The sound of the gavel at the Tremains Annual Charity Art Auction kicked off their newly established trust tonight.

Hundreds of people flocked through the Hastings Opera House doors to place some bids and drink some wine in support of the Tremains Community Trust.

Founder Simon Tremain said he was pleased with the amount of people who had turned up to celebrate their new charity.

"There is lots on at this time of year so it is often hard to attract people but we are happy with how many came and the 42 sponsors we have. This will be a good base for us to move forward with."

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Mr Tremain said the company created the trust as a way of giving back to the Hawke's Bay community.

"At the end of the day there is a lot in the region but we wanted to direct funds to individuals who are in need of it. We will be very stringent with how the money is used."

He said whether it was a contribution to school fees, some respite for a caring family member or a donation for desperate essentials, it was a way to ease the burden for people who don't normally put their hands up.

"We just hope to make a difference and from the support we have received tonight we should be able to."

Twenty-seven artists donated a range of work to the auction and artwork co-ordinator Natasha Bousfield said everyone was so willing to get behind the charity.

"The response we received from all of the artists was amazing. We get to showcase their work all while supporting a good cause."

Napier artist Martin Poppelwell said he knew how hard it was to get a charity off the ground so did not hesitate to offer his piece, 'Greenback'.

"I picked one of my favourite paintings, as I thought it would feel at home with what the auction and trust was about. I have an interest in the community and want to help build charities like this."

Nominations for grants from the trust opened last night but they could only be third party.

Mr Tremain said he had formed a strong panel to decide the grants, which included Henare O' Keefe, Tracee Te Huia, Shannon Tawhiti, Linda Creighton, Kiki Abel and himself.

"We want to make sure the money goes to the right people and for the right things," he said.

The final day to nominate someone is December, 19.

"The art auction is just the start of our charitable fund, which will give back to individuals around Hawke's Bay."