Walking the Routeburn Track in New Zealand’s South Island is a dream for many -- but for some it is a family legacy.
Descendants of Sir Thomas Mackenzie have been walking in his footsteps over the last few years, and yesterday (Tuesday March 12) it was the turn of two of his great granddaughters to complete the trip.
Neither Robin Richards nor Tricia Scott had done the Routeburn Track before, but this week the first cousins came together (Robin from Washington DC and Tricia from Geraldine) to complete the walk.
“When Robin said she was coming to walk the track I said I was coming too,” Tricia said.
Both are well aware of their great grandfather’s legacy in the South Island. He was an avid explorer of the region and many of the landmarks on the Routeburn and Milford Tracks were named either by him or for him, the most well known being Lake Mackenzie on the Routeburn Track and Ultimate Hike’s Lake Mackenzie Lodge, the first nights’ stop on the Routeburn Track Guided Walk.
Robin’s brother Bruce and niece Kiri, also from the US, walked the track in 2011, as did their second cousin Margaret Mackenzie-Hooson, Sir Thomas’s granddaughter. All of them have a great respect for the landscape and the environment.
Sir Thomas Mackenzie was Scottish, and settled first in Balclutha where he had a successful business before becoming a politician and New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Britain. He was a keen explorer and pushed for the construction of the Routeburn Track, believing tourism offered the best opportunity for conserving the wilderness.
His foresight has given New Zealanders and travellers from all over the world the opportunity to experience the beauty that he saw, still protected over 120 years later, and a wonderful legacy for his family and future generations to explore.