End of 3000km walk for char­ity

North Harbour News - - HEALTH & BEAUTY - AMY BAKER

Ten months ago, Auck­land mas­sage ther­a­pist Shel­ley Butt found her­self at a cross­roads in life.

So she de­cided to walk. Three thou­sand kilo­me­tres.

The Green­hithe res­i­dent started the na­tional Te Araroa trail on her 36th birth­day in Septem­ber last year, and last week com­pleted her jour­ney, with a fi­nal 73km straight push through the night to the end.

Along with two oth­ers she met on the trail, the group com­pleted the walk at 8am the next morn­ing.

How­ever, for much of her jour­ney the tram­per walked mostly solo, re­ly­ing on the oc­ca­sional kind­ness of strangers for a place to put her head down or get­ting be­tween towns in the South Is­land where there is no link­ing track.

As well as ful­fill­ing a per­sonal goal, Shel­ley also walked for char­ity and aimed to raise $6000 for Women’s Refuge New Zealand and Sus­tain­able Coast­lines.

Through her blog, Face­book page and Givealit­tle page, she now has more than $7000 and plans to do­nate the sur­plus to an­i­mal char­ity Help­ing You Help An­i­mals (HUHA) and the Te Araroa Trust.

She com­pleted the North Is­land sec­tion a week and a half be­fore Christ­mas, and be­gan the South Is­land leg on De­cem­ber 27.

One as­pect of the trip was en­vi­ron­men­tal, as Shel­ley says she col­lected rub­bish found on the road­side till about half­way down the North Is­land, be­fore she found there was sim­ply too much.

She says it’s made her think about other ways of car­ing for the coun­try, such as business adopt­ing local ar­eas and tak­ing care of them.

Mum Terumi - who walked the first stretch of the South Is­land track with her daugh­ter - says she’s ‘‘so pleased’’ Shel­ley com­pleted the trail safely and says fol­low­ing Face­book pho­tos up­dates and text mes­sage were a comfort when she was on the road.

At present the bilin­gual ad­ven­turer - who is half Ja­panese - doesn’t have any im­mi­nent plans for an­other walk but ad­mits it’s ‘‘ad­dic­tive’’. She says she’s also be­come kinder to her­self as a re­sult.

‘‘From be­ing one of my tough­est crit­ics, I be­came one of my big­gest sup­port­ers.

‘‘I ended up re­ally sup­port­ing my­self... I was able to give my­self a lot more slack.’’

Shel­ley’s Givealit­tle cam­paign fin­ishes on April 7.

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