Fiordland says welcome back GODZone for 2023

Press Release / 06.05.2022
GODZone competitors packrafting Lake Herries  Kepler Mountains during Chapter 7 in 2018
GODZone competitors packrafting Lake Herries Kepler Mountains during Chapter 7 in 2018 / © GODZone

Fiordland will welcome back the world's largest expedition race, GODZone, after announcing today that the multi day adventure event will return to the region for Chapter 11 in 2023.

 Fiordland is home to some of New Zealand’s most unrivalled wilderness terrain with a stunning world heritage national park, including the world-renowned Milford Sound / Piopiotahi. GODZone Event Director Warren Bates says the location offers teams an unforgettable and unique racing experience.

“ Feedback from our competitors always points to a desire to visit remote, wild and beautiful places, and Fiordland has an aura that resonates with the adventurous. It is a vast tract of untouched wilderness where we could host multiple events and never cross the same terrain twice. We are very excited to be returning to this region of New Zealand in the full knowledge that adventure racing teams worldwide are hungry for it.”

As New Zealand's premier adventure racing event, GODZone moves to a new location for each chapter. The event was first held in Fiordland back in 2018, and Bates says Chapter 11 will offer a chance of redemption for some returning competitors.

“There will certainly be a few teams who have unfinished business in Fiordland after Chapter 7 in 2018 was arguably one of our longest and most arduous races," says Bates. " However, for us, it’s about going back to a location that provides a breathtakingly beautiful experience and the ultimate team challenge.”

He says Chapter 7 will still be talked about in twenty years as legendary – in adventure racing terms.

“Respected international racers have referred to it as one of the greatest expedition races of all time and a true test of skills and resilience against a stunning backdrop. Entries sold out in minutes, and I expect the same for Chapter 11 this time around.”

Te Anau from the air

The nine-day GODZone Chapter 11 event will be held from 24th February to 4th March 2023. 

Southland District Council Mayor Gary Tong, alongside the Southland Regional Development Agency Great South, has been instrumental in attracting the high-profile sporting event back to Fiordland.

Great South Conference & Events Manager Karen Witham says events like GODZone attract widespread international exposure, and they are proud to be hosting Chapter 11.

“The scale of this event is significant for Te Anau and Fiordland and will bring significant economic benefits for the region, including everything from accommodation, food and hospitality to traveling expenditure, rental cars and event infrastructure requirements. It's a win-win situation.”

“Fiordland offers GODZone competitors majestic and beautiful natural landscapes to adventure through, and we are looking forward to welcoming all the New Zealand and international teams here. The media and publicity exposure alone is substantial."

With New Zealand borders now reopened to visa waiver countries, GODZone will see the return of international racing teams for Chapter 11. GODZone Event Director Warren Bates says these competitors understand New Zealand is the global home of adventure racing.

“We have a solid number of international teams who have had to roll over their entries because of border restrictions during Covid – 19, and we know they will be thrilled to hear Chapter 11 is to be hosted by Fiordland. It will have been worth the wait to travel down under next year for this race.”

GODZone online team entries open on 1st July 2022 and will be strictly limited, to a first-in–first-served basis at www.godzoneadventure.com.

“We are sticking with the same broad race schedule as the past two chapters where teams will register on Thursday 23rd February, start racing early on Friday 24th February, and then have the next eight to nine days to complete,” says Bates.

“The Fiordland course that remains top secret until race start is already designed, and I would have to say it will probably be our most beautiful chapter yet. We go deep into Fiordland, where possibly no human being has placed their footprints before – it’s going to be epic.”

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