One of the volunteer treasures of Hawke’s Bay are the region’s various Rotary Clubs.

I’ve had the privilege of speaking to a number of Rotary meetings over the years … always a good time, lots of laughs, informed questions, inspiring moments and questionable desserts.

The clubs do amazing public service work, both hands-on projects and major fundraising, with two of the most ambitious annual undertakings about to happen.

This coming week will see the 40th annual Harcourts Artex National Exhibition, showcasing 77 artists from across New Zealand and aiming to raise much needed funds for surf lifesaving in Hawke’s Bay.

The Rotary Club of Greenmeadows hosted event will be held at Napier’s War Memorial and Conference Centre and features 178 paintings, photos and sculptures totalling over $350,000.

Project director Bryan Matthews says art lovers attending the launch Soiree on Thursday June 23 have the first chance to “snap up some fantastic art” ahead of the general public exhibition and sale that runs from Friday June 24 to Sunday June 26.

Art from well-known artists such as Ben Ho, from Queenstown and Colin Wynn (Blenheim) along with local artists and photographers such as Richard Brimmer and Heather Wilson will be for sale. The most expensive piece of art is a painting by Colin Wynn with a $9200 price tag. All art is on display through to the end of the exhibition on Sunday afternoon.

Harcourts Artex National Exhibition and Sale was created by The Rotary Club of Greenmeadows Napier in 1982 and has raised nearly $900,000 for charities in Hawke’s Bay.

As noted above, this year’s event will benefit Surf Livesaving, a vital service in our region with 34 people being rescued at our beaches last year.

For more information including tickets for The Soiree visit

Then next month – July 29th – will see the Karamu Rotary Cocktail Party benefitting Cranford Hospice. That event, celebrating 30 years, is already sold out and will hopefully help finish off the funding for the Hospice’s $15 million new build at Chesterhope.

Two super contributions to our community over decades. Well done, Rotary!

Photo: Andrew Cardwell, Ankh Photography

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