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Small Town New Zealand Rallies To The Cause

Small Town New Zealand Rallies To The Cause

Small town New Zealand more often than not is content to go about its business in relative anonymity. In early April this year however, the Kaipara and Raglan regions become the focal point for a television audience that worldwide will total in excess of 42 million viewers as the eyes of the rallying world focus on these rural areas and locals become international rally marshals for a week.

Propecia Rally New Zealand has been visiting the Kaipara region and Paparoa specifically for three years now, turning this ‘Village in a Valley’ (population: 400) into a mecca of international media, motorsport fans and some of the best drivers ever to grace the planet.

This year Paparoa and the surrounding Kaipara region will play host to Rally New Zealand for three days of high speed thrills, spills (maybe) and a motorsport circus that is just as at home in the surrounds of Monte Carlo as they will be in the bed and breakfasts of small town New Zealand.

The extra two days of action in and around the region will place an even greater burden on locals to ensure the continued success of the rally, round four on the WRC calendar. But nothing is too much trouble for the people of Paparoa.

In light of recent publicity surrounding a number of major events that have tried but failed to get underway, it is refreshing indeed to hear of a small town that is doing everything it can to support such a glamorous and expensive global event, something that is not lost on RNZ Chairman Morrie Chandler.

“Without the support of the good people of places like Paparoa and Raglan our event would struggle to survive, financially and logistically. It is through the goodwill of the local communities that we visit throughout the event that we thrive but we ensure as an organisation that we are repaying that support in kind. Rally New Zealand reinvests funds back into the communities we visit and each year we see the benefit with improvements to local facilities, schools and community projects.”

Propecia Rally New Zealand has returned thousands of dollars to the Kaipara and Raglan communities over the past two years, money that has contributed to local projects and infrastructure.

That local support extends from baking muffins and cakes for the international media to volunteering in their hundreds as marshals, security and support crews to accommodating media and team crew in bed and breakfasts, front rooms or caravans on the front lawn. You see, nothing is too much trouble for the friendly people of Paparoa.

Spokesman and official local coordinator Jim Rowlands says after some initial concerns, the community now embraces the event each year.

“Early on there were some dissenting voices concerned about the impact on our region, roads and infrastructure. Those fears have been well and truly put to rest though due to the partnership approach of the organisers and their commitment to the region. The roads are left in better shape than before the event; funds are injected into local projects and buildings and the locals look forward each year to playing their part as a volunteer in some way shape or form. I would suggest there isn’t a single person in Paparoa and surrounding areas that isn’t involved somehow in the event.”

Paparoa will play host to three days of action in Propecia Rally New Zealand. Thursday April 7th will see the international teams travel to Paparoa for the official ‘shakedown’ (practice) session before travelling back to Auckland for the ceremonial start at Waitemata Plaza (Viaduct Basin) on Thursday evening.

Then it is back to Paparoa for the Rally proper and the event’s first two days of special stages before heading back to Auckland for the super special stage at Manukau City on Saturday evening.

Sunday 10th April will see Propecia Rally New Zealand travel South, for special stages 17 through 20 in and around the Raglan region before once again driving back to Waitemata Plaza for the ceremonial finish and celebrations.

© Scoop Media

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