NZ charity whiz makes tracks

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She’s arguably New Zealand’s most successful fundraiser and now she’s about to head the Wakatipu Trails Trust.

Queenstowner Kaye Parker leaves this month as chief of Cure Kids, the public face of the Child Health Research Foundation that raises $4-$5 million a year and has $23m in the bank.

Initially working part-time, Parker has run the national charity since it grew out of Queenstown’s former 50K of Coronet fundraising ski race.

She thinks it’s time for someone else to bring fresh ideas to Cure Kids to take it to a higher level, and she also looks forward to spending more time here – latterly, Parker’s spent one week in three at the charity’s Auckland head office.

Three years ago the NZ Listener rated her 47th in a list of the country’s Top 50 powerful and influential people. In 2007 North & South called her “the Queenstown dynamo”.

Parker is proud of her seven-strong team – five in Auckland and two here – and of local support for the Ticket To Hope getaway that brings 15 sick children and their parents to Queenstown twice a year.

She also thinks Cure Kids is recession-proof because of its strategies, established events and strong corporate backing – last month’s local adventure race raised $192,000, $40,000 more than last year, she points out.

Parker’s excited about her new job with Queenstown Lakes District Council quango Wakatipu Trails Trust, which is fundraising for and building a local track network.

She replaces Renee Bowman, who’s returned to her native Australia for personal reasons.