I'm walking from Cape Reinga to Bluff following the Te Araroa trail to raise money for The Fred Hollows Foundation to restore sight!
I developed a love of tramping through the fantastic opportunities provided by the 14th Christchurch Boy’s Brigade Company, with which I am now a volunteer leader.
The Te Araroa trail is a 3000km journey that spans the length of New Zealand from Cape Reinga to Bluff. I will be walking from the North down, over a period of 4 - 6 months through cities, towns, farms and backcountry bush, starting mid-November 2016. I am immensely passionate about hiking, and revel at the chance to spend a sustained period of time experiencing the diverse landscapes of New Zealand. I believe that I should explore and experience what my own country has to offer before travelling overseas. I will be travelling with my close high school friend, James Wright.
William Penwell's involvement (page creator)
From working at Specsavers I was introduced to the Fred Hollows Foundation, a non-profit aid organisation that aims to restore sight to those who are unable to access adequate eye care. Working as an optical assistant gave me an appreciation for the huge impact that poor eye health can have on a person’s life. Living in a developed western country, I cannot imagine the trials faced by people suffering from preventable eye diseases without medical care. It is for this reason that I have chosen to use this walk as a means to raise funds and awareness for the Fred Hollows Foundation.
Hey folks! I apologise for the delay between the finish and this final update, due entirely to my post-trail exhaustion and ever present disorganisation. On the 10 April 2017 I arrived in Bluff and finally finished the Te Araroa Trail, 146 days since my departure from Cape Reinga on 16 November 2016. The final day of the trail consisted of a 70km hike, starting at 4:30am in Riverton and finishing at 11:00pm at Stirling Point, Bluff. The end of the trail brought about strange emotions, ranging from euphoria to very conclusive satisfaction. I was incredibly grateful to Paula and Crist from the Bluff township, who picked me up from the finish line and put me up for the night, an incredibly kind service to this weary hiker.
By the end, I was very ready to be done with walking and beat a retreat back to the comforts of civilisation, particularly that offered by friends, family and the glorious perks of the fridge/pantry combo. The trail has easily been the most challenging experience of my life, and has led to immense personal growth (as well as serious physical shrinking). My self confidence, appreciation for the New Zealand outdoors, and understanding of people and cultures from around the world has skyrocketed, and done nothing but fuel my adventurous side. Thus despite the call of home, immediately following the trail I embarked on the Rakiura Track on Stewart Island, after which I spent a day hitchhiking back to Christchurch over a period of 16 hours via 10 different rides.
As to the future, I am moving to Wellington on Monday 24 April to work for the next couple of months, and to finish the final course of my Bachelor of Criminal Justice. Following this I hope to work and travel abroad for as long possible, before returning to New Zealand to undertake a Master of Social Work (Applied) back at the University of Canterbury. The Te Araroa has most certainly NOT put me off walking, as I have hopes to attempt several other long distance trails, namely the Camino de Santiago (through parts of France and Spain) and the Pacific Crest Trail (from the US border with Mexico to the border with Canada).
A huge thank you to all of you sponsors for your contributions to the Fred Hollows Foundation. Your donations have been well received, and will be guaranteed to go towards a fantastic cause. We nailed the original goal of $2000, finishing with a grand total of $2130. Considering the most common eye treatment offered by Fred Hollows generally costs around $25, these funds should make a significant difference in the lives of many people. I’ve been incredibly blessed to have parents who have gone out of their way to promote this page to friends and family, and who collected many cash donations on my behalf, for which I have been hugely grateful.
Once again, thank you for your continuing support of me and the Fred Hollows Foundation!
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This page was created on 14 Jun 2016 and closed on 16 Apr 2017.