Celebrity debate to raise funds for hall

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Celebrities will go in to battle when the doors to Oturehua’s community hall open this weekend.

The hall will play host to a celebrity debate on Saturday night in order to raise money to help safeguard the facility’s future.

Oturehua’s hall is owned and maintained by the community and is not subsidised by the Central Otago District Council.

Instead, volunteer labour and fundraising initiatives help keep the hall in working order.

Event committee member Bill May said upkeep of the hall was vital as it was a valuable community asset which was used by both locals and visitors.

One of the main areas of the hall that required regular upkeep were the toilets, which were in regular use, particularly among people cycling the Rail Trail and shearers on their way home from work, he said.

Among those taking part will be broadcaster, columnist and author Jim Hopkins and former MP for the Act New Zeland Party, Hilary Calvert.

Gerry Eckhoff, who farmed sheep and beef near Roxburgh and is also a former Act MP, has also signed up to the debate, along with Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan.

Waitaki MP, National’s Jacqui Dean, is also in the line-up, along with Ranfurly veterinarian Michael Lilley, who won the New Zealand Young Farmer of the Year title in 2012.

The debate topic is “we would rather be yuppies than yokels.”

Maniototo campaigner and supporter Amie Pont will MC the event and court judge Rosemary Riddell will take on the role of judge for the evening, which starts at 7pm.

Tickets are available from Gilchrist’s store, Oturehua, Muddy Creek Cafe, Omakau and More than Books, Ranfurly.

There will also be sales at the door if the debate is not sold out prior.