A stunning Mount Maunganui coastline at dawn, Papamoa Beach at sunset, the last glimpse of Rena on the Astrolabe before it was cut to below the water line - these photographic images were among items at the seventh annual Bay of Plenty Times/Bethlehem Foundation fundraising dinner and auction held at Tauranga racecourse on Saturday night.
The event raised about $30,000 for the foundation and charity Cystic Fibrosis and gave 180 guests the chance to bid for top photographs taken by Bay of Plenty Times photographers over the past year, as well as other donated items.
The top photo bid of $400 was for an aerial shot of the Mount at dawn, a photo that heralded the launch of the Bay of Plenty Times morning compact issue in March.
Among the items raking in top dollar were $2250 for a guided hunting trip at Poronui, Taupo; $2000 for 10 hours of design consultancy from Urban Lounge; $900 for a spin around Taupo Motorsport Park with Mayor Stuart Crosby behind the wheel - the bidder then upped the offer to $2000 if he could drive Mr Crosby's car himself; and $1800 for a cooking class and dinner for 10 at the French Country House in Pahoia.
The crowd dug deep after a moving speech by Nicola Wakerley, chairperson of the Cystic Fibrosis Association Bay of Plenty Branch, who talked about life with her three children, Jemma 8, Matthew 6, who both have cystic fibrosis, and Sam, 11, who does not have the genetic disease. Mrs Wakerley also referred to the group's sadness at losing of one of their member's sons, 9-year-old William Leitch who died at Tauranga Hospital in January.
Bethlehem Foundation chairman Stephen Tetley-Jones paid tribute to community stalwart, the late Peter Wyatt, who died in February this year. Mr Wyatt worked tirelessly in previous auctions, he said.
Bethlehem Foundation's Luisa Schroder, who managed this year's event said: "I am proud to be part of a great community where local businesses and individuals generously contribute their services, funds and resources towards worthy causes."
Bay of Plenty Times general manager David Mackenzie said the newspaper was delighted at the event's continued success.
"It is a pleasure to support two worthy charities such as the Bethlehem Foundation and Cystic Fibrosis."