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Matt's good walk

1400 km.
Te Araroa Trail.
South Island.
10 charities.
Fundraising goal:
$250,000.

$255,399 raised so far! THANK YOU!  (@ 12 June)

A journey of endurance to fulfil a goal that can have demonstrably good mental, physical and charitable outcomes, with the opportunity to give back to my wider community.

If you prefer a direct bank transfer, our account number is:

Wakatipu Community Foundation – Matt’s Good Walk

ASB Bank: 12-3195-0011837-01

Please enter your name and email in the reference fields so we can send you a donation receipt. All donations over $5.00 are tax deductible. Please also email info@wakatipucommunityfoundation.org with your name and donation amount to confirm.

My journey

Having started walking on the 20th February, I am walking the South Island, heading South Bound (SOBO) on the Te Araroa Trail. The trail starts at the historic Ship Cove in the Marlborough Sounds and ends at its southern terminus at Stirling Point, Bluff. The tramp of ~1,400km should take somewhere between 60-70 days, depending on my feet, fitness, tenacity, the weather and buckets of good luck.

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Why do I want to do this?

It is a personal journey of goal setting, for a healthy body to repair a weary mind and to immerse myself in nature for my inner peace. Over the last couple of years since the pandemic started, I have on a number of occasions experienced inexplicable mental health episodes. They have then led me to query my relevance with my work and colleagues, my competence – both intellectual and social and after a long career, my validity and true value to clients and my wider place in the community. The impact is often worry, self-doubt and a nagging lack of self-confidence.

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So for context, I often reflect on what lies ahead, with the inevitable ageing of body and mind. As I am still a young 61 years, and my physical health and fitness remains high, then the motivation is that whilst I can dream, I will. To embark on a journey of endurance is an aspiration to fulfil now and a genuinely achievable goal that can have demonstrably good outcomes for both myself and for others with the opportunity to give back to my wider community.

Therefore, and for additional motivation, I wish to use the opportunity to raise awareness of and funds for the following charities that resonate with me for many personal reasons – from the past, the present and in the future:

The charities

Empathy not sympathy is asked for and an understanding we all have mental health. I have socialised my vulnerability publicly to help me – as to share is to solve. Possibly, I am speaking for many who have also experienced similar emotions over recent times. A healthy mind also needs a healthy body. The walk will deliver that outcome for me personally. I am fundraising for the named 10 charities, with reasons for each as follows:

 

Wakatipu Community Foundation – Mental Health Endowment Fund

The Wakatipu Community Foundation will establish an endowment fund to support mental health initiatives in the region – we need to normalise the unspoken, start conversations and support those seeking help.

 

Melanoma NZ

The ubiquity of all cancer types has a massive impact and cost to every New Zealander. In 1995, I lost my beloved mother to ovarian cancer and in 2019 lost a dear brother to bowel cancer. My fundraising support for Melanoma NZ is in recognition of the fact we have the world’s highest melanoma incidence rate. As I will be in the great outdoors for the duration of the through tramp, raising awareness and funds for Melanoma NZ is a rewarding and salient objective.

 

Rainbow Youth

Celebrating our son Tom – the most empathetic, compassionate, understanding and sensitive soul, who will lead and succeed with his life ahead.

 

Antarctic Heritage Trust

For many years I have walked through the Queenstown Gardens and often pause and reflect on the words etched into rock at the Scott Memorial. I was blessed to visit the ice and Ross Island in November 2017. From the preservation of the historic huts from the heroic age of Antarctic Exploration, to inspiring the next generation of explorers, the trust’s mission continues. We will look to fund a young person to join the Shackleton Centenary Year Inspiring Explorers Expedition to South Georgia in Oct 2023.

Christchurch City Mission

From earthquakes, terrorist attacks, fires and all the associated health issues the Garden City has endured – the Christchurch City Mission has always been there to support the most vulnerable in the community suffering the ravages of poverty, ill health and homelessness.

WHS Foundation

Wayne Foley has delivered inspirational leadership to the WHSF. The turnaround in the school’s relevance to and connection with the community in the last decade is complete.  We wish to give back to the Whakatipu which has been so good to us since we arrived in 1995. The future is in our youth.

Champion Foundation Trust

The Champion Centre is one of Canterbury’s least known treasures. For more than 40 years, Dr Patricia Champion has lead an amazing team providing multi-disciplinary early intervention services to infants and young children with significant disabilities and their families. The trust annually funds the operating budget shortfall and we will fundraise to augment the endowment fund to build the centre’s financial sustainability.

 

Braintree

The Braintree Centre is a new community asset built specifically for the benefit of people suffering from dementia, Alzheimers, MS, Parkinsons, stroke and other neurological conditions and also supporting their whanau. A true passion project driven by the unstoppable Simon Challies. Rachel’s cherished mum Jill has Alzheimers and resides in a dementia rest home in Christchurch – Braintree delivers amazing outcomes for all those impacted by these insidious medical conditions.

 

Bruce Grant Youth Trust

From Bruce’s untimely death in 1995, the founding trustees Craig ( Ferg ) Ferguson, Alison Beaumont, Christine Grant and Evan Bloomfield, still now 28 years later support, encourage and nurture the youth of the Whakatipu.
The trust helps fund their dreams to excel in sporting, cultural and academic excellence. My memories of Bruce ignite always when I stroll pass his striking memorial in the Queenstown Gardens, recollecting a film of waterskiing on the Tekapo canals and watching in awe his supreme athleticism as he won Coronet Peaks’ famous Dash for Cash in the 1990’s.

 

Hollyford Conservation Trust

The Hollyford Valley is a place in Fiordland dear to our hearts, having lived and worked in the region for many years. However, the degradation of this “Biodiversity Hotspot” was then abundantly evident from the bare tree canopies and absence of birdsong when we first visited in the early 1990s. Our old friend Dave Comer highlighted this scourge then – now the HCT has an express vision “to protect, enhance and restore all native flora and fauna for the enjoyment of all, today and for generations well into the future”.

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The donor fundraising has been facilitated by the Wakatipu Community Foundation (Registered Charity #CC55258)
All donations over $5.00 are tax deductible.

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