Harris sketch raises $1000 for rape prevention group

By Patrice Dougan

A sketch of Radio Hauraki's 1993 hosts by sex offender Rolf Harris was on offer in the auction.
A sketch of Radio Hauraki's 1993 hosts by sex offender Rolf Harris was on offer in the auction.

A rape prevention organisation is set to receive a $1000 boost after an original sketch by disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris was sold at auction today.

The sketch of former Radio Hauraki breakfast show hosts Mark Perry, Dean Lonergan and Leah Panapa sold for $805 on Trade Me when bidding closed earlier today, and Mr Perry, who listed the sketch, has vowed to round the cash up to $1000.

All money raised from the auction will go to Rape Prevention Education.

Kim McGregor, executive director of the organisation, said she had thanked Mr Perry for the money, and described his extra top up as a "generous contribution".

"I think that's wonderful that we can put it to the prevention of harmful sexual behaviour and prevention of sexual violence, which is quite appropriate given the crimes that Rolf Harris has committed," she said.

Receiving funds raised from the sale of artwork created by a convicted sex offender was in a "similar vein" as the charity receiving money from the Ministry of Justice raised from the $50 offenders levy, she said.

The money will go towards RPE's youth programme, Body Safe, which targets teenagers aged 13-18-years-old, she said.

Broadcaster Mr Perry said he was "rapt" by how much money the auction raised.

"From day one when it was not moving I thought, 'oh well, I'll buy it for $500 myself and ceremoniously burn it'. But I'm glad it didn't have to come to that," he said.

The auction had "caused a bit of flack", he said, with negative reactions posted on the bidding page. But overall "the positives definitely outweigh the negatives".

"It was going to a good cause, it was definitely not for personal gain. It was a way of flicking it on and getting some money [for charity]."

He had spoken to the successful bidder, who wanted to remain anonymous, he said.

A CD of the interview in which Harris made the sketch will also be sent to the buyer, after Mr Perry unearthed old tapes of the former breakfast show last week.

Harris penned the sketch on an A4 piece of paper during an interview at Radio Hauraki while on a 1993 promotional tour.

It was put up for auction by Mr Perry last week after Harris was convicted of sex offences in the UK.

Harris was sentenced to five years and nine months in jail for 12 sexual assaults on four young female victims.

The auction closed at 10.56am today, with more than 30 bids and 3500 page views.

Last week Mr Perry said he was encouraged by friends to auction the artwork after he posted a photograph of it on Facebook with the caption, 'does anyone want it to start a fire?'. Friends suggested he could use it as a charity fundraiser.

- APNZ

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