Awards boss shares role during cancer fight

17:00, Jun 20 2014
Heather Paterson
CONFABULATION: Hokonui Fashion and Design awards organiser Heather Paterson with hairdresser Adrian Barclay earlier this year as they discuss plans for the show.

Heather Paterson, the driving force behind a major fashion show in Gore, is taking a step back as she focuses on her battle with cancer.

Paterson, who has been at the helm of the Hokonui Fashion and Design awards for 16 years, has relinquished her role to husband Wade Paterson as she undergoes treatment for oesophageal cancer.

Wade, a long-time self-professed dogsbody of the awards, said he was happy to take on the responsibilities.

Heather was still involved with the direction and ideas and remained on the committee but the overall management and co-ordination now fell to him, he said.

The decision to take on the challenge of running the show was an easy one for Wade.

After years of helping with administration and behind-the-scenes work and knowing how much effort went into the awards each year, he did not want to see them fade away.


"I'd hate to see 16 years of hard work just disappear.

"It's definitely her baby."

This year's awards have received a record 250 entries, he said.

Organisers were delighted with the numbers, an increase on the previous year's record as it reflected the status of the awards.

Two judges confirmed so far were Denise L'Estrange, of acclaimed label World, who is returning for her third visit to the deep south, and former Gore woman, now of Dunedin, Donna Tulloch of the highly regarded Mild Red brand.

Other judges would be announced next week, he said.

The structure of behind-the-scenes work was also changing this year, with committee members taking the reins in their respective departments, he said.

Familiar faces Helen McCurdy and Francis Michels will continue in their roles of heads of wardrobe, and have added several new faces to their team.

Sheree McIntyre had taken on a greater role in administration and cataloguing of entries and Rebecca Gutschlag will remain as choreographer and also take on the auditioning, selecting and training of the models, Wade said.

The Strictly Design evening, which starts the event, will be on July 25 and the Gala Awards on July 26 at the Gore Town and Country Club.

Tickets go on sale on June 27 and are available from the Gore Visitor Information Centre.

Last year tickets sold out in hours so organisers urged people to get in quickly to avoid disappointment, Wade said.

The Southland Times