It’s been a few weeks since Victoria and Emilie walked into Bluff, after walking 2,200km over six months. Along the way, they have been raising funds for FMC and the Mental Health Foundation, connecting advocacy for mental health and wellbeing with the protection of our access to Aotearoa’s wild places.

This week, FMC president Jan Finlayson has received Victoria and Emilie’s donation of $10,000 to FMC. Jan says:

“Federated Mountain Clubs is a voice for New Zealand’s backcountry and Kiwis’ collective and individual belonging in our wild lands.

Victoria and Emilie have been sterling ambassadors for FMC’s kaupapa. They’ve met nature on its own terms. They’ve taken the challenges, exhilaration, solitude, and fellowship that the hills give. They’ve made an extraordinary journey, literally and in personal ways.

Our backcountry gives all New Zealanders the chance to strengthen and grow, not just in body, but in mind. Victoria and Emilie’s three-way relationship with FMC and the Mental Health Foundation puts nature’s restorative powers up in lights.

Victoria’s eloquent dispatches from Te Araroa will continue to inspire people to take first or next steps in the backcountry, maybe travel the Trail, or even join an outdoor recreation club.

For young people growing up in times routinely described as ‘uncertain’, Emilie’s journey stands like a beacon for living simply and in command of yourself. For Emilie herself, it will be a life-long reference point. Emilie, you are an awesome champion for the backcountry!

My heartfelt gratitude goes to Victoria and Emilie for the huge sum they’ve raised for FMC and for their over- and above generosity to FMC generally.”

     Outgoing FMC President Jan Finlayson thanks Victoria and Emilie Bruce


Victoria and Emilie walked Te Araroa over the 2021/2022 summer season. Along the way, they have been raising funds and telling stories about the mental health benefits of time spent in the wild places of New Zealand, as well as the importance of protecting those areas for future generations to enjoy.

Here on our Wilderlife blog, we have collated Victoria’s diaries, photos and videos into digests, with each post spanning a section of Te Araroa.