Laura Hutchinson and Bob Francis of Pukaha Mount Bruce are excited to take part in the Kiwi Ball. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

 

EMILY IRELAND

Former Masterton Mayor Bob Francis has put on his dancing shoes for a good cause.

The chair of the Pukaha Mount Bruce Board is set to make a special appearance at The Kiwi Ball in June, a fundraiser for the wildlife sanctuary, organised by South Wairarapa Veterinary Services.

Bob has been busy practising his moves to songs including ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’ under the watchful eye of Geraldine Inder School of Dance and Drama’s Nicola Swallow-Madden, with supervision from his own 10-year-old grandson Cam who has been dancing for seven years.

“It’s my job to be harsh. I’ve tried teaching him. I just hope in the next five minutes he doesn’t fall asleep,” Cam said, shaking his head at his grandad.

Organising the Kiwi Ball fundraiser has been a project of South Wairarapa Veterinary Services staff for about a year with the aim of raising $10,000 for Pukaha Mount Bruce.

Veterinarian Katie Grant of the Ball Committee said Pukaha Mount Bruce was a good fit for the fundraising cause and was thankful for major sponsorship from animal health company Zoetis.

“In the past, we have helped Pukaha out whenever they have needed it,” she said.

“For example, we have x-rayed kiwi eggs and have always done so voluntarily.”

She said the vet business had organised balls before, but this year would be the first “charity” ball.

“We wanted a bit of entertainment for the night to make it a bit different, so we have roped in six couples, five of which are vets and their partners or vets and other vets.

“It’s a mix of Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars.

“Bob’s got a bit of a cameo role and has been very good natured about the whole thing.”

Bob said he still had a lot of practising to do and was thankful for the vet business’s gesture to raise funds for Pukaha Mount Bruce.

“We’re delighted to be involved, and it has certainly pushed me a bit.”

Nicola Swallow-Madden of Geraldine Inder School of Dance and Drama has donated her time and dance skills to prepare the routines and the couples willing to put their dancing skills to the test.

“Basically, what we’ve done is a mini version of Dancing with the Stars and each couple has a theme,” she said.

“We have a bear and a vet, a dog and Cruella de Vil, and a pussycat one done to Tom Jones’, ‘What’s New Pussycat’.

“Not one couple has ever danced professionally in their lives before, so it has been a bit of a mission, but lots of fun, and it’s for a really good cause.”

The ball will be held at the Carterton Events Centre on June 9.

Tickets are available through Eventfinda.