Sport Southland and New Zealand Red Cross are working together to support Invercargill’s Colombian refugee community to take part in this year’s ICC Surf to City.
One of Southland’s most popular annual family events, this year’s ICC Surf to City will see more than 3000 people run, bike or walk from points between Oreti Beach and Queens Park on March 10.
Amongst them will be members of the Colombian refugee community who have been calling Invercargill home since 2018, as well as staff and volunteers from New Zealand Red Cross.
Sport Southland chief executive Brendon McDermott was excited about the opportunity to provide a special welcome to some of the region’s newest arrivals.
“Sport and active recreation are great ways to meet new people and to become more connected with the community,” McDermott said.
“Last year’s Sport NZ Value of Sport report found that 88 percent of New Zealanders believe that sport and other physical activities provide them with opportunities to achieve and build confidence, and 84 percent believe that sport and physical activity brings people together and creates a sense of belonging.”
Sport Southland will provide free entry for this year’s ICC Surf to City to the Colombian refugee community and plans to make entry free for incoming refugees in the future as part of their welcome to the province.
New Zealand Red Cross staff will have a marque and barbeque at the finish line as part of the event.
“We want to mitigate any barriers that might exist for these families taking part in what is an iconic Invercargill and Southland event,” McDermott said.
“We are also excited to have the colour and energy which Colombians are famous for as part of our event.”
New Zealand Red Cross National Migration Manager, South, Sue Price said events like the ICC Surf to City helped integrate newcomers into their communities.
“It’s fantastic that all these families will be able to be a part of a big community event like ICC Surf to City – it will help them make new connections, engage with the wider Southland community and simply have fun on the day, just like thousands of other Kiwis attending the event.”
His Worship the Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt said he had been delighted to welcome the refugees upon their arrival last year.
“It’s fantastic they will be able to join Invercargill’s long-time residents in what is something of a local tradition,” he said.
“Hopefully they have been loving Kiwi life and joining in the ICC Surf to City will be just as fun.”
Online entries are now open for the 2019 ICC Surf to City. For more information go to