Ever fancied trying your hand at rowing, but not one to get your feet wet? Then the Wanganui North Rotary Stakes are for you. Throw in a good cause, and a healthy dose of fun and laughter, and it has the makings of a great night out.

On Saturday 18 November, from 4.30pm to 8.30pm, Wanganui Collegiate's Big School will ring with the whizz of rowing ergs and the shouts of the crowd, as teams of rowers compete in the charity event.

Tony Hodge of the Rotary Club of Wanganui North says that based on the success of last year's stakes, this year's will be a great community event for a good cause.

This year the money raised will go to Art in Hospital, a community project run by the Club in conjunction with the Whanganui District Health Board. The project has been running for four years and has brought Whanganui art to the walls of the wards and corridors of the hospital. This year money is being raised to secure artwork for the walls of the Medical Ward.


There are eight races, the majority of which are 1000m relays, in which four team members will row 250m each. Wanganui Collegiate School boarders will form boys' and girls' squads, Whanganui businesses will battle it out in the Corporate Race, and emergency services will compete against defense forces.

The Wanganui Rotary Stakes, the night's feature race, will be a serious challenge of 500m for the experienced rowers.

The Celebrity Race is also a highlight, with a big name in rowing circles set to participate, though Mr Hodge says he is sworn to secrecy until closer to the event. Last year's celebrities included Phillipa Baker-Hogan and Hamish McDouall, and Mr Hodge says he would love to see Mr McDouall back to race against the mystery celebrity.

Each team's times will be posted on a big screen for the crowd to follow, to make it easier to see who is in the lead.

"You see the rowers on stage, sweat pouring off their brows, and it looks like they're all rowing flat out", says Mr Hodge, "But it is very hard to know who is winning."

Food is included in the ticket price of $25, and there will be a bar open on the night. Mr Hodge says there will also be facilities for betting on your favourite teams.

The Wanganui North Rotary Club is very grateful to their sponsors, and to all of the local businesses who have donated prizes for the winning teams.

Entries are still open for the relays, with the cut-off date to enter a team falling on Monday 13 November.

More information is available on the Rotary Club website: www.rotarywanganuinorth.nz.