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Mangawhai gets 'Fired Up' for volunteers


On Anniversary Weekend Millars Vineyard and the surrounding valley rang to the sounds of Salsa music, courtesy of Latin duo Chico Con Tumbao, all part of the ‘Fire Up’ fundraiser.

The event was organised single-handedly by part-time Mangawhai resident Annie Kitchener in bringing attention to efforts of the local volunteer fire service team and their ongoing need for support.

From the moment people arrived they were in awe of Jennimay & Ross Millar’s  special event area. The band rotunda and garden surroundings were tailormade for events such as this.

Visitors supped wine or enjoyed a leisurely beer along with the specially prepared ‘brigade burgers’ from the tent manned by our Mangawhai Volunteer Fire Brigade guys and gals.

Kaiwaka couple Eric Jansseune and Carla Rosseels gave an energetic display of Salsa dancing which was appreciated by the crowd, many of whom joined the invitation to have a go as well.

The picnickers then participated with plenty of energy in the auction of garden art, paintings and other donated goods to swell brigade coffers by a satisfying $10,000 at the end of the day.

A number of unique wooden works in macrocarpa or totara by Aaron Ellis-Smith were keenly sought, making up to $900 for one especially attractive piece.

“I’m happy to support ventures like this. It’s a great cause and also adds to the profile of the work I do,” said Aaron who advises purchasers of his work to keep them coated with an oil-based product for protection and longevity, keep them up off the ground so they don’t absorb any moisture and preferably keep them out of all day summer sun.

Aaron’s total effort alone raised over $2,500 for the cause.

The afternoon fixture was slightly dampened by some late rain but the venue is a great spot and, with such a good local cause to support this could well an annual event. Few would disagree.

“There is still a bit of mopping up to do,” says Annie “and I’m sure we can do even better in future but I’m stoked about the venue and how the day went and I’m sure the MVFB will be too.”

Mike McGarry on auction duty.
Fire brigade work the cantina.
Couples kick up their heels.
Millar’s event area the perfect venue.
Genuine Salsa sounds from the band.
A large relaxed crowd settles in.
Volunteers lear Latin American moves!
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