01 Jul 2019
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Generous Kiwis dug more than $85,000 from their pockets to buy beds and warm bedding for Kiwi kids who need them while enjoying a taste of Tinseltown last Friday.

SKYCITY Variety of Chefs, which raised a record amount in its seventh year, has become an important fundraising fixture for Variety – the Children’s Charity.

A stunning menu was presented to 300 guests by Nic Watt of SKYCITY’s MASU restaurant and celebrated US chef Jonathan Granada visiting from Otium restaurant, just outside Hollywood. Courses included king prawns in a bed of avocado mousse, tender New Zealand lamb cutlets and a chocolate ensemble desert hidden inside each guests’ own Hollywood star.

Nic, who has supported the event every year since it began, invites a collaborator each year to join him to design, plan, prepare and cook for guests in the kitchen at the SKYCITY Grand Hotel.

The evening was generously hosted by Nadine Higgins, Shane Cortese and roving reporter-from-the-kitchen Aziz Al-Sa'afin, and made possible thanks to support from long-standing Variety partners – SKYCITY and Ford New Zealand.

CEO of Variety, Lorraine Taylor, told the guests that last year, due to an influx of requests from families for beds and bedding, Variety developed and piloted a new programme Beds for Kids – which it launched officially on the night.

“Thanks to the amazing support of the Z Zurich Foundation and Zurich New Zealand, we provided 58 children who were either sleeping on the floor, on chairs or couches, or bed-sharing due to overcrowding – with their own beds, cozy bedding and warm pyjamas.

“The most recent Child Poverty Monitor said 13 per cent of Kiwi kids in the lowest income households don’t have their own bed. As you can imagine, children who share a bed or sleep on the floor are at a higher risk of infectious diseases and they miss out on the sleep they need to start the day refreshed and ready for school.”

Lorraine told guests about the feedback she had received about one child who used to sleep on the floor or share a bed with his brothers and sisters, had routinely suffered from asthma and had been admitted to hospital with bronchiolitis. “His mother was over the moon when his bed was delivered, telling us, ‘it was like a miracle had happened. Last winter he didn’t even get sick. When we got them he loved it – he asked if we had won lotto’”

Claire Walker, Human Resource Group General Manager of SKYCITY affirmed the group’s support: “We’re extremely proud to have supported Variety - the Children’s Charity since 2005, where we have raised over $3.6 million in fundraising, grants and in-kind sponsorship over the duration of our partnership.”

Later in the evening the room fell silent when Community Paediatrician with Auckland District Health Board Dr Alison Leversha presented guests with the reality of the health outcomes she regularly sees in New Zealand children who sleep in cold, damp and unhealthy conditions.

Variety – the Children’s Charity will mobilise the $85,000 raised from the black-tie event to deliver beds and warm bedding to some of the 300 children on its waiting list, while also continuing to work with the Healthy Homes Initiative through which it delivered its pilot project.

The collaborative partnership operating from local district health boards is part of an intervention programme supplying essential beds, bedding and pyjamas to the most vulnerable 500 New Zealand children, including newborns and toddlers, whose families can’t access funds for beds and bedding from any other source.

Variety wishes to extend a special thank you to all guests who attended, along with the following people and organisations for their immense and generous contributions to 2019 Variety of Chefs:


Ford New Zealand

Nic Watt, MASU, NZ

Jonathan Granada, Otium, LA

Nadine Higgins

Shane Cortese

Aziz Al-Sa'afin

Ben Kloppers

Dr. Alison Leversha

Finesse Entertainment

Ora King Salmon

Make All Media

Light Viking

Nicholson Print



Beverage partners:

SOHO Wines

Villa Maria Wines

Batch Winery

Rapaura Springs

Westbrook Winery

Deep Creek Brewing Co

Bach Brewing

Zeffer Cider

Garage Project


Auction item donors:

Ford New Zealand


Villa Maria

Zeffer Cider


The Art of Night


SKYCITY Breakers

Savoy Charters

F45 One Tree Hill

World Expeditions

Vodafone Warriors

The Warehouse


Crown Beach Resort and Spa Rarotonga

Volivoli Resort Fiji

Odyssey Auckland

Auckland Bridge Climb

Auckland Seafood School

Bennetts Chocolates Mangawhai

Canopy Camping



Clean Collective

Dr. Feel Good

EastWest Yoga



Graeme Thomson Antique Jewellery

Hampton Downs

Hopt Soda

Jumpflex Trampoline

Lisa Hoskin Jewellery


Mcleods Brewery

Mexico N

Harbour Sport

My Food Bag

Philip Markham


Sachie's Kitchen

Sawmill Brewery


Sharp NZ

Skyline Rotorua

Stolen Girlfriend's Club

Taste of Auckland

Hakan Nedjat Photography

Sal's Pizza

Estée Lauder

Trelise Cooper



Robbie's Fun Bus


Wilderness Motorhomes



Yealands Wine

Halo Top Ice Cream

Mike & Lloyd Restaurants

Holey Moley

Pupuke Golf Club





Media enquiries: Karyn Tattersfield,, 021 182 4262