Firefighters from across the country set a new fundraising record for the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge raising 1.25 million dollars for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.
Nine hundred firefighters from communities around New Zealand as well as Australia, USA, Chile and Croatia took to the 1,103 steps of Auckland’s iconic Sky Tower wearing 25 kilograms of gear. The 2017 target was set at $900,000 which was achieved four days before the event with the figure landing well beyond the target.
The firefighters have dedicated huge amounts of their personal time over the past six months to exceed their fundraising efforts in 2016 with the top fundraising spots highly contested. Simon Oliver from New Plymouth West Volunteer Fire Brigade who raised $25,976 was named the top fundraiser for the second year in a row. The top individual fundraiser not in a team went to Maaka McKinney who raised $16,430 after he spent 3 weeks cycling up the South Island and walking up the North Island before tackling the stairs on the day. Maaka was greeted with an emotional haka on the morning of the event.
The team that raised the most money was Auckland Airport Rescue Fire who raised $62,218. The brigade who raised the most money based on the number of firefighters in the team was Tamatea Rural Fire Force who raised $21,505.
The current top record holder for speed is Josh Harrison from Mount Wellington Station who has kept his first place spot for seven years running reaching the top of the tower in 9 minutes and 20 seconds. In second place was William Garnett from Auckland Airport Fire Rescue who completed the climb in 9 minutes and 38 seconds, while Andrew Tomlinson from Howick Station came third with a time of 9 minutes and 50 seconds.
The fastest woman up the tower was Rebecca Wright from Otara Station with a time of 13 minutes and 59 seconds. For a full record of race results please visit firefightersclimb.org.nz.
View all the photos from the event on the LBC Facebook page.