THE New Zealand Roller Derby team members will be doing away with their usual costumes and donning black singlets for their world debut in Toronto.
But only if they can raise the $100,000 they need to get there.
The 23-strong New Zealand Roller Derby training squad needs money for flights, accommodation and uniforms to get the team to the first-ever Roller Derby World Cup in December.
Wellington players Merryn McAulay (Tuff Bikkies) and Michelle Jackson (Perky Nah Nah) are doing their bit with a fun fair-style fundraiser at Wellington’s Meow Cafe this Sunday.
“It’s going to be real fun,” says Tuff Bikkies, who works at the Alexander Turnbull Library.
“We’re just trying to make a contribution towards that big goal, really. But we hope that we can make $1000.”
The team has managed to put down a deposit on flights thanks to donations from local derby leagues, but is still looking for a major corporate sponsor to get the rest of the way.
In true derby spirit, the girls have already got cracking with their own fundraising initiatives.
Supporters can have their names and messages printed on the singlets the girls will be wearing at the worlds, and buy NZ Roller Derby hoodies and tees.
Local derby leagues are holding skate-a-thons, karaoke nights, selling chocolates and offering their coaching services.
Every little bit counts, says team manager Cat Boyes, aka Elle Qaeda: “We really appreciate their support, as we are doing this for the whole of New Zealand derby.”
If they get to Toronto, they will be playing three full games a day over the three-day event, which will test their limits.
“That’s a lot to put your body through. Imagine the All Blacks playing three tests in one day, as that’s what it will be like for all of us,” says Elle Qaeda.
The NZ Derby team will be testing their skills against 12 other teams from South America, the UK and Europe, Canada, US and Australia.
Head Coach Stacey Roper, aka Pieces of Hate, says the team will be hard to beat.
“We have the perfect combination of speed, skill, strength and, most importantly, strategy. Our goal is to reach the final, upsetting some of the bigger countries along the way.”
Reflecting the growing appeal of roller derby, Team New Zealand includes players from Whangarei, Auckland, Mount Maunganui, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch.
The team trains in Hamilton once a month and plans a week of practice, including a Team NZ vs. Team NZ bout, right before the world cup.
This Sunday’s fundraiser will be an afternoon of music, games, massages, homemade fudge and roller skate gear, and prizes such as a pin-up makeover and photo shoot are up for grabs.
See more about the event HERE, happening at Meow Cafe on Sunday, August 7 between 2pm and 6pm. Free entry, but bring cash for the fun stuff.
Also check out the team website for more on how you can support them.