Locals return from Fiji charity challenge

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Big-hearted Queenstown hotel staff are back in the resort after a quick trip to Fiji for charity. 

Ten resort employees from four local Accor Hotels battled through the four-day Accor Extreme Challenge for Cure Kids Fiji which started last Saturday and ran till Tuesday. 

Along with swimming, kayaking and running races, part of the challenge involved sprucing up Nadi Hospital’s maternity ward. 

Novotel general manager Jim Moore says it was an emotional visit, especially seeing the effect his last fundraising trip two years ago is having on Fijian children. 

“Last time we bought some equipment with the money we raised and they were testing all of the kids for rheumatic fever in this little village – and we went and saw them testing the kids,” Moore says. 

“They managed to find four with signs of rheumatic fever – which basically means if it’s not treated, they actually die by their early teens. And if symptoms are found, they can be put on antibiotics. 

“And then we sat down with the kids and they all sang to us.” 

A few rugby balls were dished out in the villages by the Queenstowners – but it’s the Fijian soccer skills Moore’s in awe of. 

“We played one of the top soccer teams in Fiji – in the end all 70 of us [in the challenge] were on the field against 11 of them and they still managed to get a few goals and we didn’t get any,” Moore says. 

Who actually won the gruelling four-day challenge? “Who knows really? The kids,” Moore says. 

Five local teams of two had to raise $5000 each to enter the competition, but the Queenstown entrants exceeded that by another $5000, raising a total of $30,000. 

Overall, a total of 35 teams involved raised $382,000 to improve medical treatment for Fijian kids. 

Other hospitality workers on the Fiji trip were Esiteri Bovoro, Marina Silva, Paul Cook, Stephanie McDougall, Marion Bausse, Hanna Downey, Nara Sylos, Luiz Cauduro and late addition Paul Clark. 

They’re from Accor Hotel’s Novotel Queenstown Lakeside, Hotel St Moritz, Sofitel Queenstown Hotel and Spa and Mercure Queenstown Resort.