Fantastic fun and fundraising for cancer at Relay for Life

With 91 runners and walkers raising nearly $11,000 for the Cancer Society, the Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington marquee at Trentham Racecourse was buzzing during the overnight event on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 April.

group of people with matching forest green t-shirts with 'te herenga waka victoria university of wellington' printed
Distinctive green branded t-shirts, sponsored by Vice-Chancellor Nic Smith, made the team clearly identifiable as up to 20 people at a time took to the track. The team was made up of both staff and students—a $1000 donation from the University allowing students to join the relay for free.

“I was overwhelmed by the support provided from the University to ensure this year’s Relay for Life was a great success,” said Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban, who led the University team as a cancer survivor and Patron of the Cancer Society. “Our university was the only tertiary institution to field a team—something I’m very proud of.”

Dame Winnie extended her thanks to the “wonderful team”, who kept the baton going night and day, as well as the support from everyone who participated.

“I got to know so many members of our community while walking and sharing good food and stories.

“A team runs on its stomach, and that was certainly well provided for thanks to generous sponsorship from Compass Catering, with Leah Edmonds and her mum also providing home baking.”

The committed organising team ensured there was plenty of food and refreshments available throughout the Relay. Dame Winnie says that the barbeque smelt so good, that a dad came by to ask whether he might be able to donate in exchange for a sausage for his two-year-old.

The team’s baton holders completed 224 laps in the 15-hour period, coming 18th overall. Several members of the team completed 100 laps throughout the event, an amazing individual effort.

The team topped the community (non-school) teams for the amount fundraised—and the fundraising total was 11th out of the 79 teams that participated. The overall top fundraiser was Hutt International Boys School, who raised over $82,000.

“Thank you to everybody from the University community who donated to the team,” says Dame Winnie. “Overall, the event raised over $500,000 for the Cancer Society. Every donation counts and allows the Cancer Society provide supportive care services, education and awareness programmes, and life-saving cancer research.

“The University sends a team to this event every year. We’d love to have you along in 2024!”