Hikoi on initiatives to benefit country
Two North Island sisters are on their second hikoi from one end of the country to the other to raise awareness and share the good stories of community and environmental initiatives.
They started walking from Bluff at the bottom of the South Island on January 1 and have given themselves six months, this time around, to get to Cape Reinga at the top of the North Island.
Hannah Irakau Pehi, a permaculture (sustainable agriculture) tutor, and her sister, psychologist Dr Phillipa Te Paea Pehi, arrived at Saltwater Creek in Timaru on Thursday afternoon, along with local Anna Buckingham, who joined the pair to walk with them from Makikihi.
‘‘We are looking for local initiatives which improve New Zealand. We want to inspire other people and get them involved,’’ Irakau Pehi said.
The projects they are seeking out also include community mental health.
Te Paea Pehi has quit her job to do this hikoi.
As a psychologist she wants people to look at mental health in a less limited way and encourage community involvement, instead of relying on the Government.
On their previous hikoi, at the end of 2013 and start of 2014, the sisters carried heavy backpacks and finished in four months, but it was hard going.
This time they have small day packs, back-up vehicles and have given themselves an extra two months to get to their destination.
On their journey they stay with friends, whanau and strangers they meet who offer them hospitality.
Having walked nine days nonstop, they were ready for a day off in Timaru.
Irakau Pehi established a community garden in her home town of Whakatane and said she was looking forward to seeing what Geraldine had done with its Incredible Edible project.
The project, which originated in England, sees fruit and vegetables grown in public spaces for members of the public to harvest for free.
‘‘The social aspect and the environment are together ... So much is going on with iwi, councils, Early Childhood Education centres and disadvantaged youth. We want to connect the people and share their stories,’’ she said.
For more information on the hikoi visit: kiwirising2017.weebly.com.
Hannah Irakau Pehi waves to passersby just south of Timaru as she leads her sister, Phillipa Te Paea Pehi, and Timaru’s Anna Buckingham.