Join the penguins at Otaika Park

By Hannah Norton

Don't be surprised if you see penguins bobbing around Otaika Sports Park during this year's Relay for Life.

It's a tribute to the first Relay of the year, which was held in Antarctica and organised by the New Zealand Relay crew in Wellington.

"Usually at Relay we clock the laps or kilometres teams walk and each year we set a goal to walk the distance to a certain destination - last year we walked to the Olympics in London and back again," says Cancer Society Northland's event co-ordinator Paulette Scrooby.

"This year, we have set the goal of walking to Antarctica. It's something different."

Relay for Life is an annual 24-hour memorial walk, held worldwide as a cancer fundraising event where teams of 10 or more participate in a walk or run relay, keeping a team member on the track throughout the 24 hours.

Northland's seventh Relay for Life is on the weekend of March 16 and 17, at Otaika Sports Park in Whangarei.

Staff at Scott Base and Antarctica New Zealand had their first - as well as the year's first - Relay over the weekend of February 2 and 3.

It was so successful plans are underway for another in 2014.

Mrs Scrooby is really hoping to get into the Antarctic spirit for the Whangarei event. "Hopefully, we'll have satellite still images to pin-point how far we have walked," she said.

"[Cancer Society volunteer] Raewyn came bouncing in saying 'I think I found a polar bear suit to wear', and I said 'there aren't even polar bears in Antarctica'. We'll have to get penguin suits."

This is the final call for teams wanting to enter Relay, Mrs Scrooby said. "Or people can come down as casual walkers in their penguin suits or as seals." -

It's a koha entry and people are welcome to join in anytime. "Be it 9pm or 2am," she said.

- Northern Advocate

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