CatWalk Trust has been announced as the exclusive official charity partner for EQUITANA Auckland, partnering a world-class event with an innovative and ground-breaking charity

Trust general manager Meg Speirs says they are both “delighted and honoured” to be involved.

“CatWalk has a long-standing relationship with the Hansen family, who have supported the trust for a number of years,” says Speirs. “We know how big EQUITANA is in Australia and it is really exciting for the industry to have it coming to Auckland.”

EQUITANA Auckland promised to take entertainment to a whole new level in New Zealand.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for CatWalk to be partnered with an industry that has already supported us so much in the past and we hope will continue to support us in the future.”

World-class equestrians Sir Mark Todd MBE and Zara Phillips MBE are both international patrons for CatWalk.

Speirs says there are huge advances being made in spinal cord injury research but likens it to a giant jigsaw puzzle.

“There are lots and lots of different pieces that will pull together to make the complete picture,” she said. “We are working at getting the right pieces in the right place at the moment. We are also collaborating internationally. It is crucial that what is being done here is in sync with what is being done in Australia, North America, the United Kingdom and Europe.”

Spinal injury was hugely complex with every one different to the next.

“While we may find advances in one area, we need to figure out how that can be applied to a slightly different injury.”

Now was a hugely exciting time in research.

“Science and technology is happening faster than we can fund it. We are in an age where technology is progressing so quickly and at such a high level, and because of that technology, it is not a matter of when, rather of how fast we can make it happen. It all comes down to funding.”

People will have the opportunity to donate to CatWalk Trust at the time of ticket purchase and there will be other initiatives throughout EQUITANA Auckland in support spinal cord injury research.

Event director Andrew Hansen says he too is very pleased EQUITANA Auckland is partnering with CatWalk.

“They have an amazing history with equestrian and a real passion and reputation within the industry,” said Hansen, “especially with Catriona (Williams) at the helm.”

Williams was a former top eventer and showjumper, competing at the likes of the Badminton Horse trials, European Championships and was tilting for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games when she had a catastrophic fall that has left her in a wheelchair.

Since then though, Williams has completed the New York City Marathon and climbed to Everest Base Camp on a hand cycle, she was a finalist in the 2014 KiwiBank New Zealander of the Year Awards, recognised in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours list as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, and was the community and not-for-profit sector winner at the New Zealand Women of Influence Awards.

Hansen felt it fitting for a world-class event like EQUITANA Auckland to be partnered with CatWalk.

“I hope we can help raise the profile and awareness of this fantastic organisation with money raised going towards ongoing spinal cord injury research.”

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