Buddy Mikaere has climbed Mount Maunganui 114 times as a way to honour the memory of a woman brutally murdered on the walking track almost three decades ago.

It's the equivalent of scaling Mt Everest three times but he has no plans of stopping his regular treks.

This week, the local historian and respected kaumātua completed his third series of 38 climbs of Mauao to raise money for the Tauranga Women's Refuge.

His first two climbs raised about $700, and next week he expected to be able to give the refuge another cheque for $1900.


But Mikaere doesn't plan to stop the challenge any time soon and aims to complete the fourth series of 38 climbs before the end of this year.

Mikaere's efforts are all part of the Mount Everest Challenge - so named because climbing Mauao 38 times is the equivalent distance to climbing Mount Everest.

A group of supporters sponsored him to complete the series of challenges including a group of children at 50 cents to $1 a climb.

Mikaere, a Ngati Pukenga iwi member of the Mauao Trust, said what initially sparked the idea was him walking past Monica Cantwell's memorial stone in late 2016.

Cantwell, a 24-year-old British backpacker, was raped and strangled on the walking track near the Mauao summit in November 20, 1989 by Aucklander Charles Coulam.

Coulam is serving a life sentence.

Mikaere said: "As I walked passed Monica's memorial stone it reminded [me] how shocking and wrong it was, and I thought there must be something we can do.

Monica Cantwell was raped and strangled on Mauao on November 20, 1989. Photo/File.
Monica Cantwell was raped and strangled on Mauao on November 20, 1989. Photo/File.

"I immediately thought about how I could use my walks up Mauao to raise much-needed funds for Tauranga Women's Refuge which is my favourite charity.


"That's because of the fantastic work the refuge staff does and because of my experience with members of my own family who have been victims of domestic violence.

"Taking on this challenge is also my way of honouring Monica's memory," he said.

Mikaere said he always chose to walk to the summit about 6.30am before the sun rose and it took him about 40 minutes to climb up and 20 minutes to come down again.

He lost count of the number of times he had climbed Mauao but estimated it was about 500 times, and every time it gave him a buzz, he said.

"It's magical. The first thing I always notice is the silence, apart from the noise of the fabulous birds and the timid sheep who just allow you to walk around them."

Making it to the top always gave him a "sense of achievement", Mikaere said.

"Walking up Mauao helps free your mind and help you focus on the important things in life. For me that's doing at least one thing every day that really makes a difference."

Anyone who wants to sponsor Mikaere for his next 38 climbs go to his Facebook page.