Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull begins his descent for charity from
the Forsyth Barr Stadium roof to the turf below yesterday.
Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Reactions ranging from nervous laughter - just short of
hysteria - to strained looks somewhere between fear and
desperate exhilaration were obvious at Forsyth Barr Stadium in
For Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull there was a sudden interest in
knots, and how well they were tied.
Those reactions came at a sort of preview of Toss the Boss, a
Malcam Trust fundraising event this morning in which
participants, from University of Otago vice-chancellor Prof
Harlene Hayne to Otago Rugby Football Union general manager
Richard Kinley, will abseil from the stadium roof to its
Yesterday morning Mr Cull, who was unable to attend today,
stepped off the stadium's upper service gantry 35m above the
Moments before his descent, Mr Cull - whose only previous
similar experience was a parachute jump ''about 40 years
ago'' - said he had taken an intense interest in the process
of abseiling, particularly the knots in the rope that made
the difference between a smooth descent and a plummet.
Once dangling from the gantry, he was also required to pose
for cameras, then as he descended make a speech to a camera
strapped to his helmet.
That footage would be used this morning as an opening video
for the event.
Malcam Trust chief executive Andy Kilsby said 20 community
leaders would abseil this morning as part of Youth Week, as
the trust tried to reach or go beyond its fundraising target
Funding was being raised through website Give a Little.
The Malcam Trust, which runs youth development and transition
to work initiatives, would use the money raised for its
12-week full-time courses for young people who needed to
''re-engage with the community'' and work out where they were
and where they were going.