An integral part of Central Otago’s folklore, the tradition of curling was transported in the late 1880’s by Scottish immigrants to New Zealand for entertainment during the region’s cold winters. In recent years the enterprising folk of the Maniototo have worked together to establish New Zealand’s only Olympic standard indoor curling facility in Naseby. The rink is open year round for anyone to have a try at what is often referred to as ‘the Roaring Game’. In fact some of New Zealand’s most skilled representative curlers are from this region and can often be seen training on the ice.
At Maniototo Curling International you can take part in a one-hour ‘Have a Go’ game where you’ll receive tuition in curling, as well as the necessary stones, brooms and ice time. This is your chance to try one of Central Otago’s oldest and most iconic winter sports.
The art of curling requires no significant strength, and is easy to master. Visitors new to curling first sit down in the warm viewing lounge to watch a brief DVD about curling and the safety aspects involved. After that, you head down to the ice rink for some curling fun!
Skill, cunning and good sportsmanship are the keys to success. As you slide the 20kg granite stone down the ice the tension rises as your team mates brush the ice to urge the stone towards its target. Will it get there or will your opponents’ determined sweeps steer it from your chosen course?
And if you are very lucky and the winter conditions are right, a ‘Bonspiel’ (Curling Tournament on natural ice dams) is an experience not to be missed. The hum of the stones vibrating through the ice, the shout of the curlers, and the noise of the 20 kg granite stones as they hit together, all in the open air frozen atmosphere is surreal. A Bonspiel does not happen every winter – only in those years where the natural ice is frozen to a thickness of 6 inches or more. So if you are in Central Otago when the call goes out, make sure you take the time to go and see this amazing spectacle!