Trillian Trek (formerly Variety Bash) has always enjoyed a great relationship with NZ Police — whether it be the good-natured wrapping of the local cop cars in metres of coloured plastic or sending the town community constable up a 10-storey ladder and then drenching them with blue-dyed water or foam!
Another organisation that works closely with Police is NZ Blue Light. For the past 30 years the charity has been working in communities around the country empowering young people to be the best they can be and helping the Police to build positive youth-police partnerships.
For the folk behind the Trillian Trek and 27 years of raising money for Kiwi Kids, choosing NZ Blue Light as their new partner charity was a no-brainer — and for the Blue Light team, well, they came to play!
The first grant of the week-long non-competitive event was a $25k van that will be used for a new Blue Light initiative for 15 and 16 year-olds struggling to find their place in their communities and getting into trouble. The six-month programme will be an opportunity for the young men to top up their life skills and start the process of becoming employable.
Throughout the week, the Trekkers gave grants to all the local Blue Light branches around Northland to help them with their community work but when the serious business was over there was plenty of time for fun.
Spending the week in a white, minimally decorated, late model, air conditioned people-mover meant the guys were in for a serious amount of ribbing — what were they thinking?
That vehicle spent plenty of time ‘under wraps’ as did the cars of the cops we met along the way. At one stage there was a playful commandeering of a local cop car, it was moved from one end of a school playing field to the other, and an attempt on the most kids in a cop car record was made. We got to 37 but struggled to get the people from Guinness to return our calls.
The Blue Lighters joined in on a community project at Ahipara School and eagerly competed in a sports day at Dargaville High School. They helped give away bikes to kids at many of the schools we visited; some very cool GoBabyGo cars for kiddies with severe mobility issues; posed for promo shots with local radio stations; and enthusiastically helped Trekkers (and a couple of unwitting tourists) out of the sand on 90-mile beach.
Continuing with the police theme, we also got to spend some time with old friends of the Trek, Constable Bryan and Bobby in their 8th year supporting the event and their 11th year delivering a kid-friendly vehicle safety message to young ones. Bryan and Bobby are always a hit with the kids and the mums and dads as well.
When Trekkers were not involving the local police in hijinks there was the ferry to Russell to negotiate and more exceptional back-road driving. And yes, that is Tom Sharplin on the big 1960 Seagrave — Tom is a Trekker from way back!
Official route of the 2017 Trillian Trek:
19th March Day 1 — Matamata to Orewa
20th March Day 2 — Orewa to Dargaville
21st March Day 3 — Dargaville to Omapere
22nd March Day 4 — Omapere to Taipa/Coopers Beach
23rd March Day 5 — Taipa to Taipa
24th March Day 6 — Taipa to Russell
25th March Day 7 — Russell to Whangarei