Te Araroa News

Medallions given out to those who complete the long journey - 13 November 2014

YOU have arrived at Bluff’s Stirling Point signpost at the completion of an arduous journey having travelled the length of New Zealand by foot. There is no?one to meet you, no congratulations and no recognition of your achievement. You may feel a sense of personal achievement and yet be somewhat deflated.

Well, that is no longer the case.

The Invercargill City Council (ICC) has produced a plaque to present to people as a souvenir on the completion of their journey from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

‘‘They have come a long way... it would be nice to have some tangible recognition of their achievement,’’ councillor Lloyd Esler said.

The plaque consists of an alumin? ium plate cast at the Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter and a rimu mount made by the Southland Woodworkers Guild as a fundraiser,

Token: Invercargill City councillor Lloyd Esler with a purpose-made plaque for people who suc- cessfully walk or bike from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

with a map of New Zealand and the words ‘‘Made It’’ on it.

The smelter had donated about 200 aluminium plates and the woodworkers guild had made 50 mounts so far, costing the ICC about $5?$6 each.

A register may also be compiled to record the names of people who had successfully completed the more than 2000km?long journey, Mr Esler

said.?Hundreds of people take on the

challenge every year either by road, the coast or via tracks such as the Te Araroa Trail.

Mr Esler said he was unsure how many plaques would be presented each year, as the ICC would only be able to do so if it was given advanced warning of someone’s arrival at Bluff.

The number of plaques available

was finite. If the plaques proved popular, a trust may need to be set up to run it, he said.

Te Araroa Trust chief executive Rob Wakelin said the plaque was a wonderful idea.

‘‘I really applaud what [the ICC] is doing.

‘‘The more people, councils and companies support us, it will make [the Te Araroa Trail] something New Zealand can be proud of,’’ he said.

He estimated between 120 to 150 people would walk the Te Araroa Trail this year, the majority of which were international visitors, and the numbers were growing each year.

For those walking or biking in the other direction, there may not be the same tangible recognition at their arrival in Cape Reinga.

‘‘It would be the responsibility of the Far North District Council to provide something,’’ Mr Esler said.

BY PETRINA WRIGHT