After 12 years of hosting the biennial Wildflower Sculpture Exhibition a Hawke's Bay couple say they are "delighted" to have broken not one, but two, records this year.
The event, held at the couple's Hastings home for the sixth time, saw a record number of people attend, raising a record amount of $100,000 all in the name of art and charity.
Organiser and host Julie Russell said the donation came from all the profit from entry fees, ticket sales and commission on artworks.
"We're delighted that the effort and work we and all of our fantastic, committed and generous sponsors, team and artists have put into the event is paying such a significant dividend to Cranford Hospice," Russell said.
"The last exhibition yielded $70,000 for Cranford, so to have a big increase like this is really heartening. In putting on an event of this size, we ask a lot of our team – which is made up of our family and friends, so I'm sure they'll take heart from this too."
During the five days more than 7000 people visited Round Pond Garden, at the home of the Mike and Julie Russell, where they experienced a field of wildflowers in full bloom, the architectural Mediterranean landscape and the outdoor exhibition, which this year featured more than 80 artists from around New Zealand.
Two evening events – the Exhibition Preview and Wildflower Sculpture at Twilight with Midlife Crisis – added to the festivities and the number of people enjoying this unique spring fundraiser.
The Saturday of the exhibition saw the Youth Training Orchestra playing on the main lawn plus face-painting and balloon animals for the younger members of the audience, and refreshments flowed throughout the garden for the duration of the event.
"We love being able to offer what we can as a family and a community of people to help the Cranford Hospice team deliver the caring and compassionate – and essential – service they provide for Hawke's Bay," says Mrs Russell.
"It's a wonderful cause, very dear to many Hawke's Bay families, and this donation, plus the fun we saw so many people having during the exhibition have been the big highlights.
"Kids swinging on the maypole, artists chatting with buyers, people delighting in the wildflowers and engaging with the sculptures, it was fantastic. We're looking forward to doing it all again in 2020."
Cranford Hospice marketing and fundraising manager Sheena Revington said the biennial exhibition provided a showcase of the best of Hawke's Bay.
"The event is a combination of incredible vision, outstanding talent, beautiful landscaping, and the 'roll your sleeves up' attitude that our community has when it comes to supporting one another. Thank you to the Russell Family and to all those that made this possible.
"Every day Cranford Hospice is supporting 200 patients and their families living in Hawke's Bay. The funds raised from the Wildflower Sculpture Exhibition will ensure that we can continue to do this."
More than 70 per cent of artwork for sale sold during the exhibition, providing excellent paydays for the artists involved, as well as for Cranford Hospice.
The Wildflower Sculpture Exhibition is a sister event of the Hospice Holly Trail and the Hawke's Bay Wine Auction, which took place during the same week and also fundraise for Cranford Hospice.