An event featuring four Rotorua mothers with different stories about motherhood has helped raise nearly $1400 towards a goal to prolong a young father's life.

Four Mothers was held on Saturday night at Artisan Cafe and featured talks from four Rotorua mothers - Kelly Makiha, Adrienne Whitewood, Steve Chadwick and Bella Geary - who shared their experiences about motherhood as part of a fundraising drive for Whitinga Harris, a former Rotorua teacher who is fighting stage four cancer.

He needs $100,000 for an unfunded cancer drug that will help prolong his life.

Harris, 31, a father of two young sons, was a trainee teacher at Western Heights Primary School last year when he got sick. He was due to start work there this year, but instead he has moved back to Northland to be with family while he fights his health battle.


His father-in-law, Rotorua man Jack Grace, organised the Four Mothers event and said the night was a success in so many ways.

"Ultimately we gathered together and supported the funding programme for Whitinga's cancer and that in itself was successful. However, I would call it shared success. The stories of the mothers on the night were strong and represented the multi-levelled role that mums perform.

"It was interesting that all the mothers referenced their learnings from their mothers or their parents and so it was very special to hear how so much of being a mother had to do with how these mothers were raised. I think many people in the room felt very privileged and fortunate to have these stories told to us."

Grace said the crowd also left having learnt a bit more of each other and the importance of mothering.

Grace spoke on the night about "real time" korero (talk) and how too often people communicated on devices and emails.

Whitinga Harris recovers at Rotorua Hospital. Photo / File
Whitinga Harris recovers at Rotorua Hospital. Photo / File

"We miss the smells and the colour that comes with conversations. How important it is to look and listen and hear and respond in the moment . . . and sometimes in this fast world we all live in, it's good to just slow down and listen. This night was about all of that - listening in the moment."

Those attending the event paid koha towards the cause as well as bought raffle tickets. Also contributing to the final tally was the auction of a painting by Grace that sold for $400.