This summer would have been a big anniversary for The Big Dig – the popular treasure hunt fundraiser held on Ōrewa Beach.
The event that had been scheduled for January 15 would have been the 40th Big Dig, and organisers Ōrewa Lions Club were looking forward to putting a few extra things in the mix to mark the occasion.
However, due to the Covid-19 restrictions, it was not to be. Ōrewa Lions president Wendy Miller says there were attempts to put the event back to March or April but other events, and a lack of weekends with suitable low tides, made this impractical, leaving cancellation the only option. The decision to cancel the event was finally made by the club’s committee on December 1.
“We would have needed to be in the green traffic light setting, or better,” Wendy says. “We get hundreds of people attending and there are several entry points so scanning passes just wouldn’t be possible.”
It is just the second time that the event has been cancelled – the other was in 2013, due to a change in Auckland Council’s consent conditions.
Wendy says the club’s biggest regret, apart from disappointing the families that attend, is that it was a fundraiser for NZ Lions Starship PICU appeal. This was spearheaded by the Warkworth branch and aims to fully fund one PICU room including all the equipment by raising more than $400,000. By the end of November the funds raised and pledges received amounted to $239,035.
“Last year we raised $7500 at The Big Dig, so that was to be our biggest contribution,” Wendy says.
She says they have also lost funding that would have come in from helping at the Ōrewa Santa Parade and The Longest Dinner, both of which were cancelled.
“This year has been tricky. We’ve kept all our little fundraisers going and are still doing our community work when we can.”
The club will meet again in February to look at its calendar of events for 2022.
If you would like to donate to the Lions Starship PICU appeal, the Warkworth Lions Trust account is 02-0480-0015374-97.