The theme of The Mackenzie is an ode to the history of this awe-inspiring location. In 1855, Scottish shepherd James Mackenzie came across this incredible district while trying to hide flocks of sheep that he had rustled with the help of his loyal dog Friday. He was eventually captured, and rumour has it that his border collie, Friday, continued to drive the flocks of sheep even without his owner.
What happened to James Mackenzie after his capture rivals any movie plot. After his initial capture he managed to escape, walking 100 miles to Lyttelton before being recaptured. Over the next months he escaped multiple times, eventually being put in irons. After finally being sentenced to hard labour for 5 years, he only served 9 months before being pardoned due to an apparent miscarriage of justice. Upon release James set sail for Australia and that is the last we know of what became of this legendary outlaw.
The iconic dog statue in Lake Tekapo is a tribute to all our working dogs, and sits proudly overlooking the lake. The Mackenzie District is named after the legendary outlaw, James Mackenzie, and The Mackenzie race pays tribute to all the legendary shepherds and farmers that have nurtured this district ever since.
The Mackenzie race is a resurrection of a past event organised by Peter and Margaret Munro. The 'around Lake Tekapo' bike race attracted up to 1500 competitors back in its day, and saw riders loop the lake early in the winter months.
With a new team organising this event, and with the support of the Lake Tekapo community and the previous organisers, The Mackenzie has been born.