The great barrel room at Craggy Range in Havelock North is starting to look like Santa's packing headquarters as gifts begin stacking up and volunteers begin arriving to pack them into festive bags.

All $180,000 worth.

Craggy Range, in association with its supporters and business partners, has created A Childrens Christmas Foundation to support and make a difference to the lives of children across the region who may be experiencing hardship.

The new foundation was launched this week and during its evolution has drawn in a lot of support from the business and sporting sectors, with the foundation collaborating with former All Black stars Richie McCaw and Dan Carter through their iSport charity which is focused on sports gear and promoting outdoor activities.


Which equates to around 1200 scooters, 350 skateboards, 800 rugby balls, 800 basketballs and 200 trikes — as well as 2000 books.

They will all make up 2000 Santa sacks, all marked "Express Delivery from the North Pole", with the contents tailored to age groups from toddlers to teenagers.

They will start being distributed next week.

The inspiration for the creation of the foundation was sparked after Craggy Range featured in an advertising campaign for ASB, which offered a donation to a charity of the winery's choice as a thank-you for its participation in the campaign.

That sparked the setting up of the foundation and business groups and associates began contributing.

"Christmas is a very important time," Craggy Range chief executive Michael Wilding said.

"Christmas is about the kids and we think this will contribute towards a pretty special Christmas for more than 1800 kids in need of support."

He said the foundation had brought on board Ana Apatu, chief executive of the Wharariki Trust, to help co-ordinate the distribution of the gift packs and it was working in with a broad group of charities to reach as many families in need as possible across the community.


"It is really great to see local businesses and individuals coming out to support the community at such an important time, so we are more than happy to help them get the gifts to those kids that need it most," Apatu said.

While some Craggy Range partners had donated money others had offered their services to help generate more funds.

Business expert and Craggy Range ambassador Rob Fyfe is donating his time to present a business workshop while world class chefs Josh Emett and Casey McDonald will be offering in-home cooking classes.

And on the sporting front Dan Carter is putting together plans to come to Hawke's Bay to host a kicking and skills session, with all the proceeds from the events going to the foundation.

There has already been a rugby touch to it with several members of the Magpies squad stopping by, along with local firefighters and Craggy Range staff, to begin packing the more than 5000 gifts into the Santa packs.

Wilding said the response to the initial idea of creating the foundation had been "amazing" and said the winery's vision was to commit to "significantly increasing the reach and impact of this project year on year".