Daf­fodil Day cheer

Coastal News - - News - By ALI­SON SMITH

Last Fri­day Whanga­mata’s streets and busi­nesses were filled with daf­fodil flow­ers as vol­un­teers and Whanga­mata Lions mem­bers raised money in the fight against can­cer. Ali­son Smith hears the story be­hind the thou­sands of do­nated bulbs that have brought cheer for years.

It was a wet and grey day when Pau­lene Rollo and her group of ‘girls’ trudged across a pad­dock on the out­skirts of Whanga­mata to pick hun­dreds of blooms for the big day last Fri­day.

“We didn’t com­plain,” says Pau­lene. “It’s good fun, and any­way it’s noth­ing com­pared to what peo­ple have to go through sit­ting wait­ing for treat­ment.”

Daf­fodil Day sym­bol­ises all New Zealan­ders com­ing to­gether in the fight against can­cer and Pau­lene is one of the many vol­un­teers who dig deep for the cause.

Up un­til last year, Pau­lene and hus­band Bruce owned the farm where the Whanga­mata Lions’ daf­fodils are grown and picked by vol­un­teers and sold in busi­nesses at this time ev­ery year to raise money for the Lions Can­cer Lodge in Hamil­ton.

The bright yel­low bunches of daf­fodils and fundrais­ing goods are sold by vol­un­teers on be­half of the Can­cer So­ci­ety which uses these do­na­tions for can­cer re­search.

The story of the lo­cally grown daf­fodils be­gins with a farmer who missed his daugh­ter.

Ma­bel Ste­wart bought a block of land near Whanga­mata with hus­band Mike in 1980. Ma­bel’s fa­ther in Nelson de­cided a cou­ple of years later to move closer to them. Ma­bel wrote to Pau­lene in which she re­called her fa­ther’s daf­fodil beds as a lit­tle girl in Oa­maru. When­ever her fa­ther moved, the beloved daf­fodils were du­ti­fully dug up, counted, bagged, named and brought with him.

The bulbs trav­elled to Toko­roa, then Kaikohe, and when he moved again to Hawke’s Bay the bulbs were dug up and left with a cousin in Waihi. Many went back again to Nelson. By 1983 he was on the move again, and fi­nally the bulbs made it to Whanga­mata, where a patch was des­ig­nated and fenced and re­main to this day.

Ma­bel tried to sell them on the Tau­ranga mar­ket but found it was a lot of trou­ble for very lit­tle gain, so the cou­ple in­vited the Lions to come and take them to help raise money for their projects around the dis­trict.

The farm in which the daf­fodil pad­dock sits was bought by an Amer­i­can com­pany be­fore Pau­lene and Bruce bought it, con­tin­u­ing to house the daf­fodils for 16 years. Pau­lene says they felt con­fi­dent when it came time to sell last year that its new own­ers would carry on the legacy of the Ste­warts. Buy­ers Ben and Nicole Har­ris have done just that.

Ngaire Hurst (right) and Lyn Evans took the po­si­tion at the south end of Port Rd in sup­port of the Can­cer So­ci­ety’s Daf­fodil Day fundraiser.

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