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The Ron­gotea & Dis­tricts Lions an­nual mon­ster auc­tion and gala takes place on Satur­day.

It’s been a bar­gain-hunter mag­net for 45 years. In 1971, the Ron­gotea and District Lions Club held their first gala at the Ron­gotea Sports Grounds.

From those mod­est be­gin­nings, its tried and tested Wai­tangi Day for­mula proved pop­u­lar, with do­nated goods for sale by auc­tion or make-an-of­fer.

In 2000 the new Te Kawau Recre­ation Cen­tre pro­vided a much larger in­door space for the gala, in­clud­ing kitchen fa­cil­i­ties and of­fered bet­ter pro­tec­tion from the weather – al­though in 44 years, rain has never been a prob­lem.

Pres­i­dent Bernard Lil­burn says club mem­bers don’t talk about that too much – they don’t want to tempt fate.

‘‘All pro­ceeds from the day are put back into the district com­mu­nity with some also go­ing to na­tional char­i­ties. Over the years, we’ve dis­trib­uted more than half a mil­lion dol­lars.’’

Each year the club selects one prin­ci­pal re­cip­i­ent of gala pro­ceeds, which have in­cluded the Res­cue He­li­copter Trust and the Palmer­ston North Surf Life Sav­ing Club.

This year’s re­cip­i­ent is the Manawatu branch of the Child Can­cer Foun­da­tion.

‘‘Be­ing able to make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence to a per­son’s or group of peo­ple’s life is what the club is all about and we are re­ally proud of what we have achieved,’’ Bernard says.

This week, the club runs a col­lec­tion right around the district pick­ing up do­nated goods. In­cluded in the haul will be elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances, fur­ni­ture, tools, gar­den equip­ment and fur­ni­ture, build­ing ma­te­ri­als, sports equip­ment, books and toys and gen­eral house­hold para­pher­na­lia.

In the last two years there have even been a cou­ple of boats.

‘‘Club mem­bers never cease to be sur­prised by what turns up, from brand new ar­ti­cles still in their pack­ets to other items that they recog­nise from pre­vi­ous years.’’

A large num­ber of out­side stall­hold­ers will be sell­ing arts and crafts, home­made food­stuffs, cloth­ing and other goods, as well as pro­vid­ing chil­dren’s en­ter­tain­ment.

Eft­pos is avail­able, and with 4000-5000 at­ten­dees, the Lions’ cafe´ does a brisk trade in food and drink.

Seven schools from the district will com­pete in a Top Schools com­pe­ti­tion in the af­ter­noon for the McKelvie Shield.

Reg­is­tra­tion at the Te Kawau Rugby Grounds on Satur­day is from 8am, with the make-an-of­fer sale at 8.30am. Main at­trac­tions, the mon­ster auc­tion and out­door auc­tion are un­der way at 9.30am.


Look­ing down on the make-an-of­fer ta­bles at last year’s an­nual Wai­tangi Day Mon­ster Auc­tion & Gala at Ron­gotea.

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