January 2024

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Everyone loves a good cycle ride, but Tui Ora whai ora Peter Holden will take it to a whole new level next month when he cycles the length of Te Wai Pounamu, all in the name of mental health! When we heard about this impressive kaupapa, we knew we wanted to hear more, so we invited Peter to Tui Ora and sat down with him for a kōrero.

“I’ve suffered depression all my life and my bike is my antidepressant. I pulled it out of the shed about 15 years ago after my wife left me and just started riding”.

The trip will take see Pete travel 1100km from Picton to Bluff, and will take him three and a half to four weeks to complete.

“If I can inspire just one person to get fit to get through their depression, that’s what I’m about. I actually did this ride 7 years ago but took a wrong turn onto Arthur’s Pass and ended up in Dunedin!”

This time around, he is aiming to average 50–60kms of cycling per day, which will see him ride for around 3–4 hours at a time, the same as he did on his last trip. He is however facing the difficulty of a shoestring budget. Having just set up a Givealittle page, Peter is trying to generate interest and raise some putea to support the trip. “I’m trying to fundraise but nobody wants to know unless you have a big name like Richie McCaw attached to it. I get $200 a week which breaks down to about $25-$30 per night at a campsite”.

Pete has been with Tui Ora for 8 years and has linked up with our own kaiarahi Tu Manaia to access resources which have provided funds for a tent, helmet, and shoes for the ride. “It’s real cool” he says “I crashed pretty bad 6 months ago and broke my collarbone. There’s screws and a plate in there now so I have to be a bit careful with it”.

Peter is doing plenty of training in preparation, riding around 50–60kms a day around Bell Block way. “I stay off the Coastal Walkway and just focus on the roads as I’m more into road riding. It’s usually a lot quieter so I do some circuits out there. This trip I’ll be doing entirely on the road, except for the West Coast Wilderness trail. It goes on for about 4 days, but is only 125km so I’ll be able to knock that out in a day or a day and a half, easy!”

While Peter is confident he has the physical strength for the journey, state of mind is always a consideration of its own. “That mental strength is hard when you’re on the road, but it’s all fun. South Island people are so friendly, there’s no road rage, everyone’s nice and keen to hear about what I’m doing, asking questions and that. The roads are a lot better too, not as many cars or potholes”.

Peter reckons it’s all about paying it forward. “If I can inspire someone to even just get off their couch and do some fitness to help their mind, that’s all cool. I’m 57 now so I’m getting old, but I can still do it!”

We’re proud to hear that Tui Ora has been in Peter’s corner for his endeavour. “I tried to do it for mental health awareness but no one was really keen. I feel really well supported by Tui Ora, it’s awesome that they’re so in to it”.

Having set up the fundraising page, Peter is not quite sure what to expect, but is determined to get the job done. “I’m not sure if anyone will donate to the Givealittle page put hopefully someone might help me. If they don’t, I’ll just do it anyway. If I have to sleep in a farmer’s paddock it’s all good. I’ll be taking heaps of photos”.

Ka rawe Peter! We are so pleased to see the spirit of adventure in your kaupapa and will be keen to hear how you get on!

Here’s the link to Pete’s Givealittle page for the trip. Donate generously!(external link)

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