Our first fundraising events were memorable for many reasons.
Jude Hukins took the initiative and organized raffles both under the oak trees and after we moved to our present site. When we had access to the upstairs lounge we organized a trivial pursuit evening, a midwinter Xmas party and a "Spring" festival. All these events relied on club members making purchases as well as doing all the work
The raffle held in conjunction with an open day brought in outside money but somebody stole the first prize!
Then there was the Lammington saga. Many of us have never eaten one since! Club members organized the sales and then purchased the ingredients. The working bee started at 1pm and was expected to finish about 4pm. At 5.30 a group of tired dispirited chocolate and coconut covered members were still surrounded by empty boxes and vast quantities of chocolate icing. Pizzas were then delivered and they restored the spirits but eroded the profits. Many club members bought lamingtons but most of the workers consigned theirs to the deep freeze until the aches and memories faded. Two weeks later we were still sweeping coconut out of the floorboards.
Then we contracted to cater for a wedding. We understood we were only serving and cleaning up but the bridal party expected that we would cook the meal as well! Thank goodness for Reed Jamieson and David Direen's culinary skills which avoided disaster.
We always had a belief that corporate Petanque events would succeed and bring in outside money. Initial approaches were unsuccessful until IBM made contact. This was our most memorable evening and proved that the theory would work. We had to liaise with North Hagley Bowls over the drinks and convince them to buy reasonable quality wine rather than Chateau cardboard. IBM wanted a winetasting so we had to pay $10 per bottle corkage on this wine. The caterers were to serve the food upstairs so we spent the entire afternoon decorating the room in red, white and blue only to find everybody was having so much fun they didn't want to stop playing Petanque so all the food was brought downstairs. Members provided a waiter service and were dressed as French maids but the smiles slipped after the 5th or 6th trip upstairs to the bar for another round of drinks.
Club members loaned their boule as we needed 240 boule and sorting them out afterwards was another challenge. Many club members dressed in French theme, Bruce Hoffman stood out dressed as a Breton onion seller in baggy trousers tied with string, beret and onions draped over his shoulder.
IBM thought it was the best event they had organized for their clients and wrote a complimentary letter which was used to great effect for subsequent bookings. We never told them it was our first booking as they didn't ask about our previous experience.
The most profitable event was arranged for the Chrysler Corporation and held at Otahuna. After some negotiations we agreed on $300 and there were four busloads over 2 nights. They arrived late so we played Petanque on the driveway to the sound of a chamber music group. After about 20 minutes they went to explore the Otahuna homestead. We thought they would never pay the full amount but the cheque duly arrived and was photocopied and displayed on the noticeboard.
Another group was from a Ten Pin Bowling club who arrived in a minivan with darkened windows. Imagine our surprise when out stepped, 2 Cardinals, 2 Musketeers and 2 aristocrats from the Court of King Louis. They had brought some wonderful food for a BBQ such as salmon in tinfoil and a rolled roast of rib eye steak which we cooked for them. They invited our helpers to join in their meal and donated 6 bottles of champagne to open when we eventually got our lease. These are still safely tucked away ready for this momentous future occasion.
Real estate agents and mortgage brokers are always good fun. One group had started on the wine with lunch some time earlier and were in no condition to play the final games. They returned some time later and played the final for "bragging rights" for one week.
The BNZ had a fun afternoon for investors and brokers. Our members raided their pantries and brought along their secret recipes for which we charged mega bucks. Arrow International have staged three evenings to celebrate the completion of large contracts. They erected a marquee on the former bowling green, hired a jazz band and staged a sit down banquet.
The combined Rotary clubs have raised almost $2000 for Polio Plus from their interclub tournaments.
Most years we have cleared $2000-3000 from fundraising which has provided a sound financial base for our Club. A side effect was our relationship with Blenheim Road Tavern and the Canterbury Foundation who have provided over $10,000 worth of funding for planter boxes, picnic tables, scoreboards and shade sails.
Such results have only been possible with the help of a few dedicated volunteers. We started with 3 teams of cooks and helpers and have been guilty of flogging willing horses. Those that help get to meet our guests ( who all seem to enjoy themselves), share in some interesting food and are often seen sitting exhausted but enjoying the camaraderie of their fellow club members as another successful evening draws to a close.
Even hiding the drinks of overindulging guests or waiting for them to finally tire is worthwhile when you see the happy grin from Treasurer Malcolm when he gets the cheques.