What started as a couple of sausage sizzles in the Hokianga to raise cash for Northland's rescue helicopter service ballooned into a mega fundraiser that raised more than $30,000.
Residents of the rural Waimamaku town kicked off the fundraising events in mid-June after a community health meeting.
They involved two sausage sizzles and numerous raffles followed by the main event on June 26, which by then had hundreds of people and businesses "from the Hokianga and beyond" on board.
So far around $30,000 has been raised to support the Northland Emergency Services Trust, established to provide a dedicated emergency rescue helicopter service for Northlanders.
Organiser Rebekah Land said she was "totally blown away by the amazing generosity of our community".
"In recent months we've been getting together as a community to look at ways we can help ourselves in regard to community health, and identify resources we have because we are so isolated.
"One of the things we use is the helicopter as we have limited access to ambulance services and many hard-to-get to areas, and I thought it would be a good idea to fundraise for that and everyone was supportive.
"I thought we might raise $10,000 and that would be cool. It was incredible how generous people were.
"It resonated with everyone, we all know someone who has used the service."
Land said many of the people involved were "fundraising machines" who lent their skills and talents to the cause.
Hundreds of people and businesses contributed, including those from outside the area who have whānau in the Hokianga.
"We had an amazing committee, a group of people with years of fundraising experience who came together. That was what made it so great, because everyone was so dedicated to it and worked so hard.
"We had people from Waipapa Warehouse and ITM, the Warehouse in Kaikohe, all through Rawene, Waimamaku – it was a Hokianga-wide event.
"Even people from Auckland who have whānau living here wanted to contribute to support their family up here."
The volunteers put up posters advertising the June 26 community event which was MC'd by auctioneer Gilbert Clark and included live music, raffles and live and silent auctions.
The band was father and daughter Tupu and Gabriella Campbell of FnD Campbell Live who played rock 'n' roll for the dance led by the Rawene Dance Club.
An online auction for out-of-towners was posted on social media and had donated items up for grabs, such as a sculpture by a local artist, a coffee machine and a hamper of kids' toys and clothes.
"Our little local hall was full to overflowing," Land said.
"Everyone was able to enjoy a great BBQ with some of the meat donated by Silver Fern Farms Dargaville.
"The people in the kitchen did a fabulous job selling all the donated baking and food, and the ladies at the ticket booth also worked extremely hard all night selling raffle tickets, and telling people all about what was happening."
Significant donations of $5000 were made from Te Roroa Whatu Ora and Manawhenua trusts and another $1000 from Waimamaku Wild West Fest Committee.
Land said a cheque would be presented to the helicopter trust in Whangārei within the next few weeks.
So far this year the rescue helicopter has flown to the Hokianga region 42 times.
Nest general manager Vanessa Furze said the trust was "amazed" at the community fundraiser.
"We feel proud to have such strong local backing of our rescue chopper service and are grateful to those that invest so much of their time organising and running events to raise funds.
"We are undertaking some major projects and the $30,000 donation will be a huge help towards continuing to strive for excellence in patient care.
"We can never thank the Northland Community enough for their ongoing support."