Some 50 teams of intrepid Kiwis crammed into their beloved Minis over the weekend, hoping to complete an epic 2350km journey from Paihia to Invercargill to raise money for children in need.
The Pork Pie Charity Run for KidsCan loosely follows the route taken by the Blondini Gang in the 1981 classic Goodbye Pork Pie.
“It’s a true test of endurance for the cars and their drivers,” says organiser Tracey Brake. “We’ve got Minis from 1964 with 850cc motors. Travelling long distances in a classic Mini is a bit like being a marble in a biscuit tin, but it is so much fun.
“There are moments which take your breath away because the country is so stunning, and moments when you think ‘are we there yet? That rattle is getting worse!’
“To get to the finish line you need a finely tuned sense of humour, a chiropractor on speed dial and an AA Plus membership – that’s vital.”
The teams, from all over New Zealand, left Paihia on Friday, March 26, travelling through Auckland, Taupo, Wellington, Christchurch, Franz Josef, and Queenstown before reaching Invercargill on Wednesday, March 31.
The biennial event began in 2009. The 2019 run raised more than $290,000 for KidsCan, which provides children living in hardship with food, jackets, shoes and health items, so that nothing stops them from learning.
“We get to have fun while we’re doing something really important,” says Tracey. “If we can pull this off in a pandemic and achieve our target for the kids I’ll be so proud. It’s so incredibly special.
“This year we’re also looking forward to bringing what business we can to those towns which are really suffering from a lack of tourism.”
KidsCan is New Zealand’s leading charity dedicated to helping Kiwi kids affected by poverty.
They the one-in-five children experiencing hardship by providing essentials to 829 low-decile schools and 110 early childhood centres across New Zealand. With these basics, kids can participate in learning and have the opportunity for a better future.
KidsCan’s founder and CEO, Julie Chapman, drove the final leg for Team KidsCan with the charity’s ambassador Jordan Watson, aka ‘How to Dad’.
“We’re so grateful to be the recipient of this wonderful, quintessentially Kiwi roadie,” says Julie.
“It’s been an incredibly difficult year for vulnerable families around New Zealand who have been hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Their children need our support more than ever, and I’d urge anyone who can support these crazy teams to please donate what you can – it makes such a difference.”
While on their route, the Minis visited Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, cruised through Horopito Motor Wreckers Smash Palace and tested their small engines with laps of Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell.