It started as a "boys' weekend" in 2009, but has grown into a major fundraiser.

The Tranz Alpine Scooter Safari is the brainchild of Canterbury couple Mike and Jayne Rattray, who have raised more than $600,000 from four events.

The biannual event sees 250 sponsored participants ride motorised scooters 250km between Christchurch and Hokitika in a day.

Mr Rattray, an engineer at Air New Zealand, did the trip in 2009 for fun with a group of friends who had bought scooters off Trade Me. That week one was diagnosed with bowel cancer.


"We thought, why not turn it into a bit of a fundraiser? And the idea snowballed from there," Mrs Rattray says.

It is now so big that 600 riders pre-registered for this year's May event, but numbers are capped at 250.

"Some are cancer patients themselves. We have had nurses come with us on the day as people going through chemo want to do it."

Mrs Rattray, a graphic artist and marketing consultant, and mother to two children, aged 7 and 8, looks after the promotion and registration while her husband oversees safety and traffic management.

They were nominated for Fundraiser of the Year by two-time entrant Anthea Terris.

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