Christmas at the Beach event in dire straits as funding pull

This summer’s Orewa Christmas at the Beach event is in serious jeopardy after the local board turned it down for funding in its latest Grants Round last month.

Gary Brown’s company Stage 51, which has run the event for 10 years, applied to the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board’s recent funding round for $9200 towards sound production costs but was given nothing.

The reason given for declining the application was “insufficient accountability for the previous event”.
Mr Brown says this will make holding the event difficult, as some previous sponsors have also pulled out. He says he was hoping to raise funds for the Hibiscus Coast Youth Centre this year.

One grant that caused controversy was the $4000 given to the NZ Health Association towards the hiring of temporary fences for this summer’s Weetbix TRYathlon. Local board member Mike Williamson registered his objection to this grant, describing it as “subsidising Sanitarium”. The event is put on by Sanitarium, which is owned by the Seventh Day Adventist church. Profits from the business go back to the church – which does not pay income tax, as churches are exempt from this under NZ law.

Mr Williamson said that the company can well afford its own fence hire, rather than asking for support from ratepayers and member Vicki Watson agreed. However, the grant was approved as the majority of members felt that the advantages of having the event run in Manly, so that local families do not have to travel far to attend, and the number of participants involved, made the application acceptable.

There were several large grants handed out to local organisations. One of these is Orewa Surf Lifesaving Club, which received $10,000. The club applied for $50,000 towards the costs of implementing a fundraising campaign for its building redevelopment project. Ten thousand dollars also went to the Silverdale Area Business Association towards the wages of “a transitional marketing manager and start-up costs to reinvigorate Silverdale market”, and to the Youth In Transition Charitable Trust.

The Hibiscus Coast Community RSA got $8000 to help deliver its welfare services, Love Soup Hibiscus Coast received $7000 and the Sustainable North Trust received $9000 towards four projects that will promote and enhance zero waste practices.


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