It was to a very reluctant wife a number of years ago that I mentioned that, for a fund raiser Rotary Matamata could host a seafood dinner. It could be at our place and she could do the cooking! On writing this I can understand why she was reluctant. However, over the years I managed to wear her down and, with the intervention from another Rotarian, I set about offering the night to help support the Rotary club funds. I didn’t want it to be just Rotary members, as Rotarians give constantly throughout every year, so I started asking around to see if there would be some interest. 
I didn’t have a clue as to the price of fish, and just fished a number out of the air. The dinner was to be $100 per person. I thought we could muster up 10 guests. Well we finished up with 21, nine Rotarians and 12 others so we had to offer it over two nights. Now my thoughts were, fish and mashed potato with some other veg and then a dessert. Thankfully Ann has a much better imagination than I do and she organised a ‘Neptune’s Gustation’. Seven courses of shellfish and fish served in a variety of ways, the final course being a fresh fruit kebab with a chocolate fish on the end. 
It was the most amazing two nights. We were both absolutely shattered after each, and I have to say a big thank you to our daughter Beth for jumping on the line to help out. She took the bait nicely. I must say, fish is a lot more expensive than I thought! Two runs to Tauranga were required to get it nice and fresh with visits to more than one outlet as apparently fish retailers don’t carry everything. Everyone seemed to enjoy
the meals, and the company, with some guests not departing until quite late. 
Our efforts were certainly worth it as we were able to give a donation to Rotary of $1000 and provide our guests with two very pleasant evenings. It proved to be the final social event for some time as the next day Ann and I went into lockdown for Covid-19!
One thing that I liked about this was that for the two weeks before the first dinner I was the guinea pig, tasting a variety of delicious fish dishes and working out which ones we would serve. 
Would I do it again? I’d have a lot of talking to do if it was to happen!
Henry Clothier
Comment from the Editor:
I was one of the fish dinner guests and can confirm that our's was a fabulous evening. Fine dining at its best, the food was exquisite and beautifully presented. The cooking was even served from the laundry at the other end of the house to shield the guests from cooking smells!! Ann and Henry did not participate in the dining so they could focus totally on their guests. I cannot imagine the research and preparation that went into these evenings but I would like to assure Ann that it was appreciated and I know that all guests will be very glad that Henry's original menu was superseded!
It was great to sit down to dinner with a mixture of friends (Rotarians) and strangers. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home and congratulations on a great fund raiser.