Relay for Life: The Strength in our Community

Earlier this month, Te Herenga Waka–Victoria University of Wellington was out in full force for the Relay for Life 2021.

16 April 2021


Earlier this month, Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington was out in full force for the Relay for Life 2021. The relay is run every year to fundraise for the Cancer Society NZ. This cause is one that is dear to the hearts of many in the University community. Everyone knows someone impacted by cancer.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford showed his support by sponsoring 60 students to register for free. Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban, our Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika) opened and participated in the event herself.

Dame Winnie is a patron of the Cancer Society of NZ and continues to support this and other causes with her time and energy.

“There were a number of staff and students including three cancer survivors in our University Cancer Society Relay for Life Team. I wish to thank all those who supported our team through donations, and The Lab, VicBooks, and Milk and Honey who gifted us food,” says Dame Winnie.

“I also want to acknowledge and thank our organisers and team members who participated in the relay. Thank you for your generosity of spirit, for walking 285 laps throughout the day, night and even in the rain, and for helping us raise over $12,000!”

Third-year health student Sophie Hughes was another key organiser for the University team alongside Johan Barnard, planning the timetable for the event, and recruiting students. She has participated in this event since she was in Year 9 at school, after losing her grandmother to breast cancer.

The top three fundraisers in the University team were Pasifika staff members. Our own Fabiefara Filo, Pasifika Engagement Adviser for the Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences and Education, raised an incredible $1,241.00.

“Relay for Life 2021 was a success and I left feeling very blessed and humbled to be alive! Mum’s daily reminder to us, is to be a blessing to someone today – and that’s why I took part! I am alive, I have time to give, I can walk (not run lol), and I can do my part towards this amazing cause.”