The action has been on the water today for the start of GODZone Chapter 5 that saw hundreds of locals witness competitors heading off on the 530km expedition adventure. 

Teams sprinted off the start line on Kaiteriteri beach on midday swimming and coasteering around the rugged coastline to Stephens Bay and the first kayak stage to Rabbit Island.

2.4 metre waves provided some exciting thrills and spills for many teams who ended up in the surf resulting in a cracked kayak for the RebelFood team.

Nelson’s team Swordfox led by Brent Edwards and Wanaka’s team Torpedo 7 led by Richard Anderson established early firm leads being first to arrive after a four-hour paddle.

“Both these teams set record transition times with Swordfox assembling their bikes in less than seven minutes. That’s a super fast turn around onto the second stage orienteering and mountain biking.

“ The orienteering entailed two point to point courses set up by the local Nelson Orienteering club and teams could choose to do split up and do them in two pairs or one stick together. It’s a good mental challenge and helps to separate them out from the rest of the field and start tovestablish individual racing patterns, “says Bates.

Massive crowds of spectators at Rabbit Island clapping and cheered the teams on and the Cure Kids team with Richie McCaw attracted plenty of attention.

“There was a good bit of banter as they went through the transition with Sarah asking Richie if he felt like going out on a wee bike ride now. They are in really good spirits,” says Bates.

The team has so far raised $292 000 for Cure Kids.


Leading teams are now biking through the Silvan Forest Mountain Bike Park located at the back of Richmond Township before riding into the Richmond Mountain range towards the Wairoa Gorge and the first trekking stage of the event over the Red Hills.

Current Top Five Teams

1. Team Swordfox

2. Team Torpedo 7

3. Yealands Family Wines

4. Team NeuroPhysics

5. Bivouac Inov 8



Richie McCaw is wearing the number he made famous during his rugby career

as he takes part in GODZONE Chapter Five with his Cure Kids teammates.

Team Cure Kids are team number seven of 61 hitting the route on Saturday at

the start of the 530km seven-day race.

McCaw said: “I just hope I don’t disgrace it. I’m looking forward to getting in to


“I guess it’s a question of can you handle it. That’s the bit that gets me going

and until you do it you don’t know if you can. You open yourself up to failure


Along with teammates Ron Nichol, Sarah Fairmaid and Ben Meyer, McCaw will

be coasteering and kayaking from Kaiteriteri beach to Rabbit Island on stage

one of the seven day event.


So far they have raised $292,000 for the Cure Kids charity, with a target of


Before setting off, team leader and CEO of the NZRPA, Rob Nichol, said they

had been training hard and were now looking forward to the experiences the

next few days will bring.

He said: “Most of all I think we are just looking forward to getting under way –

but also those special moments you get to experience in this race – be it nailing

a challenge, some amazing scenery, exhilarating white water or some vertical

cliff to abseil down, reaching that pass you have targeted for the best part of a

day and a night, or getting a tough navigational call spot on. It’s these

moments which capture you for sure.

«As the Cure Kids team we have talked about wanting to work hard throughout

the adventure for the cause, which is to raise funds to help find cures for kids.”

Cure Kids fund research into a range of diseases with the aim of improving and

saving the lives of the children who live with them.

After receiving a lung transplant, 19-year-old Lizzie McKay knows first hand the

valuable work Cure Kids do. She was diagnosed with Cystic Firbosis along with

her twin brother Alex when they were babies.

Alex spent a lot of time in hospital as a baby but his condition improved as he

got older and, with the help of lung clearing medication, he now lives a full life.

Lizzie’s condition grew with her and she spent years having operations in

hospital, her condition forcing her to stop studying in 2012. It is only thanks to a

lung transplant she received three years ago that she can now work and travel.

Lizzie is encouraging people to support the Cure Kids team.

She said: “By supporting the Cure Kids GODZone team on their amazing

challenge, you are helping the next generation of children living with serious

health conditions to live a fuller and healthier life. Because of Cure Kids funded

research, my twin brother Alex and I were diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis early,

which meant that treatment could be started quickly, reducing the damage to

our lungs.

“Please support the team by texting GODZone to 933 to donate $3 to Cure Kids.

Your support will help the researchers in their search for better treatments and

cures to these conditions.”

Donations of more than $3 can be made online


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