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The pull of history ... Celebrate Enfield organiser Samantha Owles, holds two national tug of war trophies dating back to 1916, won by the Enfield team. PHOTO: ASHLEY SMYTH

When Enfield woman Samantha Owles started looking into the history of her house, she found a reason to celebrate.

The small North Otago town to which she had moved in 2018 and grown to love, was turning 145.

While preparing to renovate her home, Miss Owles looked at the title of the property, and linked it to a map dating back to 1876, which showed the original subdivision from which the town was created.

According to From Teanaraki to Enfield, written by Enfield historian and longtime resident Lindsay Malcolm, landowner James Lees and his family had decided to subdivide some of their farm land for the site of the town.

The township had originally been called Teanaraki, but was changed to Enfield in 1878. Mr Lees had also donated land for the Teanaraki school, which retained its name until 1957, and is now operating as The Old School Enfield bed and breakfast.

‘‘You can see from that map, they split it up into far more sections than actually exist now for houses, so they thought that it would grow, but it didn’t in the end,’’ Miss Owles said.

After realising 2021 was a milestone year for the town, she decided it was the perfect opportunity to bring the community together to mark the occasion, and plans began for Celebrate Enfield, which will take place at the Enfield Domain tomorrow from 10am to 4pm.

‘‘I just thought, ‘oh why don’t we try and celebrate that and do something in the domain . . . and just get the community, especially with everything that’s happening at the moment, it would just be nice if we could all get together and celebrate’.’’

Enfield may be a small town, but it proved mighty when it came to a good old-fashioned tug of war, a team of Enfield men winning national championships in 1916 and 1924.

Strong men . . . The Enfield Tug-of-War Team, winners of the New Zealand Heavyweight Championship in 1924 (average weight 12st 3lbs). The men were (back, from left) J Atkinson, W Wills, D Kinnard (emergency), T Wilkinson, W Ellis; (front, from left) JJ Polson, C Harkness, S McGookin (captain), WA Anderson, J Mulligan.

‘‘So I’ve got the cups out of the hall there, and I’m polishing those up, and I’ve just ordered a new cup, because we’re going to have a tug of war at the weekend, so we can have a new cup for the team that wins.’’

Some of the families of men from the winning teams were still in the area, so part of the day was about revisiting those connections, Miss Owles said.

“Those that live here, some of them don’t know about the history but others do, and people can share information.’’

The domain would be divided into different zones, including a VIP zone for private gazebos to allow for more people under Covid-19 Level 2 restrictions. Masks and hand sanitiser would be available, Ms Owles said.

As well as the tug of war, there would be sack and wheelbarrow races, a bouncy castle, face painting, a bucking bronco, food and craft stalls.

A self-guided tour of the township would be available, with information on the history of different landmarks in the town, as well as a tour of the school at 10am, which was limited to 30 people.

The response from locals had been encouraging. Plenty of family passes had been old, but Miss Owles knew it was hard to plan ahead at the moment.

She hoped even more people would decide to turn up on the day.

People could also enter any of the events on the day, and those hoping to attend were encouraged to keep an eye on the Celebrate Enfield Facebook page in case of postponement due to weather.

UPDATE: This event has been postponed to November 27, due to forecast rain.