FORMER Kiwi missionary Frank Carter and his wife Ruth last Friday completed their marathon motorcycle ride from the north to the south of New Zealand to raise money to buy an aeroplane for the Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) in Papua New Guinea.
The Carters rode into the South Island town of Bluff after riding 2,200km over two weeks from Cape Reinga to Bluff. They raised about NZ$27,000 (K54,000).
MAF is trying to raise funds to buy a new plane, which will be used in PNG for aid operations, including medivac flights.
Mr Carter had used the bike, a 1955 Scrambler, during his time in PNG in the 1960s. He left the bike behind when he, Ruth and their two daughters left in 1968.
After retiring in 2001, Mr Carter decided to fill some of his time with restoring the same model of bike. He finally found an owner in Auckland.
After driving from his home in Tauranga to view the bike, Mr Carter realised it was the exact one his family had used as their only means of transport for much of the 1960s.
“Ruth came with me. When we saw it, it brought back so many memories, because we did everything on the back of that bike for seven and a half years. To see it again was like meeting up with a member of the family,” he said.
The bike didn’t take long to restore because he had so much time on his hands as a retiree, Mr Carter said.
After finishing the restoration, the Carters began to think of how they might use the bike.
The bike had a top speed of only 80kph, meaning it was not suitable to be ridden in modern traffic, Mr Carter said.
They hatched the idea of riding the bike from the top of the country to the bottom for charity, and decided to approach MAF New Zealand.
As missionaries in PNG, the Carters had often relied on the organisation for help.
“They became a part of everything we did. They do a lot of very worthwhile work overseas,” he said.
During their two-week ride, the Carters helped raise about NZ$27,000 of the NZ$1 million needed to buy a new GA8 Airvan.
All of the donations were from individuals, with no corporate sponsorship of the ride.
“Some riders on the road have given us cheques for NZ$500,” Mrs Carter said.
Mr Carter said it felt “just great” to finally reach the tail end of the trip.
It had been a gruelling process, with each day starting at 5.30am, but it was worth it, Mr Carter said.
– The Southland Times