By 3 News online staff
The world’s biggest waterslide is to be constructed in the Auckland suburb of Helensville next month in order to raise awareness and funds for a charity helping New Zealanders to tackle depression.
The 650m-long slide will be the length of two Skytowers laid end-to-end, and its organisers say it will be “epic”.
It will be open on February 23 and 24, as part of an event which will also feature a secret line-up of New Zealand musical acts, food and drink stalls and other entertainment. Along with the world’s biggest waterslide, two further slides– of 90m and 60m in length – will be built to cater for all tastes.
The event is being organised by Jimi Hunt and Daniel Drupsteen, the two Kiwis behind Live More Awesome (LMA) – a charity formed in the hope of inspiring people to overcome depression. Mr Hunt and Mr Drupsteen formed LMA after going through depression themselves.
In February last year, Mr Hunt went on a 12-day journey down the length of the Waikato River on a lilo to raise funds for the counselling service Lifeline. And he explains that after the success of 'Lilo The Waikato', he was looking for a new project.
“We needed something that was going to be ongoing,” he says.
Together with Mr Drupsteen, Mr Hunt is hoping to raise $70,000 with the world’s biggest waterslide, and the public can support the project by buying tickets or by making donations through the event’s page on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.
Mr Hunt says LMA “likes to do things big”, and so the decision to make the biggest waterslide they could was an easy one.
“The biggest slide that we could find in the world is 350m in Utah, so we’re making a 650m one so that no one can argue with us.”
He’s hoping the scale of the event will encourage people to learn more about the cause behind it.
“One of the things we’ve found about depression in New Zealand, or depression anywhere really, is that you need inspiration before information,” says Mr Hunt.
“You can’t help somebody that doesn’t want to be helped, and it’s things like this that actually inspire people to go and talk about it, to go ask for help, to know that it can be done.”
The event will require a lot of work, but Mr Hunt says his team have been happy to ask for help, and have received many generous offers.
“Because that’s the message that we’re trying to tell people – ask for help, in terms of your depression – we live that by asking for help in putting this event on, and so lots of wonderful people have come to the table.”
They warn that the 650m-slide will be down a “massive hill”, and will be fast, while the 90m slide with a jump at the bottom will “not be for the faint hearted”.
If that doesn’t scare you off, LMA are still looking for a test pilot, who will be the first to try out the world’s biggest waterslide. Hopeful candidates have until January 24 to apply.