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Taupo is New Zealand's Top Town

Published: 10:33PM Sunday April 05, 2009 Source: ONE News

The coveted title of New Zealand's Top Town has gone to Taupo.

Fifteen towns from Northland to the bottom of the South Island competed over eight weeks, with Whakatane and Taupo fighting it out in the final. 

The Unison Taupo Lakers had to employ skill, strength, strategy and style to overcome their rivals, on the toughest water obstacle course the country has ever seen.

Fighting for the pride of their community and the all important title of Top Town, the Unison Taupo Lakers are thrilled to have come out on top.

Darrin Gale-O'Donnell aka Mr T/Mr Taupo says Taupo's winning ingredient was that the team had fun and worked well together.

"Every member of the Unison Taupo Lakers was in the same boat paddling in the same direction.  Power in numbers, not just in the physical sense but also power of the mind, gave us an edge over our competition," he says.

Competing in the first ever Top Town in 1976, this is only the second time Taupo have taken part in the competition and the first time they have won it. 

Taupo Mayor Rick Cooper commends the team on their hard work.

"I know just how intense the competition was and I think I speak for the whole town when I say we are proud of the team.  Their commitment, athletic competitiveness and team spirit shone through.  Believe me, it was more stressful than it looks on TV and they deserved the win.  They truly have "energy to burn" and represent the essence of Taupo." 

If you missed the final, you can view it here on TVNZ ondemand