Gang of nuns out for a cause

By Kiri Gillespie


When Jan Green and her mates were asked what they were doing in an Otago pub, they joked they were nuns on holiday - and that's how the Nuns of the Unholy Disorder began.

The group of Tauranga friends are regulars in the annual ASB Fun Walk, which raises money for the local Breast Cancer Support Service.

But last year they arrived as unholy aliases and will return in costume this time around, as the walk celebrates its 10th anniversary in Tauranga's central city this month.

"We were doing the Otago Rail Trail and we were in a pub and there was this guy who asked us who we were and what we were doing," Ms Green said.

"So we replied 'we are a group of nuns on holiday'. It's just become one of those things that has grown from there."

In keeping with the pub theme, each "sister" has been named after their favourite tipple.

"At first we had names like Sister Mary-Rose, when we made our costumes for the breast cancer walk we just took the names of our favourite drinks," Ms Green said.

"I think it was St Patrick's Day when we did the rail trail and we were talking about Catholic education and holy versus unholy."

The group of friends, who do not adhere to any specific religion, have supported each other as individual members dealt with some of life's toughest challenges.

One of the nuns has just recovered from a double mastectomy.

Coming together as a group has been a big part of helping to support their own, Ms Green said.

"We've just come back from WOW [World of Wearable Art]. A few of us did the Great Wall of China," she said.

"We've done a lot of triathlons as teams and marathons and half-marathons so camaraderie is a good word for it."

Their debut last year as the nuns gained a lot of attention and several others will join the group this year by wearing traditional habits.

"We are putting together a couple of dances to do. I teach Zumba as well so a put a piece of Zumba moves together. This year there will be about 20 of us," Ms Green said.

The 4.5km walk starts and finishes on The Strand and will begin about 5.15pm on October 24, with local artist Leilane Taula singing a song dedicated to women experiencing breast cancer.

Entry is a $5 donation and all money raised goes towards the local Breast Cancer Support Service (BCSS). People can register at Smiths Sports Shoes or by contacting BCSS.

An Ocean Blue Beachwalk, also raising money for BCSS, will take place on October 14.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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