winner was Ruth Vaega with her flag design inspired by “the marvellous birdlife, the sea and the greeness”.Ms Vaega is an atrist, art teacher at Buller High School and cartoonist for The News. She studied fine arts at the University of Canterbury and is a founding member of the Reefton Art Gallery. To help protect our green enviroment she picks up rubbish from the Orowaiti River every Wednesday.

Runner-up disgners were Jessie Frater and five year old Westport South School student Gus Bailey.Gus and his design was inspired by how much he loves going to the beach with his Dad. The colourful flag pictured “me and Dad at the beach, and Dad is surfing”. Ms Frater said her design was inspired by the monumental aspects – the clocktower, nikau palms, waves and the combination of bush and sea. She spends most of her spare time with the 10 year old son who is a “real water baby”. Both Ms Frater and her son are outdoorsy people, she said.

Mr Howard congratulated all winners on “capturing” the essence of Buller. Mr Howard told Gus he would be able to point out his flag proudly to friends and family and say “That’s my flag!” Mr Howarad thanked Buller River New Coasters co-ordinator Veronica de Friez and BDC employee Haidee Ward for their work on the contest.

The flags will be put up this week Ms de Friez said they would look “fabulous”. All three contestants were given out printed flag to take home.

The Fusion Festival will be held December 9.