An iconic Australian charity rally will arrive in Tauranga today, with seven New Zealand teams taking part in the first Kiwi leg of the tour.

The Shitbox Rally NZ hosts 70 teams of two driving around the Northland in a 2550km round trip beginning in Auckland over the course of a week. The annual race aims to raise money for the Cancer Society of New Zealand and is the first time it has been held in the country.

There is just one condition - the competing cars are not allowed to be worth more than $1700.

Former Little Big Markets stall owner Teresa Pulman and her partner Graham Torrie will be returning to Tauranga when the rally is expected to make its way through the city.


The Gisborne couple have already raised $7087.97 with their team Sweet As.

Ms Pulman said cancer had taken both of their fathers and they were enjoying being able to raise money for the Cancer Society with such a unique race.

"I was also widowed 12 years ago when my husband was diagnosed with heart cancer, Angiosarcoma, from diagnosis he passed away six weeks later. At the time he was the only living case in New Zealand."

The couple are driving a 1993 Toyota Corolla wagon they have dubbed The Red Rolla.
They have travelled from Auckland to Taranaki, through Waikato, Whanganui, Tongariro National Park, Palmerston North and Hastings before heading to Rotorua and Gisborne.

They will travel through Opotiki and Tauranga ahead of finishing in Auckland on day seven.

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Ms Pulman said the car was going well.

Competitors operate in a buddy system which involves cars heading out in groups of six or seven and stick together on the roads to ensure no one is left behind and, if anything goes wrong, people are not left alone.

"We have all become really good friends and have already started planning a trip to Sydney for us all to meet up later in the year," Ms Pulman said.

Drivers will arrive in the region via the Te Puke Highway before travelling along SH2 and turning on to SH29 at Te Maunga. They will head over the Maungatapu Causeway Bridge, through the Welcome Bay and Pyes Pa roundabouts to the Kaimai Range.

Ms Pulman said despite having the flu, they could not see any major challenges on the horizon.

"My biggest challenge is driving around all the winding roads without sneezing or coughing ... We have full confidence in our car and love an adventure."

The rally has already raised more than $6.1 million for cancer research since it began in 2000 in Australia.

What: The Shitbox Rally NZ
When: February 12-20
Where: North Island, beginning and ending in Auckland. Arriving in Tauranga today.
Why: To raise money for the Cancer Society of New Zealand
Who: 70 teams of two