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Whangarei Splash raises funds for Kiwi Kids

Whangarei Splash raises funds for Kiwi Kids

A pair of Tutukaka boaties have run New Zealand’s first Variety Splash, a fun weekend out on the water that raised $2000 for Kiwi kids via Variety – The Children’s Charity.

Marc Sands and Andrew Sworn are keen fundraisers for Variety. They love the fact the money stays with Kiwi kids, and helps those who otherwise fall through the gaps; kids who need that specialist bit of equipment but whose parents can’t afford it, for whom a bicycle or sports strip means the difference between fitting in and getting on, or not.

The pair each run a gaudily painted fire engine on the annual Variety Bash road rally, Sworn with his Tutukaka Freight fire engine and Sands on the Resene fire tender, and each likes getting out on the water.

The Splash is weekend run along similar lines as the Bash road tour, but this time taking participants to unusual and out-of-the-way places on the water, pitting them against each other in fun contests for minor prizes, having them run a fishing contest for kids – each of which got a free fishing rod and supplying a fun and sociable atmosphere around the harbour.

“We had a few come up from Auckland for this inaugural event – we sourced a boat and skipper for some – and took them on a tour of the harbour, from Marsden Cove mariner to the town basin, to the Pohe bridge to watch it open and close, to Limestone Island for a history lesson on early cement manufacture and to take a walk through the nature reserve, and to Snake Bank to race cardboard boats we’d had them build earlier.”

Some boats were more successful than others, “One made its own way back to Marsden Cove Marina!” Sworn says.

Some 16 kids took part in the catch-and-release fishing competition, each one walking away with a free rod and reel package thanks to Warren Hay Marine.

Other prizes included a trip for two to the Poor Knights with Dive Tutukaka, won by Jess Tunstall, and a pair of trophies. Spirit of the Bash went to local resident Murray Guthrie, who took a boat-load on the harbour “even though he had no idea what he was getting himself into”, and Mullet of the Splash to Tutukaka man Ian Macartney, “who was always in the thick of everything, but lost a good Trevally off the line at Limestone Island and blamed his crew – then ran down the cardboard catamaran that sailed the furthest.”

Both Andrew Sworn and Marc Sands say this first Splash would not have worked had it not been for the help of many locals – and local businesses like Schnappa Rock Restaurant, Marsden Cove and Whangarei Marinas, Adams Trimmer Insurance, Hot Printz and More FM Northland.”

The hard-working fun-loving pair have already confirmed a bigger and better Variety Splash for 2015, the aim being to up the total they raise.

“A weekend of good lighthearted fun on the water to benefit Kiwi kids in need is a win-win in our book,” they say.

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