The Journey So Far…
VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai, is an independent advocacy service based in New Zealand and is the biggest in the world of its kind dedicated to young people in care. VOYCE is designed to facilitate the voices of care experienced young people and is aimed at inspiring change in the culture of professional thinking to be open minded about the voices of young people.
This is the charity I’m raising funds for because I believe in the kaupapa and I understand the state care system as it was prior to its newly established children’s ministry, The Ministry for Vulnerable Children – Oranga Tamariki.
To contend with the stigma against children in care by providing them with an organisation that projects their voices.
So thank you for being involved in my bike ride. This is a quick update on everything about the tour and everything that you might be interested in knowing about. We’ll start with:
The bike ride
What it’s for
Why I’m doing it
So… What bike ride?
So when I say long distance bike ride people generally translate that into a motorized bike that uses petrol and revs to 100 kilometers an hour but that’s not the case today. The ride is on my Giant road bike that will be powered by my legs and fuelled by hot mince dairy pies and cheap knock off protein bars.
So on Monday the 10th of this July I set off from Wellington and ride for 7 days until I ride the length of the North Island of New Zealand (1100km). Obviously I’m not doing it completely alone so I’ll have different support cars driving different segments of the ride the entire time.
The ride sets off from Wellington as aforementioned. This is where I meet up with my first support car driven by a lovely lady named Natasha. The ride then follows the West coast along state highway one and connects through to Whanganui for the night. Bare in mind that if you visit my givealittle page all of the information will be available and regular updates will be posted both for safety and awareness.
The second day will be another long day and will ride through to New Plymouth via Patea, Hawera, Stratford and Inglewood. This is where we play Poi E as we pass through Patea. Once reaching New Plymouth my first support car will head back to Wellington.
The third day will be met with a few challenges. New Plymouth is where I meet my second support crew who will be helmed by my mate Luke. The concerns are the two hilly sections: Mount Messenger and The Awakino gorge. This is where I have signalled it be too dangerous for me to ride because of heavy traffic travelling between the Taranaki district and Hamilton/Auckland. Which means that virtually I’d be starting my ride instead from a place called Piopio. Beyond this I will then ride the remaining 160km until reaching Hamilton. This is where my.second support car will be heading home again.
On the fourth day of Christmas, just kidding. I head off from Hamilton. This will be with the support of my third and final support vehicle driven by my mate Andrew who will be accompanying me for the rest of the trip. After leaving Hamilton I will then wiggle around through Auckland traffic until I reach Penrose/Ellerslie, where I stay for two nights…
Day five will be spent resting and it will also be a cool opportunity for me to catch up with some of the people who work for VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai, and have a chance to see their new office space in Mt Eden.
On day six we get back into the daily grind again. Leaving North Shore, Birkenhead and travelling north all the way up the east coast until reaching Whangarei where I will undoubtedly be grumpy, sore and tired. Sorry Andrew.
Day seven is judgement day. I ride from Whangarei bright and early to connect through to Whangaparaoa where there is this massive hill, and I mean massive. This is the hill that I’ll be complaining about for the next few days but I’ll give it everything I’ve got! Beyond the mountain is about 30km of riding before I make it to Kaitaia.
On day eight hopefully me and Andrew will have time just quickly to run to Cape Reinga, which is the North most place in the North Island of New Zealand. This is where I get to pose and pull dabs at the lighthouse with the point in which two oceans meet in the background of my wicked dabbing skills. After dabbing we will then drive back down south to Auckland, I then say goodbye to Andrew and thank him hugely for the enormous support, and then fly back home to Wellington.
What it’s for.
So the ride as I said earlier is to raise funds for the charity advocacy service VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai but its also to raise the awareness of it to all people. I want people to know what VOYCE is so that I can inspire other children in care to speak up and have a say in the current state of the care system. This is the first time we have ever had the voice to tell a minister what to do. This is the first time ever the adult world has to action the voices of care experienced young people. They have asked, we have informed, and now they’re actioning and that is evident in the formation of VOYCE, that is evident in the formation of the youth advisory panel, one of which I am a member of, which advises the minister of social development, Anne Tolley. That is evident in the Bill that is being passed this weekend in parliament which evaluates the legal commitment that the government and all New Zealanders will have to abide by.
So I guess I also answered the why question in there too. I’m doing this because i am care experienced and have experienced what being a youth advocate is like. The reason why I’m raising awareness of VOYCE is so that one day another young person will pick up the slack and bring their expertise into the fray. Ultimately it’s about consistent advocacy and not one brown kid jumping on his bike every year because he wants to make lots of noise (me).
We have to keep being the change. We have to consistently update the culture of the adult world and provide insight into ways in which we can help change things. The “we” in that statement doesn’t necessarily mean just people who’ve come from care experienced backgrounds but it means everyone willing to hold our leaders accountable in a respectful and productive way that ensures that one day every child in care will be speaking up.
So that’s the bike ride. If you want me to know what you think please drop a comment below
If you want to visit my givealittle page for more ways you can support me you can follow my link below.
Please keep updated with the ride. There’s gonna be heaps of coverage for this. I’ll make sure to keep you in the loop. Givealittle is the primary source of updates for each leg of the trip. There will be daily updates and a video, once finished, setup to evaluate the ride from my perspective and the possibility for YouTube live updates each day mid ride.
So thank you for that and as always…
Thanks for checking in!