Oyster opener claims eighth title28 May
Early season Bluff oyster prices driven by “insatiable” demand06 March
Bluff oysters in short supply after ‘chaos’03 March
First Bluff oysters expected today02 March
First oysters of the season arrive in Bluff01 March
Oysters the order of the day as connoisseurs flock from afar22 May
The battle for the Bluff oyster gets under way for the 2017 season01 March
Big crowds and tight squeezes at the 2016 Bluff Oyster and Food Festival21 May
Bluff oysters in the blood of many Southlanders05 March
Transport World to open pop up oyster bar for start of oyster season01 March
Oyster-lovers get prepared26 February
Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters to feature in NZ Post TV ad19 August
Bluff oyster quota achieved after stormy season10 August
Bluff oyster fleet on home stretch02 July
Bluff Oyster Fest 2015 - Results26 May
Oyster Fest a huge success25 May
Oyster openers prepare to compete21 May
Oyster season on track despite poor weather01 May
VIDEO: Surveying the fishery19 March
Changing times05 March
VIDEO: ONE NEWS - Opening of Bluff Oyster Season01 March
VIDEO: 3 News - Oyster lovers rejoice as season begins01 March
Oyster lovers get their orders in27 February
New look for Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters19 February
22 May / Janette Gellatly
Oyster connoisseurs from around the world converged on the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival to consume the delicacy on Saturday.
Whether they were au naturel, succulent and juicy, dressed in batter, Kilpatrick or a variety of other ways, more than 20,000 oysters were consumed, Bluff promotions officer Lindsay Beer said.
An estimated 4500 people flocked to enjoy the food and be entertained by music and oyster-opening and oyster-eating races.
Mr Beer said 75% of patrons came from outside Southland, some from as far away as Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and China.
Two charter flights from Auckland and one from Wellington transported about 450 people to Invercargill before they were bussed to the festival and other attractions in the area, including Transport World and Invercargill Brewery.
Not only oysters were in demand at the 13 festival food stalls; many other delicacies such as muttonbirds, kina, pork belly, venison, scallops and crayfish delighted festival-goers.
Mr Beer said the crowd had been ‘‘great’’ and everyone had had a good time.
Retired All Black Mils Miliaina was one of the competitors who consumed 10 oysters during the men’s oyster-eating race.
However, it was Daryl MacDonald, from Blenheim, who won the men’s race, for the second year running, while Kathryn Gifkins, of Inglewood, Taranaki, won the women’s race.
Shane Wixon, of Ngai Tahu Seafoods, won the men’s oyster-opening, shucking 50 in 2min 36sec. In the women’s section, Vic Pearsey, of Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters, made it seven years winning in a row when she opened 50 oysters in 2min 43sec.
Mr Wixon also won the blindfold oyster-opening race, opening 10 in 34.2sec.
Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters’ team of four won the oyster-opening relay event, shucking 20 each in 5min 16sec.
Mr Beer especially thanked all the volunteers who had grappled with Friday’s weather and turned up on the Saturday to set up and man the festival site.