Kelvin Davis recuperating after seven marathons in seven days

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Kelvin Davis (second left) setting off from Awanui School on the first of his seven marathons in seven days.
Kelvin Davis (second left) setting off from Awanui School on the first of his seven marathons in seven days.

Kelvin Davis doesn't have a dog, and if he did it would have had no show of going walkies on Sunday.

The Te Tai Tokerau MP was at home in Kaitaia, contemplating, with no great enthusiasm, a walk from the lounge to the kitchen.

Mr Davis' feet were badly blistered after seven marathons in seven days, with a small group of supporters, starting each day at Awanui School and taking in three laps of Kaitaia before returning to the start point.

Saturday was a little shorter - a walk into Kaitaia and a visit to the market. And while his feet were causing him considerable grief, he said they would heal much more quickly than the harm done to the victims of sexual violence.

This was the second time he had taken to the road to encourage people to speak out about sexual violence, a process that he accepted would take some time.

"It's about changing hearts, one small step at a time," he said.

"It's about raising awareness, and I think we did that. We certainly got people talking.

People saw us, they knew what we were doing, and hopefully they began thinking about the message that the victims of sexual violence, and the people who know about it, need to speak out."

Kaikohe had done a very good job, he added, with more people from the community getting involved there, walking six kilometres per day to complete a marathon over the seven days.

"Whether there were four or 40 of us, we did get people thinking," he said.

"I know sexual violence isn't going to stop overnight, but I want people to start talking. I want victims to know there are places they can go for help, that there are people who want to help them.

The media had been supportive too, from the Northland Age and Te Hiku in Kaitaia to TVNZ's Breakfast programme.

"It's been bloody hard but well worth it ... People know what we are doing and we're not naive, we know sexual violence will not be eradicated overnight but this is about raising awareness and that's what we're doing," he said.

While his feet were sore, his pain could not be compared with the lifetime pain suffered by victims of sexual violence.

He had been accompanied by Russell Smith, from Korowai Tumanako, Flossie Drake and other organisations, and by students from Kaitaia College and Primary and a party of pre-schoolers.

They had also stopped at Kaitaia College and Pompallier Catholic School to talk to the students.

"Someone pulled up alongside the road and said it's a great kaupapa," he said.

"A lady stopped us in McDonald's when we stopped to have a feed and said, 'I saw your blisters on Facebook'."

He would be pursuing his campaign again next year, although he had yet to decide on the format.

"Last year there was one group, this year there were three. Maybe next year there will be more," he said.

"We might take a new tack next year, but whatever we do we will be repeating the same message."

- Northland Age

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