When Tane Tarlton, a 22-year-old from Auckland (and, as it happens, our Editor-in-chief’s brother-in-law), decided to embark on a mission to travel the length of New Zealand to raise $10,000 for Movember, he couldn’t have imagined the levels of love and support he would have encountered along the way. Relying on nothing more than his can-do attitude, his trusty electric scooter (laden with all the essentials, including camping equipment and an extra battery) and the kindness of strangers, Tane set off at the beginning of the month from Cape Rianga and made his way down the North Island, traversing backroads only, pulling over every few hours to charge his batteries and staying in the homes of welcoming Kiwis who opened their doors and lives to him.
Now, Tarlton is over halfway through his intrepid journey and has already surpassed his initial $10,000 goal. In fact, he has recently announced that he has raised his target to $20,000 as he sets off on his final week, travelling down the South Island towards Bluff.
With an ever-growing follower count keeping track of his progress on Instagram and TikTok, and the donations continuing to roll in on his Movember page, it’s clear that Tane’s message has hit home. In New Zealand, he says in one of his videos, three out of every four suicides are men. Historically, the culture in this country has not encouraged our men to talk about their feelings or give voice to their concerns or inner worlds and it has created a mental health crisis. It is something that Movember and its supporters have long strived to change, recognising the crucial ripple effects that mental health can have on individuals, families, communities and beyond (particularly if left unaddressed).
“Movember is a cause that’s incredibly close to my heart. As a young male in New Zealand, I’ve seen the effects of suicide and mental health, and I wanted to do my bit to make a positive change,” Tane tells us. “This e-scooter mission is my unique way of getting behind the charity to help raise awareness, inspire conversations and share a bit of love along the way. I’ve met so many kind and generous Kiwis on my travels who have welcomed me into their homes, offered me dinner, a bed for the night and a chance to charge up my scooter,” says Tane, pausing. “This journey really is proof there are so many incredible people out there willing to help if you can just find the courage to ask. It’s also a bit of fun and a good reminder there’s always an adventure waiting to happen.”
Tane’s journey is certainly inspirational. The help he has received from strangers up and down New Zealand serves as a reminder that our underlying Kiwi spirit of community, kindness and togetherness is still very much alive and well. And the support he has seen from generous donors proves how we all collectively care about these issues.
Follow along with Tane’s journey here, as he embarks on the South Island leg of his journey, and if you feel compelled, donate to his efforts here. If one thing is clear from Tane’s trip so far, it’s the immense difference that one person can truly make if they set their mind to it. While it can be so easy to feel like we don’t matter, or like the actions of just one of us could never make a significant difference, they do, and Tane Tarlton is proving it, one electric scooter charge at a time.