Charity Rally Launches Quarter Century From Taranaki
New Plymouth’s Scooby Crew gets behind Kiwi kids
When the 25th Trillian Variety Bash launches its fund-raising classic road rally this year on March 6, it’ll do it from
New Plymouth with the help of a local team dressed up as comedy cartoon characters, the Scooby Crew.
The crew will mark the start of the event by donating a Friendship Seat to Egmont Village Primary School on `Friday 6,
“When a child feels sad or lonely, they sit on the seat and other children know they need a friend to sit with them.”
Warren Haakma and his wife, Fay, will be aboard their 1977 Chevrolet C20 Sport van, a vehicle they imported from Las
Vegas, Nevada, and wrapped to resemble Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine. “We try to make it look as authentic as possible,
although we have added a light bar and sirens for extra effect!”
Warren says the kids they visit love the quirky cars and trucks on the Variety Bash, and a highlight every year is
meeting some of those who’ve benefitted from the work teams like his do for Variety – The Children’s Charity.
Haakma says it’s seeing the kids they’ve helped that keeps teams hard at work fund-raising all year. “This year Syndie
Maxwell will come along to see us off. A teenager with cerebral palsy who needs a walking stick to get about, she’s
received a lightweight collapsible TravelScoot electric scooter donated by Variety and the Rotary Club of New Plymouth
north to deliver that independence so important to teenagers.”
The team works hard all year to raise the donation necessary to join the rally, to keep their van going and to fettle
their costumes – after all Scooby is one of the most popular characters on the event, which each year travels New
Zealand’s remoter roads and calls in at its smallest communities to entertain, and to help disadvantaged kids be the
best they can be via grants of sports equipment, mobility devices, specialist computers – and, for some lucky schools,
the keys to a Ford Sunshine Coach.
Haakma says sponsors also do their bit, with the Scooby Crew supported by Aspect Signs, Naki Driving School – with Fay
doubling up as Velma – plus Education Services, Symons Transport, and Automotive Professional Services. “We raise funds
via catering functions, by running a U18 Wakeboard event, and by hiring the Chev out for rides at school galas,” Haakma
He says part of the appeal is joining the Bash as it travels the country – this year from New Plymouth south to
Wellington, up the East Coast to end in Auckland on March 14. And a big part is the camaraderie among the big family of
Bashers, a bunch of fun-loving crazy people who like to get together to do good things, and spread smiles and laughter
through schools, hospitals and public places.
“But of course what really keeps us fund-raising is seeing how much our help can mean to the kids. We’ll never forget
Jack Peacock, a young man in Palmerston North with a rare disease. We collected him from treatment at the hospital,
visited his ward and took him and his brother to Feilding to meet the rest of the Variety Bash crews, and the
entertainment celebrities who come along. “This is the best day of my life!” he told us, a touching moment, and one we
remember whenever life seems to throw us a curve ball!”
To keep up with the Scooby Crew, see the contact details below, come along to farewell the Trillian Variety Bash on
March 6 and drop some change in their fund-raising buckets – or join their team of sponsors to help them help New
Zealand children be the best they can be.