Last Thursday billionaire philanthropist Jillian Friedlander held a stunning gathering at her grand Remuera home, to mark 130 years of Women’s Suffrage. Act Deputy leader and Tāmaki candidate Brooke van Velden took a break from her street corner meetings in the Eastern suburbs to speak at one of the most stylish lunches of the political season.
Van Velden fitted in well, wearing Act’s signature pink for the lunch, as she did when she helped to collect rubbish at Ōkahu Bay earlier this month as part of Clean Up Week.
Friedlander doesn’t do things by halves. The pink-themed al fresco lunch event was overflowing with beautiful fresh-cut spring flowers. No detail was spared: menus specially created by Passion for Paper, stunning candles, pink napkins with gold ring holders, and beautiful Italian porcelain plates from the Ginori 1735 collection from luxury department store Faradays, wine and cheese from Maison Vauron.
Spy hears the female-only guest list from business and charity powerhouses came from a variety of walks of life. Robust debate took place where all were able to take away empowering messages to share with their own circles, to help make change.
“A wonderful afternoon having conversations that matter with Kiwi women. This week was 130 years of Women’s Suffrage, a marker we can all be proud of, and it’s great to hear how women are continuing to empower other women. Thank you for the opportunity to share a few thoughts on my vision for NZ today too, “she wrote on Instagram.
Van Velden told Spy: " I’ve attended many private gatherings in the past few weeks in people’s homes. These range from neighbourhood get-togethers to charity fundraisers. I’ve been open to meeting new people and appreciate Kiwis opening their homes to me.”
Act leader David Seymour isn’t just kissing babies on the campaign trail. Last weekend he put himself up for auction for a lunch date to help Eat Drink Pink fundraise for awareness for breast cancer initiatives.
Keeping things in the pink, Seymour graduated from Act’s pink campaign bus, nicknamed Big Pinky and on Tuesday took his inaugural flight in Flying Pinky, a piloted plane given to Seymour by one of his supporters.
Other cottage meetings-of-note, hosted by multi-millionaires this political season include three by Gilda Kirpatrick, who has hosted all three parties of the right, NZ First - with leader Winson Peters, Act- with leader David Seymour and National - with Tāmaki MP Simon O’Connor. Co-CEOs of Tend Health - Cecilia and James Robinson also hosted National leader Christopher Luxon last month.