Diabetes NZ Fitbit MoveMeant Challenge 2018

Politician named as biggest mover for diabetes



For three weeks, Kiwi personalities and business leaders having been pounding the pavement for a good cause – Diabetes New Zealand. As participants of the Diabetes NZ Fitbit MoveMeant Challenge, these big movers have collectively stepped over 2.7 million steps, covering approximately the same distance as walking from Auckland to Sydney.

Today the challenge is complete, the steps have been totalled and the Champion Winner been named as MP Hamish Walker, finishing on 294,124 steps in one week.

Every year Diabetes NZ partners with champion sponsor, Fitbit and prominent New Zealanders to drive awareness of diabetes in New Zealand. Through the Fitbit MoveMeant Challenge participants are tasked with the goal of out-stepping each other, becoming more active and increasing their exercise. The whole campaign supports Diabetes NZ’s message to help manage or prevent diabetes.  

The 2018 line-up was very competitive, with media and celebrities, challenging some of New Zealand’s top business and industry leaders. Groups faced off against each other in the first two weeks, with the third and final week allocated to a champion round of the biggest movers.

In the business round, Andrew Barnes from Perpetual Guardian (who was champion in 2015) competed against National MP Hamish Walker, Sir Eion Edgar, Dr Lee Mathias, Sir Ralph Norris, Minister of Health David Clark, NZ Police Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers and Mitchell Brown from Rotary New Zealand. Hamish Walker and Richard Chambers moved forward to the champion round for the final week.

Media darlings Mel Homer, Art Green, Brett and Angel Renall, Toni Street, Sam Wallace, Rachel Grunwell, Mark Richardson and Carly Flynn competed against each other for the top spots.  Brett Renall and Mark Richardson moved forward to face Hamish Walker and Richard Chambers in the final round.

Hamish Walker says he is delighted to finish on top of the Fitbit leaderboard. “I was up against some tough competition and I want to thank everyone that took part. I have been living with type 1 diabetes since I was 14 years old, so this is a cause close to home.”

Diabetes New Zealand’s new CEO, Heather Verry, says the challenge helped to create much needed discussion around diabetes. “Every competitor was a winner for us, and we thank them all for their huge effort over February. All our participants are juggling busy lives, like many New Zealanders. We advocate that all our community live a healthy and active lifestyle. The participants showed that it is possible to ‘fit in’ activity around their responsibilities. That’s what we wanted to show with this challenge, you can make small lifestyle changes that can make a massive difference.”

Competitor and Minister of Health David Clark says “Diabetes is a major health issue and I was pleased to take part. Diabetes NZ Fitbit MoveMeant Challenge highlighted the value of ‘bite-sized’ exercise and movement.”

Through their individual fundraising efforts, a whopping $75,000 has been raised by challenge participants for Diabetes NZ. 

Verry comments, “The support we have felt has been incredible, from our friends at Fitbit to everyone that supported the competitors and the community that donated, we thank you all. Congrats to Hamish Walker, for showing just what someone with type 1 can achieve.”

“Living with Type 1 can be challenging at times,” says Walker, “but you can still lead a normal life. My attitude has always been that if I commit 110% to a cause and work hard, diabetes won’t stop me from doing anything. I also want to thank fellow competitor Art Green for guiding me through the past couple of weeks on a paleo diet which gave me much needed extra energy and helped keep my blood sugars steady. It’s fair to say my body is pretty sore now after two weeks of intense exercise, where I used every possible spare second to exercise and dropped 5kg in the process!”

Diabetes NZ is a charitable organisation that helps support the New Zealand community living with diabetes. Diabetes is New Zealand’s fastest growing health concern, affecting more than 257,000 children and adults nationwide. Diabetes NZ has branches across the country specialised in providing support, information and resources to New Zealander’s living with diabetes.

Jo Chapman