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Charity Auction and Blind Achievers' Awards

Media Release from The Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind

Charity Auction and Blind Achievers' Awards launch Blind Week 2000

For the 39th year running the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind is holding their annual October appeal to raise money for essential services for blind and sight-impaired New Zealanders.

As in previous years, the appeal week will launch with a charity dinner and auction, held on the evening of Tuesday 24 October at the Carlton Hotel, Auckland. The appeal runs until 30 October and has a target of more than $1 million, including money from the charity auction - which last year raised more than $100,000.

The Foundation is delighted that media personality, John Campbell will be hosting the event for the second year in a row and musical entertainment is being provided by X-Static.

Highlights of the evening include the announcement of the six winners of the Blind Achiever's Awards 2000, who each receive $750 and a glass sculpture designed by international artist Jo Nuttall of Auckland. They will be the winners of six award categories - literature, employment/business, performing arts, art/craft, academia and sport.

Last year's winners were poet and writer Ruth Dallas, actor and presenter Minnie Baragwanath, world champion waterskier Glen Putze, potter Kelvin Falconer, author and academic Michele Leggott and Southland dairy farmer Stuart Manson.

"The Achiever's awards are an excellent way of acknowledging the personal and professional successes of blind and sight impaired people," says Suraya Dewing, Communications Manager. "They also let our supporters know how their donations assist members to reach their goals.

"This is the fifth year of the Blind Achiever's Awards and we are constantly amazed at the outstanding achievements of the entrants," says Ms Dewing.

"I'd like to thank our six judges - Anna Kenna, Mary Kisler, Dick Quax, Elizabeth McCrae, Cecilia Clarke and Professor Doug Sutton - for taking on the challenging task of choosing this year's Blind Achievers' Award winners.

"While we can have only six winners - all who enter demonstrate that being blind or sight-impaired is no barrier to achievement or to being fully involved in the community at any level."

Over 50 items are up for auction at the Charity dinner and bidders will be competing for experiences as diverse as –

* An adventure retreat weekend from Wanderwomen
* A three-day sailing weekend in the Bay of Islands or the Hauraki Gulf from Sunsail NZ Yacht Charters
* Return air travel to Noumea from Aircalin and accommodation from Bass Hotels and Resorts.
* A flight in the police helicopter from the NZ Police Air Support Unit
* An overseas adventure holiday in Thailand from Peregrine Travel

For those who prefer luxurious items, there is -
* A gift voucher for designer shoes from Minnie Cooper
* A piece of jewellry from Pascoes
* A prestige car for a weekend from Jerry Clayton BMW
* A hand woven kilim from Fables Galleries
* Cooking courses from the Epicurean Workshop
* An "afternoon escape" package from Spa de Serville.

However, auction organisers are most looking forward to seeing what interest and dollars are raised from one very special item. "We were thrilled to be able to get this particular item for the auction and we are expecting considerable interest from the floor," says Jeanette Manson, National Manager Funding Development.

The item in question is a pair of signed boxing gloves from New Zealand boxer David Tua, courtesy of David and his manager Kevin Barry.

"It's going to be a great event," says Ms Manson " We've had some exceptional corporate support and we're looking forward to offering our guests a spectacular evening."

Tickets for the evening, which starts at 6.30pm and includes pre-dinner drinks and a three-course meal with fine wine, are $75 per person or $750 for a table of 10. To purchase your seats for the Charity Auction please contact Barbara Hieatt, RNZFB on Ph: (09) 355-6888.

ENDS

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