Swimming for humanitarian aid for Syria

$2,542 of $3,300 goal
Given by 43 generous donors in 11 weeks

I am aiming to swim (at least) 3.3km in Wellington Harbour, and raise $3.3k for life saving humanitarian action in Syria.


I have felt helpless, hearing about the plight of people trapped in Aleppo or fleeing from Syria. I can't help directly, but I can support those who are helping on the ground.

ReliefAid is a humanitarian organisation founded by New Zealander Mike Seawright, who has extensive experience working in conflict affected countries.

I will be swimming the 3.3km Capital Classic in Wellington Harbour, which is half a kilometre further than I have swum before.

$3.3k is rather aspirational in this timeframe... if I reach my goal I will be so excited I will get back in the water for the 1km event as well!

Fionnaigh McKenzie's involvement (page creator)

I'm getting in the water this summer to raise money to support ‘Communities Under Fire’ to distribute food and shelter items to families brutally affected by the civil war inside Syria.

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Across the finish line!   29 January 2017

Kia ora,

Today I swam 4km total in very difficult conditions! I reached my fundraising goal, so I signed up for the extra 1km. The forecast was for such strong winds, the organisers moved the event to Lyall Bay, which is more sheltered in a northerly. Even there, they had to reduce the long distance from 3.3km to 3km – but it felt further! Heading towards the runway, we had heavy spray getting blown straight into our faces, and it was hard to look ahead without inhaling water. Swimming back, the wind was blowing us out to sea. We were meant to be swimming parallel to the shore, but most of the way back I was swimming at about 45 degrees in towards the beach, just to stay in line with the buoys. To give some indication of effort, the average time for 3km today was 01:03:12, while the average for 3.3km in Wellington last year was 01:00:28, and in Christchurch it was 00:55:17. I am proud to have finished in 01:14:10! In the photo, that's me on the left in the silver cap.

They brought the buoys in closer to shore for the 1km, where it was slightly calmer. As I finished the first quarter, I started to wonder if I could keep going, but coming back wasn’t as hard as it had been earlier. My legs felt like jelly as I waded out of the surf, but when I saw my family smiling and cheering me on, I managed to push myself for a slow jog over the finish line.

Thanks to your generosity, the donations on Givealittle, cash and pledges, add up to $3812 for humanitarian aid in Syria. I am so excited and proud of this achievement. It is so easy to feel powerless with all the suffering and hardship we hear about in the news every day, but our actions, however small, can bring glimmers of hope. Your donations will make a real, practical difference to families who have had to flee their homes, and who need basic supplies to survive the winter. ReliefAid will be able to distribute more food, tents to provide shelter, clothes and blankets to provide warmth in the winter months, and support for schooling and healthcare services. Thank you so much everyone! Your generosity has been heartwarming. Nga mihi aroha ki a koutou. And the biggest thank you to my partner, Ellen, for all her support along the way.

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Latest donations

Tania on 19 Feb 2017
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Guest Donor on 17 Feb 2017
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Guest Donor on 08 Feb 2017
Well done - a great effort
Sheree on 01 Feb 2017
Strong women have carried the world in their bellies and then on their backs and always in their hearts for generations upon generations. Proud to know you.
David C
David C on 30 Jan 2017
Amazing effort Fionnaigh- a great cause and an incredible achievement.

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Donations of over $5 are eligible for a New Zealand charitable giving tax credit.
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This page was created on 10 Dec 2016 and closed on 28 Feb 2017.