Te Arawa man climbs Sky Tower in honour of friend lost to cancer

By Jessica Tyson

Ngahihi Bidois has climbed 1,103 steps of the Auckland Sky Tower today to honour a close friend of his, Darcy Hunter Jr, who passed away from blood cancer.

Hunter was one of Bidois' dearest friends and passed away in 2017 at the age of 42.

Hunter was well-known for his success on the speedway. He accumulated titles including the Bay of Plenty and Auckland championships, a New Zealand title and the 2002 and 2005 World Invitation Superstock Championships.

"But you would never know, he was just such a humble guy," says Bidois of Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Ngāti Tahu and Ngāti Whaoa descent.

Darcy Hunter Jr and Ngahihi Bidois. Photo source: Ngahihi Bidois

When Hunter passed away, he left behind a young widow, Moana, and their two children. So, Bidois wanted to do take part in the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge today to honour Hunter and support his whānau.

“They say that a person dies twice; once when they die physically and the second time when they die is when their name is mentioned for the last time and part of my mission is to keep the name Darcy Hunter Jr alive for many years to come.”

Darcy Hunter Jr. Photo source: Ngahihi Bidois

Bidois, who works as a professional international-speaker, trained hard in preparation to climb the 51 flights of stairs while wearing 25kgs of gear.

“I've been running up and down stairs and in gyms on stair masters, and all kinds of things, and I feel like I'm prepared as well I could be.”

It was a challenging climb requiring him to take a couple of rests. At the finish line, he was welcomed with a haka from his wife Carolyn, daughter Tumanako and son Eruera.

“We’re very proud of him for his work. It’s been a big job and he’s been training hard,” says Tumanako.

Ngahihi and is whānau at the finish line. Photo source: File

With today’s efforts, Bidois raised $5,000 for the Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand (LBC) which was double his target of $2500.

He says he had the support of his whānau and friends to raise the money, including a friend named John Hartley and companies such as Deloittes and Rikoh.  

LBC chief executive Peter Fergusson says money raised would help fund emotional and practical support for patients, education, investment in research to find a cure and patient advocacy.