A cozy winter luncheon of pumpkin soup and salmon in Wairarapa has brought in over $2000 for those rebuilding their lives in South Asia.

Masterton residents Alix Cooper, Barb Hyde and Nikki Burns hosted and organised a three-course lunch at The Horseshoe on June 12, raising funds for Nepal as it recovers from this year's Anzac Day earthquake.

Close to 70 people attended the event, dubbed Lunch for Nepal, which raised $2200 for the Red Cross Nepalese Fund.

And, even with the event quickly selling out and many missing out on the meal, donations are still pouring in.


Mrs Cooper, former co-ordinator for Parkinson's Wairarapa, said she put the event on Facebook a couple of weeks beforehand, and the interest was "phenomenal".

"All the tickets were booked over night," she said.

"But we still had all these people wanting to donate the price of a ticket -- even though they couldn't make it and didn't get any food.

"Just a few days ago, three people from Martinborough got wind of what we'd done, and made a donation."

Mrs Cooper said she and close friends Ms Hyde and Ms Burns felt moved to organiser a fundraiser for Nepal after feeling "struck by the absolute devastation".

"The only thing I guess we in New Zealand can relate it to is Christchurch -- but a squillion times worse," she said.

"In Wairarapa, our community is always rallying around for each other -- surely we can do something similar for people further afield?"

The luncheon consisted of a "simple, but delicious" meal of pumpkin and piquillo pepper soup, salmon, artichoke and cucumber crostini, fresh salads, and red-wine poached pears.


The guest speaker was Wellingtonian Mike Heydon, a mountaineer and photographer, who shared stories of his travels in Nepal.

Mrs Cooper said the audience was visibly moved by his tales of the Nepalese people, particularly the mountaineering Sherpas who "have nothing, but give absolutely everything".

An auction of one of Mr Heydon's photos -- of the Nepalese mountain ranges -- followed, which was won by Nalini Baruch, owner of Lot Eight olive grove in Martinborough.

Mrs Cooper said many in attendance had "some connection" with Nepal, having travelled there previously, so bidding for the photo was fierce.

But arguably no guest was more moved by the show of support than Carterton District Council engineer Kabi Chapagain, who hails from Pepsicola in the Kathmandu Valley.

Ms Chapagain, who has lived in Wairarapa since February and has set up Red Cross donation boxes around Carterton, told her parents of the event, who also conveyed their thanks.

"I think it was very special for her to be there", Mrs Cooper said.

"I'm so proud of our community for getting behind our little event."