Thousands take ice dunk for charity

OOOH!: James Walker has a bucket of ice water poured on him to raise money for charity.
OOOH!: James Walker has a bucket of ice water poured on him to raise money for charity.

Canterbury is the latest city to be hit by a new social media phenomenon where participants dunk themselves with icey water to raise money for charity.

The Ice Water Challenge is a global fundraising effort spread online.

Participants nominate their friends and family on Facebook. Those nominated have 24 hours to plunge themselves in icey water and post a photo or video online to prove they completed the challenge.

If they do it in time, they donate $10-$20 to a charity of their choice.

Failure to complete challenge means they donate $100.

The Facebook page which pulls together those around New Zealand who have taken the challenge has more than 10,000 likes and there are more than 100 videos of ice challengers awaiting upload.

Countdown Bush Inn said the challenge explained a sudden and unexpected spike in ice sales, which had doubled in the last two weeks, despite it being the middle of winter.

Zion Tauamiti said his Facebook page was packed with nominations from friends and videos of others completing the challenge. He had already been nominated and said he would be completing the challenge this week.

Participants could choose any charity they liked, but in New Zealand the preferred causes were often charities connected to cancer.

The Child Cancer Foundation said it had had over 100 donations made by Ice Water Challenge participants. A page had been started with a goal of $5000.

Tauamiti said a well-known Samoan in Christchurch had recently been diagnosed with cancer which had spurred greater participation within the Samoan and Maori communities.

''The Samoan guys are going hard on it,'' Tauamiti said. ''I'll definitely be doing it.''

After school programme employee James Walker was nominated and completed the challenge by allowing two kids he was supervising - Jacob Manning, 10, and Adyn Callaghan, 10 - to drench him at the end of the day.

The Ice Water Challenge has been documented online all over the world.

Emergency services personnel in America had done the challenge in uniform and donated money to charities like the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund. The American fallen firefighters charity had received more than $85,000 in challenge donations. 

The Press