A fundraising scheme pitting communities against each other has passed its $500,000 target.
Spirit of a Nation brand manager Gerry Ford said he was "just delighted" to have raised $568,000 for community organisations.
"We wanted to make fundraising as exciting as the Ranfurly Shield with some great inter-town clashes, fun nights and great money raised for volunteers who are the backbone of the community."
Small community groups such as swimming pools, rugby clubs and playcentres needed to fundraise for their amenities and programmes every year, Ford said.
"It's about the power of collaborating. By working together, [we] can make more money, have more fun and build stronger relationships in the community."
Fundraising nights were held in local halls, with competing towns entering a team of 10 to pit their skills and strengths against their rivals.
Ticket sales for the event nights, bar sales, and "a wee bit of money in a bucket" contributed to the funds, Ford said.
However, it was the auctions of donated items held in between the competing acts that raised 80 per cent of the money.
Winning teams got a trophy.
"Towns are really competitive - they have a rivalry from being next to each other."
The $568,000 raised will be split evenly between 38 volunteer groups.
Hillside School in Browns was one of the groups to receive money.
Principal Tina Shaw said it was a "great achievement for our little school".
"It's been a great opportunity for us. Some of the board and parents became involved in the boots and suits fundraiser."
The school identified a need to upgrade the playground last year, and new equipment has been installed since the money was raised.
'The children really love it, are using it well. It's given them lots more things to do on there," Shaw said.
* Koren Allpress is a journalism student at Aoraki Polytechnic
- The Southland Times
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