TVNZ 7 portrait auction raises over $75k for Starship Foundation

TVNZ 7’s art series The Sitting has raised $76,570 for the Starship Foundation through an auction of portraits of well-known New Zealanders painted by acclaimed artist Stephen Martyn Welch.

Portraits of Sir Graham Henry, Keven Mealamu, Richard O’Brien, Mark Sainsbury, Petra Bagust, George Henare, Peter Elliott, Greg Johnson, Sir Michael Hill, Sir Peter Leitch, Nikki Kaye, Jacinda Ardern, Greg Johnson, Jo Seagar, Al Brown, Siobhan Marshall, Geradine Brophy, Dick Frizzell and Otis Frizzell went under the hammer at the auction held last night at Auckland’s Pah Homestead.

All of the portraits were painted as part of the TVNZ 7 show The Sitting, in which Welch, the winner of the prestigious 2012 Adam Portraiture Award, chats with his subjects while he sketches and paints, exploring their pasts and revealing new information about them.

The programme is produced for TVNZ 7 by Top Shelf Productions and screens on Fridays at 7.30pm.

Head of Digital Media and Digital Channels and Licensing, Eric Kearley says last night’s charity auction was a huge success and wonderful way to link art, television and service to the community.

“We are delighted that we have been able to assist the Starship Foundation through the talent of the artist, the calibre of the programme, the willingness of high profile New Zealanders to take part in it, and the huge generosity of the bidders.”

Brad Clark, Chief Executive, Starship Foundation says, “Last night’s auction of Stephen Martyn Welch’s extraordinary portraits was a wonderful fundraiser for Starship Children’s Hospital. We are so grateful to Marty, TVNZ7 and Top Shelf Productions who have all worked tirelessly for the benefit of the national children’s hospital – and to the generous bidders in the room who supported the auction so whole-heartedly.”

$57,711 of the money raised will go towards the purchase of a point of care ultrasound machine. This ultrasound machine will be used in theatre and enables the insertion of vascular access for the administration of chemotherapy. The scanner will minimise the invasive action and lessen damage to the delicate veins of children. The machine will also be used for the resection of tumours.

The balance of funds will go towards Starship’s National Air Ambulance Service. Year-round the Starship National Air Ambulance Service rushes medical experts to life-threatening emergencies around the country where they stabilise the children and allow them to be brought safely to Starship to receive the care they need. The Starship Foundation is committed to providing $1.5 million annually for this vital service which includes staff training, aviation costs and critical equipment.

All of the portraits remain at the historic Pah Homestead on exhibition until May 27.

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