New Zealand 21 March: St Arnaud - Westport

A Long Running Day and The Old Ghost Road

We have a long running day ahead of us.

The route is a mix of rather deserted roads and busy highways. Most of the time we can see the river next to us.

Jo spots us on the road and offers her heartfelt support.

This photo is used for an article in Westport News.

What is that?!

An incidental meeting on the road...

We run through the beautiful countryside.

The river is there for a big part of our journey.

Just before Westport we are joined by 10 students from Buller High School.

They run with us for the last 4 kilometres.

It is always very refreshing to have runners join us.

Rata Roa and her friend also ran out from town to meet us, so they ran 8km in total!

One of the students, Ben Mokumoku, is also a very good triathlete.

It is very inspiring for us to talk to them.

The students lead us to their school where we give a presentation.

Feeling peace in the heart.

They are very good in our "country guessing game" - and we have some difficult countries like Romania and the Czech Republic!

They ask us many questions too.

Rathin from Australia offers some inspiring word on transcending our limits and doing more than we think we can. He is a 3100 mile race runner so knows a lot about that.

Adding another leaf to the Peace Tree.

Buller High School - 'Respect'

Passing the torch in the school yard; we all contribute with our wishes for peace.

The torch brings smiles to people's faces, which is something that we love!

Rata accepted our Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the school. She also thanked us for what we are doing. It is pleasure for us to get to know you all!

And we were off to another ceremony. The Old Ghost Road is being dedicated as a Peace Blossom. They have some great food prepared for us.

Buller District mayor Garry Howard and Phil Rossiter, chairman of the Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust (the trust has spent 10 years developing the Old Ghost Road), talking to one of the runners (that's ginger beer that we are having).

Natabara talking to Teresa Smith of the Westport News. She has already published an article in the afternoon edition of the News. So many people know of us because of that. Thank you, Teresa!

The mayor kindly joined us for the ceremony and started off the program by welcoming the runners to Westport.
One of the things he said was that New Zealand is very multicultural, very open. Buller District has 53 nationalities!
He also said that Phil and his team do fabulous work - a small bunch of volunteers with huge hearts. He then added: "If you get a chance to come back to New Zealand I highly recommend you come and do the Old Ghost Road. Thank you very, very much for your visit we really appreciate you making the effort and what you are doing to symbolise actual peace work."

Garry gave each of the runners a Buller District badge – which are usually for people who have been living here for over 35 years – or for people who just run through ☺, as he added. It means that you are a special citizen and you are part of Buller District. Thank you so much for making us your own!

Phil Rossiter receives the Torch Bearer award for his work to make this world a more harmonious place.

The Old Ghost Road is being dedicated as a Peace Blossom. The Peace Blossoms project is introduced by Vajin Armstrong, who happens to be a course record holder for the 85km long Old Ghost Road race (in just 6h 53 minutes!!). He is also a keen Peace Runner.
The Peace Blossoms project was started in 1986 by Sri Chinmoy. Peace Blossoms serve as a constant reminder of our need for striving and working for peace. They are places where people can go and experience for themselves the feeling of peace and tranquillity.

Vajin said: "This track for me represents everything that is good in the world. It is about people sharing their part of the world with other people, doing things with heart, doing things with love and doing things with generosity. I think everyone that comes off this track feels a little bit different and better. We are very happy that The Old Ghost Road is becoming part of the worldwide Peace Blossoms project."

This is the plaque that says the Old Ghost Road has become a Peace Blossom. Phil said they will replicate the plaque because people start from both ends and they want them think about what they are embarking on before they actually begin.

Phil also said: "The more we looked into what the Peace Blossom program is about, the more we understood the incredible importance of it and it felt like something we really had to do and we would do with great pride.
It won’t be just a plaque that sits underneath a tree, it will inspire us to think a little bit more deeply about how we can influence and set a tone. Like Vajin said, the Old Ghost Road is a place where people do change the pace of life, do think a little bit deeper about what’s important and do come off affected or changed in some way. It is an amazing privilege for us to watch and see this. Thank you all for doing what you are doing, thank you for coming."
Thank you, Phil, for this deep understanding.

The mayor Garry Howard, Phil and some of his team, Vajin and the Peace Run team.
Thank you for this very beautiful and touching ceremony.

A bamboo bike

To cool off after a long day we go to Carters beach for a swim. It is very beautiful and we even catch a few waves.

It is full moon time so the low tide is really low.

We do not have to cook our dinner tonight as we are very lucky to be treated to a pizza by Dexarelli’s Italian Style Pizza. Thank you so much for having us!

Our men's team stayed at Bella Vista Motel - thank you so much for your kind hospitality!

The women's team stayed at TripInn Hostel - Poppy the dog joined us for the photo. The whole place had a very homely feeling - you can even use the herbs they grow in the garden. There are more of us than expected, and you did a great job accomodating us all! Thank you so much for you kindness!