Known for his sausage sizzles, the Mad Butcher will offer himself up for a "roasting" for a good cause next month.

On September 6, Sir Graham Henry, journalist David Hartnell and broadcaster Phil Gifford, along with other prominent New Zealanders, will form Sir Peter Leitch's "roaster panel", giving him a dressing down in front of a live audience at SkyCity Convention Centre.

Made famous by Dean Martin in the 1970s, the tradition of roasting is a mock take on "toasting" a famous guest. Instead of praising guests, hosts light-heartedly insult them and make jokes at their expense.

"It's going to be a big night at my own expense, with my mates all giving it to me, but what better way to support two great charities than a night of fun and laughter", Leitch said.

All proceeds from the event will support the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Auckland's Westpac Rescue Helicopter.


For Murray Bolton, the event will be doubly significant. Not only is he the founding trustee and chairman of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, he has also battled prostate cancer.

"I am clear now, but have certainly been through a bit of a journey in the meantime. It's great that this event, while being a night of laughs, has the added benefit of bringing about awareness for our respective charities."

The event will raise money for Auckland's Westpac Rescue Helicopter. Photo / File
The event will raise money for Auckland's Westpac Rescue Helicopter. Photo / File

Graeme Woodside, chief executive of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, shares Bolton's enthusiasm.

He said the event is about getting people engaged with discussing prostate cancer.

"We could wallow around and have a really serious night talking about prostate cancer, but we're not going to do that. The night is about having fun and I think Sir Peter Leitch is the perfect man for this event. With all the health issues he has faced, he is still able to smile and remain positive."

At age 65, Leitch announced he was battling bladder cancer. He is now in remission.

Woodside believes having a laugh is "essential" to health and wellbeing: "You've got to be able to see the funny side of things".

The Great Charity Roast coincides with the foundation's Blue September appeal, which aims to highlight the dangers of the disease that kills 600 Kiwi men every year.

Because the foundation receives no government funding, the annual campaign is essential to its work supporting prostate cancer sufferers.

As well as the roasting, attendees can participate in an auction.

Among the experiences to be sold, will be an opportunity for up to six people to have a private drink with Prime Minister John Key.

The Great Charity Roast
When and where: 6.30pm, Sep 6, SkyCity Convention Centre
Tickets: Go to A double pass costs $300 or a table for 10 guests costs $1500. All tickets include dinner.
Proceeds: To the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Auckland's Rescue Helicopter Trust.

The Mad Butcher
• Peter Charles Leitch, 72, opened his first butchery in Mangere East in 1971.
• His nickname came about after an incident in a pub where he was called "that f***ing mad butcher" by a patron, and he decided to use it in a radio promotion advertising his shop.
• Leitch is an avid Warriors supporter, ambassador for Allergy New Zealand and the Prostate Foundation, and has sponsored Middlemore Hospital's national burns unit.
• He was awarded the Queen's Service Medal in 1991, and was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2010.
• At age 65, he announced he was battling bladder cancer. He is now in remission.