The community of Edgecumbe is banding together for a good cause to support the fourteenth annual Oxfam Trailwalker this weekend.
The town was devastated in 2017 when a breach in the Rangitāiki river stop bank unleashed a wall of water on the small community. Around 1600 people were evacuated and almost 300 homes damaged or destroyed by the floods.
It is the first time an event of this size will be held in the town since the disaster.
Oxfam visited the community following the floods and has now chosen it to host the start line of its flagship fundraising event, Oxfam Trailwalker.
The event is being held for the fourth time in the Bay of Plenty region, with 100 kilometres of trail through Whakatāne, Ōhope and now Edgecumbe on a track that sees participants walking along coastal tracks, sandy beaches, farmland and native bush.
This year, more than 250 teams – over 1000 people – will be on the start line. Participants walk in teams of four and have been training hard to finish the 50 kilometre course in under 18 hours and the 100 kilometre course in under 36 hours – which often requires walking through the night.
As well as challenging themselves to the ultimate physical and mental challenge of walking 50 or 100 km, teams must also fundraise towards Oxfam’s programmes fighting poverty in the Pacific.
The top fundraising team so far in 2019 is team ‘N X NW’ who have raised over $13,000 so far. In second place is team ‘1 in 4 on the Horizon’ who have raised an impressive $9,500. In total teams have raised more than $900,000 towards Oxfam’s work to support communities to lift themselves out of poverty.
Oxfam New Zealand’s Engagement Director Daniel Barthow says he is delighted to start the event in Edgecumbe this weekend.
“Edgecumbe has an incredible community spirit and we are thrilled by the wonderful support from iwi, local volunteers, community groups and landowners who have generously opened up their hearts and their town to our event, as well as the wider community from Whakatane and Ohope who are welcoming us once again.
“We want to wish all the walkers out there the best of luck in challenging themselves and challenging poverty this weekend. Every step you’re taking and every dollar you’ve raised is showing the best of Kiwis and humanity by doing your bit to build a better world. We’ll see you out there!”
Oxfam Trailwalker is being held this weekend – March 22-24, 2019 – in the scenic Bay of Plenty region. Teams of four walk 50 kilometres in 18 hours or 100 kilometres in 36 hours to raise money for Oxfam’s work fighting poverty in the Pacific and all over the world. Oxfam Trailwalker is not a relay – the teams of four start and finish together. You can contribute to this incredible challenge by supporting and donating to your favourite team at www.oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz
Notes to editors:
- Oxfam Trailwalker is the ultimate team endurance challenge – each team of four tackles either 100 kilometres in 36 hours or 50 kilometres in 18 hours to raise money for Oxfam’s fight against poverty.It is not a relay – the teams of four start and finish together.
- Oxfam Trailwalker is part of an international series of 17 events held worldwide in 10 countries. Over the years, the event has raised hundreds of millions of dollars internationally for Oxfam's life-saving work.
- The event debuted in New Zealand in 2006 and was held in Taupō for 10 years. The event was moved to Whakatāne in 2016 – the same year a 50 kilometre trail was introduced as an alternative to the traditional 100 kilometre trail.
- The fastest time in the New Zealand 100 kilometre event is currently 11 hours and 13 minutes – set by team ‘Plucky Sods’ in Taupō in 2011. The fastest 100 kilometre team on the Whakatāne trail is team ‘Buff Wait There’s More’ with a time of 12 hours 51 minutes set in 2018.
- Someone becomes an ‘Oxfam Trailwalker Legend’ upon starting their fifth Oxfam Trailwalker.
- Set up by the legendary elite Queen's Gurkha Signals Regiment in 1981 as a military exercise to test teamwork, endurance and determination, Oxfam Trailwalker is the ultimate physical and mental challenge. It began in 2006 in New Zealand. Since then over 13,000 participants have lined up at the start line and raised more than $11 million.
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Sarah Heeringa or | Sarah.Heeringa@oxfam.org.nz| 021 939 450
Kelsey-Rae Taylor | Kelsey-Rae.Taylor@oxfam.org.nz | 021 298 5894