Around a thousand Kiwis are expected to take part in New Zealand’s largest team endurance event, which sees teams of four tackle either 100 kilometres in 36 hours or 50 kilometres in 18 hours to raise vital funds for Oxfam’s work fighting injustice and poverty. Oxfam Trailwalker is aimed at people aged 18-80 at all fitness levels, with everyone from trail-walking novices to pro-athletes taking part each year. It is not a relay – the challenge is for the teams of four to start and finish together.
The event typically raises almost a million dollars each year to support projects in the Pacific and around the world. Now this will include providing life-saving support to those hit doubly hard by poverty and the coronavirus pandemic. The charity made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel the fifth and final event in Whakatāne this year for the safety of participants and communities.
Oxfam New Zealand’s Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier said: “We are excited to be looking forward to our first year in the stunning Taranaki region, with its picturesque mounga, beautiful beaches and exquisite bush. What better backdrop for a life-changing, foot-slogging, team-bonding journey that not only will inspire you, but make a difference to people challenging injustice and poverty during a global pandemic.
“We invite the fitness buffs, the nature lovers walking for their mental health, the friends of all ages looking for a new adventure together – whatever your reason for walking, join us and walk tor a better world, for now and for our future generations. It is a great opportunity to lift your hopes and plans out of lockdown mode and start walking across our gorgeous whenua for a cause that reminds us that compassion knows no borders.
“As we all grapple with the effects of the pandemic on our families, communities here in Aotearoa and those we love overseas, it’s hard to imagine what life must be like for people in refugee camps or poor communities with limited healthcare and clean water and no chance of social distancing. You’ll be making a difference for people when it really counts.”
“We look forward to making this one of the best Oxfam Trailwalker events yet, together with the wonderful Taranaki hosts, the council, tangata whenua and local communities.”
Mayor of New Plymouth Neil Holdom said the event was an exciting boost to the region. “We’re absolutely thrilled to host the Oxfam Trailwalker challenge for the next three years,” he said. “It’s another major event in our beautiful region as we continue to build a lifestyle capital and it will be a superb showcase for our wonderful corner of Aotearoa. It’s perfect timing too as it will bring hundreds of much-needed visitors to our region as we all work to get back on our feet as the economic shock of Covid-19 bites.”
CEO of Venture Taranaki, Justine Gilliland said: “From mounga to moana, Taranaki has so much to offer. Oxfam Trailwalker will bring a significant boost to the Taranaki economy, providing many opportunities for local enterprises to capitalise on the influx of event participants, as well as their support crews. We look forward to welcoming you, and the entire Oxfam whānau to Taranaki next year – nau mai, haere mai!”
Registrations are now open for Oxfam Trailwalker 2021, which is due to be held over March 20-21 2021 for the very first time in the award-winning Taranaki region. Step up to this incredible team challenge and take advantage of the limited time launch entry price by registering at www.oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz.