John Taylor is taking six weeks off work to cycle a loop of New Zealand — from Kāpiti to Cape Reinga, down to Bluff and back up to Kāpiti again — all in the name of a young man called Jeremy Tapari.

As the chief executive of Community Connections, a community-based disability service offering support to disabled people, John hears many stories of the people his organisation works with.

Jeremy was born in New Zealand but is from Papua New Guinea.

From a young age Jeremy had type one diabetes but didn't know, living in the middle of the Papua New Guinea highlands.


"When I was young I was diagnosed with diabetes and had to go to Australia to get my leg amputated," Jeremy said.

"When I was there they told me I had kidney failure, then I moved back to New Zealand to get treatment."

Last year Jeremy was given a new kidney and is now working in Wellington.

John Taylor and Jeremy Tapari.
John Taylor and Jeremy Tapari.

"I feel amazing and am thankful with my new kidney and now I have lots of goals, and one of them is to visit my family in Papua New Guinea."

When John heard Jeremy's story he was inspired to go on a cycle trip to raise money and support for Jeremy and people like him.

"I'm doing Tour Aotearoa but what I've decided to do is add to it by riding from here (Paraparaumu) to the start of the tour in Cape Reinga and then riding from the finish in Bluff back up here again," John said.

"I'm calling it a lap of New Zealand."

The tour is 5000km which means cycling on average 130-140km per day.


On his own from Paraparaumu to the start of Tour Aotearoa, John will travel with four other people during Tour Aotearoa before cycling from Bluff, the end of the tour, back up home by himself.

"I'm pretty keen on the green thing, I have been forever. Cycling is just a great way not to use fossil fuels.

"I'll be camping and will carry my own food but will be eating a lot of pies.

"It's not guaranteed that I'll complete it. I might give up on the way.

"I don't think I will but you never know — the weather might turn nasty.

"I'm a little nervous, but excited too."

Supporting many people through Community Connections, John wanted a challenge and to help someone who has little chance of seeing his family again without help.

"Jeremy has a nice story and our organisation has been supporting him for a couple of years. We've assisted him with his living situation and helped him get a job in Wellington.

"This is something he won't ever be able to fundraise for or have enough money to do himself, to go home and visit his mum and sister.

"So we are setting it up for Jeremy and people like him who have aspirations to travel a bit, or visit family where they wouldn't normally be able to get to.

"As most disabled people live on benefits it's very hard for them so we would like to establish a bit of a fund."

John's goal is to raise $20,000, more than enough to support Jeremy, and it will go towards a number of other people in similar situations.

John is using a year's leave to cycle a lap of New Zealand.

"It's just liking people really, liking different people.

"Diversity is good."

For more information search John Taylor's Lap of NZ on Facebook and to donate visit here.