Henry Marchant from Stratford began his journey from Cape Reinga on October 8 to walk the length of New Zealand - Te Araroa Trail - for the Stroke Foundation, in memory of his mother.

Henry's mother suffered from a number of strokes related to cancer before she died in March 2018.

"In September 2017, she had a major stroke which left her unable to care for herself. She then had another stroke in February 2018 which left her paralysed."

Henry says he was unaware of the potential effects and uncertainty surrounding recovery from stroke.


"We were always unsure about how much my mum would recover and were concerned about future strokes. We all struggled to see such an intelligent, strong woman unable to care for herself or communicate her feelings."

Henry chose tackling Te Araroa Trail because of the huge impact stroke had on his family.

The trek is a chance for Henry to not only raise awareness of stroke and the Foundation, but undertake a personal ambition to explore the solitude of backcountry New Zealand.

Having started his journey at Cape Reinga, Henry's walk has so far taken him along 90 Mile Beach, through Northland forests, over the Tongariro crossing the Tararua Range and canoeing the Whanganui River from Whakahoro to Pipiriki, completing the North Island in time for Christmas.

He has loved it so far.

"We have a beautiful country that has been amazing to explore. It has also been great to be part of a community who have also taken on the trail. I've met some really cool people."

Henry has just begun the second leg of his journey, tackling the historic Queen Charlotte Track in the Marlborough Sounds, along the Richmond Ranges and through Craigieburn Forest Park, on to Mackenzie Basin and the Mt Aspiring National Park and finally down to the southerly terminus at Stirling Point, Bluff.

Henry is aiming to complete his journey on April 5 which would have been his mother's 60th birthday.


So far, he has raised over $5600 for the Stroke Foundation.

"I think the Stroke Foundation plays a huge part in helping victims of stroke and their families through this time. If the money I raise can have just a tiny, positive impact on people who may go through similar events, I will be really proud."

Robbie Ross, National Fundraising Manager at the Stroke Foundation says the Stroke Foundation helped over 5500 stroke survivors in the past year.

"It's vital that we have people like Henry to both raise awareness of stroke and help raise funds. We're incredibly grateful for his support and taking on this challenge.

"The money raised will go towards supporting our critical Community Stroke Advisor service, which helps stroke survivors and their families at such a difficult time. Every donation helps to support thousands of New Zealanders across the country."

For more information about stroke and the Stroke Foundation visit, stroke.org.nz


■ To support Henry visit, givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/a-long-wander-for-the-stroke-foundation.