A hair-raising journey followed by an extreme haircut for charity video

John Cowpland/ Stuff.co.nz

Daniel Lee having his dreadlocks cut off on Thursday, after completing a walk from Cape Reinga to Bluff to raise money for the Lowe Corporation rescue helicopter. The shave raised yet more money for Hawke's Bay Hospital's children’s ward.

Losing 10 kilograms during a four-month charity walk from one tip of the country to the other wasn't enough for Daniel Lee.

The 23-year-old is now even lighter, after having his dreadlocks lopped off to raise more money for Hawke's Bay's rescue helicopter.

When Lee was 6, the Lowe Corporation rescue helicopter flew him to hospital after a life-threatening tractor accident near Waipukurau in Central Hawke's Bay.

The transformation begins. Daniel Lee's mother, Margo, cuts off the first dreadlock.
JOHN COWPLAND/ FAIRFAX NZ

The transformation begins. Daniel Lee's mother, Margo, cuts off the first dreadlock.

In November, he left Cape Reinga on a five-month journey to cover the 3000-kilometre Te Araroa trail to Bluff, with the aim of raising $10,000 for the rescue service that helped save his life.

READ MORE:
* Walking New Zealand to return a favour for lifesaving helicopter
* Dan Lee breaks the back of Te Araroa Trail
* Upgrades planned as Te Araroa trail attracts record numbers
* Te Araroa walkers share stories from the trail

By the time he reached the bottom of the South Island last week, he had pulled in more than $15,000 through a Givealittle page. It has since topped $17,000.

From dreadlocked to shaven. Lee was given an extreme haircut on Thursday, all in the name of charity.
JOHN COWPLAND/ FAIRFAX NZ

From dreadlocked to shaven. Lee was given an extreme haircut on Thursday, all in the name of charity.

He decided to do another round of fundraising by selling snipping rights to his hair at $200 a dreadlock.

Thursday was haircut day, with Lee's head-shaving part of a welcome-home ceremony attended by patients from Hawke's Bay Hospital's children's ward.

On top of the money raised for the helicopter trust, the "Ditch Dan's Dreads" campaign raised at least $5800 towards a special outside space at Hawke's Bay Hospital for immune-compromised children.

Daniel Lee left Cape Reinga in November on his five-month, 3000km trek along the Te Araroa Trail to Bluff.
SUPPLIED

Daniel Lee left Cape Reinga in November on his five-month, 3000km trek along the Te Araroa Trail to Bluff.

While he may have had a close shave in the barber's chair, Lee – who chronicled his marathon trek down the country on a Facebook page – said the only frightening experience during the journey was when he and two friends were caught in storms as they crossed the Tararua Range in January. 

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"We were up there in a complete whiteout for about four days, and it rained for about six," he said.

"The winds were about 110kmh as we were walking along the tops. At some stages we were on all-fours and we'd never go any further than five metres from each other because, if one of us had fallen, we'd never see them."

He reached Bluff, and the other end of the Te Araroa trail, last week.
SUPPLIED

He reached Bluff, and the other end of the Te Araroa trail, last week.

Lee said he was overwhelmed by the natural beauty he saw along the way, as well as by the generosity of people he encountered on the trek.

"About six times in Northland a complete stranger invited me into their home for the night. That was pretty priceless, really.

"I'd been plotting in my head to do this for about five years and I've been planning to give back to the helicopter since I was about 15, so it's a really cool feeling to have finally done what I've always wanted to do.

An early scenic stop along the journey was Rainbow Falls near Kerikeri in Northland.
SUPPLIED

An early scenic stop along the journey was Rainbow Falls near Kerikeri in Northland.

"I could wake up tomorrow and start it all over again. It was the time of my life."

Canoeing down the Whanganui River in January provided a welcome break from walking for part of the 3000km journey.
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Canoeing down the Whanganui River in January provided a welcome break from walking for part of the 3000km journey.

Battling storm conditions in the Tararua Range provided the only scary moments during the trek, Lee says.
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Battling storm conditions in the Tararua Range provided the only scary moments during the trek, Lee says.

Elevated views of Lake Hawea in Otago were just one of the incredible views Lee experienced along the way.
SUPPLIED

Elevated views of Lake Hawea in Otago were just one of the incredible views Lee experienced along the way.

 - Stuff

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