Article Title:The Chateau Pulsated Pink
Author or Credit:Richard Howard
Published on:23rd May 2011 - 10:45 am
Story ID:10393
Text:The first ultra glamorous Pink Ball kicked off in the old-world desert chic of Bayfield Tongariro Chateau this weekend.  A large bevy of scrubbed, perfumed and bejeweled dashing men and women from all corners of New Zealand, also Australia, Argentina and Canada, ascended the tussock desert lands of the Central North Island volcanic plateau to the famous mountain retreat “We came to the ball because we think that Gay and Lesbian people deserve a different kind of event (on the annual calendar) something glamorous and classy” as one woman guest from Auckland told me. And that’s exactly what we got! The Chateau is a formal hotel in the grand style, with soaring ceilings, vast picture windows, and long velvet drapes; a hang-over from a more gentile time of plush carpets, large crystal chandeliers (real), silver service, china tea cups, billiards, cocktails and smart guests taking the tour. These days anyone with a “nice frock” and a credit card is welcome and may enjoy the bountiful and sumptuous array of facilities, comfy chairs, culinary delights and exotic beverages. This was a perfect setting for the ball, offering a refreshing and character-rich contrast to the usual low level décor of most “Gay” venues, not to mention most people’s living rooms. “It’s well worth the journey out of your usual environment, your normal life and the stock perceptions of Gay entertainment to experience the difference in lifestyle (all be it for a few nights) and of course the extraordinary natural wonders of the surroundings which some of us did today”- said a male guest. The mountains and the Tongariro National Park is in fact a world heritage site. “The food was absolutely beautiful; they pulled out all the stops” said one woman guest. Toby from Kamo said “I haven’t seen a better buffet since visiting Raffles (Hotel) in Singapore” – and indeed it was faultless. Imagine -chilled prawns in a large iced Waka like a Peter Nash glass sculpture lit from beneath in alternating blues and greens. Purple winged angels, also carved in ice presided over an extensive banquet of fresh oysters and whole fish in varying styles, French pates, salads, roasted meats, a perfectly prepared array of seasonal vegetables, cheeses, gateaux, Crème Brule , tarts, cheese cakes and a tumbling river of fresh tropical fruits (which I thought to be most appropriate give the occasion). The crowd was “handsome”, friendly and totally dedicated to sucking up the atmosphere and making the most of…. well, everything! - This included appreciating the concert and dance music of ALZARE. They are, as many of you will know, four outstanding male singers (not always the same ones) who performed live for most of the evening. Towards the evening we forgave the odd slipping harmony or tone and the muffled quality of less well rehearsed pieces because the energy was high, they looked great and they worked so hard to entertain us. And, towards the end of the evening all the people I spoke to agreed that this event; independently and somewhat boldly initiated by the Chateau management to promote opportunities in the transitional season, was great! Manager of the Chateau Tony Abbot told me that he was pleased with the event and the response to the ball although there was room for many more. Although organised and promoted on something of a shoe- string this year he said it was good to test out the concept with a view to repeating it next year. Many guests thought the event has excellent potential to grow in scale and quality of experience on a year to year basis. I agree and through the eyes of an events and marketing development man, I can say that there needs to be a little more thought and investment to extend the entertainment, the event specific décor, the lighting and some special effects. More considered input at an early stage from Gay organisers, designers and creatives would also certainly benefit and build this outstanding opportunity. I recommend to readers that you consider this event for next year. Meanwhile check-out the Chateau for an extraordinary weekend away. Impressions and Review By Richard Howard   Richard Howard - 23rd May 2011    
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