INTENSE COMPETITION: Gwen O’Brian from Whangamata and Janette Ford from Whakatane duel it out with two other players at last year’s tournament. File photo D8120-01

WHAKATANE’S annual mahjong charity tournament is coming up on February 15 and so far 72 players have been confirmed to attend.

Organiser Kathleen Riggs says there are three mahjong clubs in Whakatane and Ohope that meet weekly.

She and husband Ian love playing the game, and have both been playing for over 26 years.

They both enjoy a good competitive game of Mahjong and look forward to organising the Whakatane tournament, and having other players come to Whakatane.

The tournament is a fundraiser for Hospice Eastern Bay and over the past 21 years has raised more than $20,000 for the charity.

Kathleen says mahjong is a game that originated in China and is played by four players using picture tiles based on Chinese symbols. “It is a game of strategy, skill, calculation and chance.”

Mahjong is played thoughout New Zealandwith various clubs holding tournaments every year. Players this year are travelling from as far away as Levin, and Whangamata.

The tournament will be held at the Whakatane Bridge Club in, Commerce Street from 9am until 4pm.

“Quota Club ladies will prepare the food for the morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.

These ladies have helped every year since 2010 and do a wonderful job preparing the food.”

A member from Hospice will attend the event and accept a cheque donation and award the prizes to the contestants.

There will also be a raffle table with prizes donated by Eastern Bay businesses to help raise more funds. Mahjong clubs that meet weekly and are happy to teach new players any time are:

Lyceum Club

Monday 1pm to 4pm, contact Pat Hall, phone 07 3079071

Evening mahjong

Tuesday 7pm to10pm, contact Joan Potter, Phone 07 3087117

Ohope Bowling Club

Thursday 1pm to 4pm, contact Mary Winters, phone 07 3124885