Next month's 10th edition of Hawke's Bays' longest running charity boxing event, Battle for Life, will be the last.

"It feels right to let Battle for Life go after this year and look forward to new ways that we can support our community's wellbeing. Patrick's dream of inspiring change will continue," Theresa O'Brien said as she pondered the March 21 event at the Hastings Sports Centre.

She was referring to her late husband and Battle for Life founder Patrick O'Brien who was one of two people killed in an accident on the Hawke's Bay Expressway on November 15 last year, the eve of when the 10th anniversary of Battle for Life was originally scheduled to be celebrated.

Next month's event will honour O'Brien and have the theme "Celebrating a Champ - Inspiring Change."


Battle for Life had been a labour of love for Hawke's Bay's 2019 Person of the Year O'Brien and his family.

Prompted by tragedy and the alarming health and social statistics of Hawke's Bay, the event has always been tied to driving social and behavioural change and steered by O'Brien's vision and commitment to make a meaningful difference for his province.

More than 10, 000 people, including participants and spectators, have been a part of the event's history and 30 fighters are being finalised for next month's event which is being staged on the weekend of what would have been O'Brien's 39th birthday.

Not only are this year's fighters motivated by their connection to O'Brien but also the kaupapa, with fighters and organisers setting a $50,000 fundraising goal for this final farewell.

They have a headstart thanks to the $10,000 raised last year that was gifted by supporters through GiveaLittle pages even when the event didn't go ahead.

The funds will be received and distributed by Anahera o Te Rangi Charitable Trust to support programmes and initiatives which help save lives, build resilience and give people hope in Hawke's Bay.

Aspiring to bring O'Brien's "Dream Big" philosophy to reality, organisers are asking the community to step up and honour the work and sacrifice of O'Brien by giving generously and taking the opportunity to help leave a legacy which will be felt for years to come.

"Pat believed in setting bold and courageous goals. His goal for the 10th anniversary was that the money raised would go towards creating a project where we can house, rehabilitate, educate and strengthen our people," Theresa said.


Promising to be an extravaganza, the March event, will not only feature top class corporate boxing but also live entertainment and auctions to help achieve the fundraising goal.

VIP tickets have already sold out and people are encouraged to get their general admission tickets fast, before they sell out too.

For those who can't make it on the night they can donate through GiveaLittle (Battle for Life - Inspire Change) or the other various fundraisers such as merchandise sales and upcoming events.

Tickets are limited and available from

Follow the Battle for Life Facebook page for up to date details on fundraising events, merchandise sales and for first access to auction lots.