The Great New Zealand Trek

12 December 2012, Multiple Sclerosis, Supporting the Malaghan Institute

Registrations are now open for the 2013 Great New Zealand Trek organised by the GNZT Charitable Trust!

It’s not often a holiday combines walking, horse riding or mountain biking through some of New Zealand’s most beautiful countryside with raising funds for important medical research but that’s exactly what the week long Great New Zealand Trek offers to walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders.

Trek co-ordinator and Trustee of the GNZT Charitable Trust, Kitty Johnson, says next year’s trek from February 23 to March 3 is stage eight in the series which will, over the next eight years, traverse the length of New Zealand. Stage eight begins at Alfredton and ends at Lake Ferry in the Wairarapa.

“We have people of all ages taking part. The youngest has been seven and the oldest in their 80s,” says Kitty.

Each day’s trek covers around 30km but doing just half that distance is an option for walkers, thanks to the fleet of support vehicles which accompany the trek.

“We also have marshals on quad bikes who will give walkers a ride up steeper parts of the route and you often see horse riders dismounting to give tired walkers a ride along the way. Everyone helps each other.”

Stages one to seven have attracted an average of 240 participants and 80 volunteers and hopes are high that stage eight, the last leg in the North Island, will be just as popular.

“Some people, including a woman horse rider who has multiple sclerosis, have completed all seven treks so far,” says Kitty.

Trekkers need only take their tents and personal gear. Everything else is catered for and at the end of each day a mini town is set up with marquee, hot showers, flush toilets and caterers. There is a ‘fuel stop’ half way along the day’s trek and medics, a farrier and vet travel with the trekkers.

So far the treks have raised $174,000 for MS; over $100,000 of this has been donated to the Malaghan Institute for MS research and the Trust is committed to raising more money to help the Malaghan Institute find answers for the debilitating disease of the central nervous system.

Kitty says “It's a special week of camaraderie and an opportunity to meet new people while going to places very much off the beaten track, with a unique support team ensuring everyone gets the most from the experience - and supporting a great cause.”

For more information on The Great New Zealand Trek and to find out how you can get involved in the last North Island stage, please visit their website at www.greatnewzealandtrek.com or phone Kitty Johnson on 06 874 3262.