From left: Rebecca Dakin, Dianne Bulled, Liisa Jones and Andy Ross. Photo: Rebecca Dakin.
From fighting fires to responding to local emergencies, this group of Whakatāne volunteers have a new challenge ahead of them – walking 100 kilometres to help fight poverty.
All four team members met through volunteering for Whakatāne Rural Fire and New Zealand Emergency and Rescue Unit 17.
“We have Liisa who is our district-wide SPCA inspector, and got heavily involved in the Edgecumbe floods. We’ve got Dianne – who is involved in things like Whakatāne Athletics and Harriers Club and organising the Toi’s Challenge. Dianne is our team leader and an experienced adventure-racing lady!
“Then we’ve got Andy - he is just fantastic. He started as a mountain guide, then got into adventure sports like kayaking, and is looking forward to the different challenge that this event involves.
"Then you’ve got me - I am a Whakatāne District Council worker and I volunteer for the SPCA,” says team member Rebecca Dakin.
The team love giving back to their local community through volunteering their time and skills, and it was this that got them hooked on Oxfam Trailwalker.
“Most of us come from community-focused involvement. It’s our community, and it’s our home, and we want to help. You feel like you’re making a difference if you can get out there and do something to help someone.
“I’ve done quite a few half marathons now but am just looking for something to keep me going and a little bit of a challenge. I volunteered last year at [Oxfam Trailwalker] and I saw the teams and thought ‘wow, that’s something I really want to do.’
“Oxfam is a good cause… anything for charity is something that generally we’ll get involved in.”
On paper, the length of the trail can seem like a very long way - but Rebecca is looking forward to challenging herself to something new.
“To me, personally it’s a bit daunting, but I think to be part of such a neat team with just such nice people, I really want to get over the end for them.
“The mental idea of completing 100 kilometres in one go and keeping the stamina to drive ourselves across the finish line is the focus. And the highlight will be just getting over the finish! I’m quite excited about walking through the night as well, just because it’s something I’ve never done.”
As a Whakatāne District Council employee, Rebecca knows what Oxfam Trailwalker gives to the community – and what the community gives back to Oxfam Trailwalker.
“I think it’s absolutely fantastic. Any event like this is brilliant to give our community some exposure and just to show exactly what a slice of paradise it is here.
“I really do think that it’s something that is embraced and that the community is looking forward to.”
The team have started training, and living in Whakatāne, they are lucky enough to be able to train on the event’s trails. They’re also tracking along well with their fundraising thanks to some very generous local businesses.
“We all work at really cool places that have already said that they’ll sponsor us, so we’re pretty lucky in that regard.
“We want to say a massive thank you to the team at Whakatāne Outdoors, Whakatāne SPCA, and our Rural Fire and Emergency Response Units. They’ve just been great so far - it’s really nice.”
A massive thank you to team RescueUs for their enthusiasm and support of Oxfam Trailwalker! Visit their team page or make a donation here.