The Kaikoura Lions Club can surely boast the highest Lions seat in the whole of New Zealand, after an incredible effort saw one installed at the summit of Mt Fyffe.
The seat sits at 1602m and for much of the year will be surrounded by snow, offering a very welcome rest for the weary who have made the ascent. It also offers one of the most spectacular views of the Kaikoura peninsula, and views of the North Island on a clear day.
A very blustery north-west wind accompanied the four Lions Club members who went to the summit in a helicopter.
The seat is the 50th to be installed, and marks the club's 50th year of service in the district. Charter president Dr Lloyd Johnston and fellow charter member Bryan Seddon held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the seat. Both men are still active members of the Kaikoura Lions Club.
The local club started out with 30 members and Dr Johnston has seen an incredible number of members come and go since the first meeting in 1964.
The seat was donated by Lions members Kevin and Lynne Smith in memory of Kevin's father Terence, who farmed Rockwood and leased Mt Fyffe Run 125, consisting of 6,300 acres. The run is the north/north-west sloping faces of Mt Fyffe.
Kevin has already seen people sitting on the seat and enjoying the view from his home on Miromiro Drive, in the Seaview Kaikouras subdivision, with a good pair of binoculars, of course.
The Lions Club has installed seats all over the district, including the furthest afield in Christchurch at Chateau on the Park, which was donated by both Kaikoura clubs.
Along with the many seats the club has installed, they have also been very active in recent times creating boardwalks all over Kaikoura which have proved very popular with walkers and cyclists and which offer a far more picturesque route around Kaikoura than the main roads.
But not all the projects are new initiatives - Dr Johnston recalls many things continued by the club over many years, including delivering firewood to pensioners.
"One of our first projects was delivering wood to the pensioners' cottages and we are still delivering wood today. We also put a lot of volunteer work into the pool - we had one paid overseer but everything else was voluntary," he said. "Another project I remember from when I was president was the picnic area at the top end of Churchill Park. It had a fountain there and I put some goldfish in it once - but they didn't last long!"
The annual fishing contest has also been going for many years since Dr Johnston organised the first one, and continues to be popular with plenty of entries each year. Meals on wheels is also one of the community-minded projects carried out regularly by the club, and who could forget the highlight of many members' calendars, the over 70s dinner, which has been going for the past 41 years.
The club's 50 years will be celebrated on Saturday December 6 with a dinner at Fyffe Country Lodge. The club is looking forward to catching up with all past Lions Club members and associated members, who are asked to express their interest by contacting any of the club's current members.