Former fire chief Colin Kitchen speaks at the Snapper Bonanza prize-giving, while organiser John Stewart holds a giant cheque for $11,000. Photo / Snapper Bonanza
An auction of fish donated during last week’s Ninety Mile Beach Snapper Bonanza has raised a whopping $11,000 for the Kaitāia Volunteer Fire Brigade.
After weighing in their fish, contestants were given the choice of keeping them or donating them to charity, with many opting for the latter.
The donated snapper were then sold to the highest bidders at the Kaitāia Market on Saturday morning.
The amount raised was almost double that of the last Bonanza fish auction in 2021, which brought in just over $6000.
Former fire chief Colin Kitchen said the money raised would be a great help to the brigade, which was operated by locals who were available 24/7 without recompense.
The funds could help pay for a number of brigade projects, including the construction of sleeping quarters at the station for volunteers who lived out of town.
It could also be used by volunteers who worked during the day but wanted to be available for call-outs during the night.
During the five-day fishing tournament, the brigade had been called out to two serious house fires, Kitchen said.
One destroyed a home on State Highway 1 at Awanui, while the other badly damaged a house at Waipapakauri Ramp, just a few hundred metres from the Bonanza headquarters.
The brigade had a tanker stationed at the competition base all week, so a crew was able to get to the fire quickly and bring it under control.
Later that day, Bonanza contestants raised $2100 for the affected family, who had lost many of their possessions to smoke and fire damage.
After the final prize-giving on Saturday, one of the winners in the lucky draw for the Mitsubishi ute donated his newly won 65-inch television to the family.