End of 3000km walk for charity
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.