Hitch-hikers hit $35k mark


A HITCH-HIKING fundraiser spanning the length of New Zealand has raised more than $35,000 for suicide prevention, but the team involved will not simply end it at Bluff.

Hitch for Hope is comprised of a team of six including (pictured, from left) Michelle Ding (from Malaysia), Melanie Sandhaas (Germany), Megan Blanchard (United States) and Daniele Casali (Italy) as well as New Zealanders Tom Gilchrist and Harsha Shree (not pictured).

From Cape Reinga to Bluff, they began hitchhiking on May 22 to raise funds for suicide prevention and promote community connection, and arrived in Bluff on Monday.

The group was raising funds for the I am Hope initiative.

Ms Ding explained hitch-hiking was a practice which required vulnerability from both the person asking for a ride and he person opening their car to a stranger.

“It allows people to share deeper things.

“There was one guy who said, “oh, I’ve never told this to anybody but maybe I’ll never see you again”.”

They called it car-munnication.

The team would head back north and continue fundraising through its Givealittle page.

United Industries was supporting the group and would match every dollar raised, with the goal of reaching $50,000.