More than 100 international participants are set to take part in March’s 50 or 100-kilometre Oxfam Trailwalker event, including a large contingent from Singapore – a country stretching a mere 50 kilometres from coast to coast.

iFAST Corporation, a wealth management platform for financial institutions and high net worth investors based in Singapore, is bringing 11 teams plus support crew to Whakatāne for the first time. It’s the seventh time the organisation has participated in Oxfam Trailwalker, having completed the Hong Kong, Sydney, Brisbane and Guyre (South Korea) events. iFAST shares Oxfam’s vision, which strives for a safer, fairer and more sustainable world where all people can enjoy a life of hope and opportunity.

iFAST CEO Lim Chung Chun is passionate about what the challenge offers and believes in everyone playing a part in fighting poverty and making a difference in the world.

“To me, Oxfam Trailwalker is a meaningful event because a 100-km walk through rough terrain is something that most people would think is unachievable at first,” he says. “However, with preparation, determination and discipline, what seems completely mad at first ends up being achievable. Along the way, it is also apparent that to succeed, we must be aware not only of our strengths, but our weaknesses as well.”

The iFAST organising committee for Oxfam Trailwalker, Nigel Koh and Gary Lim, recently visited Whakatāne to review this year’s course and were excited about the challenge.

“We believe the trail passes through Kiwi habitat so that will be an amazing experience, we’d love to see some Kiwis on our travels!

“And we’ve heard great things about Kōhī Point too,” Lim says.

Other international teams are visiting from England, South Africa, France and Australia.

Whakatāne District Council Tourism and Events Manager Nicola Burgess says the large international contingent provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase the district as a destination.

“Word of mouth marketing is incredibly powerful.  If we offer a warm welcome to Oxfam’s international teams and showcase our stunning district, it is likely they will go home and tell their friends and family.”

To date, 263 teams are registered for Oxfam Trailwalker 2019, compared to 170 at the start line in 2018.  Oxfam Fundraising Events Manager Lizzie Quill says a big effort has gone into boosting the number of entries this year.

“We’re thrilled with the number of teams registered this year.  It’s fantastic to bring them all to Whakatāne as we know the locals always offer a warm welcome.

“This year’s course will showcase the very best of Whakatāne and the surrounding district. From high up in the Kiwinui Forest to the surf of Ōhope Beach, our teams and support crews will be enjoying what the Eastern Bay of Plenty has to offer, while doing their part to fight the injustice of poverty.”