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Popular demand drives expansion of charity event

PRESS RELEASE For immediate release: November 3, 2005

Popular demand drives expansion of charity event

Oxfam is encouraging leading companies to claim the remaining few spaces in New Zealand’s first charity ultra challenge. An enthusiastic response from the public has led Oxfam to create 50 extra places in Oxfam Trailwalker this week – and ten of those places have gone already.

Places were originally limited to 150 teams for the inaugural New Zealand event which takes place in Taupo on 8-9 April 2006 – but the faster than expected uptake of team places in the event has resulted in Oxfam making more places available.

In the UK, Hong Kong and Australia, Oxfam Trailwalker has been very popular with work teams and groups of professionals – and found to be a great teambuilding exercise within the workplace. In New Zealand, teams with at least three members from the same firm or profession and which are raising at least $2,000 can enter into a friendly competition with industry peers in the Corporate Trailblazer Competition.

Leading British commercial law firm Nabarro Nathanson were the champion legal team in Oxfam Trailwalker UK in 2004. Team member, Laura McIldowney, said: “We trained a lot together and received tremendous support and encouragement from our support crew…When we crossed the finish line we knew we had accomplished something quite extraordinary together.”

Seven teams from that same law firm entered the UK event in 2005. In New Zealand, 60 companies have stepped forward so far, with some including Westpac, Phillips Fox and Maunsell, entering multiple teams.

Oxfam Trailwalker challenges teams of four to complete 100kms in 36 hours and to raise funds for Oxfam’s work in more than 100 countries around the world. One of the distinctive features of the event is that it does not follow an established trail for much of the course, with many sections of the route covering private land which has never before been open to the public.

With the recent earthquake in South Asia leaving thousands homeless, the need for Oxfam to increase its fundraising avenues has been further highlighted. It is estimated that more than 2.5 million people have been affected by the earthquake – a scale of human death and suffering worse than that experienced during the Tsunami. Around one million people have been made homeless by the earthquake and many of them are sleeping in the open.

"The first snow has fallen and winter is coming fast,” said Barry Coates, Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand. “Within weeks many thousands of people will be cut off and there is a real risk of people falling victim to pneumonia, hypothermia and disease.”

Oxfam, New Zealand’s leading humanitarian aid, development and advocacy agency, is currently on the ground in Pakistan and India and its emergency response to the earthquake is now well underway. Oxfam also continues to work on reconstruction in the tsunami-affected region as well as on long-term community development work in more than 100 countries around the world.

To find out more, visit www.oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz or call the toll free hotline 0800 OXFAM NZ or pick up information from your nearest Kathmandu store . If there is thought to be sufficient interest, an Oxfam representative is happy to visit work premises to give a special presentation on the event.

So, put on your outdoor shoes, get fit this summer – and do something amazing to help others.

ENDS

Editors notes

Oxfam Trailwalker is Oxfam’s top fundraising challenge on three different continents. Since the event was founded as a military training exercise in 1981, thousands of people have taken part and raised over $45 million to help some of the world’s poorest people.

www.oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz

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