Our latest cause: the Highlanders


A Queenstown real estate boss is unrepentent about hosting an auction to raise money for a professional rugby franchise.

Local-based BayleysLocations helped organise a local dinner/auction last Thursday to help the Highlanders pay the costs of hosting the Australian Waratahs for a Super Rugby pre-season game in the resort the following day.

The Queenstown game cost the franchise more than $80,000.

The Waratahs were put up at the plush Hilton Hotel, whereas the Highlanders stayed at a backpackers, Pinewood Lodge.

BayleysLocations boss Stacy Coburn, whose firm sponsors the Highlanders, says the $100-a-head function, attended by almost 140 people, raised just under $23,000.

For pre-season games, the host franchise picks up not only its own costs but also the costs of flying over and accommodating the visiting team.

“To bring Super Rugby to the district and Queenstown comes at considerable expense, which was explained on the night.

“We’re bringing Super Rugby to the wider community for the kids and families.

“We never once promoted it as a charitable auction/dinner - net proceeds were always going to the

Coburn says his firm also dipped into its own pocket by giving away 500 children’s tickets.

Highlanders commercial manager Mike Kerr says the evening was about recovering costs, not making money.

Kerr adds the costs incurred during the Super Rugby season itself are footed by competition organiser SANZAAR.