Handbags plus charity equal great night

By Katie Holland


Handbags, bubbly and a great cause made for the perfect girls' night out in Rotorua last night.

About 150 women (and a few brave men) turned out to enjoy the second annual Handbag Heaven at The Blue Baths - Dress for Success Rotorua's major fundraiser.

Colleagues Jo Harvey and Abby Traill were among those who combined supporting a great charity with the opportunity to nab a designer handbag for a bargain.

Miss Traill didn't waste any time, placing an opening bid of $15 on one of the 80 new and pre-loved handbags donated by local and national stores for the silent auction.

"I would pay $40 ... but I could go to $50," she laughed, as the pair checked out the bags dangling from the ceiling.

Mrs Harvey said a friend had told them about Dress for Success, which helped women get into the workforce by providing them with appropriate interview/work clothing and advice.

"It's a good charity to support," she said. "And we love handbags so one plus one equalled be there."

Throughout the silent auction guests were entertained by Tina Cross, who performed a Whitney Houston tribute, and enjoyed a sneak peek of The Blue Baths' next major production, 1958.

One of the highlights of the evening was the live auction of 15 designer bags, including a Louis Vuitton donated by Jo Seager and a Prada from Peta Mathias. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa also parted with one from her handbag collection.

Organiser Melanie Short said she was delighted with the turnout at the event, which was double that of last year.

"We're grateful to Rotorua - [Handbag Heaven] is something a bit different," she said. "We love that it's a night out for the ladies."

She said she hoped to raise $10,000 from the evening, with 100 per cent going to the local Dress for Success, which helped 80 Rotorua women last year.

"Dress for Success is strong in Rotorua but it can be even stronger," she said. "We're looking to provide more, give more."

To volunteer or make a donation go to dressforsuccess.org/rotorua.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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