Busy Masons team back again for party
Freemasons from around Auckland descended on Middlemore to decorate Kidz First Children's Hospital for Christmas.
And while a team was busy in the foyer, other groups were taking care of Kidz First's emergency department, Whirinaki, the Clendon Community Clinic, the neonatal unit and the Multi Agency Centre in Manukau.
Freemason Ed Pownall says masons have been coming together for 14 years to make sure a spot of Christmas cheer is introduced to the hospital.
"It used to take us six hours to get it all done but we have it down to a fine art now and can knock it out in a couple of hours - although we have a lot more helpers today than we used to have."
It's no easy task co-ordinating the different masonic lodges but many of the volunteers have been coming to the hospital for years and enjoy catching up with staff who have become friends.
"It's probably one of our most favourite and worthwhile projects for the year," Mr Pownall says.
"It gets a bit competitive because we like to outdo each other."
Auckland District grandmaster Gary Salmon joined the decorating party but the prize for youngest volunteer went to Amelia Bull, just nine months old.
Middlemore Foundation community relations officer Joanne Hand says the Masons are terrific.
"They fundraise during the year to make sure the decorations are all topnotch and they fill the hospital with laughter when they come out.
"And the most amazing thing is that many of them are back a few days later to stage the Kidz First party for the children confined to base - and they do it every year."