Minis make it: Organisers rapt as run raises $400k

They took their cars to Invercargill and they raised more than $400,000 for charity in the process.

The cheerful organisers of the 2023 Pork Pie Charity Run said it was another successful event and the amount raised had far exceeded their initial expectations.

Departing Paihia on Friday last week, the convoy of about 60 Minis traced the tracks of the Blondini Gang down the country and arrived in Invercargill on Wednesday for a final event after five days on the road.

A surprise presentation was made for co-organiser Kevin Hollamby, who also took part in the run as Team Old Farts with his good mate Pete Bjarnesen, by Seven Sharp for its Good as Gold segment, leading to an emotional moment and cheers from the hundred or so participants.

Seven Sharp also made a donation of $5000 to KidsCan and another $5000 to Mr Hollamby - though he said it would all be going to charity.

"What I do is fundraising and helping people out - it's just something I do on almost a daily basis.

"I enjoy it, I like seeing a smile on someone's face ...

"I'm not taking the money, KidsCan are getting that. That's just what it's all about," he said.

"I was blown away ... I was crying a couple of minutes ago. I gotta be honest, that don't happen all that often."

Graeme Blackmore and Tanya McCullum, of team Crazy Uncle, were one of the few groups from...
Graeme Blackmore and Tanya McCullum, of team Crazy Uncle, were one of the few groups from Southland who first drove their Mini from the bottom to the top of the country to join the run. PHOTO: BEN TOMSETT
Co-organiser and team-mate Mr Bjarnesen said the presentation came as a pleasant surprise to the hundred or so participants present.

"This run has been truly exceptional, and it comes down to the people involved. We're surrounded by an amazing bunch of people with big hearts, deep pockets - not even deep pockets, but very generous pockets, who are really committed to trying to make a difference in our community."

"With the economic climate we've got at the moment, we were hoping for around about $250,000 but we've absolutely blown it out of the water."

YouTuber Jordan Watson, aka How to Dad, was on hand as an ambassador for KidsCan and to MC the run’s final event.

"The amount of money they have [fundraised] is just absolutely mind-blowing. For KidsCan, it makes a massive difference. So here we are trying to see the last day off with a bang."

Team Something Else, consisting of Raewyn and Errol White from Dunedin, took part in the run for the first time and alone had raised nearly $10,000.

"It’s such a lovely crowd of people and everyone's like-minded. They're all there to raise money and have a good time.

"Quite a few of them have done it a few times," Mrs White said.

Making up team Crazy Uncle were Graeme Blackmore, of Balclutha, and niece Tanya McCullum, of Invercargill.

They began their journey in Southland, taking a cruise north to join the rest of the diminutive vehicles in Paihia, raising nearly $8000 in the process.

Mr Blackmore, who was on his second run, said it had been highly enjoyable, with only a few breakdowns.

"We made it ... We took this bloody car to Invercargill," he said.