Page 8

guardian the


Spirit to help Marie during trek Stories in the Park

TIM O’CONNELL A desire to address poverty through sustainable methods has led twenty one year old Marahau resident Marie Palzer to saddle up for a half year excursion around some of New Zealand’s wildest terrain. On January 25 Marie and her trustee horse Spirit are heading off an a horse back adventure to circumnavigate around the South Island on a fundraiser she calls Hoofing Around for Change, with the money raised going towards Tear Fund Enterprise and Empowerment programs in Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and India. These include selfhelp groups that empower and equip men and women through training and technical assistance, connecting venerable communities to existing financial and economic services through training and advocacy, enabling and promoting sustainable business activities and social entrepreneurship and investing in poor rural communities to enable them to generate sustainable agriculture livelihoods. Each project works to create environmentally sustainable and disaster resilient land and water resources to ensure communities can become economically secure. Having been exposed to various levels of poverty through

Leaving her home in Marahau on January 25, Twenty one year old Marie Palzer and her horse Spirit will embark on a trek circumnavigating the South Island to raise money for Tear Fund projects overseas. The journey is expected to take six months. her education studies, Marie has become acutely aware of how important sustainable enterprise “The thing is, there are ways out available to us in New Zealand but not so much overseas,” she reasons. While Marie has a lifelong affinity to horses and is a regular trekker through the hills and tracks that surround her small piece of paradise, the longest journey she has undertaken to date has seldom gone more than a couple of nights. Nonetheless, Marie believes that the amount of training and preparation that has been put into her endeavour leaves her

in good position to ace the challenge ahead of her, meeting her fundraising goals in the process. Support from regional business has also helped out thus far, with Richmond Saddlery, Tasman Canvas, Back Country foods and Oringi donating equipment to make life easier for both Marie and Spirit on their journey. Most importantly, the trust placed in her equine companion is enough to warrant spending the next six months together, with just a tent and cooker for company, save for the odd night on a rural station as she reaches the Otago High Country. “He’s a cool dude

and a real power package,” Marie says of Spirit. Presently putting in some long summer hours at the Fat Tui Café and a local kayak company, Marie believes that at the age of 21 the time is right to do something of this magnitude, even if means a long separation from boyfriend Callum who won’t be joining her on the trip. Now just a few days out from her departure, initially heading across to Golden Bay and Wharariki Beach before back tracking to Murchison on the road to the West Coast and beyond, Marie admits the butterflies are beginning

to take hold, although not from any trepidation. “It has been a long journey to get to this point,” she says. “I’ve had the one sleepless night, but overall I’m just really excited.” To follow Marie as she makes her way around the South Island, go to: around/?fref=ts. https://givealittle. Marie adds that all donations will have a positive ripple effect for many generations to come.

True Stories Told Live’s biggest event of the year, Stories in the Park took place on 19 December at Decks Reserve, and despite the strong, cold winds, there was a good turnout. The Park was transformed into festive space, with young and old playing ball games or tug of war on one side of the park while live music was performed on the other side, with the busy footstalls set up along the edge. The stage was located in the centre, against the backdrop of the Kiyosato Garden and the tall flags and all the bunting crated a real festival atmosphere. Later in the evening, people settled in front of the stage for the Karakia, followed by the first story of the evening. Eight Storytellers shared 9 true, personal stories relating to the theme ‘Gimme Shelter. The event was recorded and the first half of the programme was broadcast on Fresh FM last week, with the second part scheduled to air on 29th January at 3pm and the following day at 5pm. If you missed it last week, you can get it as podcast on the homepage of Fresh FM. The next ‘True Stories Told Live’ event will be on 18 March at the Chanel Arts Centre. To find out more, visit

Members of the audience show their appreciation to the partners of Stories in the Park, by signing the logo board.

20 january 2016  
20 january 2016