You know what really messes up the end of some great times on a tropical island?

Laryngitis, a chest infection and a nasty cut on the bottom of your foot from climbing over rocks to get the perfect sunrise pic.

Doing it for the 'Gram. Don't worry, guys, I got the pic. So that's all right then.

Tonga was a time and a half!


If you've never been then you're missing out on what a tropical island is like without all the tourist palaver.

Raw, fun and sun that's not as harsh as the Bay's. And it's less than a three-hour flight away. See you there, then!

I'll spare you though, I realise other people's holiday/tropical island experiences have similar tolerance levels in your brain as David Seymour's dance moves on Dancing with the Stars. I'll spare you the details and awkward shots of me in a singlet/topless on a golden sand beach. Just imagine a human with all the class and grace of Big Bird, the nonchalant finesse of a whale stranded in the shallows and the skin colouring/consistency of blackboard chalk and you're on the Pa'anga (Tongan money)!

So why not whack on a penguin suit and front to the Ladies' Charity Luncheon with three hours' sleep under my belt and a voice resembling a shovel being dragged over gravel.

I've never been so glad I put my first world problems in check and turned up to be part of the 'Bond Boys'. There were close to 50 of us who, for a princely $250 per gentleman, got allocated to be man-servants for a table of ladies for the day.

None of it was about us, none of it was about the 1000 ladies there having a great time on the wines and bidding away. It wasn't even about the brilliant speeches from Miriama Smith and Suzy Heazlewood. But seriously, if you get a chance to hear them speak in the future you owe it to your very soul to attend that event. Or if you've ever witnessed the horrible and negative power of other people's cruel words on someone they don't even know. Those two women are true queens of their craft and determination to overcome.

What it is about is the $200,000 that was raised over the afternoon to support two of the most important resources we have in the Bay: Waipuna Hospice and Mt Maunganui Lifeguard Service. They get $100k each. That's a lot of sausages that now don't need to be sizzled for them.

Literally life changing/saving for so many people that don't even know it yet.


Leona and Wendy, the organisers of the Ladies' Charity Luncheon, are clearly heroes.

If you ever want someone to do a charity auction, where the bidders are 1000 women who have had a couple of drinks, then get Grant Child from Eves. If he can get that room mildly under control and furiously bidding, imagine what he's like in a room full of sober people when he's selling property. It really is an art form.

Once again, I dropped my gold bowtie back to the Bond Boy panic room (where we went to hide if things got too much for our innocent wee dispositions) around 5pm when the entertainment started and didn't even look back to see if the 'gazelle to the lions' of a Bond Boy in his early 20s that had inadvertently strayed on to the dance floor had made it out alive. The kids have to learn somehow, right? See you there next year.

• Will Johnston is the local 9am-3pm host for The Hits Bay of Plenty 95FM. He's also a celebrant and MC