'Bangers' arrive after 3000km journey for charity

Paddy Stafford-Bush (left) and Mia Bennie named their team Mum n' Mia for the Bangers to Bluff...
Paddy Stafford-Bush (left) and Mia Bennie named their team Mum n' Mia for the Bangers to Bluff Rally. PHOTO: LUISA GIRAO
Fifteen cars covered more than 3000km in 12 days, all in the name of charity.

The Bangers to Bluff Rally is an annual charity event organised by the Rotary Club of Half Moon Bay in which a small group of adventurers travel on the roads less travelled.

Participants arrived in Bluff on Saturday after leaving Auckland on April 2.

Event organiser Brian Hedge said the rally started off as a "bizarre idea" between friends.

"Our main goal is raising money but Bangers has become a way to travel through parts of the country we would not see and meet so many good people. We have a hell of a lot of fun while doing that."

The car rally, in its fourth year, had participants take a car worth $2000 or less through East Cape, Gisborne, Dannevirke, Blenheim, Hanmer Springs, Tekapo, Wanaka, Te Anau, Manapouri, Invercargill and - finally - Bluff.

The cars were auctioned in Invercargill and funds raised went to Multiple Sclerosis NZ and Hopeworks Foundation, a brain injury education trust.

"We already raised $160,000 since the first rally."

Mr Hedge said an electrical problem in one of the cars was the only problem encountered during the trip.

"Fortunately, when this happened, the team was near Wellington, where they live. The four passengers went home and returned to the competition with another car."

Auckland's resident Paddy Stafford-Bush invited her daughter Mia Bennie to join her on the rally.

It was the first time for both.

"I decided to do the rally after I lost two friends of mine that had MS. I was thinking which of my friends I should bring and Mia offered to come. It was a surprise for me."

Ms Bennie joked the rally was a test for their relationship.

"We spent 12 days in a car - eating and sleeping together. It was a great experience. People waved for us when we passed by them ... We meet really nice people during the journey."

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