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Cycling NZ for PolioPlus

On 24 November 2010 Xaver Hausner, a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar from Germany who is being hosted by the Rotary Club of Pencarrow (District 9940), and his friend and flatmate, Oliver Macindoe, will leave Cape Reinga on a 3360 kilometer journey to Bluff.

What started out as a private journey being undertaken by two friends has become a major fundraising opportunity for one of Rotary’s major global fundraising campaigns – PolioPlus.

Xaver and Ollie decided their journey would be much more meaningful if they could use it to recognise Xaver’s gratitude for the opportunity Rotary gave him to come to New Zealand to study and also to support the global campaign to eradicate polio from the planet.

Their initial fundraising efforts were quite modest – asking friends and family to buy kilometers (at $1 a kilometer) - to raise funds for PolioPlus. Then they saw the opportunity to engage the wider Rotary movement in New Zealand.

The journey has been divided up into 250 segments of 13.4 kilometers each. Rotary clubs are being asked to each take responsibility for a segment (it does not have to be on roads in their location) and to raise the most money they can for that segment.

The intrepid travelers will record their daily thoughts and adventures on the website which has been specially set up for this campaign. Their observations, pictures and experiences will ensure there is ongoing interest for a widening audience as they travel down the length of New Zealand.

Not for them the tour down State Highway 1. They will travel down the east coast of Northland and the North Island before heading off down the West Coast of the South Island.

They intend to be as self-sufficient as possible but will always welcome good old Rotary hospitality at the end of a hard days ride and when they have their rest days. So let’s make sure they have their adventure of a lifetime and that Rotary leverages their energy and commitment to the cause to the best effect possible.

An Opportunity for Rotary Districts and Clubs

Xaver and Ollie’s cycle tour of NZ to raise funds for Polio Plus is a huge opportunity for Rotary to raise its profile and the profile of the PolioPlus campaign during the 8 weeks they are on the road and the period leading up to the tour.

There is a real opportunity to leverage this journey for all the best reasons and to provide a huge amount of focus on the global Rotary campaign to achieve polio eradication.

The way Rotary Districts and Clubs can take part:

District activities
  • District Governors formally endorse the project as a Zone 7B project and advise all clubs accordingly
  • The website which was developed for the motorcycle PolioPlus campaign be re-developed to be a significant campaign resource – sponsorship is being sought for this
  • A small publicity and promotion committee will prepare a set of standard resources for clubs to use to promote the tour and the PolioPlus campaign
  • The same group will look for and facilitate national and regional media opportunities
  • Districts distribute resources to clubs
  • District publicity committees coordinate district publicity and media attention on the cycle tour highlighting the strong link with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (which gives it a strong celebrity angle)
Club activities
  • All clubs are invited to use the cycle tour to raise funds for PolioPlus and to purchase the 13.4 kilometers assigned to their club at the highest price they can raise
  • A national schedule of which segment of the journey has been taken up by which club will be maintained on the dedicated website

Clubs fundraise for their segment by;

  • dedicating a Sergeant’s session to the campaign
  • soliciting donations from individual members
  • soliciting donations from local businesses along the route the two cyclists will cover
  • by taking street collections in the town the cyclists will pass through
  • Clubs process donations through their charitable trusts and issue tax receipts so donors can claim the tax benefit of their donations
  • The fundraising efforts of each club be recognised (dollars raised per individual member to generate some gentle competition) by regular updates of achievements on the dedicated website
  • Clubs can host Xaver and Ollie while they are on the road by providing overnight accommodation – this will be coordinated through D9940 cyclists support group
  • Clubs should seek sponsorship from local businesses for their segment
  • Clubs be encouraged to get members, families and friends and local heroes to get on their own bikes and join Xaver and Ollie as they come through town so there is a real media event every day on the tour during a slack part of the year for local news media
  • Clubs can raise awareness of the global polio eradication programme in local news media
  • Clubs encourage local radio stations and local newspapers to take an interest in the cycle tour and to cover it when it comes to their town
  • Progress of the cycle tour will need to be monitored daily so clubs and towns down the line can know when it is scheduled to arrive – this will be coordinated through D9940 cyclists support group but clubs should handover the cyclists to the next club down the line on the attached schedule
  • Xaver and Ollie carry pennants on their bikes which are themed for Rotary and Polio Plus
  • They have also been donated special cycling clothing
Club activities
  • If any club can pay their ferry fares for Auckland/Coromandel, and Invercargill /Stewart Island that would also be greatly appreciated.
  • Wellington/Picton ferry fares have been sponsored by Wellington North Rotary Club.
  • Rotary Club of Pencarrow and Rotary Club of Wellington have sponsored out of pocket expenses for things like new tires etc to the tune of $500 for each of the cyclists

A national publicity and promotion campaign has been developed to ensure the fundraising effort achieves a significant profile in national news media. Paper attached

This is a project which should engage nearly every Rotary club and member in a global Rotary campaign for a few days over the summer – an opportunity which arises only very rarely.

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