Hororata Highland Games draws crowd of thousands from around Canterbury

There were cabers flying and kilts in abundance in Canterbury on Saturday at the Hororata Highland Games.

The event brought more than 10,000 visitors from across New Zealand to get a taste of Scotland in their own backyard.

"We've got 20 bands this year, that's nearly every band in the South Island, biggest number of bands we've ever hosted," Hororata Community Trust Trustee Mark Stewart said.

Haggis, hats and Highland dancing were all on display.

"Some of the big strongman competitions, the crowds go wild when that happens," said Stewart.

And visitors are encouraged to get involved too.

Caber tossing was used in military campaigns as a way to form bridges across ice-cold streams, these days it is used more in competition.

This year's games have a special connection to the area's history - as the games' chieftain - or leader - is a descendant of one of Hororata's settlers.

And the first local to hold the role.

"I'm a descendant of John Hall, John Hall was a pioneer settler, but he's most remembered for being an advocate for the women's suffrage movement," chieftain Kate Foster said.

Foster has been carrying on tradition at the domain.

"We held races here very early on. There was a race track, people would come here from Christchurch on the train to Coalgate and walk to the racetrack and be here for the day's entertainment," Foster said.

The money from this year's event will go towards building a new community hub for the town.