CYCLE SAFELY: That was the extra message from Hibiscus and Bays Local Board member Greg Sayers when he congratulated Oliver and Xaver on their enterprise.
by Les Watkins
One of the most challenging cycle rides possible in New Zealand is being tackled this month by 23-year-old Oliver Macindoe of Whangaparaoa.
This former Kristin pupil will be accompanied by his 24-year-old German friend Xaver Hausner, a fellow student at Wellington’s Victoria University, on a 3358-km marathon from Cape Reinga to Bluff.
“The aim is to raise as much as we possibly can for Rotary’s campaign to help eradicate polio which is still a serious problem in four countries -- India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria,” he says.
“Each of the 250 Rotary clubs in New Zealand is being asked to sponsor us for at least $10 a kilometre and some have indicated that they’ll be going quite a bit higher.
“We don’t have a set cash target but are happy to know that all donations will go directly to the fight against polio – with nothing deducted –and that whatever we do raise will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.”
Oliver and Xaver, who have both been cycling since the age of four, met seven years ago when Oliver six weeks in Germany.
Xaver is in New Zealand as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar and has just completed his law course in Wellington where Oliver has been qualifying to become a teacher.
They headed south from Cape Reinga on November 24 and plan to leave Mangawhai for Warkworth and the Hibiscus Coast on November 30 – aiming to reach Bluff on January 16.
“Rotary clubs along the route are helping us out with food and accommodation – for which we’re very grateful as we’re travelling without any support team – but when we get to Whangaparaoa, of course, we’ll be staying with my mum Cilla at Big Manly,” says Oliver.
They will meet many dignitaries on their marathon journey, including the Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand.Wellington’s new mayor, keen cyclist Celia Wade Brown, will ride with them into Wellington.
They stayed a night at Cilla Macindoe’s home on their way from Wellington to the start at Cape Reinga and were welcomed to the area by Hibiscus and Bays Local Board member Greg Sayers who is a member of Auckland Rotary Club.
“Mr Sayers congratulated them on their ‘dedication and determination for such a good cause’.
The End Polio Now campaign is a worldwide initiative by Rotary International which, with financial support from organisations such as the Gates foundation, has raised more than US$220 million over the past 25 years.
In that time Rotarians have helped immunise more than two billion children in 125 countries. Now only four countries are affected.
Rotary’s support group for the project is headed by Oliver’s uncle, Francis Wevers, who says: “Polio eradication is within our final grasp. But if we cannot eradicate it now, the risk of crippling and deadly polio outbreaks will continue to threaten the world’s children.”
Cash donations made on the road will be handed to the club hosting the riders at the end of each day. Online donations, which will generate a tax receipt, can be made through the website www.polio.org.nz