New Zealand 27 February: Opotiki - Hicks Bay

Peace on the East Cape!

Our 2021 New Zealand Peace Run began with a great nights accommodation, generously donated by the Tirohanga Beach Motor Camp in Opotiki. Thank you so much to Emma and Julie for their warm welcome! Located right beside the ocean, it was the perfect place to prepare ourselves for the scenic ocean side running splendor to come!

Our first friend of the day was Lincoln. He has the best home ever- right beside the beach, and he was the embodiment of enthusiastic oneness-support of the Peace Run- Thank you Lincoln!!

Mandra soaking in the surroundings.

White Island was in close view for most of the day- a solemn reminder to have great respect for the power of Mother Nature.

On reaching the small settlement of Omaio, we were delighted to meet Lena, who manages Highway 35 Groceries and Takeaways. Her dedication and devotion to serving the local community was incredibly inspiring! This store is the only one in Omaio, and when it was closed for several years, she saw people suffer. It is run as a non-profit service and as well as providing a local store, it serves as an important hub for people to connect, and also has bins for people to provide or be supplied with donated produce, and so much more. Thank you Lena for sharing your giant service-heart with us all!

The men's team caught up with the women's team in Omaio and took over the running.

Raukokore's iconic Christ Church is a must-stop-at landmark of East Cape. It was designed and built by architect Duncan Stirling in 1894, who married the local Raukokere chief, Mihi Kotukotuku. The history of the church is fascinating.
Interestingly, the incredibly tiny settlement of Raukokore is the birthplace of renown New Zealand film director, Taika Waititi.

These two women were the support crew for the husband of one of them, who was about to finish the Kopiko Aotearoa, a multi-day off trail cycle route from East Cape to Cape Egmont, which covers 1000km of unsealed roads, off trail bike tracks and steep hill sections.

Meeting sweet friends along the way!

Beautiful sweeping bays and densely forested hills were our view along the way.

A big thank you to the Hicks Bay Motel Lodge for providing the whole team with a great nights accommodation including the most exquisite views!

The lodge is owned by local Kiwi legendary runner, John Campbell, who set the New Zealand Masters Marathon Record, running 2:11:04 at the age of 41 in the 1990 Boston Marathon. Although he was away this time, when the Peace Run came through Hicks Bay in 2010, John kindly met with the team.

Nature’s beauty helps us
To be as vast as possible,
As peaceful as possible
And as pure as possible.
-Sri Chinmoy