Police and Special Olympics athletes are poised in the starting blocks for a memorable relay through central Whangarei.

They are part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) in the lead-up to the eighth Special Olympics New Zealand Summer Games in Dunedin starting this month.

The "Flame of Hope" begins its journey in Whangarei on Saturday on the first of 16 legs.

Whangarei Special Olympics vice-chairman Martin Barrie said it was an honour to have the relay start in Whangarei and he hoped 30 athletes would take part.


"The police support has been fantastic and for us it's wonderful; the whole relay starts here in Whangarei," Mr Barrie said.

The Whangarei team had been raising funds for four years to get to Dunedin.

The team consisted of seven swimmers, eight ten-pin bowlers, eight indoor bowlers, two equestrians, five track and field athletes and a power lifter.

In Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch, runners will be joined by World LETR chairman Mike Peretti (US) and LETR regional director Superintendent Scott Whyte (NSW Police).

Since being established in Kansas in 1981, LETR has grown to involve law-enforcement agencies in 48 countries and is now the biggest Special Olympics fundraiser.

New Zealand Police became involved in 2009.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Peter Marshall will attend the Special Olympics opening ceremony at the Forsyth Barr stadium on November 27 and help with the lighting of the cauldron.

Where: Outside the Whangarei police station before heading to Forum North.


When: Gather at 12.30pm on Saturday, head off at 1pm.