With the threat of Omicron looming, Pioneer Energy and Otago Community Hospice have postponed the popular Central Otago Dinner Club until spring.

The dinner is a key part of the hospice’s fundraising plan in the region, raising money for the Cromwell-based hospice service.

Hospice chief executive Ginny Green said with all events, the hospice was keen to play it safe.

“While this fundraiser is one of the best events we do in Central Otago, with the unknown ahead of us it is the wrong time to be hosting large fundraisers.”

The Dinner Club, created by local volunteer Russell Garbutt and Alexandra-based Pioneer Energy, started four years ago and has become a landmark fundraiser in Alexandra.

Pioneer Energy chief executive Fraser Jonker said although Covid had played havoc with planning, the organising team, sponsors and supporters were keen to do what they could to keep the event on the calendar.

“We love this event and while it’s sad to postpone, I know our supporters and locals will look forward to this spring event, and will continue to be there for our local hospice team.

“We are especially grateful to the team at The Packing Shed supporting our decision. They always turn on a beautiful evening, and we look forward to working with them again once we are on the other side of the Omicron threat.”

Mr Garbutt said the reaction to the postponement by individuals and organisations had been one of 100% commitment to support the dinner at the new date.

“However, the work of hospice in Central Otago continues and, recognising this, Pioneer Energy has made an immediate donation of $10,000 to the work hospice does in our community.

“This donation not only recognises the work that hospice does, but it is a shining example of a primary sponsor being a brilliant corporate citizen.”

Hospice and Pioneer Energy wanted to thank all the supporters for their backing of the event.

Event supporters include:

Alexandra New World


Central Otago Safari Tours

Clyde River Cruises

Creagh Cottage and Vineyard

Cromwell Golf Club and Willie Moore

Edgewater Wanaka

Grahame Sydney

Highland’s Motorsport Park

Jonathan Usher

John Ecksmann

Light Source


Coffee Afloat

Mt Difficulty/ Foley Wines


Paddon Rallysport

Rockburn Winery


Tall Poppy Real Estate

The Packing Shed Gallery & Cafe

The Post Office

Two Paddocks

Warbirds Over Wanaka