Tauranga's ASB Arena was transformed for a night of glitz and glamour, as the 'A Night in Venice' charity ball raised more than $110,000 for local charities.

"I think it brought everything that we have worked really hard for, to fruition," says event organiser Helen Fletcher.

Long-beaked feather masks, and mysterious guests in fur and silk, were among 500 costumed locals who gathered to raise money for charities including Waipuna Hospice and Te Tuinga Whanau.

"Dig deep" became the mantra for the evening, as MC Rob Lemoto, the host of Police Ten 7, urged guests to support the worthy causes.


"From the live auctions, it was $92,000. But we haven't totalled up the complete tally, from the silent auctions and ticket sales," says fellow event organiser Leanne Cashmore.

Masks ranged from real Venice carnival, to some local interpretations for Te Tuinga Whanau's Tommy Wilson, who wore hand woven Maori masks.

Champagne was on tap, as locals were treated to performances from dance legend Candy Lane and her partner Ricky Hancock; and Auckland band Halo.

Auctioneer Blair Cashmore, with support from broadcaster Mike Puru, led the frenzied bidding for prizes including a seven night stay in an Italian villa and a waka voyage.

"We sold it for, I think, $10,200 and then another group brought the price up another $10,000 to $20,000," says Helen Fletcher.

For some - a chance to dance the night away; for others 'A Night in Venice' turned into a night of romance.

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