World Heli Challenge heads to Mackenzie

The Mackenzie Country will get global media coverage when it plays host to an adventure snowsports competition later this year.

The 2014 World Heli Challenge, always previously held in Wanaka, is coming to the Mackenzie. It will be held on Aoraki/Mt Cook and the Ohau skifield over nine days in September.

Teams consist of two skiers or snowboarders, a photographer and a filmographer.

Event founder and director Tony Harrington said he was excited to bring the competition to an area which he believed to be one of the best in the world.

"If we are going to spend so much money, why not take it to the best place in New Zealand?

"I love Mt Cook, I have been dreaming about taking it there for years," he said.

Harrington said there would not be as many athletes involved as previously, but as a result the competition would be "a little bit more elite".

He said he could not wait to bring global media coverage to the Mackenzie and beyond.

"It's so overlooked.

"Everything out there is on Queenstown, Wanaka and a little bit on Mt Hutt.

"This competition should be beneficial to the region and tourism off-shoots will be phenomenal," Harrington said.

He believed the footage would also showcase Twizel and Lake Tekapo.

Harrington said the organisers had just put out a global call for entries.

He said it was a global "call-up" for teams to make two- to three-minute edited videos in a bid to earn places in the challenge.

From those short films the two teams will be selected. The winning team will win $10,000.

Harrington said the theme for this year was Big adventure, big rewards and organisers would be looking for films that encapsulated the theme.

Mackenzie District mayor Claire Barlow thought the event coming to the Mackenzie was very exciting.

"Anything that brings international attention is fantastic. That's just a fantastic opportunity to brag again about our patch," Barlow said.

The Timaru Herald