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The Coddiwomples - Mongol Rally 2017



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To Drive Half the Circumference of the Earth

  • In mid-2017, the eight of us will hop into two dreadfully inappropriate cars, each worth under £500, and attempt to drive from halfway across the planet in the name of charity and adventure
  • Our 3 month journey will see us compete in the Mongol Rally, leaving Southern England bound for Mongolia some 15,000 kilometres away. Our route will take us on some of the world’s most inhospitable roads in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and of course the Mongolian Desert.
  • Assuming our cars still have at least one tyre between them, after the race finishes in Ulan Ude we then plan to continue 4000 kilometres further over the Road of Bones in Russian Siberia, driving over China, to catch a ferry to Japan from the Eastern seaboard. By the time we reach Tokyo we will have journeyed half of the circumference of the earth.

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In the Name of Charity and Adventure

  • We have partnered up with a great Kiwi charity, the Graeme Dingle Foundation, which aims to inspire all school age New Zealand children to reach their full potential through programmes building self-esteem, promoting good values, and teaching valuable life, education, and health skills.
  • Since 1995 they’ve helped over 150,000 Kiwi kids aged 5 to 18 in 40 communities across New Zealand.
  • Our goal is not only to raise awareness for this fantastic charity, but also to raise $1 for every kilometre driven (around $20,000) for the Graeme Dingle Foundation, to help support their work and build brighter futures for kids in New Zealand.
  • By registering as part of the Mongol Rally, we’ll also contributing to Cool Earth, a charity that is doing amazing work to halt the destruction of our rainforests.

Learn More >>


We'll Drive Half the Circumference of the Earth

In a car that shouldn't be allowed out of the driveway

The Coddi-whats?

The Mongol Rally may seem crazy, absurd, even reckless.

But if you knew the lads, then you’d know that actually, a better epithet would be inevitable.

All eight lads traveling are kiwis born and raised, but they’re also all travel addicts. This is why we choose the team name The Coddiwomples, from the (100% legit) word coddiwomple, meaning to travel purposefully towards a vague destination.

Most of us have known each other from way back. Four shared a flat in Dunedin, and traveled in China and South East Asia together. Two have been to North Korea.

One key thing we all share is a passion for travel, for seeing the world, and exploring even the stranger and more forgotten parts of the planet. To that aim, we’ve been meticulously planning this journey since June 2016.

We know it’s gonna be a rough trip, and we’re taking it seriously, from compiling lists of English speaking doctors in each Central Asian country to brushing up on the exact protocol for bribing a hostile border guard.

Incase we crop up on the news as part of some diplomatic incident involving vodka, yaks and disgruntled stereotypes, here’s who we are so you can recognize us:

Meet the Coddiwomples…

Harry Cunningham

Harry CunninghamHarry Cunningham stumbled out of Otago University with a masters in International Finance and a tattoo of a gnome on his foot. One of them helped him land a job at major bank, where he’s responsible for engraving those ridges in the numbers on your credit card. Once he travelled across (Northern?) Africa in a 4WD. The other day he flew a plane. Now he’s trying to drive to Mongolia. Will nobody stop this man?

Josh McIvor

josh-mcivorJosh decided early on that financial security, job prospects, and pragmatism are overrated and dull. Five years, one Master’s in Philosophy, and a substantial student loan later, Josh decided that his younger self was an idiot. Unperturbed and determined to continue his string of haphazard decisions, Josh took all of half a second to be convinced to jump into a car with a toaster for an engine and try make it from London to Mongolia. Ever the philosopher, Josh is planning on telling the others the merits of various courses of action, offering no practical solutions to any problems… ever.

Hugo Stephens

Hugo Stephens 2Meet Hugo, a young buck from the sunny side of Wellington who took his talents off shore as soon as graduated to work in Melbourne. Hugo has always an interest for adventure.. earlier this year he travelled 18hr on a train across rural China with fellow rally participants Sebastian and Richard. Pity he doesn’t remember it after having having a few to many Pijiu’s/Beers with the locals. A Registered Nurse, Hugo will be on hand to provide assistance for all the haphazard injuries that are bound to occur along the trip.

Roy McKee

roy-mckeeGive Roy a bicycle multi tool and some wire and he can fix an almost impressive range of mechanical mishaps. He even changed some oil and replaced a tire once. This lad may actually come in handy once the cars start hitting potholes on the Road of Bones. More importantly, Roy is quitting his job to undertake this challenge. Who knows, perhaps Mongolia is in dire need of a philosophy graduate?

Sebastian Dennis


Seb is literally the coolest person I know. Currently living and working out of Singapore, Seb has owned his own business, been nominated for entrepreneurial awards, and drinks Martinis – not giving a damn how Bond takes his. Always the first to befriend the locals in any new spot, Seb brings a great deal of diplomacy to the team which will surely get us through many a tight spot in Middleofnowhereistan. Tall, dark and handsome, Seb is bound to be first in line to marry any Mongolian desert chief’s daughter to get the lads out of a tight spot. That, his hairy chest, and his excellent taste in 80’s music make him a valuable team member.

Sam Anastasiou


Samuel Anastasiou is everything the Greek economy is not: reliable, employed, emotionally stable, and able to maintain a good relationship with his neighbours. Unfortunately Sam also carries other Greek traits which could cause trouble in Central Asia, such as a proclivity to undertake athletic feats while in the nuddy (Google search ‘Nude Blacks’). In between getting a law degree from Otago and working pro bono for a boutique law firm in Wellington, Sam likes to fall off his motorbike (thrice this year), get his nose broken, and leech taxpayer money playing soldier for the NZ Army. Sam brings a soldier’s toughness, lawyer-esqe negotiation skills, and Greek frugalness to the team – qualities which could literally save our lives in the mountains of Tajikistan.

Nathan Thomas


Nathan hasn’t driven a car since 2013, but we don’t see how this could be an issue. What he lacks in driving he more than makes up for with his writing. Some of Nate’s travel write ups make the odyssey look like a Sunday drive. Nate will be invaluable in telling the story of the coddiwomblers’ adventure. Nathan is a ‘digital copywriter’, one of those job titles which you just nod and say “OK”. He moved to China to learn Mandarin but ended up living with his Polish girlfriend. We still don’t get it. This top bloke is always happy to indulge in too many beverages and solve the problems of the universe. A particularly useful skill to have while crossing the vast plains of Mongolia.

Richard Parsonson


Richard Parsonson (Richy Pizzzz) rounds out the group quite nicely. Not because of his round face, but he is a man that has quite possibly tired everything. From doing courses in wine tasting to software coding, internships in real companies to running a failed startup. He even has his own car, so we hope he knows how to fix ours. A super approachable bloke, Richy will lend a hand to most that need it, including dogs with rabies in Bali. He has assured us he won’t be approaching wild dogs again. Richard has zero issues approaching people and asking dumb questions, which will be invaluable in befriending locals and asking for directions. We also look forward to his impersonation of a Mongalian throat singer, apparently it’s quite good and should win us some favours on the road.


Raising Funds To Help Kiwi Kids Back Home

We've Chosen to Support New Zealand Youth By Raising Funds for the Graham Dingle Foundation

Get behind the Coddiwomples, and you’ll be helping New Zealand in two key ways:

First, by temporarily relieving the country of eight lads, most of whom are graduates from the University of Otago, and thus going a long way to alleviate New Zealand’s severe beer shortage. (Three of the lads are arts graduates for goodness sake, useless!)

Second, and much more importantly, you’ll be helping us raise funds for the Graeme Dingle Foundation. Our goal is to raise $20,000NZD for this fantastic charity who, in their 21 years of existence, have done a world of good for New Zealand youth. They’ve already helped 150,000 kids and will assist a further 20,000 in 2017.

By raising kids self esteem, cutting down on bullying and truancy and finding mentors for kids in need the GDF are already heroes. But an unexpected additional bonus of donating for them is the boost to New Zealand’s econonmy.

A 2013 report by Infometrics (Entitled Growing Great Futures – Whakatipu Tamariki Ora) calculated that every one dollar invested in the Graeme Dingle Foundation revealed a contribution of $7.15 to New Zealand’s economy.

We’re not bankers (well, one of us is, but we don’t talk about that), but we’re pretty sure this means that if we hit our target, we’ll be contributing the value of $142,300 to our economy. And all this from riding a couple of dreadful cars through Russia. Yep, we’ll claim it.

Read More About the Graeme Dingle Foundation

 How You Can Help Out


Donate to the Graeme Dingle Foundation


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Top photo credit: Genghis Khan Statue