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Snow can’t white out auction success

Carissa Fairbrother of Rival Wealth [left] with Wairarapa Cancer Society centre manager Amber Arkell. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

When it comes to supporting a good cause, it seems even a rare snowfall and uncharacteristically cold spring weather can’t keep generous Wairarapa people away.

On October 6, in the midst of an unseasonable polar blast, Masterton financial advice service Rival Wealth hosted a charity auction, with all proceeds going to the Wairarapa Cancer Society, at the Copthorne Solway Park.

Despite the cold, more than 200 people attended the event: Placing their bids on a variety of big-ticket items, from supermarket vouchers, to barbecues, to luxury getaways down south.

Through a combination of the auction sales and several raffles, the event raised $40,000 for the cancer society.

Rival Wealth owner Tim Fairbrother was “stoked” with the success of the auction, which raised six times more than Rival Wealth’s original fundraiser target, and overwhelmed by the community response.

“Given how cold it was on the night, we were worried people wouldn’t want to come. But, in the end, we got about 220 people through the door,” Fairbrother said.

“The room was full, the atmosphere was wonderful, and people got right into the auction, the bidding got quite ferocious!

“The level of generosity we witnessed was crazy, both from the guests and our sponsors. We originally aimed to raise $6000, and we ended up with $40,000. It was incredible.”

Fairbrother said he was inspired to organise the auction after attending a cancer society board meeting earlier in the year, and speaking with Wairarapa centre manager Amber Arkell about the organisation’s financial struggles throughout the pandemic.

The cancer society is heavily reliant on donations to carry out its community services but, for the past three years, its major fundraising events had been hampered by covid-19 restrictions.

“It was really hard. They weren’t able to run things like Daffodil Day street collections, but all their operating costs had stayed the same,” Fairbrother said.

“We really wanted to do something to help.”

Fairbrother said Rival Wealth received “phenomenal support” from the business community, receiving 76 donations from companies throughout Wairarapa, as well as Wellington and Queenstown.

Items up for grabs included a barbecue from Stihl Shop, bach holidays at Castlepoint, $2000 worth of vouchers from Pak n Save Masterton, vouchers for various cafes and eateries, and getaways to Napier, Queenstown and Wellington, sponsored by Wairarapa businesses [including Jennian Homes and Kieran Oliver Contracting].

Masterton accounting firm The Osborne Group also contributed a team to provide some community services, with the successful bidder, a farmer, putting them to work to help clean up a stream on his property.

Eight different raffles and a spin the wheel draw, with a rib-eye steak, donated by Cabernet Foods, as the prize, contributed about $9000 to the final total.

Fairbrother said he and the Rival Wealth team were thrilled to have people show up to support the cancer society, a cause “dear to [their] hearts”.

“I don’t think there’s anyone in New Zealand whose lives haven’t been touched by cancer,” he said.

“Just the other week, I was at a business lunch and met three people with loved ones who’d just been diagnosed with cancer – in their 40s.

“When someone’s been told they’ve got a terrible disease, like cancer, all they’re going to want is more time with their friends and family.

“By doing things like driving people to treatment, running counselling services, and funding important research, the cancer society is what gives people that time.”

Centre manager Amber Arkell, who gave a presentation at the auction about the cancer’s society work in the community, extended “a huge thank you to every person involved in the event”.

“It’s hard to put into words how spectacular the Rival Wealth fundraising event was,” she said.

“It was an amazing reflection of both the incredible network Rival Wealth has, and the willingness of our community to support the local Wairarapa Cancer Society.”

Erin Kavanagh-Hall
Erin Kavanagh-Hall
Erin Kavanagh-Hall is the editor of the Wairarapa Midweek. She has been a journalist for the past 10 years, and has a keen interest in arts, culture, social issues, and community justice.

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