Maree Lucas brought tears to the eyes of some of the biggest fashion followers last month at one of the city’s most covetable fashion shows of the year. Supporting a cause very close to her heart, the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) Fashion Show is her annual contribution to a charitable cause which has done so much for her own family.
Born prematurely, one with a hole in her heart, Maree’s twin nieces spent time at Starship, with the family staying at RMH during their treatment. Metropol talks to the school principal and owner of M Factor Events about this very worthy cause.
How did you become involved with RMH?
A friend was organising a fashion show for Ronald McDonald House about 14 years ago and I was modelling in it. I gave her a hand on the day with the organising and met the team from RMH and realised what a special charity it was. I was already organising events, so this then became one of my annual events and we used it to raise money for RMH. It is such a fun event and relates well with the RMH charity as there are so many children involved and it’s about gorgeous fashion, but also has different aspects to a normal fashion show – the All Blacks/Crusaders always add some character and the amount of children involved makes it a really lively event.
How fulfilling is it to be able to give back to an organisation which has given so much to your own family?
It definitely is a special place. The fact my family have stayed there and used Ronald McDonald House makes the event even more special for me. It’s lovely to be able to give back to a place that gives so much each and every day.
How much time goes into planning and preparation for an event such as this?
We have started working on next year’s show already, so a lot of thought and preparation goes into it. It definitely becomes easier each year as we build our sponsors and supporters. Generally once someone has come along to the event, they want to give back in some way the following year, whether through sponsorship, donating auction/raffle items, modelling, volunteering or just spreading the word about ticket sales. As I am a full time primary school principal, it is something I do in my spare time. Generally I use the January school holidays to get a lot of it organised, plus I always have my school involved. It’s a great way for the children to learn how to give back and pay it forward.
How successful was this year’s event compared to previous years?
I was really happy with this year’s event. There was such a positive and energetic vibe in the audience; the models looked great and have so much fun on the catwalk showcasing the gorgeous clothes and the most important thing to me is to raise awareness of this amazing charity. On top of that, we managed to raise over $60,000 for RMH.
Tears may not be what you’d expect from one of the city’s most covetable fashion shows. But when the benefactor of the event is a worthy charitable cause such as Ronald McDonald House South Island, which has supported the likes of Paula and Alex Moore, it’s not surprising there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
When their daughter Grace was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, the Moore family – including Grace’s twin sister Sophie and younger brother Beau – spent 133 nights at Ronald McDonald House.
The annual M Factor Fashion Show is one of the organisation’s primary fundraising drives each year, which enables it to continue the tireless crusade to support families when they need it the most. More than $65,000 was raised for the charity on the night at this year’s event.
It’s an event that organiser Maree Lucas from M Factor Events puts heart and soul into. She was joined on stage for the opening address by her twin nieces. Born prematurely, one with a hole in her heart, they spent time at Starship and her family stayed at Ronald McDonald House to be close to them while they underwent treatment.
It was a special night for a special cause and Metropol would like to personally thank all of the incredible people that supported this event in some way, shape or form.
We look at the charity’s next major fundraiser on page 10. Enjoy.
The temperatures may have begun their downward descent, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to lock yourselves inside! We’ve gone in search of some of the hottest events around that will be sure to bring some warmth to your autumn.
Food, fun and flicks:
American Express is bringing the Openair Cinema festival of food, fun and flicks to Rauora Park from 15 March to 1 April.
There will be an array of alternative entertainment, live music and DJ performances before the latest and greatest feature films light up the big screen.
Better yet, you can bring along a ‘Doggy Date’! Pampered pooches will receive the VID treatment with a pawfect picnic platter of doggy delights and their own canine couch. Tickets start at $13 and are on-sale now at www.openaircinemas.co.nz.
Jump for charity:
Some of the country’s leading horse and pony riders are getting in behind the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation with the second annual Jump for Cancer Hagley charity event at North Hagley Park on 25 March.
St. Margaret’s College students will be collecting donations on behalf of the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation and food vendors will be selling everything from coffee and gelato to gourmet pizzas and potatoes.
General admission is free with VIP tickets available from www.eventbrite.co.nz. To find out more, head to the Jump for Cancer Hagley Facebook page.
Middle-aged man in lycra!
Following a sell-out premiere season across New Zealand, much-loved Kiwi actor Mark Hadlow remounts for a final ride into Christchurch in the acclaimed one man show, MAMIL (middle-aged man in Lycra), in all its lurid lycra glory for ‘Le Tour d’Isaac’, from Thursday 31 May to Saturday 2 June at the Isaac Theatre Royal.
Shining as the affable, yet uncomfortably relatable anti-hero in the one-man show, Hadlow commands the stage. With his energetic presence and childlike enthusiasm to the character, he breathes life into the cleverly crafted monologues to delight even the most stoic of MAMIL-phobes.
Colourful fun :
All the colour and fun of a carnival is coming to Cathedral Square on Saturday 24 February.
The popular Latino market is heading into the city from 4pm to 8pm on so you can enjoy a delicious culinary collection of Latin street food, live music, art and craft and, of course, the warmth of the local Latin community.
There will also be workshops, a dance floor and performances with Latin rhythms (including capoeira and samba do Brasil). So bring your most colourful clothing – and your dancing shoes – and prepare for a night of colourful fun.
A catwalk crusade:
Designers and celebrities are set to hit the catwalk on Thursday 12 April wearing the latest New Zealand fashion.
Guests at the annual M Factor Fashion Show will see collections from the likes of Annah Stretton, Augustine, Repertoire, Trelise Cooper and many more to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities New Zealand and Ronald McDonald House South Island.
Held at 7pm on Thursday 12 April at The Transitional Cathedral, tickets are available at ticketmaster.co.nz and are priced at $75 for VIP, $55 for General Admission and $20 for children and students.
How does an evening of glitz, glamour and fashion at the city’s Transitional Cathedral sound? Likely pretty irresistible, especially when it is all in aid of an extremely worthwhile charity.
Some of the country’s biggest fashion powerhouses are coming together to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) New Zealand and Ronald McDonald House South Island next month.
The annual family-friendly M Factor Fashion Show on Thursday April 12 will treat guests to collections from a range which includes Anna Stretton, Augustine, Repertoire, Sergios, Trelise Cooper, Escape Clothing and children’s clothing labels such as IvyBlu and Little Urban Closet.
After the success of last year’s Fashion Show at The Foundry, owner and event organiser for M Factor Events Maree Harris is looking forward to bringing more glitz, glamour and fashion to this year’s runway, which is back in the Transitional Cathedral, where it was held in 2016.
“It is such a stunning space and works perfectly as a fashion show venue,” Maree says.
It’s not just your average fashion show, with models including families who stay at a Ronald McDonald House, a charity close to Maree’s heart.
“My twin nieces and family spent two months at Ronald McDonald House and it was such a calm, welcoming and family orientated escape for them away from the hospital,” she says.
“It’s a really special charity to me, which is why I am so excited to use my passion to support such an incredible cause.”
Ronald McDonald House South Island CEO Mandy Kennedy has been humbled by Maree’s dedication to supporting the charity year after year and says the show is an integral part of the charity’s annual fundraising.
“Last year over 3,700 families from across the country stayed at a Ronald McDonald House and, because we receive no direct government funding, we rely on community support like this.”
The event will be held at 7pm on Thursday 12 April at The Transitional Cathedral. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.co.nz and are priced at $75 for VIP, $55 for general admission and $20 for children and students.
Funds raised from the event will go towards supporting thousands of families who walk through the doors of a Ronald McDonald House every year.