After eight months of walking from Invercargill, Stephen Brassett cruised into Warkworth on September 18, accompanied by two dogs and a micro-camper.
The 34-year-old is doing a year-long walk from Invercargill to Kaitaia and back to Wellington to promote animal welfare.
“I worked in animal shelters as a dog handler for several years, but got tired of that role and wanted to be more proactive,” Stephen says.
“I wanted to walk across NZ, educate children and promote animal welfare, so this is what I came up with.”
Stephen included Puhoi, Matakana and Mangawhai on his trip, which incorporates all SPCAs across NZ and other animal welfare facilities.
He is also stopping at a number of rural schools on his journey.
“I talk about following what inspires you and how people can communicate with animals to improve their behaviour as this problem accounts for 60 per cent of animals surrendered to shelters.”
Travelling with Stephen are his dogs Jake and Piccolo, and he is pulling ‘Charlie the Chariot’, a 100kg micro camper that he built from scratch.
“I’m quite happy with my own company so I haven’t been lonely, and all I do is sleep and eat in the camper so the small space is fine.”
He says the biggest challenge on the trip has been navigating his way through Auckland, both physically and mentally, with many people stopping him to ask questions.
“It can be quite tiring constantly answering the same questions, but I’m glad people are interested.”
His trip is also raising money for animal welfare organisations with over $3500 already contributed to his Give A Little Page.