June 19 was a very special day on the greyhound calendar as the hundreds of greyhounds and dozens of other canine 'supporters' took to streets, trails and parks all over New Zealand as part of the Great Global Greyhound Walk (GGGW). This is an annual event of mass, synchronised greyhound walks around the world to raise awareness of the breed and help promote greyhound adoptions. The New Zealand walks were part of an overall global coordinated effort, and if fact, because of our time zone, kicked the whole thing off.
GAP hounds and humans were out in force to host, promote and support this great endeavour. With a big media and publicity push, stories on the GGGW popped up on newspapers and news sites up and down the country. The result was a record turnout and huge exposure for greyhounds and GAP. New Zealand ended up with more walks organised than any country in the world outside of the UK where the GGGW began and is managed from.
Every year the GGGW has a theme. This year, it was 'Carnival' to invoke the fun and flamboyance of a Rio de Janeiro street festival, and many of our participants got into the spirit, decking out their hounds, and themselves in an array of colourful, crowd-pleasing costumes. While costumes are understandably not to everyone's taste, they certainly did help to make a bit of s spectacle of the walks get the attention of media and the public, which ultimately, is the goal the GGGW.
New Zealand also cleaned up the GGGW 2016 global awards! Auckland came 4th on the Global Walk table with 91 sighthounds and 99 dogs in total participating. Christchurch won the award for the Best Entire Walk - Global with 59 dogs participating, Christchurch was the 8th largest walk outside the UK, and out of 74 non-UK events around the world, was judged to have exhibited the most spirit! Wellington greyhound 'Fleur' was selected as the Individual Global winner as well! Over 5000 hounds participated in the GGGW around the world, and adorable little Fleur, a GAP-adopted greyhound at the Wellington waterfront walk in a patchwork outfit with flower pot hat, was selected as the worldwide (non-UK) winner!
Thanks to everyone that participated and helped make the 2016 GGGW such a huge success!