A team effort to paddle for purpose

A team effort to paddle for purpose

Connor Stewart and his brothers Kurt and Drew, alongside his classmate Cared Blackham, are spending three months on a kayak next year as they ‘paddle for purpose’.
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The Adventure Tourism and Guiding Level 5(external link) ākonga (student) at NMIT Te Pūkenga says they are all contributing to the mission by taking charge of various organisational parts.

“It’s definitely a bit of a team effort,” says Connor.

Connor’s younger brother, Drew, has always dreamed of paddling the Eastern coastline of the North Island and so the four boys decided to make it a reality in March 2024.

“We wanted to do it for more than just going for a paddle, so we sat down for a yarn and talked over what is important to us,” Connor says.

They decided to split any money they raise between two charities – The Mental Health Foundation(external link) and Live Ocean(external link).

“We hope to remove some of the stigma around getting support for your mental health,” he says.

“Also, all of us have found solace through exercise and nature, so we wanted to support Live Ocean who do amazing work trying to make our oceans healthier.”

They will be kayaking from Tapotupotu Bay in Cape Reinga down into Wellington harbour, over a 2000km journey which will take them approximately three months to complete.

“The exact date of departure is a bit weather-dependent, but we hope to leave at the beginning of March,” Connor says.

A give a little(external link) page has been set up, as well as an Instagram(external link) and Facebook(external link) page for updates on their progress. A support crew of whānau will drive alongside the four paddlers down the coast to ensure their safety.

Sam Russek, NMIT adventure tourism and guiding tutor, fully supports the plan and hopes they can find various businesses and individuals to sponsor their journey.

“These ākonga have been exemplary and I can see from their planning they have thoroughly organised this trip,” Sam says.

The Adventure Tourism programme at NMIT is one of the most outdoors-oriented available, with more than 80 per cent of education occurring outdoors.

For more information, visit our website(external link).

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