The champagne was flowing and the bidding was fierce at last night's Rotorua Supper Club, with the event raising more than $53,000 for charity.
One of the most hotly contested auction lots, a four-day trip to Adelaide, was claimed by Rotorua's Euan and Joanne Campbell who paid $9500 for the luxury walking holiday.<inline type="photogallery" id="12554" align="outside" embed="no" />
While they were looking forward to their first visit to Adelaide, Mr Campbell said their main motivation had simply been to support the cause - the Ronald McDonald Family Retreat at Ngongotaha. "It's a great cause and a great night," he said.
Organiser Linley Parry said she had been blown away by the generosity of all the bidders during the evening, including the Campbells.
"I can't believe [the holiday] got to that," she said. The trip was valued between $9000-$10,000.
The glittering event was Rotorua at its very best, with locals digging deep for the cause and in some cases paying more than an item's value.
However it was an Aucklander, Sandy Moore, who shelled out $1200 for a $1000 McDonald's voucher - he eats at the restaurant once a week but planned to give the vouchers to staff at his advertising agency. Mr Moore also took home an iPad2 and iPhone 4S for $2000, seeing off stiff competition from Rotorua rally driver Sloan Cox.
After the tension of the auction the tables drew one of 25 restaurants from a hat before proceeding to dinner. One lucky table of eight travelled to the lakeside retreat for a six-course meal prepared by Masterchef winner Nadia Lim, after bidding $2700 for the privilege.
Organiser Rob Parry thanked the guests at the Novotel Lakeside reception, saying their continued generosity had made a real difference. He also thanked local tourism operators for giving the families that stayed at the retreat memories to last forever. Last night's event raised $53,108 for the retreat, which costs $60,000 a year to run, surpassing last year's total by more than $20,000.