It could be the ultimate al fresco dining arrangement for those who like to combine picnicking with life on the water.

But the floating picnic table built by Turangi man Matt O'Meeghan was also put into service last Friday as a fundraising vessel which traversed Lake Taupo from south to north.

Relaxed as it may have appeared, the picnic table's voyage, Float For A Cause, had a serious quest — to raise money for the Cameron Wilson Trust.

The Turangi-based trust helps families with children hospitalised with cancer. It is run by local man David Griffiths, a leukaemia survivor who lost his 14-year-old godson to cancer in 2008 at the age of 14. All money donated goes directly to families.


It may sound unwieldy, but the picnic table, powered by an 8-horsepower outboard engine successfully conquered Lake Taupo, steaming 41km from Stump Bay near Turangi to Two Mile Bay in a record-breaking (for a floating picnic table) time of nine and a half hours.

O'Meeghan built the picnic table boat last summer with the help of Angus Webster and Justin Calcott. The plan was to sell it but when that failed to eventuate, he was delighted to put it to service for charity.

Accompanied by his intrepid crew of Nick Herbert and Angus Webster, and supported by Mela Herbert and Sam Elston, the epic voyage luckily took place on a day when the lake was calm and conditions favourable.

O'Meeghan said it was an absolutely enjoyable trip, although at only 5km/h in full sun, there were some tough moments.

"The distance just didn't seem to be getting any shorter but about halfway through we looked at how far we'd made it and it felt like we had started to make some headway.

"At the end of the day although it was a bit of a personal achievement, it was for the Cameron Wilson Trust, so to be able to say we completed it for such a great cause was worth it."

The sum raised so far is $2500 and donations can still be made at