Cromwell raises $30,000 to fight healthcare's postcode inequity

by Kim Bowden - Jul 25, 2023

Travelling to access healthcare can add stress to an already stressful time for sick or injured people in Central Otago, but a new community-led fundraiser is helping to lessen the blow.

More than 100 people have gathered in Cromwell for the inaugural fundraiser for the Central Otago Resilience Trust (CORT), which will soon be in a position to divvy out funds to those in need.

More than $30,000 was raised, thanks to local businesses chipping in goods and services for auction, and the generous support of those in attendance, organisers say.

Cancer survivor, comedian, actor and businessman David Downs spoke at the event, the first of a series of fundraisers planned by the group.

The Cromwell fundraising gig was topped off with music and dancing.

Trustee and event MC Glen Christiansen says the money raised is "a great kickstart" and the momentum is now there for more events like it as well as growing community support.

Trustee and MC Glen Christiansen says the $30,000 fundraiser is just the beginning.

He is hopeful it will help motivate additional people to step up and work with the trust.

"We'd love to see someone from Roxburgh, from Maniototo. We're for the whole of Central Otago - not Cromwell-centric."

The trust's primary aim is to support local individuals and families in the Central Otago region struggling as result of unforeseen medical misfortunes.

The goal is to quickly and efficiently verify the need and then provide assistance to those suffering financial hardship as a result of a medical condition, illness or disease.

The instigators of the trust reckon while publicly-funded health care, ACC payments and other welfare assistance do help with costs they take time to access, leaving people wondering in the meantime how they will manage to fund the bare necessities while dealing with significant and stressful medical concerns.

The trust launched late last year and is this week set to begin taking applications from potential funding recipients, who may need a helping hand with healthcare related costs, such as travel and accommodation when people have to leave home to have treatment.

For now, it is not consider funding medical treatments.

Earlier, Mr Christiansen told Crux the group did not want to be "one-hit wonders" - the community had in the past rallied organically to support locals needing far-off medical care, and he wanted to see this sort of support become more sustainable.

“We just want to help where we can...A little bit of money goes a long way.

“It might be just to cover petrol for a last-minute trip to a specialist in Dunedin. It doesn’t take long for a wife of a sick husband, or the other way around, to use their sick leave in care-giving, so money becomes tight. It might be something as simple as putting the dog in care while you’re away for three days...It can be anything.”

CORT's next fundraiser is the Alexandra Airport MTB Challenge on Saturday, October 21.

Meanwhile, applications for assistance can be made online at, starting later this week.

Main image: David Downs shared his journey through cancer at the inaugural fundraiser for the Central Otago Resilience Trust.

Read more: Cromwell rallies to help sick and struggling families


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