Car rally raises $32,000 for children’s mental health

Press Release – Avis Budget Group

Christchurch, 30 September 2019 – A charity car rally has raised $32,000 for children’s mental health research and the development of an app designed to help parents support their children’s well-being.

The Avis Budget Group Cure Kids 1000 hit the road on Red Nose Day (27 September) with nine teams driving in convoy from Christchurch, through the North Canterbury back roads to Hanmer Springs, and back again to raise vital funds for a new app called Kakano.

Bruce Vincer, General Manager, New Zealand Avis Budget Group, says his colleague Rodney Swinney wanted to organise a fun way to raise money for Cure Kids and he came up with the idea of a charity car rally.

“It’s a fantastic idea and the Avis Budget Group Cure Kids 1000 Rally is about coming together to help make a difference. Mental health is a serious issue in our society, and it is important our young people are able to get the help and support they need.”

The Kakano app, which helps parents assess their child’s mental health, has been developed by child and adolescent psychiatrist and University of Auckland Professor, Sally Merry. It has been successfully piloted with plans to conduct a larger trial later this year.

Merry says the resource, which was designed in consultation with a group of parents from Christchurch, aims to help parents manage a young person’s stress and emotions by providing them with engaging information and skills to support their children.

“We need to be ambitious in our thinking and in particular think about how we can use technology to support young people to be resilient. At the same time, we need to support parents with evidence-based therapeutic advice and resources,” she says.

The goal for each rally team, who were challenged to drive cars worth up to $1000 in the non-competitive event, was to raise at least $500.

However, says Mr Vincer, the level of support from friends, family, and members of the public to sponsor the cars has seen all teams easily beat this target and collectively contribute to the $32,000 total.

“We’re proud to work with Cure Kids and support Professor Merry’s important research which is about empowering parents with the skills and knowledge to help their children.”

The nine teams left Peppers Clearwater Resort in Christchurch at 8am on 27 September. They visited Greta Valley and Chevoit School for Red Nose Day celebrations, before heading off on their return journey via Hanmer Springs. On returning to Christchurch, a charity auction and celebration dinner was held at Peppers Clearwater.

For more details on the Avis Budget Group Cure Kids 1000 Rally please visit

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