Charity heart


A national kids’ charity blames the legacy of a local fraudster for it pulling the plug on a popular Queenstown fundraiser. 

Queenstown’s Heart Stopper Challenge, in which teams of four to six plunge into an icy pool, was supposed to take place at Earnslaw Park today. 

But Heart Children New Zealand, which is still running the event in 12 other centres countrywide, has scrapped the local event after no one registered. 

“Clearly people are still reeling from history,” national boss Lara Syddall says. 

She’s referring to Queenstowner Fiona Moran, who set up Heart Children Central Otago but was convicted two years ago of fleecing it for $22,835. 

As a result, the branch folded though it was reformed late last year. 

Syddall says it’s “a huge shame” this Heart Stopper Challenge got a cool reception because in the past the Queenstown event’s raised the most money for the charity. 

“We are trying to work out how we make something happen [in Queenstown] so the families at least don’t feel constantly that they’re left out in the cold. 

“It will be nice to feel that [Heart Children members] felt they could go back out in the community as heart kids without feeling they have to hide.”