The Mahurangi River Restoration Trust received a donation of $4000 from the Kowhai Coast Lions Club at the 50th birthday celebration of the Steam Engine Society in Warkworth recently.
The smell of burning coal was in the air as several steamboat owners showed off their vessels and took the public for rides up and down the river.
The funds for the donation were raised by the Kowhai club during its Christmas display of 60 decorated trees in the Old Masonic Hall.
Club president Olywn Hill said they decided to focus their efforts on raising money for the river, as the project would be a real benefit for everyone in the area.
River Restoration Trust campaign manager Kathryn Ashworth said all the recent support from the community had been heart-warming.
“It’s because of the work done so far that we can have this steamboat day and worry less about the tide,” Kathryn said. “Towns based around rivers have a real buzz about them.”
The trust still needs to raise $3.5 million to realise its goal of restoring the river.
Steamboat event organiser Daniel Hicks said six boats were on the river, with steam engine enthusiasts bringing their handmade engines from as far afield as Whanganui.
“The boats all behaved and it was pleasing to have so many turn out to see what it’s all about,” he said.
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