Scores of hopeful pilgrims flocked to Hastings over the weekend after alleged healing-powers on Percival Road were made public last week.
Though the site of the proposed Regional Sports’ Park has yet to have its first sod turned, talk of its salubrious qualities sparked a 5-kilometre long procession that began at the base of Te Mata Peak (pictured), and shuffled its way quietly west down Omahu Road.
Some carried elderly relatives, others brought their aged pets, many hugged photos of sick loved ones.
Yet confusion still surrounds the wellspring, with many pilgrims believing “lifeforce” to be found in the site’s artesian water, while others claim local shaman and project manager Sam Kelt is to thank for the health-giving qualities, which include lowered obesity, fewer suicides, an increase in life expectancy and a dramatic drop in Playstation sales.
Among the 4,000-strong crowd, former gold-medal track cyclist Glen Thomson told us a career-ending crash in 1997 forced him to “seek comfort on the couch”. “I started drinking, tagging, stacked on 58 kilograms and operated a P-lab,” he said. “In those days there wasn’t a facility that specialised in reinvigorating obese ex-velodrome cyclists with self-esteem issues.”
Protocol dictates that visitors must walk anti-clockwise twice around the proposed site, before the secret is revealed via a personal audience with Mr Kelt, whom many are now comparing to Indian mystic Deepak Chopra. “The word Sam means ‘shadows’, the word Kelt ‘he who disperses them’. Because of the power to disperse darkness, Sam Kelt is thus named,” one pilgrim told us.
“The park is a Mecca in embryo, now its only desire is to be born,” said a buoyant Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule.
Mr Yule also confirmed Health Minister David Cunliffe would not be reconstituting the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board should the sports’ park go ahead, “so confident is he that the province can now save itself from itself.”