About 100 people came together to raise money for the Cancer Society last weekend as part of the Pouto Lighthouse Challenge.

Through the event, over $2000 was raised for the local charity as competitors raced an 18-kilometre course by foot or bike from Waikaretu Marae, along the beach and around the Pouto lighthouse, and back to the marae.

It was the event's second year which saw a surge in attendance from the 30-odd people who took part last year. There were several categories for people to race in, ranging from elite to children.

"It was about being able to connect with whanau and land itself," cycle race winner Glenn King said


"Pouto is a spiritual and cool place so any opportunity to do something like this is cool."

King, who was a cousin of event organiser Joesephine Nathan, said it was his connection to the area which made the trip up from Wellington worth it.

"My mother was raised in Pouto so there's always a connection for me there."

In conjunction with raising money for charity, the event was organised to bring awareness about the sacred nature of the area after the community had seen an influx of vehicles causing havoc on the beach.

King said it was important to educate those about an area already facing threats.

"For those who don't know, they are adding to erosion and damage to a fragile and precious ecosystem.

"It's just being aware and knowing where you can and should take vehicles, and part of that is working with people to educate them."

He said just seeing the raw beauty of the area and nature in its truest form was a reminder of the responsibility the community had to preserve the area.

Some of the competitors had met at the marae the night before to share their experiences battling cancer, which King said was an uplifting moment.

"Everyone has been touched by cancer or knows someone who has been affected.

"They've overcome some huge obstacles in their lives and it was so inspiring to be there and support them."

Registration for next year's event is open now and those interested can go to the Pouto Lighthouse Challenge Facebook page.


Fastest Biker - Glenn King
Runner - Kirsten Mason
Walker: Anne Proffit
Elite Event: Hannah Ewenson
18km Duathlon: Yvette Poingdestre
Kids Event 4km: Biker: Kacie Run: Luke Crichton