Hikoi on ini­tia­tives to ben­e­fit coun­try

South Canterbury Herald - - OUT & ABOUT - ES­THER ASHBY-COVEN­TRY

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.

PHOTO: TETSURO MITOMO/FAIRFAX NZ

Han­nah Irakau Pehi waves to passersby just south of Ti­maru as she leads her sis­ter, Phillipa Te Paea Pehi, and Ti­maru’s Anna Buck­ing­ham.

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