Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Start your engines! 50 Minis traverse the length of New Zealand for charity.

“It’s a true test of endurance for the cars and their drivers.”

Fifty teams of intrepid Kiwis will cram into their beloved Minis this Friday, 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 Kiwi classic ‘Goodbye Pork Pie’. 


“It’s a true test of endurance for the cars and their drivers,” organiser Tracey Brake says. “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’s 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 come from all over New Zealand, and leave Paihia on Friday March 26th, travelling through Auckland, Taupō, Wellington, Christchurch, Franz Josef, and Queenstown before reaching Invercargill on Wednesday March 31st.  


The biennial event began in 2009. 2019’s run raised more than $290,000 for KidsCan, which provides children living in hardship with food, jackets, shoes and health items, so nothing stops them from learning. 


“We get to have fun while we’re doing something really important. 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,” Brake says. “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’s founder and CEO, Julie Chapman, will be driving the final leg for Team KidsCan with the charity’s ambassador Jordan Watson, A.K.A. ‘How to Dad’.   


“We’re so grateful to be the recipient of this wonderful, quintessentially Kiwi roadie,” Chapman says. “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.”  


En route, the Minis will visit Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, cruise through Horopito Motor Wreckers - Smash Palace, and test their small engines with laps of Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell.


To donate to a team, head to: 

“If we can pull this off in a pandemic and achieve our target for the kids, I’ll be so proud.”