About the August 10th Guest Speaker: Owen Vaughan
A little back ground…
In a nutshell it may be best to say that I am a very ordinary bloke who loves the outdoors and walked the length of New Zealand raising money for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer along the way. I took a six month break from my Engineering Consultancy business to walk the trail because I wanted to, because I could and to reflect on those no longer with us. We all have dreams and aspirations, not everyone gets the opportunity to live their dreams. Too many pass before their time...
I have been tramping in the back country since my first multiday tramping trip back in the mid-seventies. I have lived in New Zealand for the past 24 years and during that time I have completed many of New Zealand’s Great Walks & Cycle Trails. I am a member of the local Nga Tapuwai o Taneatu Tramping Club and have also been involved with the Milton Rotary Tramping Club as a volunteer leader for the past four seasons. 
My initial interest in doing a "thru walk" was sparked after reading the book "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. I first heard of the Te Araroa Trail in 2016 when I sectioned walked about 350km of the trail in the Waikato & King Country. In March 2018 I spent time camping at DOC sites along the Otago section of the Trail. I spoke to a number of TA trampers to find out more about their journey. From that point on it was a case of "when" not "if".
My planning for this trek was well underway when I attended the memorial service for yet another good friend who had passed. At the end of the service the family requested no flowers, but asked that we consider donating to a worthy cause. To this end I registered my walk with Leukaemia Blood Cancer NZ  as a Rotary Club of Whakatane fundraiser and sought support for the cause as I meandered down the length of New Zealand.
I documented my walk and maintained contact with followers via a dedicated Facebook Page titled “Same Shirt Different Day