A group of Hawke's Bay schoolgirls with practical experience of some of the struggles of life on the farm have banded together to raise $8000 at a quiz night for rural wellbeing organisation Farmstrong.
All from agricultural backgrounds, therefore understanding some of the challenges in the rural communities, the teenagers staged their Rural Quiz Night Challenge at the Puketapu Community and School Hall on Saturday night.
It included an auction which raised about $5000, while other funds came from sponsorship, donations and ticket sales.
Group member Phoebe Williams said: "Mental wellbeing has had a huge impact on Hawke's Bay and Gisborne in the last few years. We can't think of a better organisation to support.
"We also want to spread the word that it's okay if you aren't coping and need help. Farming can be lonely."
A Footrot Flats theme encouraged the guest speaker, Havelock North personal coach and trainer David "Toddy Talks" Todd to don a black singlet and treat the crowd. He was quick to praise the young organisers and got into the spirit of the auction after completing his motivational delivery.
Local young farmer Rowan Sanford upped the ante when he offered to auctioneer during the second half of the evening — "nailing it", according to one who was present.
The generosity from sponsors saw fierce bidding on a range of items including a horse shoe ball, five nights at a holiday home at Wainui in Gisborne, clothing — and a personal locator beacon.
Quizmaster, Northern Hawke's Bay farmer and former Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Fenton Wilson was blown away by the way the girls delivered the event.
"The night was good old-fashioned fun. A perfect fit for a rural community.
"We would never have dreamed of running such an event as 17-year-olds back in the day. The business skills developed while raising awareness and money for such an important and precious cause, goes way beyond any sausage sizzle or mufti day."
Encouragement from local businesses and supporters was humbling and the girls continue to welcome donations towards the cause. To donate contact firstname.lastname@example.org