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May 2022 Issue
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I’m walking to detox

Former mayor Celia Wade-Brown walks as a way to detox from political life.

Wellington’s former mayor Celia Wade-Brown caught the walking bug early on.

She fondly recalls childhood walks with her mother while on holiday in the UK’s Lake District and enjoying the “fantastic” parks of London where she grew up.

Now living near Tararua Forest Park in the Wairarapa, Wade-Brown says Walk1200km has been a good reminder to keep her steps up.

“I’ve found that lots of short walks during the day can add up to as much as a long walk,” she says.

They include walks to check trap lines, to clear weeds and to plant trees on her and husband Alastair’s 250ha block of land.

The couple moved into a tiny house on the property not long after completing Te Araroa Trail in 2017.                 Wade-Brown says Te Araroa was her political detox after a hectic time in local politics, including two terms as Wellington’s mayor from 2010.

The journey taught her that walking can be done anywhere – in town or country – and that many sections of the trail are near urban areas and are easy to access.

Having founded the walking advocacy group Living Streets Aotearoa in 2002, Wade-Brown went on to join Te Araroa Trust and the Walking Access Commission board.

She also instigated the Wairarapa Walking Festival, with 30 walks planned for this year’s event in November.

Her favourite walk these days is to a log at the edge of Tararua Forest Park. She meditates by listening for birds – riroriro/grey warblers, tūī, korimako/bellbirds, kererū and miromiro/tomtits make regular appearances.

“It’s a great start to the day.”

Join Celia in walking 1200km over 12 months. Register here.