Whakatane Master Builders Get Dance Floored

The Whakatane Master Builders Association is a major supporter of its local community. You may recall a story published in Building Today a couple of years ago applauding members for saving the Bay Health Foundation hundreds of thousands of dollars when they pitched in to help build a new oncology clinic at Whakatane Hospital through Project Hope.
Well, they're at it again. They recently teamed up with Quota International Whakatane to pull off a very successful charitable event for the Eastern Bay of Plenty Hospice by hosting Whakatane's own "Dancing with the Stars". Hospice EBOP provides essential care for people with a life limiting
illness, and support for their families. Their nurses provide specialist palliative in-home nursing care to patients of all ages, cultures, and spiritual and religious beliefs.
Their funding comes through a government contract with the District Health Board which only covers around 55% of what it actually costs to provide hospice services.
The big night was held recently at the Whakatane War Memorial Centre, and it was certainly a night many will remember.
John Pullar of Pullar Builders - an RMBF member since 1981 - put down his tool belt to become a judge for the evening, although he did provide some building expertise in preparation for the night.
"The dancers had been practising for around four months, so we thought it was only fair to give them a dance floor," Mr Pullar says.
The raised dance floor was constructed and erected in just one afternoon, two days out from the big night, with huge help from Bunning's Warehouse Whakatane.
Five hundred tickets were sold as quickly as they were printed, so organisers decided to open up 300 more - and they were sold just as fast! The stage was lit, the dresses donned and the jivers looking lively as the couples made their way to the floor. Joining Mr Pullar on the judging panel were entertainment diva Tina Cross, Hospice EBOP manager Ngaire Lewis and MP Rodney Hide - with no yellow blazer in sight!
With 15 couples in the competition, it was Rumba masters Sita Thakersi and Scott Muncaster who had the time of their lives and took out the win. Whakatane Registered Master Builders really enjoy getting behind community events. "It's great for us to be involved in something as extraordinary as this. We want to give back to the community and, of course, support a great charity," Mr Pullar says.
A whopping $25,000 was raised for the Hospice from the night. "That figure was way beyond our wildest dreams. And what a way to help such and under-funded charity."
Many local businesses also got involved with the sponsorship of the event, prizes and materials.
And the raised dance floor has definitely been put to good use by Theatre Whakatane who were delighted to take if off their hands.
So, will "Dancing with the Stars" become an annual event? Mr Pullar says to keep the magic alive, the Whakatane Registered Master Builders Association is looking to get involved with charitable events every couple of years. And, given this event's popularity, Whakatane could see a second season!