Sixty-two cars worth less than $1000 passed through Tauranga yesterday in an effort to raise money and awareness for cancer.

The Shitbox Rally NZ hosted 62 teams of two driving around the North Island in a 2550km round trip, which began in Auckland.

The annual Australian race aimed to raise money for the Cancer Council of Australia and Cancer Society of New Zealand - it was the first time it had been held in New Zealand.

This year the race had raised more than $350,000 for the two charities.

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Mark Houston, 26, and teammate Cameron Hallam, 30, had both come over from Sydney to take part in the event.

Read more: Iconic charity rally to hit Tauranga

"It's a fantastic experience and it's important to help take part in raising money for those who suffer from cancer.

"Everybody knows somebody who is affected by it," Mr Houston said.

"It's a great opportunity to do something great."

Mr Hallam said he had taken part in three other Australian rallies.

"It's great to see the different parts of a country, especially New Zealand, parts you wouldn't normally see in everyday life. It also great we can help raise money for such a fantastic cause."

Yesterday, the group of cars started in Opotiki and finished up the New Zealand leg of the race in Auckland. Last Friday they had been given different cars to choose from and then had one day to decorate them.

About 20 Kiwis had taken part in the experience too.