Ploughing on for hospices

By anne-marie.mcdonald@wanganuichronicle.co.nz

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TRACTORS FOR A CAUSE: The Tractor Trek travelling on SH3 just south of Turakina. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO
TRACTORS FOR A CAUSE: The Tractor Trek travelling on SH3 just south of Turakina. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO

Long-distance driving in a tractor isn't everyone's idea of fun but that's what 10 people are doing to raise money for a good cause.

The Tractor Trek passed through Whanganui yesterday on its mammoth journey from Bluff to Cape Reinga.

The hardy drivers are raising money for hospices throughout New Zealand - and have already raised more than $63,000.

Trek co-ordinator, Geoff Harper said the idea began with Phil Aish whose wife received care from Mercy Hospice in Auckland before she died a year ago.

"Phil wanted to do something to thank the hospice. He's a farmer and he loves tractors, so he decided to travel the length of the country on his tractor."

Mr Aish and a few others were doing the entire trek, while some were doing just part of it.

"The idea is to raise funds for hospice, but also to raise the profile of hospice."

Each driver was required to fundraise, and the group is also collecting donations as they travel.

It's a gruelling trip.

Each tractor travels at a speed of about 25km/h and averages about 120km per day.

"The longest trip was at the top of the South Island, when they did 195km in a day from St Arnaud's to Picton," Mr Harper said.

"Most of these guys are in their 70s and they're pretty tired at the end of the day.

Yesterday the trip took the tractors from Foxton and along the beach to Tangimoana, where they came out on to the main highway.

Last night they stayed at Kai Iwi and today will travel as far as Hawera.

All going well, they are expected to reach Cape Reinga on March 18.

Mr Harper said as much as possible, the money raised locally went to the local hospice.

-If you would like to donate visit www.tractortrek.org.nz.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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