For the first time in the event's 27-year history, the big prize in this year's Daffodil Day baby photo competition in Kaitaia has gone to a youngster living outside the Far North.

Whiria Henry, who has strong family connections in the Far North, wasn't at Friday's prizegiving, and organiser Krystal Taaffe wasn't especially surprised.

"He lives in Auckland," she said, adding that he had travelled to Kaitaia to have his photo taken before the city was locked down again. And he had "come out of nowhere," she said, sailing past Millie Waka and TeRiki-Jade Ruawhare, who had led for most of the competition, to take out section 1 and the overall prize for the most money raised.

Whiria and his supporters raised $1741, Millie $1103 and TeRiki-Jade $545.


Mahlia Doak-Taua won section 2 with $1347, Summer-Jean Vela second with $1340, Alana Morrogh third with $650, while Penelope Butters won section 3 with $225, Mairangi Yates second with $200, and Lilla-Anne Emery third with $135.

The competition raised $10,363.20 for the Cancer Society Northland, and Taaffe was absolutely delighted.

"We were hoping to raise $5000," she said, which was seen as a possibly optimistic target given the Covid-19 restrictions, the tough times many people were facing, and concerns that some parents might had had about taking their babies to Rip Curl in Kaitaia to have their photos taken.

Those fears were unfounded though, with more than enough babies taking part, and strong support from sponsors within the local business community.

"We were worried about that too," Taaffe said.

"Things are tough for a lot of people at the moment, and we hesitated to ask for sponsorship, but everyone was very generous. Some gave us way more than we expected."

Lisa Jones, from Far North REAP, which once again co-ordinated Daffodil Day activities and fundraising for the Cancer Society, said Covid-19 had not made the job any easier, but she too was most gratified by the response from all quarters.

"We had to think outside the square," she said, "but we have had a great response." That included online donations, which as of Friday had surpassed $3000.


Every dollar raised in the Far North would be returned to Northland, she added, although the region also benefited from support from the society in Auckland, whose contribution ensured that the support cancer patients and their families often needed was available.