When Napier man Alan White set out on an almost two-month-long cycling journey, he didn't expect to be met with such generosity or raise almost $40,000 for charity.
The 70-year-old Greenmeadows Rotarian set out to complete the 3000km Te Araroa Trail from Cape Reinga to Bluff on February 6.
Usually cycling overseas every couple of years, his motivation was a mix of a personal challenge and his want to fundraise for two causes he is passionate about.
As a Rotary member, half of the funds raised will go to 'Give Every Child a Future', the Rotary's Australasian Centenary Project with Unicef which aims to vaccinate 100,000 disadvantaged children in the Pacific. The other half will go to Cancer Society.
Like many New Zealanders, White has had a personal experience with the effects of cancer as his wife, Jan, died aged 53 after four years battling the disease.
"The Cancer Society are just so active and so much part of our society I felt that it was a great charity to support."
The journey proved to be "quite uplifting".
White had a week-long stop in Hamilton with some bike issues and another two rest days but every other day cycled an average of 88km. On six days he cycled over 100km.
The longest cycle was 127km between Murchison and Reefton.
It was a solo journey but throughout parts of the journey he would ride with cyclists completing the track.
He camped in a tent he carried in the North Island, and throughout the South Island stayed in small country hotels which were near the track, also helping to sustain the local community.
Cycling a mix of different roads and tracks, despite a few hairy moments, he mostly found traffic accommodating, especially truck drivers in the South Island.
The generosity of locals also stunned him and he met a number of interesting people along the way.
At one point in the Waipoua Forest when he was having issues with his bike, a person who stopped to help happened to be a bike mechanic.
"I was kind of scratching my head in terms of okay it looked a bit dicey for me ... but James from Coromandel was my saviour that day."
Friends, family and fellow Rotary club members and some strangers donated to the cause.
Bike shops would offer their services to him for free when they heard about his journey so he would donate the cost on behalf of them.
Finishing his ride last Wednesday he was met in Bluff by his partner, Liz. His journey took 34 riding days.
Frank Heuser, president of the Rotary Club of Greenmeadows, said the club is "very proud" of White's achievement and his initiative to do it.
A Rotary Club member for less than a year, he had really grasped the Rotary ethics of giving back, he said.
Cancer Society Hawke's Bay events/fundraising co-ordinator Pip Taylor said they were humbled and "so very grateful" to White for his fundraising.
"Like so many charities, 2020 was a tough year for our fundraising, with a significant impact on our events and community fundraising.
"The Cancer Society receives almost no government funding and is dependent on the generosity of individuals and businesses to continue offering free services to those in our community impacted by cancer.
"Without people like Alan we wouldn't be able to continue providing advocacy, information, counselling services, support groups, transport and much, much more."
Currently at $39,500, White hopes to top $40,000. Those who wish to donate can contribute to the Give A Little page at https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/cycling-rotarian-cape-reinga-to-bluff.