The Canterbury Medical Research Foundation (CMRF) Wine & Art Auction celebrates its 25th year on 1 December, with its annual Wine & Art Auction at Rydges Latimer. Since it began 25 years ago this flagship event has raised more than $1.6 million for research right here in Canterbury.
CMRF is one of the largest funders of medical research in Canterbury and over the last 58 years with the generosity of donors, has granted more than $27 million to numerous research projects. The research it has supported has not only had significant impact on patients in Canterbury but also throughout New Zealand and globally.
CMRF gifts a guaranteed $100,000 to each year’s designated Wine & Art Auction recipient. Some past recipients include University of Canterbury’s Professor Julia Rucklidge whose research encompasses the effects of micronutrients on adult mood disorders and Professor Frank Frizelle’s University of Otago, Christchurch team research into bowel cancer (especially vital as Canterbury has one of the highest rates of any region in New Zealand).
This year’s recipient of the Wine & Art Auction is The Christchurch Health and Development Study which has been in existence for 40 years. During this time the team has followed the life progress of a group of 1,265 babies born in Christchurch during mid-1977. The study team has had significant impact and published over 480 scientific papers, reports, books and book chapters describing the 40-year life history of the cohort.
The research team’s studies to date have included:
• The effects of parental smoking on childhood respiratory illness
• The impacts of low level lead exposure on cognitive development and behaviour
• The effects of childhood sexual abuse on educational achievement and psycho-social adjustment
• The impacts of adolescent cannabis use on educational achievement and mental health
• The effects of the Canterbury earthquakes on psychological wellbeing
This event is supported by some of New Zealand’s favourite visual artists who provide an incredible offering of artwork for auction. The art work is complemented by a stunning array of collectable wines for auction which showcase the best in the vintner’s art from New Zealand and beyond. Well supported by Canterbury businesses the main auction and the silent auction include experiences and exquisite donated items.
Limited tickets are still available from email@example.com: $1,600 per table of 10 and $160 for a single ticket. To make a donation instead to support the Foundation’s vital work please visit
To a large extent, the longer life expectancy we enjoy owes to pioneers of modern medicine in our midst. Canterbury Medical Research Foundation is one of eight research organisations playing this vital role in New Zealand. It is second only to Auckland in size.
Focused on transitional science, to identify a very clear nexus between what’s being done in the field of research and the outcome for the patient, the real ethos of the foundation is around legacy – what it can do to make a better life for future generations and in turn, ensure less suffering for people with chronic illness and their families.
While trying to reduce the bureaucracy that frustrates so many in the field, the foundation’s assessment process for its research is no less rigorous than any other. “The key is that we are not just some faceless funding agency; we develop a meaningful relationship with those we support,” CEO Kate Russell says. “With the likes of the Universities of Canterbury and Otago, we feel a great deal of responsibility, friendship and goodwill towards them, because they are doing a brilliant job.”
An important part of Canterbury Medical Research Foundation’s remit focuses on health issues important to New Zealanders and those with a local relevance to Christchurch such as depression and anxiety, particularly post-quakes. “We also support the ADHD work of Dr Julia Rucklidge at University of Canterbury, Prof Frank Frizzell and his team working on colorectal research and so many others. The work of our own NZ Brain Research Institute is an important part of what we do.
“The Brain ‘Centre of Research Excellence’ (CoRE) that our institute participates in, has been given a very clear focus – to push the beginnings of cognitive decline out by five years. Most people, if they live long enough, will experience some level of cognitive decline, so if we can delay this, it affects the whole trajectory of the disease.”
One of the main reasons it exists is to fill a very important gap. “We are niche funders who commit to small and interesting projects to help them become large and interesting projects.
“The reason Professor Don Bevan started our foundation is because we have a huge hospital base here, a medical school and the University of Canterbury. We have a lot of lovely, young, bright minds fresh out of study with their PhD, and if they are not supported or given opportunities, they go overseas and we risk permanently losing that intellectual capital.”
With $1.6 million given away annually by Canterbury Medical Research Foundation and a goal to give away $2 million annually by 2020, Russell says the foundation wishes to sincerely thank all its generous donors.
“We have been so blessed in the generous bequests received. A lot of people think, ‘I don’t donate because surely they are only interested in big donors’, but actually, it is our hundreds and hundreds of small donors who give us what they can that helps us push our reserves up. There are a lot of worthy charities in New Zealand and we’re so thankful because the only reason we can do all of this is because of our generous community.”
Tomorrow – 16 March – Canterbury Medical Research Foundation is partnering with the Cancer Society for its annual Russley Golf Club Tournament. Also on the agenda this year, is its annual Wine and Art Auction where $100,000 is guaranteed to be raised to support a selected project. Applications for project funding have also just closed, so keep an eye out for further news.