Ashley Mackenzie-White (28) revels in the ginger locks she hopes will soon help her win one of the main prizes at the Irish Redhead Convention. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Ashley Mackenzie-White has already touched a few Irish hearts
with her dream of being crowned ''Queen of the Redheads'' at
the Irish Redhead Convention in County Cork next month.
Ms Mackenzie-White (28) works in Wellington these days, but
yesterday was back in Dunedin, the city where she grew up.
And she helped co-ordinate a quiz night at the Kensington
Tavern which raised $610 towards the extra $1000 she still
needs to make the trip to that redhead convention.
More than 50 friends, family and supporters attended and she
was delighted with the ''fantastic'' response.
The convention is billed as a celebration of red hair, and
includes carrot-tossing championships, and a most freckles
per square inch contest.
After her aim to reach the Irish event was revealed last week
in an ODT story, also published online, convention
organisers contacted her by email, saying they were excited
she was coming, and offering their help if needed.
The convention's Facebook page also offers a link to the
ODT story and Irish organisers said Ms Mackenzie-White
was ''definitely a contender for the Furthest Travelled
She said this unexpected support was ''great'' and she was
also delighted with support from a wide range of firms,
including Dunedin's The Scottish Shop, which provided a
necklace for a fundraising raffle prize.
Ms Mackenzie-White, who attended Otago Girls' High School,
said people had bullied her in the street as a youngster
because of her red hair.
But public attitudes were changing and such pettiness now
seemed ''very weird''.
She also chairs the New Zealand Rose of Tralee organising
committee and will accompany the latest New Zealand winner,
Otago University graduate Lisa Bazalo, to Tralee, Ireland,
for the latest annual Rose of Tralee International Festival
And then she will attend the Cork event, which beginson
Ms Mackenzie-White is looking forward to a fun event, and
will not be shedding any tears if she does not win.
And she remains keen to highlight the many good things about
having red hair.
''We're unique and special, and it's a positive thing.''