Samantha White says being a mother is the best thing she has ever done.

She was one of many who celebrated Mothers' Day with a fundraising high tea at Whanganui's Grand Hotel. White has two daughters, Rosie Rendell, 26, and Daisy, 22.

Rosie got in early by sending her mother, a teacher at St John's Hill School, a beautiful bunch of flowers on May 10. White said it was a lovely surprise, and her Year 3 students were very interested in the unexpected arrival.

She was teaching the children to make Mothers' Day cards that day, and suggested they use the word "Mummy", which surprised them.

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But she said she loves being called Mummy.

"Whenever my children need anything, that's my name."

Younger daughter Daisy, away at university in Auckland, has also been in touch with her mother on the big day.

"We talk to each other all the time. She sent me some very funny memes and said 'Have a lovely time at the high tea' and 'I love you Mum'."

White was happy with the attention from her daughters, and sat at table in a room full of women, talk and the clink of fine china.

The afternoon tea was a fundraiser for Whanganui's Cancer Society, event co-ordinator Ali Hollard said.

"We thought Mothers' Day would be a great opportunity to raise some much-needed funds."

The society sold more than 80 $25 tickets and will raise at least $2000.

High tea at in the Grand Room comes with sandwiches, scones, fudge and a cinnamon swirl. Photo / Lewis Gardner
High tea at in the Grand Room comes with sandwiches, scones, fudge and a cinnamon swirl. Photo / Lewis Gardner

The Grand Room venue, and the tea, coffee and bone china were donated by Grand Hotel owner Neville Gorrie.

Cancer Society volunteers and supporters turned out to make the food - cucumber and cream cheese and egg sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, apricot fudge and cinnamon swirls donated by the women of new business Cinnamonui.

Entertainment was provided by Abigail Livesay, on piano, and Richard Littlejohn playing guitar, harmonica and singing. There was also a small auction.