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Crowds flock to record breaking hot rod show

When it comes to breaking records, the Hibiscus Rodders Club doesn’t do things by halves.

The Rodders Beach Festival held in Orewa last month raised a staggering $60,000 for the Auckland based Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service. This was $15,000 more than last year and $23,000 more than the event raised in 2017.

An organiser, Sharon Morris, says the success of this year’s 10th anniversary festival, which was held January 25-27, was a fitting celebration of the event’s first decade.

“The weather was great, the cars came in their hundreds and we estimate that there were more than 50,000 visitors over the three days,” Sharon says.

“It takes the club nearly a year to organise so it is rewarding to get such a great outcome. It’s a way for people to get out and enjoy themselves, and there’s the ‘feel good factor’ that they are helping a really worthy cause.”

Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust marketing manager John Hooper described the amount raised as “quite remarkable”.

“When Sharon approached us 11 years ago asking us to lend a bit of support to get the event up and running, we were happy to do it,” John says. “On that occasion they raised a little over $3000. To think that 10 years later the total is $60,000 is astonishing.

“Sharon told us when she started out that it would be an event that would grow and help our crews save lives, and she has been absolutely true to her word.”

John says it is going to be a pleasure to nominate the Coast for NZ Community of the Year, on the back of the Hot Rodders event.

He says out of the whole area that the Auckland helicopter services, Hibiscus Coast is one of only three communities that essentially pay for all their rescues – the other two are Leigh and the tiny settlement of Tapora, on the Kaipara Coast.

John and members of the rescue team participated over the weekend, moving through the crowds with donation buckets.

“It was quite rejuvenating to see busy people giving their valuable time to help.”

Sharon puts the success of the event down to the generosity and hard work of club members, and the long-time support of major sponsors, many of whom have been with the event from the start such as Garry Christini of New World.

“Without their support, it just wouldn’t happen.”