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Mayor up for a cold plunge

Carterton Mayor Greg Lang [left] is an avid ironman competitor. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

A Wairarapa mayor is braving the elements and baring [almost] all this weekend for a good cause.

This Sunday at 1.30pm, Carterton Mayor Greg Lang of Carterton will lead the charge in a midwinter dip in the Ruamahanga River beside Gladstone Inn, in the east of his district.

The event will raise money for Carterton youth group Rangatahi to Rangatira [R2R].

The volume of donations will determine Lang’s level of dignity.

From $0-500, Lang will wear a full wetsuit. From $501-750, he could wear board shorts.

If donations exceeded $750, Lang would deck himself out in Speedos.

Donations had reached $145 by the time of publication.

MetService forecast the temperature for the region would reach a high of 9 degrees Celsius on Sunday.

The plunge would form part of the Carterton Heart of Winter Festival, running from July 9 to 18.

Lang said the midwinter swim was intended to be “a little light-hearted fun”.

“The WBS Carterton Heart of Winter team pitched the idea to me back in 2019, just after I was appointed as mayor. I thought that this is something that I could get behind.”

He said community interest in the event had been overwhelming, and he expected a lot of Carterton residents to join him in the plunge. Fellow swimmers receive a complimentary mulled wine and 50 per cent off all pizzas at the Gladstone Inn from 2-4pm.

“However, going one step further than that, I am calling out Mayor Alex Beijen [South Wairarapa] and Mayor Lyn Patterson [Masterton] plus the rest of the councillors across the three Wairarapa councils to come along and take the plunge alongside me.”

Lang said the dip would be a good chance for councillors to relax after the stress of signing off their long-term plans [LTPs].

“As public servants of our region, we take a lot of heat, in person, in the media and online, so after a particularly ‘hot’ month and all three councils getting their LTPs across the line, this would be a great way to cool off.”

South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen said he would need some more convincing.

“My initial reaction is that only fools follow mad people. And some people’s months have been hotter than others,” he said.

“However, given it is for charity, if a business or individual throws in $500, I will don my Victorian bathing outfit and make a bigger splash than Greg.”

Lang had also extended the challenge to Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry, who had participated in his own plunge in recent times.

“It was cold enough in May to do a manu [bomb] into the Wellington Harbour. I feel for Greg and others who are brave enough to give it a go.  I hope the Milos are on standby,” Barry said.

A council spokesperson described Lang as an avid ironman and triathlon competitor. The spokesperson said his plunge in the Ruamahanga could almost be viewed as training for his Cairns 2022 attempt.

Money raised from Sunday’s event goes towards R2R, a youth project supported by Hurunui-o-Rangi Marae that aimed to develop young people in Carterton and the wider community.

R2R encouraged young people from the ages of 12 to 24 to get involved in the Carterton community and become more aware of political, social, and environmental changes.

  • To donate, visit facebook.com/mayorgreglang and follow links to a Givealittle page.

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