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Oturehua residents and visitors finished 2020 with a bang.

Dunedin man Alistair Broad, who holidays in the Central Otago town, treated the Oturehua Domain as his own Cape Canaveral when he launched rockets on New Year’s Eve, much to the awe of spectators.

Mr Broad is a regular at Oturehua’s New Year’s Eve party, where his rocket launchings have become a tradition.

He sources the rocket components overseas, mainly from America, and constructs them at his home.

While they can be reused they do have a lifespan, he said.

‘‘Probably, the average life of a rocket, or in my hands anyway, is between three to five flights before there’s an incident.’’

In some cases, the O-ring fails, the rocket blows up or is ‘‘blown away literally in the wind’’.

They can also get lost in tree tops and paddocks.

However, there are always plenty of people keen to scour Oturehua for the components following a launch on New Year’s Eve.

Those who do find components are rewarded.

Mr Broad, who has had rockets for 30 years, said recovery was not always an easy task.
‘‘I’ve always retrieved them, but sometimes it’s years later.’’

It is for that reason he has labelled each rocket with his phone number, so it can be returned by the person who found it.

Lift off . . . One of Alistair Broad’s rockets showcasing its capabilities in Oturehua. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/ALISTAIR BROAD
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