Stopover raises $10,000 for cause

00:21, Mar 12 2014
WAVE RIDERS: Damian Burke, left, Boating New Zealand editor Rebecca Hayter and event director Jeremy Burfoot prepare on Wednesday morning.

The second annual Yamaha Melanoma Foundation Ski-nZ challenge left Nelson this morning, bound for French Pass on day three of the mission, which aims to raise about $90,000 for the Melanoma Foundation.

Members of the 25-strong group, which includes four women, are riding personal watercrafts [PWCs] around the top of the South Island and across Cook Strait to Wellington.

On the way they will be raising funds to help the Melanoma Foundation to increase awareness about prevention, treatment and research of melanoma in New Zealand, and to help care for people with the disease.

They left Whanganui Inlet early on Monday morning, and yesterday left Golden Bay for a joyride through the Abel Tasman National Park before heading across Tasman Bay to Nelson.

Auckland doctor Stephen Child had joined in the challenge to support friend and doctor colleague Tom Mulholland, an adventurer, businessman and motivational speaker.

"It's been going really well. We came around yesterday from Pohara then had lunch at Kaiteriteri."


He said as a keen sailor he had spent "less than 45 minutes" on a PWC, but has since learned they have their place in watersport.

Dr Child, an Auckland-based Canadian, was last in the region in 1987, and this time he had managed to get a better glimpse of what it offered.

"There've been a few magic moments for me - like going around the end of Farewell Spit on a watercraft.

"This country is so beautiful and the vast majority wouldn't know it."

A charity dinner and auction at the Honest Lawyer last night raised about $10,000 toward the fundraising effort, challenge organiser Jeremy Burfoot said, who has himself had a brush with melanoma. He is the world record holder for the longest distance travelled in 24 hours - 2288 kilometres.

Mr Burfoot circumnavigated New Zealand in 2006, and four years later rode from London to Turkey for melanoma sufferers.

Funds are also being raised through the efforts of "clown" Damian Burke, who issues fines to members of the group he deems are not playing by the rules.

Brendan Grant, of Yamaha NZ, who rode in last year's inaugural challenge in the North Island, said the route across the top of the South Island was proving "excellent".

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