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Extreme Sky Tower challenge event returns to Auckland

Seven teams from the New Zealand Defence Force and emergency response services will go head to head in the second Tower De Force challenge, which reaches the Sky Tower’s highest point to raise funds for the Auckland RSA’s Annual Poppy Appeal. 

On Friday, 20 April, SKYCITY Auckland’s annual Tower De Force challenge will present the teams with a series of challenges to retrieve their flag from the mast of the Sky Tower (328m high) and return it to ground level. The challenges include a military skills course, a climb up 1229 stairs, a mock-emergency first aid scenario, a climb up the mast of the Sky Tower (91m vertical ladder climb) and abseiling 180 metres down the Sky Tower lift shaft.

Brad Burnett, SKYCITY General Manager of Hotels and Sky Tower, is excited about witnessing yet another challenging event supporting SKYCITY’s Poppy Partnership with the Auckland RSA.

“I was blown away last year by the strength, skill and dedication shown by every team in the event. It’s great to see that the SKYCITY partnership with the Auckland RSA to support Poppy Day has such an interactive and challenging event, that we can host at our very own Sky Tower.”

Last year, the Royal New Zealand Navy won the inaugural Tower De Force title. This year an additional team – New Zealand Police – will join teams from New Zealand Army, Royal New Zealand Air Force Navy, New Zealand Defence Force Veterans, St John New Zealand and SKYCITY competing for the title.

New Zealand Defence Force spokesman Mike Kennedy, Warrant Officer Physical Performance Squadron, said the Army, Navy, Air Force and NZDF Veterans teams were looking forward to testing their fitness and skills against the other competitors in this year’s challenge.

“It is great to engage in some friendly rivalry – between the different NZDF teams, as well as those from the Police, St John, and SKYCITY. Everyone will no doubt be trying to stop Navy from repeating their success of last year,” Warrant Officer Kennedy said.

“This really is the ultimate event for us to challenge the skills and resilience of our personnel, as well as promoting the importance of fitness, health and wellness in the workplace, for all our organisations. We hope it continues for many years to come.

“And it is so special to us that the funds raised will go to the Auckland RSA’s Annual Poppy Day Appeal, to support New Zealand veterans, past and present, their families and dependents.”

The Tower De Force course has been developed by SKYCITY in conjunction with NZDF Physical Training Instructors and will test skill, agility, teamwork, stamina and brute strength.

As well as fundraising for the Auckland RSA’s annual Poppy Day Appeal, the teams will be competing for the Tower De Force title and the honour of lighting the Sky Tower with the Poppy emblem later that night.

SKYCITY has supported the Auckland RSA and Poppy Day and Anzac Day commemorations since 2012. Since 2014, the Sky Tower has projected a large poppy on to the Sky Tower for Poppy Week and Anzac Day.

Friends, family and the public are invited to come and watch the challenge at SKYCITY Auckland and donate to the Auckland RSA on behalf of the teams taking part at

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