A tall, dread-haired man was spotted roaming the rural roads of Whanganui and Rangitikei this week.

Former Wanganui Collegiate student Daniel Lee has dedicated five months to walking the length of New Zealand to fundraise for the organisation that saved his life.

He is tackling the Te Araroa trail, which stretches from Cape Reinga in the north to Bluff in the south, and which opened on December 3, 2011.

It has quickly grown into an international attraction with more than 300 people walking the track each year,about 90 per cent of them foreigners.


The 23-year-old is one of the 10 per cent committed to sucking up every ounce of beauty New Zealand has to offer. "I lived in Whanganui for five years, while I was attending Collegiate, and never explored the region's surrounding adventure," Mr Lee said.

Having survived a serious accident 17 years ago, Mr Lee decided Te Araroa was the perfect opportunity to give back to the Hawke's Bay rescue helicopter which saved his life, and he has set up a Givealittle page.

Mr Lee brought in the New Year by canoeing down the Whanganui River.

Chuffed with his efforts and a break from all the walking, he said it was the highlight of his trip so far. The advice he offered enthusiasts considering the trip was this: "Commit, don't hesitate, do it sooner, rather than later. Alternatively contemplate doing it in sections. We shouldn't take New Zealand for granted when it has soon much to offer all at our fingertips.

"I've only had three or four days of walking alone, the rest have been filled up with people I've met along the way and friends joining me for a day or two", says Mr Lee.

German couple Michael Wanger , 23, and Jo Rachel, 25, are one of the few Mr Lee has met on his walk so far.

They met in Taumarunui pre Christmas and caught up again with the couple for a night in Feilding last Tuesday.

Mr Wanger says they wanted to see New Zealand and Te Araoa seemed like the perfect opportunity.


The couple have completed all but two days without social media in order to make the most of the trip, they say.

However, Mr Wanger admitted the free WiFi at the Whanganui library was a good chance to make contact with friends and family.

Age is no excuse either, says Mr Lee, who encountered a 67-year-old Dutch man on the journey. "I have even heard of a 70-year-old Kiwi," he said.

Donations can be made at:https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/danswalk

Currently Mr Lee has raised nearly $7500 with a $10,000 goal by the end of the trip. He began his adventure on November 7 and aims to complete the trip by the beginning of April.

-More information can also be found through Mr Lee's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/walkforacause.hbrescuehelicopter/?pnref=story