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Cycling for our first responders - It's Ok

  • Wellness Week May

      2 June 2022
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    We have been planning for the past year our first wellness retreat where we take away some of our First Responders and NZDF personnel. With lots of help and advice from specialists, support from the organisations and fundraising we were able to take a group of 12 away last week to a gorgeous location for some much needed support and time out.

    We are so thankful and blessed to these amazing people who look after us daily, and to be able to look after them is why we set up in the first place. Thank you St John, Fire and Emergency and the Royal New Zealand Navy for trusting us with your people.

    Thank you also to our Give-a-Little supporters for your kind donations. We were able to put your funds towards this retreat, and we hope to be able to run another one before the end of the year.

    To our Te Kiwi Māia Pioneers - thank you for leading the way, embracing the week and helping shape the support and services we will provide into the future. It is an honour to have you as part of our Te Kiwi Māia Family.

    "For me this week was a godsend. I have been struggling like many others with maintaining positive mental wellbeing due to work stressors and have more recently been suffering the effects of burnout. This got me to a point where a month ago I couldn’t see how I could continue to be any part of this organisation without it destroying me or my family and was resigned to the fact that I would have to leave the organisation.

    Attending the Te Kiwi Māia programme has had a truly profound effect on my physical and mental wellbeing that is hard to put into words.

    I am now more positive towards change, feel more in control of my emotions and actions, more connected to loved ones, more resilient to trauma, more accepting of differences, a greater sense of self worth, and have had a huge improvement in my overall wellbeing.

    I feel the happiest and healthiest I have been in a long time which has definitely been noticed by workmates and more importantly my whanau.

    But best of all the week has taught me the warning signs when my wellbeing is regressing and effective tools and processes that with practice will help keep me well for years to come. " - TKM PIONEER

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  • Thank you

      11 April 2022
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    The team is home and we are so proud of them and everyone involved.

    Craig, Coxy, Cam and of course Glenn making sure they were safe and set up.

    We have raised $2520 for the charity and we are so grateful to you all.

    Put your feet up lads, you deserve the rest. Legends!

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  • Day 15 Update - THE END

      8 April 2022
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    Day 15

    End of the ride

    What have I learnt today?

    I am sitting next to Te Waha-O-Rerekohu, New Zealand's largest Pohutàkawa tree, standing more than 21m tall and 40m wide. It is over 350 years old. It is huge. For it to survive and grow (here come the corny analogies again), it need lots of support - just like us. The branches work together with some winding around others to hold them up, and if they get to heavy they rest on the earth and start again.

    Repeating the message on this ride, It's Ok to check in on someone over a coffee, It's Ok to ask someone for help. Weare all made differently and manage things we see, hear and experience differently as well. Kindness and empathy (given or received), combined with good support programmes, training, coaching, leadership etc. go a long way to supporting that growth - just like Te Waha-O-Rerekohu, supporting better mental health outcomes and helping people.

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    • 10/04/2022 by Te Araroa Fenz

      Awesome meeting you guys yesterday....Craig (VFF) Glenn (Chef extraordinaire) James (Police) Cameron (Police) at the most Easterly Fire station in NZ (Te Araroa)....Karakia by Nanny Rose Stainton,BBQ,Meet and Greet...PTSD is a very common in the Services but not diagnosed quickly enough by the person who has it...other ppl may see a difference in that persons well being and if they new more about PTSD, help would be given.....So come on Services....FIRE,ST JOHN,POLICE,DEFENCE FORCE...let's tautoko this newly formed fundraiser and hop on the band wagon....Kia Ora koutou katoa

  • Day 14 update add on

      7 April 2022
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    Day 14

    Opape to Cape Runaway

    What have I learnt today?

    1. Younger people take great pleasure in beating their older betters - well done Coxy on cycling 120km

    Well done Cam - back in the saddle

    3. The Hicks Bay Lodge has a glow-worm grotto - well worth a look

    4. The locals driving on the East Cape are very considerate - the out of towners are appalling

    5. It does not matter how old you might be, you will still like dessert

    6. Be careful when walking through long grass in the dark

    Tomorrow will be the last day and the end of a journey through some amazing country with great people - with lots of time for reflection. Looking forward to it.

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  • Day 14 update

      7 April 2022
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    Day 14

    It was an absolute pleasure to catch up with Owen - Eastern Bay of Plenty Road Police and Daniel - Whakatane PST.

    Owen has been following us from the start and tracked us down this morning.

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  • Day 13 Update

      6 April 2022
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    Day 13

    What have I learnt today?

    1. If you set a goal you can achieve it. We have ridden from one ocean to another

    2. You can find MAMIL's in the remotest of places (pm me if you don't know what one is)

    3. Cam just showed me how to use quick share for photos - oooohhhhhh

    4. Don't forget your razor when camping, the facial hair is driving me nuts

    5. If something is not right, a nut probably needs tightened

    6. Don't try and win an argument with a group of strange kids in a campground

    7. Try and wash your riding jacket by hand

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  • Day 12 Update

      6 April 2022
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    Day 12

    Rere Rockfalls to Mātawai

    What have I learnt today?

    1. Don't wear light coloured underpants on a long camping trip (not my quote - but a key learning for someone on the team) - especially when laundry stops are few and far between

    2. Lots of Weka out and about today - some on the road and lots of calls in the bush

    3. Rere Rockslide was an eye opener. Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Tūrukiwas was defeated there with an estimated 800 people dying at Te Karatu, with another 130 of those executed by the colonial forces at Nātapa Pā. I had read about this in the past, but to stand very near where this happened was very sobering, and Coxy and I did not talk much for the next part of the ride

    4. There are some big truck and trailer units driving on some very small slip prone roads

    5. When camping in the sheep yards, watch out for land mines laid by horses

    6. We are aging our massive piece of venison back strap (Glenn refuses to air dry it on the Shredder Racks bike rack) and aim to eat this in a couple of days - any suggestions on a good recipe?

    And lastly, how's this for a wake-up this morning while having breakfast? our souls purred.

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  • Day 11 Update

      5 April 2022
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    Day 11

    Tiniroro to Rere Rockslide

    What have I learnt today?

    After having Coxy be able to jump on his bike today and go the full 97km (well done!) with me, I reflected on what we have achieved so far and how it relates in mental health terms (and I apologize in advance for any corny analogies)

    1. Each day the ride ahead seems huge and there is a little niggle in the back of my mind on "can I do this?"

    2. Part way through the ride (usually during the third hill) I think "what the hell am I doing!!"

    3. Toward the end of the day's ride I stop and look back (literally), and am rapt with how far we have come

    So what makes the difference?

    - good gear (tools, bikes etc.)

    - great support (e.g., partner, family)

    - someone to ride and take the journey with you (it takes so much more effort and self-motivation going alone)

    - knowing that you can get to where you want to go

    -it's okay to ... talk or just be

    Now for the mundane stuff. I learnt that

    1. Cam will use soap today for the first time

    2. Turkeys cannot outrun cars

    3. My ute can go places I never expected

    4. Hats off to all those who work on the roads and the farmers clearing up after the high rain and flooding- their effort is huge

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  • Day 10 update

      4 April 2022
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    Update from the Team below


    Day 10

    Lake Waikaremoana to Tiniroto

    What have I learnt today?

    1. There are a lot of pheasants and goats on the road (sometimes both at once)

    2. The storm damage through here is horrendous. Tomorrow morning the Tiniroto locals are putting on a breakfast in the hall for the Contractors who have been clearing roads and tracks

    3. Brakes on you bike don't last forever

    4. Road closure signs are just a guide

    5. Thanks to the hunters who gave us a venison back strap about 3 foot long (apparently it was a small deer)

    6. And lastly, thanks to Richard and Amanda who made us dinner and have let us sleep in their shearers quarters.

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  • Day Nine Update

      3 April 2022
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    Update from the It's Okay Team


    Day 9

    Murupara to Lake Waikaremoana

    What have I learnt today

    1. Thinking about discussions we have had with Emergency Service personnel over the last week, good mental health outcomes are without a doubt front of mind for all

    2. Glenn woke at 2.00am this morning in his tent with a frog on his forehead

    3. The Urewera's are an understated destination - bush, forest, native birds, gravel roads, isolation

    4. Signs on the road as we cycled warned of roving cows, horses and Whio. We did not see cows

    5. Lake Waikaremoana is about 3m higher than its normal level due to rain

    6. I swear the same morepork has been following us every day

    7. Even though Coxy and Cam are disappointed that they cannot ride the full distance, they are still giving as much as they can (and more)

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  • Day Eight Update

      3 April 2022
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    Day eight update from the team


    Day 8

    Atiamuri Dam to Murupara

    What have I learned today

    1. Don't cycle with your mouth open. Cicadas fly at head height

    2. The Waikato River Trail network is a great way to ride bikes safely and easily in a day

    3. Arataki honey is made at Waiotapu

    4. I now know what happens to road kill, the number of bones I saw that had been absorbed into the bitumen like fossils

    5. We should ALL be embarrassed by the amount of rubbish on the side of the road - mostly food wrappers and drink containers

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  • Day Seven Update

      1 April 2022
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    Day seven update from the It's Ok team. We see a familiar face in your photo, Andy Chappell from FENZ. Andy is part of our Wellness Leader Team helping shape the future of Te Kiwi Māia. Thanks for supporting the team Andy! Nice T-shirt you are wearing.


    Day 7

    Rest day.

    What I have I learnt today:

    1. We all need to take a break. We have caught up on washing, bike servicing Evocycles in Taupo, Taupo physio, and a massage at Well Body Massage Taupo (thanks Jodye)

    2. Thankyou Andy Chappell for supporting us and popping over and catching-up and talking all things health, safety and wellbeing

    3. The poor old ute is going to need a major clean when we are finished - 4 very smelly blokes ...

    4. The rack from Shredder Racks is just awesome, I swear we have sold about 5 already. I wonder if we get commission?

    Looking forward to tomorrow.

    #MentalHealth #Firstresponders #Bike #itsokridenz

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  • Day Six Update

      1 April 2022
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    Day six update from the team


    Day 6

    Pureora to Ataimuri

    What I learnt today:

    1. Don't try and drive through a Burger King drive through with a bike on the roof

    2. The plinth and sign lovely walk to the Centre of the North Island is marked by a cardboard hand written sign on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere

    3. Doing 50km/h round a right angle gravel road corner does not always work

    4. Leaks in tubeless tyres are easy to fix

    5. There is so much more to this country than meets the eye

    6. A FENZ person I was speaking to in Taupo (where we stayed overnight) talked about the number of people he knew/knows that have suffered mental health issues due to the work they do

    7. Old dogs can last the distance

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  • Day Five

      30 March 2022
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    Day five update from the team


    Day 5: Timber Trail

    What have I learned today?

    1. Don't rely on some stranger telling you there are hardly any hills "my daughters done it, it's all fine..."

    2. Part of the Timber Trail is the world's only cyclable spiral tramline

    3. Don't let the young ones follow you on a long and very high swing bridge, they like to jump their bikes, getting a roll going on the bridge

    4. In my videos I make the comment several times about the Totara being loggedin the early 1900's, on a positive note the forest/bush is regenerating well and is a credit to the people looking after it

    5. There is nothing like a log fire in the campground

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  • Day four

      30 March 2022
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    Update from the team below


    Day 4:

    What have I learnt today?

    1. Don't rely on having access to your mobile network to do your daily updates (it was so peaceful)

    2. There are a lot of people out doing the tourism thing

    3. People who go to all the effort to go to a lovely camping spot, then sit inside and watch a movie, what can I say

    4. I know I have said it before, but jeepers do we have a beautiful country

    5. There are a lot of farms for sale

    6. The Nihoniho Settlers Hall had the most amazing grounds behind it

    7. Pigs still love having their bellies scratched

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  • Day Three

      30 March 2022
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    Update from the Team below


    Day 3:

    Whangamomona to Ohura.

    Nice short day today, and another short day tomorrow, build up for the big ride on Tuesday!

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  • Day Two

      27 March 2022
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    Update from the team Saturday 26th March


    Day 2

    What have I learnt today?

    1. Never ever argue with a truck and trailer unit

    2. I am so, so glad I got a chamois, even if it does look like I am wearing a large incontinence pad

    3. Shetland pony's love helping you eat dinner

    4. Whangamomona has the world's first ever oil drilling rig (and an awesome pub)

    5. Who knew Taranaki had so many hills!!

    Watch out for goats crossing the road when you are cycling

    6. Glenn makes a mean spaghetti bog

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  • Day 1

      26 March 2022
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    Update from the team Friday 25th March


    Day 1:

    What have I learned today?

    1. I am fitter than I thought

    2. Gusting Southerlies over 40 knots - what can I say!!

    3. What goes up must come down

    4. Matt, Ryan and Neil - what an awesome trio - joining us for the ride. Matt and Ryan - I hope you get your flatties fixed soon

    5. Mental health issues still affect people after they have stopped working as an emergency first responder

    6. We have an awesome country

    7. Be careful what you ride through, it could be human and it could be brown (it's a bugger being slightly colour blind)

    8. There are wonderful people out there, thanks so much Neil and Carolyn Martin for putting us up for the night and being such wonderful company

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