Have tractors, will travel

Mental health advocate Mike King stops for a talk at Farmlands Taieri yesterday during the...
Mental health advocate Mike King stops for a talk at Farmlands Taieri yesterday during the Gumboot Tractor Trek. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
He is leading a group of about 20 tractors on a 2000km journey from Bluff to Cape Reinga, to raise awareness and funds for mental health.

Mr King said the goal was to raise $5million for free counselling across New Zealand.

It had been a ‘‘heartwarming’’ experience so far and there had been a positive response from other vehicles on the road with drivers honking their horns and cheering as they passed.

The decision to stop in rural towns came after analytics from last year’s initiative showed the uptake for counselling in rural communities was down, compared to cities.

Mr King also faced a personal challenge along the way.

A motorcycle accident in January left him with nine broken ribs, a punctured lung and snapped collarbone.

"It was the first time I thought I was going to die."

He said he had to sleep upright in a chair and would do for the rest of the trip. 

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