Dust off your walking shoes, and grab your whānau and friends, it’s time to climb the maunga!
The Titirangi Mt. Everest Challenge, brainchild of Sean & Fiona Shivnan enters its ninth year and continues to be an iconic event in Tairāwhiti.
The award-winning event is a seven-week challenge where people of all ages walk, run or cycle up Titirangi (sometimes referred to as Kaiti Hill) 68 times, which is equivalent to the height of Mount Everest. If you can’t make it to Titirangi you can convert your climbs from other maunga, and in recent years this has seen the establishment of separate community groups that have climbed alternative peaks such as Titirangi in Uawa, D9 in Tikitiki, and Manutahi in Ruatoria to name a few.
Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti Event Lead Debbie Hutchings said “The event is accessible to our whole community and can extend beyond the boundaries of Titirangi by incorporating any maunga where climbs can be converted. Participation can happen anywhere across New Zealand/Aotearoa or worldwide. For those feeling the pressures of lockdowns and closed borders this event can offer a sense of belonging and connectedness to Tairāwhiti. The event is free and open to all ages.”
The challenge aims to create awareness for bowel cancer. Donations received will support patients and whānau in Tairāwhiti who have been affected by a bowel cancer diagnosis through the Gisborne East Coast Cancer Society.
The event is able to go ahead under Alert Level 2 with public health measures in place. Guidelines state under Level 2 face masks are not mandatory while exercising, 2m social distancing must be adhered to, good hygiene must be practiced, and a QR code will be available at the base and summit for contact tracing. “We appreciate it will take extra effort to ensure good spacing between participants, so we ask our community to be patient and make space when letting people pass in narrower areas, and to be considerate of one another and people’s bubbles,” said Debbie Hutchings.
This year will also see the community benefit from the significant environmental restoration work that has taken place on Titirangi through Gisborne District Council, Ngāti Oneone and Whaia Titirangi, as well as improvements made such as the permanent one-way system for vehicles, the designated path for walkers, and the introduction of seats and water fountain.
Registrations for the event opened Monday 27 September with the event kicking off Monday 4 October and ending on Sunday 21 November. Participants can register for the free event and download a climb conversion chart here.