Monday, December 21, 2009
Having regular donors giving either a weekly,fortnightly or monthly donation will help us tremendously to reach our fundraising goal.Often when we receive donations the donors say they wish they could give more. Giving affordable amounts over a regular period of time is an affordable way of making that happen. The target date for opening the facility is 1 November 2012, and ongoing regular donations through until that date will make a significant contribution to our fundraising goal.
We are also offering the option of giving to our Christmas Appeal if becoming a regular donor isn't an option.This year we are seeking donations towards the foundations of the actual buildings. A gift of $75 will buy and dig in one timber pile for this facility.. and we need about 500 piles. If you do make a donation I can personally guarantee that every cent and every dollar we receive for the Stewart Island Project goes straight into the project fund.
Well that's it from me for 2009. Thank you if you have supported the Stewart Island Project this year, it's been a tough year for fundraising, with many trusts and funding bodies declining any applications due to the lack of available funds. For us it's been the generosity of our members who have helped us continue on our fundraising drive and we appreciate your support. Have a great Christmas and best wishes for the new year.
If you would like to make a donation to the Stewart Island Project click on the donate link
or email us for information about joining the Tokoeka Group.
Thank you! Best Wishes and Merry Christmas.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
In terms of our fundraising goals we have done extremely well surpassing our original targets to break through to the final figure of $56,713-35.We are expecting a few more donations to come in over the next couple of weeks which could easily take our final figure to $60,000-00!!
Thanks again to everyone who contributed and to all our sponsors.Click on the link to see who supported us- Ride for Rakiura Sponsors
We couldn't have done this with out you.
If you would like to make a donation and help us to reach $60,000 please click on Give A Little and follow the easy instructions.
Friday, October 30, 2009
After an cruisy 80-odd km ride from Taupo, the Rakiura riders have arrived at their final destination, Rotorua!
Well, it wasn't so cruisy leaving Taupo during morning rush hour. Our attempt at riding in a peloton for our final day didn't quite go as planned. But we managed to stay fairly close together compared out how spread out we'd been (as much as 30 kms between the lead bikes to the tail-end Charlies on the long days).
Once we passed the bottleneck outside the high school and got out onto the open road, ride conditions were positively delightful: gentle rolling hills (mostly downward sloping), pastoral land on either side, quiet roads with little traffic, a tailwind, and blue skies with the occasional cotton ball cloud. There was the whole matter of road construction about 20 kms out of Taupo which managed to temporarily capsize one rider. But even muddy unpaved roads couldn't slow our progress.
The plan had been to meet several local dignitaries near Waiotapu at 1:45 so they could usher us into town. But we had so much forward momentum all morning that we arrived at our appointed meeting spot 25 kms outside Rotorua 3 hours early! Delaying tactics like an extra pit-stop, an extra-long pie-stop just 10 kms later, and a tour of the Waiotapu mud pools did not stop us from itching to get going again by 12:30.
The locals, several Rotorua city councillors, were gracious and flexible however, and we met them 14 kms out from the hostel for a leisurely downhill jaunt in through town. Rounds of applause from at least one passing trucker, as well as cheers from a number of members assembled at the hostel for the Annual General Meeting this weekend, made us feel even more welcome.
Speaking of the AGM, Alex compiled some photos and video from the last six days for a presentation tonight to the members. We thought you'd enjoy seeing it, too. (Besides, hopefully it makes up for the few photos posted over the last couple of days.) Be sure to have your speakers on as you watch. Enjoy!
Many thanks to each one of your for your support. Riding for Rakiura has raised more than $50,000 for YHA NZ's Stewart Island Project. Whether your role was making a donation to a rider's Givealittle page, providing in-kind sponsorship, or even just sending good wishes and moral support, we couldn't have done this without you. So thanks!
One more thought before the Rakiura Riders sign off. While Rotorua marks our final destination for this ride, it's just the beginning of the Stewart Island Project. The six days of riding and countless hours spent preparing for them mark but a one leg of the several-year-long Stewart Island Project. But I think I speak for all when I say it's been an action-packed journey of blood, sweat, and laughs. Here's to more of the same as fundraising continues and construction begins on the new eco-hostel and learning centre.
On to the next leg of the Stewart Island Project journey!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
(Ed. note: Today's post is from our resident Senior Customer Services Consultant, Nicola.)
We woke up to a cold rainy day in Mountain Valley. It was a big contrast to what the sky looked like during our al fresco dinner on the deck last night.
Given the morning conditions, we were expecting another cold, wet day but it didn’t last long. We did ride through snow flurries and hail as we passed the local cafe, Oscaz at the Summit, but the sun came out at 10:30. Even with all that, would you believe that this was my best riding day ever? It really was!
The first half of our day was full of hills – mostly long gradual inclines but there was one short steep one to get us going. I told a few people that I loved the hills, and they looked at me a bit strangely. But it was true!
Thoroughly soggy by this point, a few of us stopped at a cafe ¾ of the way to Taupo to warm our feet in front of a gas heater and a fire. We had a good rest there with plenty of hot drinks all around. The others stopped a few kilometres back at a truck stop that I’m told had the best coffee. Some even said it was the best coffee in the North Island!
The second half of our day had us riding over rolling hills into Taupo. After four-and-a-half-days of this trip, I finally discovered that my bike has a third gear! I topped out at 50km/h down a hill, my personal best although definitely not the fastest of the group. (Sean and Yoko on the tandem road bike hold that record, with their 92.4 km/h (!!) speed down the big hill just before the Mountain Valley turn-off yesterday.)
As we neared Taupo, I heard a lot of “This must be the last hill!” comments, only to find another one looming. But after the big ones we had already done, these ones were easy!
Fighting headwinds through the outskirts of Taupo, we rode our way through town to the Taupo YHA. The very wise hostel staff had the outside spa all ready for us – great motivation to get us there. I can’t tell you how great it felt to soak in the hot water after all of the hills and weather conditions today!
Just one more day of riding after a good sleep tonight. Thanks for the spa and the comfy beds, guys!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
(Ed. note: Last night we stayed in the Central North Island equivalent of the far side of the moon. Te Pohue had no internet and very limited cell phone coverage. (It was kind of blissful!) Better late than never, here's yesterday's Riding for Rakiura report. Photos will hopefully be added later. Tonight's report, from Taupo, should be online by bedtime.)
In keeping with Larry’s pub-quote-of-the-day theme, today’s quote came from a rugby poster seen through the window of the Te Pohue Hotel: “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
It was the easiest day distance-wise, but just about the most difficult effort-wise. The 50-odd kilometres we rode packed a deceptive punch; the first 20 kms out of Napier bore no resemblance to the 20+ kms of big hills into Te Pohue. In fact, the first half was a veritable walk in the park. The mounties leisurely rolled out of Napier along the waterfront bike trail, while the roadies had a great tour guide in Brian, who pointed out places like Bay View, a neighbourhood which didn’t exist before the great Napier earthquake in the 1900s pushed the land up out of the ocean.
A stop at a delightful garden cafe – our last coffee stop until Taupo – allowed us to continue basking in the denial glow. But it wasn’t long before that glow turned into a breathless, hill-busting grunt.
Having been briefed that tonight’s accommodation was in Te Pohue and that we’d have one heck of a climb out of Napier, you can imagine our joy upon arrival at the Te Pohue pub after ascending (and descending) a rather steep Dillons Hill and a few lesser stumps. We’d made it! Out came the sandwiches, off came the layers.
And you can imagine our shock when the support crew saw us pulled over on the side of the road and politely informed us we still had a 720-metre peak and 10 kms to go. “But a fantastic downhill,” Harry – our overnight addition to the support crew – reassured us. Great.
A couple of riders threatened to throw in the towel there and load their bikes on the trailer when the support van came back from an emergency run to Napier to buy more inner tubes. (In case we haven’t said it enough already, our three support crew are doing a yeoman’s job!)
Cooler heads prevailed after the potential-mutineers patronised the pub, and I’m pleased to report that everyone arrived at Mountain Valley, our stop for the night, under their own wheels.*
Nevertheless, that last hill climb reminded me there’s a reason Kiwis call them push-bikes. A few of us did push our bikes up the last peak. Those who didn’t must have been channelling Sir Ed when he “knocked the bastard off”.
All today's effort was the price to pay for the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen. (No, I haven't yet been to Stewart Island, which I'm told would make today's vistas pale by comparison.)
Regardless, the Sound of Music movie sets had nothing on today. The last remnants of the snow storm two weeks ago (the biggest in 50 years, I’m told) lingered on distant mountain tops. Between us and them were kilometres of green hills, patches of forest, and streams and rivers. (And heaps of logging and cement trucks trying to run us off the road. But I digress.) Even our location tonight, while remote, is stunning for the running river below us and the stillness in the air. It’s incredibly peaceful.
After dinner (Mexican night on the menu) and our nightly awards ceremony, a group are off to the natural hot pools down the road for a well-deserved soak.
* Full disclosure: a few of us on road bikes got a lift from the SH5 turn-off over the last 6 kms of shingle, hilly road from a kind local farmer in a ute. But we all did the full highway mileage, which is where Riding for Rakiura's 556-km route stopped for the day. Or so we claim.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Day Four tomorrow starts with a 6am wake-up call! 45 kilometers of steep climbing. Today tested our stamina, tomorrow will test our strength, and having cycled with this team for three days now I know them hills will be conquered.
Thanks to all that continue to support, us and for those who are concerned for your loved ones – worry not, they have 14 other teammates looking out for them.
We’re Riding On for Rakiura!
Monday, October 26, 2009
(Sorry for the delay - due to technical difficulties we have had to submit this post a day late)
Amy here taking on blogging duties tonight.
After an early wake-up call, we were on the road at 8 a.m., heading to Dannevirke 107 kms away.
Despite the weather forecast the sun was out and the sky was clear. Our first stop of the day was at Mt Bruce's NZ national wildlife centre, a stunning spot to check in with each other and get some refreshments (the best coffees so far).
Making our way to lunch in Woodville alongside heavy traffic returning from holiday was no simple task. In our path were nasty magpies who had a swoop at us, cattle trucks who gave unexpected mud masks, and our ever-present support vehicle.
Not to outdo the fantastic job the support crew did yesterday getting stuck for 4 hours, today they managed to really get stuck - pulling over on the side of the road to help a rider, but ending up with half the van and trailer in a bog on the side of the road. Luckily several riders were there to help them get out.
Lunch was both enlightening and mortifying for me upon discovering that I am the only person wearing underwear when we ride. Not that we are all naturists, but apparently underwear is not the done thing when wearing cycle shorts. The padding built-in to our shorts is supposed to be all that is required, eliminating the chance for chafing due to rubbing seams. The shorts get washed every day, I'm told in protest! Well, to tell you the truth, I'm not willing to follow the pack. I don't suffer from chafing and I'm going too fast for anyone to see my VPL.
"Leader of the Pack" Mark, who doesn't let the fact that he's on a mountain bike slow him down, led the rest of the way to Dannevirke.
The good news tonight is that we are each in single rooms due to the unique configuration of this accommodation building. (It used to be a nurses' home.) We had curry for dinner, and individual rooms will be appreciated, as it may be tail winds tonight, in addition to the tail wind forecast for tomorrow!
Each night we also hold a series of riders awards - King/Queen of the hills (gifted to best effort, best grimace or anything else our support crew decided made that person the best) Best quote of the day, Hazard of the day, Sorest bum of the day, Pimp my bike award (goes to the first person to get off their bike and walk)
Tonight Mark and Robyn won King/Queen of the Hills, Maureen won Quote of the Day, the support crew won Hazard of the Day, Brian won Sorest Bum of the Day and I won the Pimp My Ride due to a spectacular accidental horizontal bike dismount. Success all round. Who'll win the awards tomorrow?...
Saturday, October 24, 2009
What is it the Scottish bard says "about the best laid schemes of mice and men"? The same could be said about day one for the Rakiura riders.
- Although the car rolled 200 hundred metres down a steep embankment, and many rescue vehicles and a helicopter were required to reach the occupants, the worst injury was a broken arm; and
- The accident forced authorities to close the whole of SH 2 over the hill to vehicles, but the Rakiura roadies all managed to be allowed access. That meant we had nearly the entire highway to ourselves. Incredible!! Even better, the road had recently been resurfaced, so it was as smooth as we could hope for, without any broken glass littering the path and threatening our precious tires. To top it off, we had blue sky with just the occasional cloud and a slight cross breeze. (This area is known for its horizontal rain on some days.) That's not to say it wasn't a steep climb that didn't get us puffing, but it wasn't nearly as bad as some of us were expecting.
The roadies made an executive decision that, since the van was still stuck on the other side of the hill with our lunches, Featherston probably didn't have enough food and coffee choices to suit all riders. So we rolled on to Greytown without passing go. A stop at the chocolate shop for some and the French bakery for others, and we were raring to go. With no reason to stop in Carterton just 7 kms later, we rolled right through to Masterton.
A quick message tonight so that we can stock up on our rest. The South Islanders had an uneventful drive and ferry ride north (can't forget the 110-km dash to the ferry by our hardcore Nelson-based tandem duo), while the North Islanders arrived in Wellington via planes, buses and automobiles.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
It's packing day for the Riding for Rakiura riders today.
Helen and Amy have arrived in Christchurch from points south (Te Anau and Queenstown, respectively). Alex has been busy ensuring that all logistics are sorted. Maureen, Mike, Mark, Sutter, Nicola, Alex and Ben are rushing to remove unnecessary gear from their bags and tidy up any loose ends at work in preparation for a week away from the office. And our more northerly compatriots are doing the same as they prepare to make their way to Wellington.
The plan is for everyone to congregate at YHA Wellington in the evening for a team dinner and an early night in. Something tells me Sunday's going to be a big day...
We have had an incredible response to our fundraising drive to find sponsors and raise money for the Riding for Rakiura bike ride. All of our riders have done an amazing job finding individual
Our riders will be keeping us up to date with the ride as they go, so check this site for daily updates.
Thank you again to all our sponsors:
Monday, October 19, 2009
Welcome to the Riding for Rakiura Blog spot.
Riding for Rakiura is a six day bike ride from Wellington to Rotorua to raise money for the Stewart Island Project.
We have 15 brave riders entering the ride which include staff from hostels, board members and national office staff. The ride will be over six days from Sunday October 25 to Friday October 30, starting in Wellington, travelling via Napier and ending in Rotorua where the YHA AGM is taking place.
Our fearless few are:
Ben Mitchell – National Chair
Mark Wells – YHA CEO
Coral Laughton – Board Member
Brian Young – Coral’s Partner
Helen Bell – YHA Te Anau Hostel Manager
Amy Patterson – YHA Queenstown Hostel Assistant
Larry Dart – Auckland International Business Development Manager
Sean Gidall – YHA Nelson Hostel Manager
Yoko Watanabe – YHA Nelson Hostel Assistant
Alex Swindells – Channel Marketing Manager
Nicola Ross – Customer Services Assistant
Sutter Schumacher – ICT Project Coordinator
Maureen McCloy – National Secretary
Mike Flaws – Maureen’s Partner
Robyn Houghton - Geriatrix (affiliate YHA Group)
Here's where we're heading and when we'll be there:
Date From To
Day 1 - 25th Oct Wellington - Masterton
Day 2 - 26th Oct Masterton - Dannevirke
Day 3 - 27th Oct Dannevirke - Napier
Day 4 - 28th Oct Napier - Te Pohue
Day 5 - 29th Oct Te Pohue - Taupo
Day 6 - 30th Oct Taupo - END: Rotorua
You can check out our route by clicking on the following links:
Day 1: http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/new-zealand/upper-hutt---masterton/604125185155041464
Day 2: http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/new-zealand/masterton/692125530373757042
Day 3: http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/new-zealand/dannevirke/911125530399911012
Day 4: http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/new-zealand/napier/942125530435733308
Day 5: http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/new-zealand/napier/284125531291152362
Day 6: http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/new-zealand/reporoa/460125531412435459
We'll be updating our blog daily so you can keep a track of where we're at and who's doing what to keep the spirits up.
If you would like to make a donation to Riding for Rakiura or sponsor a rider check out www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/Ride4Rakiura
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Wow where to start!
I think I'll begin by giving some background on the Island and project and fill in the gaps on me and the role I play as I go..
Stewart Island is an amazing place - our smallest island at the bottom of the South Island where over 95% of the native bush is a protected national park.You can get there by ferry or fly from Invercargill airport - both quite hair-raising experiences depending on the weather!It is worth it though. When you get there it can seem warmer than the often freezing mainland - this is due to the fact that a warm sea current from the Australian Great Barrier Reef flows onto Stewart Island, which also brings a much more diverse variety of marine creatures than would normally be found in waters of this latitude.
Stewart Island offers some of the best land and sea birding in New Zealand. Bird Watchers come from all over the world to enjoy the amazing variety. Very close to Stewart Island is Ulva Island - the jewel in the crown of bird watching- it offers a predator-free environment for rare and endangered birds including the South Island saddleback, mohua,rifleman,Stewart Island robin.
Also not known to many is that there is a breed of kiwi which lives on the island and can be seen when going on one of the many tramps around the island and is active both during the day and night.
So that's some background on the island.. and now for the project. There is so much to say and once I start it's hard for me to stop so I'll begin with a kind of overview.
The project itself is really cool, in a nutshell it's a mix of community and sustainability -accommodation and education resources in the one facility. The hostel will be designed to blend into the environment, leaving behind a small carbon footprint and will have solar panels,double glazing and up to date recycling.
The Learning Centre will be a specially designed area of 60m2 which will be primarily used by school groups when they come to the island on school camp. It will be resourced for research projects and will also be available to community groups. Now more than ever, environmental sustainability is becoming an essential part of our education curriculum.We see this as perfect timing to provide live-in and participatory experience for school students.
My job is to fundraise for the project which we are estimating will cost around $4million. We have all kinds of ways that we are doing this, including mailing out to our membership, and approaching funders for support. You can also give on-line. Check out our web page http://www.stewartislandproject.co.nz/ and read more about the project and how you can make a donation.
Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about the project.