Flipping Heck!

last flip and Atea is still looking cool....
last flip and Atea is still looking cool….

How long does it take to flip a tractor tyre the 4.5 kilometres from the Main Highway to the beach? If you were Ngawira Logan and Te Rangiatea Fraser, just two and a half hours!

Why flip a tractor tyre anywhere, anyway? The Flipping for Rena challenge the two set themselves was a fund raiser for Otaki’s 16 year old cancer patient, Rena Sciascia, to help with her treatment and medical expenses.

It might sound easy, but each and every flip required the person flipping to begin in a deep squat and raise themselves up as they lifted the tyre up, then change hand position to push it over the top and down the other side.

“It was an idea we both came up with,” Ngawira said. “The family are looking at alternative treatment and we wanted to do a fundraiser to help Rena and her family.”

With a strong support team, who cleared the wheelie bins from their path – it was rubbish day, carried donation buckets, collecting all the way – cars stopped for people to add their contribution and their encouragement.

They were accompanied by kids from Te Kura-a-iwi o Whakatupuranga Rua Mano (WRM), where Rena is a pupil and Te Korowai Whakamana at Otaki School, including Ngawira’s 10 year old son, Lukah. They rattled the collection buckets and they sang as they walked.

Ngawira’s in charge in Mill Road
Ngawira’s in charge in Mill Road

Children from Otaki School’s Maori language classes gathered at the school fence to cheer the flippers as they passed and at WRM, the whole school and pupils from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Rito lined the footpath cheering and encouraging the team as they passed, many of the kids had a turn at flipping the heavy tyre, too.

Probably the hardest part was that final uphill stretch to Marine Parade, with energies flagging, muscles near screaming point, Ngawira flipped the tyre across the road, where Te Rangiatea joined her for the final flip on to the grass at the carpark and a rousing haka of welcome from the kids waiting there.

“It was an overwhelming experience, and for days after, me and TR were still buzzing about it!” she said. “We were blown away by the generosity of everyone. It became a community event, they came in, and many had a go to flip the tyre.”

Ngawira said she knew others had done tyre flipping as a challenge previously, but never that distance or in the time taken “We thought it would take us five or six hours!”

Donations received on the day amounted to $3,687. There is also a Flipping for Rena page on the Give-a-little website page which had raised $6,888 by June 16. The family had also organised a Shave for a Cure event at the Otaki Golf Course which raised a considerable amount, too.