Hike the north – Meet the people

 

Kauri Mountain, Ocean Beach and Bream Head Bay Canon RAW (1)

All along the way, people have been telling us that we should skip the north and head straight for the South Island. Apparently there is a lot of TA hikers doing this as well. Because the north is “boring”. Because it’s not as wild and off the grid as the south. Because you have to walk on the road. Because there is towns.

Only 3,5 weeks into the hike we feel that this mentality is fundamentally wrong. Te Araroa is about more than trucking through the land, taking in as many miles as possible every day. For us, the TA is about discovering NZ, both its nature and its culture. It’s not only about passing by wonderful places, but also about meeting the wonderful people living in those places.

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We’ve been invited into people’s houses, been offered meals, been offered rides even when we were not hitching. We herded their cows, collected their eggs, fed their chickens and pigs, slept in their back yards. We got numbers from friends and relatives down the road to help us out. And all of that just out of friendly intentions, from Maori and Kiwi alike. We always offered a Koha (a present or a donation, for the favour) but not everyone accepted it.

So take your time to talk to someone. Wave to the cars passing by on the road. Take that invitation to a tea at someone’s place. Don’t be that tourist that will do the same things everyone else is doing to take the same picture that has already been taken countless times. Listen, learn and do something else so you can find out what NZ is really all about.

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It’s not only the goal, but also the journey that matters. Our learning journey had only just begun, and already the north is an essential part of it.

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4 thoughts on “Hike the north – Meet the people

  1. I completely agree with you and it surprises me to hear that a lot of thru-hikers want to skip the north section! Why wouldn’t they want to learn about the culture in both sections and see as much of New Zealand as possible? I know I would!

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    1. Hey Jaxxsj,

      I know, it surprised us too. There’s a lot of arrogance about it too, and it’s just so fundamentally wrong i think because it is a part of Te Araroa to get to know the country. There’s so many fantastic people here that have helped make this journey – i don’t know why you would skip all of that. Cool that you are following our blog, i’ve head a quick look at your adventure: looks amazing! Will catch up on it better when we reach the next town.

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      1. That is seriously such a bummer to hear. I’m glad you guys are getting to meet all those great people though. Yes it has been quite the adventure for me living in Alaska, I’ve really enjoyed it here so far. Happy trails, I’ll be bouncing around your blog a bit more today catching up a few more posts!

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