Three cousins from Te Nehenehenui (King Country) are donning their gumboots for a good cause.
Maringi Kete, Talesha Waretini and Chalet Bidois are raising funds for Gumboot Friday by walking up four maunga over the next month in their red bands.
Gumboot Friday is a part of Mike King's I Am Hope charity, which aims to promote positive societal change over mental health and fund private care and counselling for rangatahi, stuck on waiting lists.
Kete says they decided to support Gumboot Friday because it helps rangatahi get better access to counselling and resources.
“No child deserves to suffer alone. This charity does good work and it provides them that access because they might not have cousins asI do, they might not have whānau as some of us have. That’s something that should be accessible to all people," Bidois says.
Kete says, “We thought why don’t we just put some stuff into action, climb up a few maunga, raise some funds for our rangatahi Māori."
On Saturday the cousins climbed the first maunga, Kakepuku, in Waikato.
“There were about 10 of us that walked up in our gumboots. On our way up there we got to really know each other and we talked about connections that we have through family and friends so that was pretty awesome,” says Waretini.
She says the hikoi gave everyone the opportunity to talk about their mental health journeys and why they wanted to support the kaupapa.
“Then on our way down we just talked about what changes we wanted to make for our rangatahi and planned our next hikoi.”
The cousins have set up a givealittlle page to collect donations. Their next hikoi will be on Mauao in Mount Maunganui on August 7, followed by the Hakarimata Range on August 14 then Kahurewa in Waikato on the 28th.
“Come along. Bring your whānau and friends and your gumboots.”