Oxfam Trailwalker will return in 2020 for what will be its fifth and final year in Whakatāne, Oxfam has announced, following which the charity’s flagship event will be moving to a new location.  

The event’s new host region is to be announced later this year. Oxfam New Zealand’s Fundraising Events Manager Lizzie Quill said while it was a tough decision, the opportunity was taken to offer a new route and location to participants and to ensure the event’s continued growth.

“Whakatāne will always be a home to the event, and we are confident it is not a permanent goodbye. It has been a fantastic few years in the Bay of Plenty, thanks in large part to the strong relationships established with the local council, community groups, iwi and volunteers. We move on with the hope that Oxfam New Zealand returns to the district in the future, whether that is three, six, or nine years from now.

“This will be the start of another chapter in Oxfam Trailwalker’s story, and one we expect will bring many new and exciting opportunities.

“Oxfam New Zealand wishes to thank the Whakatāne District Council and the local communities for opening up their region to Oxfam Trailwalker for the last four years. Since moving to Whakatāne, over $3.2 million has been raised through the event for Oxfam’s work. This has made an exceptional difference to fighting injustice and poverty around the world.”

Oxfam Trailwalker has made a lasting impact in the lives of people struggling in the Pacific. Communities are able to build clean water supplies, families can grow more food, women are protected from violence, young people out of school gain skills for employment and children are given a chance at an education.

The 2019 event, held in in Whakatāne in March this year, raised almost a million dollars thanks to fundraising efforts from over a thousand participants.

Whakatāne Mayor Tony Bonne said that while disappointed that the 2020 Oxfam Trailwalker will be the last the district hosts for some years, it has been an absolute pleasure working with the Oxfam New Zealand team on an event that has delivered huge benefits.

“Oxfam’s kaupapa of fighting poverty in the Pacific region is something we all support and it’s wonderful to have been part of that story,” Mayor Bonne said. “We’re proud to have helped raise more than $3 million to date and we’ll be doing everything we can to ensure that the 2020 event is the best yet.”

He added that hosting this prestigious charity event has been a classic win-win situation, with the Whakatāne District benefiting from boosted tourism spending and an enhanced visitor profile.

Although Oxfam Trailwalker will farewell the Bay of Plenty for now, participants have one more chance to experience this picturesque region, and to support people in poverty, by taking part in next year’s event.

Registrations are now open for Oxfam Trailwalker 2020, which will be held over March 21-22 in scenic Whakatāne. You can take part in this incredible team challenge by registering at www.oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz.

Notes to editors:

  • Oxfam Trailwalker is the ultimate team endurance challenge – each team of four tackles either 100 kilometres in 36 hours, or 50 kilometres in 18 hours, to raise money for Oxfam’s fight against poverty. It is not a relay – the teams of four start and finish together.
  • The event was held in the Bay of Plenty region for the fourth time in 2019. A hundred kilometres of trail through Whakatāne, Ōhope and now Edgecumbe sees participants walking along coastal tracks, sandy beaches, farmland and native bush. It is the first time an event of this size has been held in Edgecumbe since the floods in 2017.
  • The top fundraising team for 2019 was team ‘N X NW’ who raised over $15,000. In total participants raised more than $995,000 towards Oxfam’s work to support communities living in poverty.
  • Oxfam Trailwalker is part of an international series of 17 events held worldwide in 10 countries. Over the years, the event has raised hundreds of millions of dollars internationally for Oxfam’s life-saving work.
  • The event debuted in New Zealand in 2006 and was held in Taupō for 10 years. The event moved to Whakatāne in 2016 – the same year a 50-kilometre trail was introduced as an alternative to the traditional 100-kilometre trail.
  • The fastest time in the New Zealand 100-kilometre event is currently 11 hours and 13 minutes – set by team ‘Plucky Sods’ in Taupō in 2011. The fastest 100-kilometre team on the Whakatāne trail is team ‘Buff Wait There’s More’ with a time of 12 hours 51 minutes set in 2018.
  • Set up by the legendary elite Queen’s Gurkha Signals Regiment in 1981 as a military exercise to test teamwork, endurance and determination, Oxfam Trailwalker is the ultimate physical and mental challenge. It began in 2006 in New Zealand. Since then over 13,000 participants have lined up at the start line and raised more than $11 million.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Kelsey-Rae Taylor | Kelsey-Rae.Taylor@oxfam.org.nz | 021 298 5894 or

Sarah Heeringa | Sarah.Heeringa@oxfam.org.nz | 021 939 450