Chocolate was not the only thing on the menu this Easter weekend, thanks to Brownie and Cilla's pumpkin-growing competition.

The annual competition took place yesterday morning and is run by Les Brown (Brownie) and his wife Cilla.

It has become one of the events of the year for the Ngongotaha and Hamurana communities since it started 20 years ago.

Pumpkins are judged on weight, but prizes are also awarded to the ugliest and best-dressed.


This year's winning pumpkin was grown by Bob and Pat McKay, and weighed in at 118kg.

The event makes upwards of $1000, which is donated to charity.

This year's recipient was the Rotorua Hospice.

"We used to let the winner of the competition decide what charity they wanted to donate to but just thought we would make it the Rotorua Hospice," Mr Brown said.

"People buy a pumpkin seed off us for $20 and that whole $20 goes to Hospice, and we weigh that pumpkin the next Easter. We had 54 entrants this year.

"It started about 20 years ago, it was just something for our friends to do and to get together. Now there are over 100 people here. There is a massive amount of prizes - Farmlands, Pak'nSave, Bidvest and Gilmours in Te Ngae donate great gifts so people enter."

Mark Dibley won the competition last year but came in about seventh this year, Mr Brown said.

"People really look forward to it. There is quite a bit of competition.


"The season was a bit slow starting up and the pumpkins are smaller than last year. Last year's winner was 169kg and this year's is 118kg."

Rotorua Hospice funding manager Jan Morgan enjoyed the pumpkin competition.

"This is a little bit special. It is a great thing for the community to be involved in and it's a bit of fun. Obviously, we need every single cent we can get."