3. AUCTION ACTION
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.