Boaties boost skin cancer charity

23:58, Mar 18 2014
WAVE RIDERS: Damian Burke, left, Boating New Zealand editor Rebecca Hayter and event director Jeremy Burfoot prepare on Wednesday morning.

A fundraising effort across the top of the South Island for the Melanoma Foundation raised more than $90,000 despite falling short of its final destination.

Approaching Cyclone Lusi stopped riders in the 2014 Yamaha Melanoma Foundation Ski-nZ from crossing Cook Strait safely last Saturday. The event, which saw 25 boaties riding personal watercraft [PWC], had started in Golden Bay several days earlier, travelled via the Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson, French Pass and Picton before it was to set off on the final leg across Cook Strait to Wellington.

Boating New Zealand editor and former Golden Bay woman Rebecca Hayter took part in the challenge, raising more than $4000.

"It's been a fantastic result for 2014 Yamaha Melanoma Foundation Ski-nZ. Team Spray Tech Farnell Racing raised more than $20,000 which is nearly a quarter of the total, and Don Chapman raised more than $18,000 while Team Pearl - myself and my gal pal roadies Elizabeth Meadows and Julie Sarten, came in third with around $4300."

Ms Hayter said it was unfortunate they did not get to ride Cook Strait on Saturday because they were all looking forward to "putting Cook Strait on our PWC CV", but it was hard to argue with a forecast cyclone.

She said aside from the money raised through sponsorship for each rider, further funds were raised along the way, including a charity dinner and auction at The Honest Lawyer in Nelson and from nightly "fines" dished out to riders by Damian Burke, the accompanying clown.

"He pinged me $50 for cracking an Aussie-Kiwi joke. It was pretty dumb, considering Damian is from Queensland."

Ms Hayter said the key message of the challenge was that more than 300 people in New Zealand die each year from melanoma and 90 per cent of those deaths could be prevented with regular checks with a skin or melanoma specialist.