Tonight the movers and shakers of Rotorua will come together for fun, good food and drinks while united under the umbrella of making a big difference for families with sick children.

Supper Club is being held tonight and will see a sold-out and record crowd of 304 people gather at the Novotel Rotorua for an auction before 38 tables of eight people will be randomly drawn to have dinner at various locations, cafes, attractions and hotels around the city.

Last year the event raised a record $76,000 and organisers Linley and Rob Parry, who own the McDonald's franchises in Rotorua, hope to raise at least $50,000 this year.

Those who have bought a table will gather at the Novotel Rotorua at 5.30pm and enjoy drinks and nibbles before the auction is held. They will leave for their dinner venues around 7.30pm.


Each year the money goes back into the running costs of the Ronald McDonald Family Retreat, based on the shores of Lake Ngongotaha. The retreat provides a holiday spot for sick children to come to Rotorua with their families.

The top prize in the auction is donated by Harvey World Travel and is valued at $15,000. It's a 10-night trip to Tahiti, including a seven-day cruise, for two people.

Among other top prizes is an $8000 bronze ladle donated by the New Zealand Maori Arts and Institute. The tikoko poroni (bronze ladle) is by carver Hemi Sundgren and cast by George Andrews and Nerida Johnstone.

Te Puia, the tourist arm of the institute, has also donated dinner for three tables where the guests will enjoy a meal overlooking Pohutu Geyser.

Mrs Parry said it was the first time Te Puia had been involved in Supper Club and it was great to have their support.

MasterChef finalist and now ambassador for Ronald McDonald House, Vanessa Baxter, is cooking tonight for a table that is going to the family retreat at Ngongotaha.

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MasterChef finalist Vanessa Baxter will cook for Supper Club goers tonight.
MasterChef finalist Vanessa Baxter will cook for Supper Club goers tonight.

Mrs Baxter, who cooks at Ronald McDonald House Auckland, is also an active voice of KOTO Charities International which helps educate street kids.

Mrs Baxter was cooking for families at the Ronald McDonald House before entering the MasterChef kitchen, so once the show came on television, the families suddenly realised their chef was a contestant.

Ronald McDonald House Auckland chief executive Wayne Howett said Mrs Baxter was a wonderful friend to the charity.

"She uses her cooking talent to motivate and inspire our families, creating memorable experiences for so many of our residents."

Supper Club facts:

* Raises money for the running costs of the Ronald McDonald Family Retreat at Ngongotaha

* Raised $76,000 last year

* A record 304 tickets sold this year

* 38 tables with eight people per table at locations around Rotorua.