Long walk highlights the positive

''Being on the road is freedom''

JONATHAN CARSON
Last updated 05:00 23/12/2013
ulian Gardiner, Michela Carrington, Hannah Pehi and Philippa Pehi

ROAD WARRIORS: Julian Gardiner, Michela Carrington, Hannah Pehi and Philippa Pehi taking a break in the shade after reaching Hamilton yesterday, during their country-wide walk.

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"Being on the road is freedom," Phillipa Pehi said after trudging into Hamilton yesterday afternoon on a journey spanning the length of the country.

It's freedom from a nine-to-five job and the daily grind of meetings, bills and grocery shopping.

The way her face lights up when she talks about the experience would be enough to convince most skeptics that she's on to a good thing.

Phillipa Pehi, of Hokianga, has been walking the 2000 kilometres from Bluff to Cape Reinga with her sister Hannah Pehi, of Whakatane, since October 1.

Friends Michela Carrington, of Dunedin, and Julian Gardiner, of Wellington, have joined them for the North Island stretch.

Hannah Pehi, who organised the expedition, said: "We are walking for community and environment".

"We're not raising money at all but just raising awareness about how beautiful our country is and how beautiful our people are."

The group is visiting the likes of community gardens and other positive initiatives along the way and sharing their ideas to help promote sustainable living.

"We're highlighting the positive because we hear heaps about the negative and it can get really despairing. The stories of everyday New Zealanders who do awesome things - that helps. Because we can all do our bit," Philippa Pehi said.

They have been blown away by the love and generosity of strangers on the road. People have opened their homes to them and transported their packs.

"That's the kind of stuff that's really restored my faith in humanity," Phillipa Pehi said.

However, the trip hasn't been without its hardships. Phillipa Pehi partially dislocated her hip at one point and had to go home for two weeks when her 10-year-old daughter contracted meningitis.

But she's staying positive.

The group is taking a break over Christmas and expect to reach Cape Reinga before the end of January.

You can follow their journey at kiwiwondering.co.nz.

jonathan.carson@waikatotimes.co.nz

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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