Sunrise to sunset, it's guaranteed someone is trekking up Titirangi maunga in Gisborne.
“It’s just really awesome to see the involvement from everybody,” says local Adrienne Stewart, “it really expresses to kotahitanga here in Gisborne.”
Many of those active walkers are a part of the Titirangi Mt. Everest Challenge, an initiative driven by Sean and Fiona Shivnan 5 years ago.
“68 climbs is the challenge and that equates to the height of Mt Everest over a 7-week period,” says Sean, “and that is a real challenge to commit yourself and get up there in the morning and evening which ever time suits you. But to do it in that time frame is a big commitment.”
“It is just so mind blowing,” admits Fiona, “It’s heart-warming to see the influence it has had on our community.”
The concept has influenced 2,163 people this year, a huge rise from around 50 in 2013.
“I just think it's fantastic and hugely successful,” says CEO of Sports Gisborne Tairawhiti Stefan Pishief, “the numbers have gone from a few hundred to thousands and you can see why, people really love the kaupapa and getting fit and healthy.”
Reggie Henderson is currently leading the challenge with more than 300 climbs.
“Oh I don’t know I just do the job and get on with it and do my climb,” admits Henderson, “it's a good thing for me to be out there and I keep thinking there's a few fast trackers that will come out of the woodworks somewhere so I’m just going to keep going and do as much as I can. Mornings are the best for me so I do my climbs then, I do 6 straight up because it’s a breeze for me now.”
She's seen a few changes along the way.
“I think someone said my ass has gone, and my thunder thighs are coming down, I’m also a bit smaller in my clothes, and mostly in my face,” laughs Henderson.
Coming in at second is 69 year old Linda Anderson.
“I’ve been walking this maunga for years,” says Anderson, “last year was my first year because I was 68 last year and that was my incentive then because I had to climb it 68 times, and I joined again this year but I’m not going to do it next year because I’m getting a little too old coz I’ll be 70 then.”
The challenge concludes next Sunday, the 4th of November.