A book launch that was due to happen this week marks what is believed to be the first journey along the length of the Waikato River from its Ruapehu source.
The significance of the journey went almost unnoticed by the media and the group responsible, in classic Kiwi fashion, quietly went back to their day jobs.
But although inquiries with the Department of Conservation and local hunters indicate the full trip may never have been done before, the expedition group is cautious about claiming to be the first as they are mindful of pre-colonial histories.
Over a span of a month the group travelled about 450km following the source of the Tongariro River down the slopes of Mt Ruapehu to the shores of Lake Taupō at Tūrangi, before kayaking across the water and down the Waikato River to Port Waikato.
Growing up in Pukekohe, Trent Hicks regularly drove past the Waikato River and had day-dreamed of one day exploring it.
In an extreme version of the current domestic tourism campaign, Hicks decided it was time to get to know his own backyard after returning from his OE.
So, with Mat Piaggi, Shannon Weaver, Sophie Blazey, Benns Hanns, Nick Blazey and Dan Kelly he embarked on a "homecoming" journey.
Outdoorsman and Kaimanawa Range hunter, Kingsley Field has never heard of anyone completing the entire journey from the alpine area of National Park to Port Waikato.
"I've done a fair bit of walking around those areas and I know it would be a big accomplishment and rough walk," Field said.
Expedition member Dan Kelly said the motivation was to see the change from mountain to sea. From the Summer Plateau the group tramped past the famous Lord of the Rings attraction, the Meads Wall, and followed the track to the historic Waihohonu Hut in
Tongariro National Park.
There they joined the Tongariro River, creating their own track through the bush.
"The bush was thick and a bit tricky. So we were just following the river hopping along on the rocks, but then slowly the river was getting deeper and deeper."
Kelly recalls camping overnight on the edge of Rangipo Prison Farm as night fell.
"It was pretty funny because we were stuck, there was nowhere else to camp so we camped there and skirted its edges in the morning."
In Tūrangi the crew picked up Canadian canoes before paddling about 33km across Lake Taupō.
"We didn't have any GPS or anything fancy like that to measure it but in Taupō we went from Kuratau to Whanganui Bay, to Kawakawa Bay to the Taupō township," Kelly said.
They portaged around the Huka Falls and rapids, as well as the river's eight hydroelectric dams.
The group spent most of their trip camping on public grounds, back paddocks near the river's edge and, in some cases, locals would let them stay on their property.
"I wish more people would take the time to connect with our country and not just the postcard version, but to learn about the histories and stories," Kelly said.
More insights can be found in their book Where the river runs - from Summit to Sea' which will be launched in Auckland at a date to be decided after the level 3 lockdown.