30 August 2013
Major Pat Beath prior to tramping the length of New Zealand for charity
A New Zealand soldier has been inspired to tramp the length of New Zealand for charity after witnessing first hand the effects of domestic violence.
Major Patrick Beath recently returned from a nine month deployment to the Solomon Islands where he served as the Senior National Officer (SNO) for the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).
During his deployment MAJ Beath visited a shelter for victims of domestic violence and decided to do something to help raise awareness of the problem.
Statistics show that almost two in every three women in the Solomon Islands have reported being physically or sexually abused by their partner.
"Domestic violence is a high profile problem over in the Solomon Islands, but it’s also a problem right here in New Zealand," MAJ Beath said.
So the father of one chose Safer Homes in New Zealand Every Day (SHINE) as his charity of choice and hopes to raise more than $10,000 as he tramps more than 3000 kilometres from Cape Reinga to Bluff along the Te Araroa Trail beginning tomorrow, Saturday 31 August 2013.
"My mum uses the phrase ‘think globally, act locally’ and that’s why I decided to do this for SHINE – I like their approach to providing proactive and practical help, especially for children."
Since joining the NZDF as an Officer Cadet in 1991, the Wellington man has been based in Auckland (Hobsonville), Christchurch (Burnham), Trentham, Wellington and Palmerston North. His overseas deployments have included Afghanistan, Bosnia, East Timor, Solomon Islands and West Africa (Sierra Leone).
The Te Araroa Trail has been a life goal for MAJ Beath who added the length of New Zealand walk to his ‘bucket list’ after completing a month long tramp overseas.
"The idea sprung to mind after I walked the Camino De Santiago in Spain – it was just a case of arranging five months leave to complete Te Araroa which the NZDF have been fantastic about," he said.
In preparation for the five month tramp MAJ Beath has been conditioning himself to the elements by sleeping outside his parent’s Wellington home in a hammock.
"I’m planning to hammock camp as often as I can and to be honest I get a fantastic night's rest. I’ve been using it indoors for a year now instead of a bed and I wake up feeling great, no kinks or neck pains."
The testing phase has reassured MAJ Beath that his gear will stand up to the months ahead – including 0 degrees in wind and rain.
With the testing phase over and deployments behind him, MAJ Beath said he was now ready for the psychological battle ahead.
"I’m nursing a few old injuries so I’ll have to manage those to see this through, but I’m really encouraged by all the support from family, friends and even people I’ve never met – and it’s all for a good cause."
For more information contact Maryanne Twentyman, Defence Communications Group, 021 487 980