Morehu and Arohea Pewhairangi from Ngati Oneone closed off the 2023 Titirangi Mt. Everest Challenge with a karakia on Sunday.
1,269 participants completed a total of 10,557 climbs collectively. With 130 participants completing 68 climbs to reach the equivalent of Mt. Everest.
“The eleventh edition of the Titirangi Mt Everest Challenge once again turned the maunga into a hive of activity and motivated our community to use this historical landmark to walk, jog or run their way to the height of Mt Everest.” said Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti Events Advisor Debbie Hutchings.
“Through this, friendships are created, stories are shared and some achieve more than what they ever thought they could or would do.”
At the top of the individual leaderboard was Bevan Brooking, with a total of 286 climbs. Bevan is a multiple title holder in both judo and jiu jitzu but due to an injury, he swapped the mats for the maunga.
This year, Ngati Porou Oranga had a team of 84 people and took out first place on the team leaderboard with an impressive 1,725 climbs. One of their members, Norm Ngaira, has his own unique story. Norm has attempted the challenge for seven years, this year he not only achieved the 68 climbs, but he finished the challenge with 200 climbs. His motivation for the challenge and lifestyle changes, was to be able to look after himself so he could look after the most important people in his life, his whānau.
In third place on the team leaderboard was Last of the Summer Wine, with an average age of 77 years, they collectively climbed the maunga 824 times. The team is made up of nine members, with Liz Thodey, 74 years of age, placing second on the individual leaderboard with a total of 222 climbs. Fellow teammate, Helen Humble, also reached a milestone, turning 82 recently and celebrated this by completing her 82nd climb on the final day of the challenge.
With support from Ngati Oneone, Sean and Fiona Shivnan, the East Coast Cancer Society, the Gisborne District Council and ProTraffic, as well as local champions such as Huringa Pai, the event was able to raise awareness and funds for the East Coast Cancer Society to support locals living with bowel cancer. This year, the online donations amounted to $1,362, all of which will be donated to the East Coast Cancer Society.