Zombie shuffle pays off

By Alison King -
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Hundreds take part in the city's Rotorua Zombie Walk.
Hundreds take part in the city's Rotorua Zombie Walk.

Rotorua visitors were stopped in their tracks as zombies old and young walked through the city on Saturday.

The Zombie Walk has been an annual fixture since 2010 and raises funds for the Rotorua branch of the Brain Injury Association. This year's funds are still being counted but organiser Layla Robinson said she hoped to crack the $10,000 mark.

More than 250 people got dressed up and made up for the main event, which started and finished at the Village Green.

Zombies from across New Zealand - including Auckland, Hamilton, Tokoroa, Tauranga and Wellington - were joined by visitors from the US, Brazil and the UK.

Ms Robinson said the highlight of the day was the Thriller dance, which was also an annual fixture at the event.

"The highlight was surprising the crowd by changing up the Thriller dance and cutting to Poi E halfway through, using some choreography from the end credits of the movie Boy," she said.

As part of the fundraising, a Cruise of the Damned Masquerade Ball was held on Saturday night on the Lakeland Queen, attracting 115 people.

"The calibre of the guests and costumery at the ball was amazing. Everyone who came was in costume and had an amazing time. Thanks to our many sponsors, including the Lakeland Queen ... costs were kept to a minimum.

"We had a large group of tourists, a hens' party, a work party and a wedding anniversary on board, so it was definitely a lively atmosphere and co-host Karen Hansen and I were very pleased with how it all went. Our performers were wonderful."

Ms Robinson said with the popularity of The Walking Dead television series more people were embracing the zombie theme.

"Because the show is one part zombie and two parts character driven, it's attracted a whole new fan base who otherwise wouldn't have been interested in the genre. That helps heaps.

"There are a few smaller zombie gatherings popping up around the country, which is great, but my idol is the Brisbane Zombie Walk, who this year had 20,000 walkers ... They raised $50,000 for their charity, the Brain Foundation of Australia."

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