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New Zealand’s First Social Entrepreneur signed up

  • 05 Sep 2008


Media Statement from the Office of Hon Steve Maharey
Minister of Social Services and Employment

20 November 2001

New Zealand's First Social Entrepreneur signed up

The man who is developing a walkway the length of the country has been named New Zealand's first social entrepreneur.

For over three years, Geoff Chapple has been developing Te Araroa - the Long Pathway - a walkway which will eventually span the length of the country from Cape Reinga to the Bluff. Meeting Mr Chapple at part of the Wellington section of Te Araroa, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey gave him a Letter of Agreement to provide him with $27,000 in financial support to spend time developing the next phase of his vision - to extend the Long Pathway into the South Island.

The Community Employment Group was allocated $900,000 a year in the last budget to support social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurs use the same degree of enterprise and imagination as business entrepreneurs to develop initiatives to solve social problems and to perform good in their communities. Further social entrepreneurs will be announced as their applications are processed, and it is estimated that between 15 and 20 social entrepreneurs will be supported under the scheme each year.

Steve Maharey said Geoff Chapple personifies the resolve that social entrepreneurs need to forge ahead with their vision.

"For over three years, Geoff Chapple has popularised Te Araroa - the Long Pathway - putting in over 40 kilometres of trails to knit together existing trails in the North Island," said Mr Maharey. "He planned, then walked the route from Cape Reinga to Wellington in 1998 to popularise the trail. Then, as CEO of Te Araroa Trust, he headed up work teams to begin putting the North Island trail in place between small towns.

"Te Araroa's project will create a safe, enjoyable, and accessible walkway that captures, in particular, rural New Zealand. The rural and economic spinoffs from the project promise to be considerable, in addition to the community partnerships and greater sense of cultural awareness it is generating," the Minister said.

The kea badge shown here will be given to each Social Entrepreneur honored.

Page last updated: Jul 28, 2020, 5:08 PM