Passionados a New Zealand charity. Cigar charities, quite a good number of cigar brands run or support a charity program. And there are a few distributors that either support or started charities as well. They are giving back to the community. Some are open about it, raising awareness while trying to raise funds. Others do it on the low as they are afraid it is seen as marketing.

Ministry of Cigars gives the actions of distributors, brands, and organizations a spotlight. The cigar industry needs positive stories, and we need to get the word out to the general public and politicians that there is no other industry that gives back to the community as much as the cigar industry does. Today’s special is about a fundraiser for mental health awareness in New Zealand


Passionados is the brainchild of cigar merchant Grant Ovenden. After several of his friends and brothers of the leaf took their own life, he knew he had to do something. Something to raise awareness and raise the fund. Smoking cigars is a male-dominated hobby, and so there often is a lot of ball-busting but not talk about emotions. Raising funds for mental health awareness within a group of cigar smokers is a bold move, but a great one.

To raise the funds, Ovenden started a monthly cigar subscription. These packages contain a cigar for every Saturday. You can smoke the same cigars with your friends and just chat and talk. The subscription is $150 a month, so $1800 a year for 52 cigars. And to most of the readers that sound very expensive, but considering the insanely high tobacco tax of more than $1300 per kilo in New Zealand, it is a bargain. Especially knowing that these packages often come with swag and a much higher value if the cigars are purchased individually. Often the retail value is double. Ovenden also imports cigars just for the Passionado packages, cigars that won’t be available commercially.


Part of the proceeds of the monthly Passionado subscriptions is donated. Currently, Passionados has 85 subscribers and this year Canteros can donate $5000 to the Sir JK Foundation. This foundation is focussing on educating primary school children about mental health. The programs of the Sir JK Foundation remove the stigma of mental health. They also teach children how to recognize symptoms

But just raising money by selling the subscription isn’t enough according to Ovenden. He was brainstorming with one of his friends, and Passionado member Sam Sneddon-Nelmes. Their combined creativity will lead to a series of cigar gatherings and cigar dinners. These are spread over New Zealand on November 19. For now, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch & Queenstown are towns that the organization is looking at. These events will be catered to the local scene, high-end where that’s the best fit and more casual in other locations. But with local ambassadors, smaller events in smaller locations are up for discussion. So if you are a cigar enthusiast in New Zealand and would like to organize a fundraiser, contact Grant Ovenden.

These events will include some special items, albeit the right form to do it within what’s possible with current legislation yet has to be finalized. But these events will come with perks. Ovenden, Sneddon-Nelmes, and one of the manufacturers that work with Canteros are creating a special cigar for the event. Stay tuned, as Ministry of Cigars will report on the events for Passionados a New Zealand charity when more information is clear.

Previous articles on cigar charities:

Habanos auctions 
Oliva Cigars 
Cigar Family Charitable Foundation
Cigars for Warriors 
CLE Foundation 
Project Piece of Heart
Tor Imports giving back
A home for my family
Joya de Nicaragua
Toast across America

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