A Massive Night for Hospice Taranaki

Words by  Irena Brooks
Brody Dolan Rob Tucker celebrates as the total amount raised passes $150,000 PHOTO Brody Dolan

He knows the outlook is grim, but New Plymouth’s Rob Tucker isn’t spending his precious days sitting around thinking “woe is me”. In fact, as he battles terminal cancer, the well-known photographer has been thinking about how he can help others.

His idea for a photo auction to help raise money for Hospice Taranaki, turned into the organisation’s biggest fundraiser since its inception 30 years ago.

In one night, the Photojournalism NZ Charity Auction that was Rob’s brainchild, raised over $160,000 and still counting for Hospice Taranaki / Te Kahu Pairuri ki Taranaki. 

“The mana Rob is held in within media circles and support for Taranaki’s most highly respected and valued community healthcare provider combined to produce a wonderful evening for everyone involved,” said CEO Paul Lamb.

“I couldn’t believe the amount we raised,” commented Rob a week after the event. “It’s a great feeling and it was an honour to be part of such an amazing project. A real first for me.”

After 52 years as a photojournalist, Rob tapped into his incredible network of fellow photographers from around New Zealand and asked them to submit one of their favourite photos from their careers.

Fifty photographers submitted over 120 striking and historic images taken over the last 50 years – some went back even further.

Rob and his wife Bonnie marshalled friends, family and colleagues to form a skilled local organising group to get the images printed, mounted and framed and the event staged and promoted.

Over 300 people bought tickets to the event, while many more people around New Zealand purchased the catalogue of images – each one supported by a caption, information about the photographer, and sometimes a memory about the moment of capturing the image. 

The catalogue has proved so popular that it has been reprinted … go to photojournalismnz.co.nz if you want to buy one. 

“I have been overwhelmed by the response to my idea on how to raise money for Hospice Taranaki,” Rob comments of what seemed like quite a daunting task. “It turned out it was easy – just use the word ‘Hospice’ and people asked ‘how do we help?’.”

He described the fundraiser as a win-win for everyone. 

“My photojournalist brothers were brought into the limelight, giving them exposure to the famous image they had taken years before. The photo was well-known but no-one knew who the photographer was.”

Clearly grateful for all the support he received for the fundraiser Rob says simply:

“Thank you all – it was fun and successful.”

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