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Youngest ever walker completes Te Araroa

The Gerlach family have completed Te Araroa. Photo; Supplied

A wrap of the biggest stories and best writing about the outdoors from New Zealand and around the world.

A young family of five have walked 2300km of Te Araroa Trail.

The Gerlach family of Tom and Deanna, with kids Juno, 12, Joplin, 10, and Goldie, 6, departed Cape Reinga on November 21 and reached Bluff on May 18, Stuff reports.

Goldie, who was five when the family started, is thought to be the youngest person to walk the trail.

The Gerlach family skipped highways and two bush sections due to safety concerns, but plan to complete the bush sections later this year.

“We just wanted to do something really amazing with the kids, before the oldest goes to high school, and we felt like the youngest was ready for it,” mum Deanna said.

“[Goldie is] a particularly strong, resilient and adventurous little person. She’s not your average six-year-old.”

The family walked for 130 days, and enjoyed 47 rest days along the way.

Sentencing for man who breached kauri dieback rahui

The West Auckland man convicted of breaching the kauri dieback rahui has received sentencing.

Robert Armitstead was found guilty in March of entering closed tracks in the Waitākere Ranges. He has been ordered to pay $5700 and pay court costs of $130, SunLive reports.

“For council this was a serious and deliberate breach of the bylaw; the offending occurred not once but three times,” Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said.

“In prosecuting this case, we were looking to the court to send a strong message that flouting rules in place to stop the spread of kauri dieback presents unacceptable risks to the survival of kauri and has consequences.”

The prosecution is the first of its kind.

Tragedy strikes Chinese ultramarathon

Extreme weather has left 21 ultramarathon runners dead in Gansu Province, China.

The runners, dressed only in shorts and t-shirts, died after freezing rain and high winds caught them out on the 100km mountain race. Eight others are in hospital, the New York Times reports.

Event organiser Zhang Xuchen apologised on a televised news conference.

“We feel deeply guilty,” he said. 

“We express our sorrow for the victims and our deep condolences to the families of the victims and the injured.”

The truth about mountain tourism

Mountain guide Will Gadd has penned an open letter on the dangers of mountain tourism.

“If I can and do get surprised regularly by the mountains, how am I going to keep you and us safe?” he wrote for Explore magazine.

“I can’t. If we go into the mountains we are taking a larger-than-daily-life risk. The only way to totally avoid that is to not go.

“I mean this. I really can’t keep us – you or me – completely safe. That’s my painfully learned truth after thousands of personal and professional days in the mountains. Days sometimes end badly, even with the best practices and motivations.”

Beech mast predicted for summer

NIWA has predicted a beech mast may be on the way this summer.

A warmer than usual March has increased the chances of seeding next summer in southern Fiordland, North Otago, South Westland, North Canterbury, and central North Island.

While masts provide more food for native species, they can also fuel a spike in predator numbers, which can be devastating for native fauna, if unmanaged.

DOC will factor NIWA’s climate modelling into its predator control programme, and its response may see delays in other planned predator control work.