People have a rare opportunity to explore Matakana Island by foot this weekend as residents open the doors to this year's walk-a-thon charity drive.
The Matakana Island Walk-a-thon will be held on Sunday, offering a 10km or 12km walk covering farmland, roads, and the estuary and the chance to learn about island culture.
The event is aimed at promoting the health benefits of walking as well as providing the opportunity to raise money for local marae.
Organiser Minda Kuka said she had been running events like this since 2007 because she enjoyed running and walking. The opportunity also provided the chance to raise much-needed money to help with maintenance and repair work of the island's three marae.
"All marae have ongoing running costs and upkeep, but there are also major projects like rebuilds and renovations taking place," she said.
"This is not a large community, but we all have large whanau living out there, around the world."
Kuka said the event was specifically planned to connect with family and friends. But the walk is open to the public. People can either get sponsored by others or bring a donation themselves to go towards the marae. Each person will also need $10 for the ferry.
"The walk itself is unique in that it offers a variety of features, such as farms, on roads, beach walks, wonderful views and of course beginning with the barge ride at Omokoroa," Kuka said.
While the event is the second of its kind, Kuka said it was not an annual thing. The last one was in September 2016.
"It's the island style of 'when we can get around to it' as it involves a lot of family and local input to set things up," she said.
"The marae are the focal point of our community, for cultural, educational, recreational, and spiritual purposes."
Kuka said residents also focused strongly on the health benefits of walking which involves young and old.
Kuka said she was looking forward to the walk-a-thon.
"The best part for me is seeing people enjoy our moutere (island) and helping our cause."
Matakana Island Walk-a-thon
Meet at Omokoroa Jetty to board the ferry across
8.30am meet for the 9am ferry. Return barges are held throughout the afternoon
$10 for return ferry trip, plus sponsorship or donation money
Packed lunch, drinks and snacks, sturdy walking shoes and weather-appropriate clothing, any medication you might need, sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen, cash for ferry and cash for donation as there is no eftpos on the island.