16 Oct 2017

The Long Way Home

From The Long Way Home, 2:00 pm on 16 October 2017

Bruce Hopkins wants to take the ashes of his dad and brother home to Rakiura/Stewart Island. He’s just taking the long way to get there. The long, long way. 

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A landscape portrait of Bruce Hopkins wearing tramping clothes and standing in a rain forest.

Bruce Hopkins. Photo: RNZ/Priscilla Northe/Striped Trees Productions.

Bruce Hopkins has a plan.

For the next five months, he wants to walk the length of New Zealand, from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island, along Te Araroa - New Zealand's Trail. 

It's a big plan, an audacious one, but it's just another bold move from a man who specialises in going all in. A mere 61 years old, Bruce Hopkins has lived several different lives, all of them unusual and none of them easy.

He's been a commercial crayfisherman in the deep waters off Cape Reinga. But he threw that in to become a contemporary dancer after watching just one rehearsal and feeling like he'd found his calling.

He later became an actor and was cast in one of the biggest movie franchises of all time; The Lord of the Rings.

He runs his own temp agency and also guides tourists around New Zealand's scenic high spots.

And now he's decided to walk the length of the country and make a podcast about the experience. It should only take him about five months of unbroken effort to complete the trail.

But this very long walk isn't all just about Bruce and what he wants to do. He's also raising money for charity, and wants to reflect on the land he was born and grew up in and about the history of his family. 

A portrait of Bill Hopkins, Bruce's dad.

Bill Hopkins, Bruce's dad. Photo: Bruce Hopkins

In this, the first episode of The Long Way Home, Bruce talks about his inspiration for walking Te Araroa and the two men whose memory will sustain him as he heads south; his dad Bill and his big brother Doug.

Doug Hopkins (left) holding his grandson Luca, with brother Bruce (right) holding his first grandson, called Charlie.

Doug Hopkins (left) holding his grandson Luca, with brother Bruce (right) holding his first grandson, called Charlie. Photo: Bruce Hopkins

The Long Way Home - whenua, whakapapa, whanau.

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Produced by Bruce Hopkins and Justin Gregory. Executive Producer Tim Watkin.

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