Participants in last year's Ofam Trailwalker.
Oxfam Trailwalker will return in 2020 for what will be its fifth and final year in Whakatāne, Oxfam has announced, following which the charity’s flagship event will be moving to a new location.
The event’s new host region is to be announced later this year.
Oxfam New Zealand’s Fundraising Events Manager Lizzie Quill says while it's a tough decision, the opportunity was taken to offer a new route and location to participants and to ensure the event’s continued growth.
“Whakatāne will always be a home to the event, and we are confident it is not a permanent goodbye. It has been a fantastic few years in the Bay of Plenty, thanks in large part to the strong relationships established with the local council, community groups, iwi and volunteers.
"We move on with the hope that Oxfam New Zealand returns to the district in the future, whether that is three, six, or nine years from now.
“This will be the start of another chapter in Oxfam Trailwalker’s story, and one we expect will bring many new and exciting opportunities.
“Oxfam New Zealand wishes to thank the Whakatāne District Council and the local communities for opening up their region to Oxfam Trailwalker for the last four years.
"Since moving to Whakatāne, over $3.2 million has been raised through the event for Oxfam’s work. This has made an exceptional difference to fighting injustice and poverty around the world.”
Oxfam Trailwalker has made a lasting impact in the lives of people struggling in the Pacific. Communities are able to build clean water supplies, families can grow more food, women are protected from violence, young people out of school gain skills for employment and children are given a chance at an education.
The 2019 event, held in in Whakatāne in March this year, raised almost a million dollars thanks to fundraising efforts from over a thousand participants.
Whakatāne Mayor Tony Bonne says while disappointed that the 2020 Oxfam Trailwalker will be the last the district hosts for some years, it's been an absolute pleasure working with the Oxfam New Zealand team on an event that has delivered huge benefits.
“Oxfam’s kaupapa of fighting poverty in the Pacific region is something we all support and it’s wonderful to have been part of that story.
“We’re proud to have helped raise more than $3 million to date and we’ll be doing everything we can to ensure that the 2020 event is the best yet.”
He added that hosting this prestigious charity event has been a classic win-win situation, with the Whakatāne District benefiting from boosted tourism spending and an enhanced visitor profile.
Although Oxfam Trailwalker will farewell the Bay of Plenty for now, participants have one more chance to experience this picturesque region, and to support people in poverty, by taking part in next year’s event.
Registrations are now open for Oxfam Trailwalker 2020, which will be held over March 21-22 in scenic Whakatāne.
You can take part in this incredible team challenge by registering at www.oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz.