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A visit from kiwi legends in Whangamatā to advocate mental health has been postponed after Cyclone Gabrielle. Photo: SUPPLIED

Whangamatā visit from kiwi legends postponed

An event with kiwi legends swimming, cycling and running from Cape Reinga to Wellington to raise funds and awareness for youth mental health has been postponed until April. 

The Due Drop Hope Challenge, sponsored by Due Drop Foundation, was scheduled to stop in 16 towns including Whangamatā on February 20 to engage with iwi, communities, schools and businesses.

The competitors included former All Black Ian Jones, mental health advocate Mike King, former New Zealand triathlete Rick Wells, former international league star Richie Barnett, polio virus survivor Karim Rostami and Aucklanders David Mitchell, Geoff Everson, and Richard Hart.

Mike King said given the current national state of emergency and dire situation Kiwis were facing, postponing the challenge made sense.

“Right now, the sole focus is on keeping everyone safe,” he said.

“So many of the towns and communities we had planned to visit on our route are facing unfathomable disaster and destruction. 

“The only focus should be on safety, rebuilding and moving forward in the coming weeks.”

Organisers urged young people in cyclone-hit areas to take up free online counselling sessions.

“With increasing stress and hardship placed on communities resulting from Cyclone Gabrielle, children and young people experiencing ongoing anxiety and fears can access free help through [the Gumboot Friday website] immediately,” organisers said.

“If a counsellor is not available in the immediate area, online sessions are an alternative option.”

Gumboot Friday website: