Morrinsville's Pastor Phil Pawley takes on 1000km hikoi
Mention the word hikoi nowadays and a lot of people associate it with marching to Parliament to protest injustice.
Hikoi means walk and Morrinsville Baptist Church senior pastor Phil Pawley has completely different reasons for wanting to walk 1000 kilometres from Waitangi to Waikanae.
"When I'm walking along, it's only me and the Father and a lot of the answers I've been seeking are slowly being addressed."
Phil is following the approximate journey of Tarore's copy of Te Rongopai a Ruka or the Gospel of Luke back in the late 1830s.
Tarore, the daughter of Ngakuku, the Ngati Haua chief, attended the mission station at Matamata and learned to read. Tragically, in October 1836, at the age of 12, she was killed during a raid.
Her father preached forgiveness at her tangi.
The Gospel of Luke that was with her when she died was taken by one of the raiding party, who was later converted and made peace with Ngakuku.
Eventually it was taken to Otaki, where its message led to the conversion of Tamihana Te Rauparaha, who became a missionary in the South Island.
A few miracles have taken place for Phil while on his epic adventure.
"I was feeling quite peckish and said to the Father, oh I could do with an apple, walked around the corner and saw an apple tree. All the apples were diseased, I reached up and just grabbed one, which was perfect," he said.
"People might say it's coincidence, but I believe that our Lord provides for us when our motives are good and we are in need."
Phil arrived in Patetonga on Friday and a special gathering was held at Raungaiti Marae in Waharoa on Saturday.
He set off from Morrinsville on Monday, stopping in at Waharoa, and then making his way to Rotorua and Taumarunui where he will jump on board a waka and paddle down the Whanganui River.
From there he will walk on to Waikanae, hoping to compete the North Island section of the journey by May 7.
"I am walking alone and unsupported and relying on hospitality along the way," he said.
"This is as much a spiritual journey as it a physical one for me. Most importantly it's about having faith."