Matt Milliken (centre) will always remember his 17th birthday.
Tomorrow night he will mark the occasion with a 40-hour stint in a small cage along with fellow 17-year-olds (from left) Nina Riddell, Matiu Gourlay, Alice Sheehy and Anna Kirkwood – they’ll endure hunger and bitter temperatures.
The Year 13 teens at Wakatipu High are raising money for Bangladeshi families through World Vision’s annual 40-Hour Famine.
Matt’s mates aren’t promising him much of a party – all they can eat and drink is barley sugars and juice – and it’s going to be cold holed up in a 5sq m cage in The Mall with no opportunity to shower.
“We’re only allowed to leave the cage to go to the toilet but that’s it,” Nina says.
“That’s a requirement by the council – I think it’s so that we don’t defecate on the pavement,” jokes Matiu.
The teens – who’ve organised a raft of school fundraising events for the 40-Hour Famine – are continuing a Wakatipu High tradition of Mall cage-camping for the fundraiser.
They’re hoping local businesses will tender for advertising on the cage in a bid to raise more money.
Police, parents and teachers will regularly check on the group throughout the 40-hour marathon.
Aside from drunken taunts and freezing temperatures, the teens are bracing themselves for the prospect of no food till 10am Sunday morning.
“I won’t go very well,” Nina says. “I’m fine being in a cage but when I don’t eat food, I get so cranky.”