27 Mar 2023

Three All Black legends are hitting the road from Queenstown to Invercargill to raise money for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Former All Blacks captain and Westpac ambassador Richie McCaw will join fellow 2011 World Cup winners Mils Muliaina and Jimmy Cowan on the annual 250km Westpac Chopper Appeal Bike Ride on Friday 12 May.

With a combined 299 Test caps to their name, the trio will join 80 other riders in a quest to raise funds for the Lakes District Air Rescue Trust. Participants raised $44,000 in last year’s ride, taking the overall total to $755,000 since the event began.

“It’s a huge day and a really big ride for a great cause,” says McCaw.

“The Rescue Choppers are really important to me and my family because they’re always there when you need them, whatever you’re doing around the country.

“They give people peace of mind that help is never far away, so it’s great to be able to give something back by raising money to keep them flying.

“It’ll be great having Mils and Jimmy alongside me for support, although I’m sure there will be some good-natured ribbing out there on the road as well.”

Chopper Bike Ride organiser and Westpac NZ Otago and Southland Regional Manager Phil Taylor says the presence of three All Blacks is a huge fundraising boost for the local Chopper Trust.

“The Lakes District Air Rescue Trust flew 640 missions last year, saving dozens of lives and making a huge difference to so many families in the region,” Mr Taylor says.

“Every dollar raised in our Chopper Appeal month of May will help them continue that lifesaving service, which is why we’re so grateful to anyone who gets involved in this great event.”

Now in its 12th year, the Chopper Appeal Bike Ride will start before dawn at Westpac’s Frankton branch and wind its way southward via Gore, finishing up at Westpac Invercargill around 5.30pm.

People can donate to the ride now by visiting Westpac Chopper Appeal Bike Ride 2023 - Givealittle.