If anything, the last couple of years have been an opportune time to connect more deeply with ourselves; to self-reflect on how we live our lives, who we are as people, and to perhaps take stock of what we might previously have taken for granted. As the world starts to open back up again, it is the perfect time to redirect this intentionality, focus and effort to the world and the people around us. Granted, it’s easy to get distracted by the day-to-day goings-on and stresses all around us, which is why it’s so important to find those significant, memorable ways to connect where possible, and seek out experiences that are at once life-changing, friendship-forming, bucket list-busting and ultimately – giving.
One of the most unique and epic annual events that offers all of this and more is returning on 10 and 11 March 2023. Oxfam Trailwalker will take place in one of the most stunning regions our country has to offer: Taranaki. It’s the sort of life-changing adventure that has inspired thousands of Kiwis every year to not only connect with others and the great outdoors but to make a lasting difference. Trailwalkers challenge the poverty and injustice experienced by some of the world’s most at-risk communities right here in the Pacific by fundraising for Oxfam Aotearoa. These funds help provide clean water and sanitation in Papua New Guinea and support farmers in Timor-Leste to better adapt to climate change and increase their incomes. In real terms, this can mean the difference between women in remote areas having to walk long distances every day to fetch heavy loads of water and Oxfam providing clean water tanks and reducing their water-gathering time to just minutes.
Following Oxfam’s virtual Trailwalker event in 2022, the exciting news is that you can now sign up to finally set foot on their exclusive scenic trail, navigating large sections of private land and including the stunning New Plymouth track. Awe-inspiring vistas aside, the beauty of this event is also that it is for people of all ages and at all different fitness levels – from pro-athletes to those just getting back into it. You and three friends, family members or colleagues can opt to tackle 100 kilometres over 36 hours or 50 kilometres in 18 hours. And it is not a relay or a race – rather, it’s about teamwork, challenging yourselves, starting and finishing together, and sharing that unforgettable feeling of achievement at the finish line, knowing that you have helped to make a huge difference to the communities that Oxfam Aotearoa works with. There is also no lack of incentive on the fundraising side with plenty of rewards each time you hit a milestone either individually or as a team. And if you’re up for raising $5,000 or more, there is also the chance for you and your team to win a fabulous relaxing weekend away including two nights at Novotel New Plymouth.
Oxfam has also set their event up to be zero-waste with a recycling, waste and compost stations at every Checkpoint complete with Waste Warriors at the ready to assist you with diverting waste from going to landfill and to help you leave no trace behind.
The celebration continues after you cross the Finish Line; you can look forward to a medal, a celebratory glass of bubbles (or non-alcoholic drink), and a victorious photo of your team and supporters before taking a much deserved break, = putting your feet up and enjoying some delicious local food. An Awards Ceremony further celebrates those teams crossing the Finish Line, including an award for Best-Dressed team adding to a fun-filled Sunday afternoon of celebration with live music, food, and entertainment for all ages.
Who knows, you might even make this a regular event and eventually earn the title of Oxfam Trailwalker Legend given to those who have participated in more than five Oxfam Trailwalker NZ events. If you are a first-timer and looking for some on-trail inspiration, you can easily spot Legends pounding the turf with their different coloured buffs. Participants may be from all walks of life, and of all ages and fitness levels, but crossing the Finish Line promises something universal: a sense of connection and achievement that you will never forget. In the words of one Oxfam Trailwalker participant: “I think everybody should do it, it’s a life-changing event. Your heart heals, your body strengthens and your mind quiets down. It’s just amazing.”
Challenge yourself and help tackle poverty in the Pacific by signing up to the Oxfam Trailwalker now.