Strolling with Himi Horikoshi By Mark Hayhow

The Institute of Sport Physiotherapy’s ethos “We believe in the power of movement and activity, let’s get you there” inspired this blog series. I intend to place an individual whether it be an experienced Surfer or novice Free-Style Dancer alongside myself as participant/fly-on the-wall with you the reader front and centre of a Movement and/or Activity-Based practice. Upon completion an interview shall reveal what drives our unlikely hero in their favoured pursuit? and ultimately what power & emotion surfaces simply in the act of doing.  

let’s ease then into our series with a light stroll led by Shiatsu Massage Therapist/Model Himi Horikoshi; its Wednesday 15th January 2020 we are about to meet in Cornwall Park “a lush landscape gifted by Sir John Logan Campbell to New Zealand in 1901” under blistering “Tiffany Blue” skies at precisely 1:54pm.

But before we do…

Its 12:33pm and and via facebook Messenger Himi has kindly suggested we meet at the Cornwall Park Rotunda @ 2:00pm. The message includes a thoughtful link with map & simplistic legend of the park included. I pull into the carpark adjacent to Twin Oaks Drive at 1:46pm. Phone at the ready we calibrate our positions with a series of photo’s sent back & forth a light game of cat & mouse. It is here at 1:54pm that we begin Himi the victor is the first to pounce grinning ear to ear attired in active wear, sunglasses and cap and the most infectious kind of got-ya-grin. In contrast I’m jumpy, sweltering and weighed heavy in lumpy cross train shoes perfect for tricky surfaces and the elevation to the 182-meter giddy peak of One Tree Hill. I’m overly hydrated with a sweet heady mix of liquid BCAA’s (Branch chain Ammino Acids) that will keep me well nourished under the most demanding conditions. At that we fall into an easy stroll under no harsh or demanding conditions what so ever. Himi the guide.

over here

The weather a snug 23 degrees Himi expertly suggests a pleasing route under the shade of the Coast Redwood and Horse Chestnut trees near the Bistro carpark. A photo from her capture’s me unaware, a wise move as one’s wits should surely be at the ready, I remind myself.

The photo incident well behind us now we venture towards “the much-admired” group of Gingko Trees found between Pohutukawa Drive and the Park Café the strong aroma of freshly laid fertilizer holds us at a short distance where we expertly speculate on the benefits of the leaf’s extract’s and so on.

“much admired” Gingko Tree

Satisfied our knowledge of this species is complete our sights fix upon one of the many stone walls scattered throughout the park that offer comforting distraction and recreation to lean and ruminate against. Himi eloquently pontificates to my benefit that the park though very natural is man-made, its care and overall harmony depends on the array of park custodian. Cheers to that I say well said.

Stone Wall

Our curiosity barely quenched Himi navigates a short slight-of-hand detour that brings us under the soaring Oaks that line Twin Oaks Drive. We fall into a majestic saunter “The Farm” home to 600 sheep, 60 cows and 2 full time farmers our stage. The south east “Farm gate” lean-to the perfect vantage to catch the cows at peak feeding and judge best-in-show.

Best in show

Show over and cows retiring to slumber Himi gestures to an area of the park at the most south western end and adjacent to the Auckland Archery Club that offers a splendid view across New Zealand’s second largest harbour the mighty Manukau an area that features a remarkable symmetry of pine’s in which to admire, rest or reorientate ones route. In our instance an improvised pine cone gathering amusement serves sufficient distraction.


It was here pinecone at the ready I put to Himi a number of questions in relation to “The power of movement and activity”.

Q: Himi what movement or activity-based pursuit do you most enjoy?

A: I do love Walking. Though I prefer the term Strolling as opposed to say Powerwalking. Strolling allows me to relax “smell the flowers” so to speak and take my time. I don’t feel the need to go the same way all the time so in that sense I love the freedom of Strolling.

Q: Do you walk every day?

A: Almost, even rainy days. I like to think on rainy mornings that “I’m not like sugar I and I won’t melt”. I like the variety of people attracted to the outdoors in the rain you are amongst some very passionate Walkers, Runners and a variety of people training.

Q: Do you take photo’s when you come out?

A: Yes

Q: Do you like to share the photo’s with people?

A: Yes though for close friends or family and simply creating and saving memories for myself. I do notice when revisiting the photo’s that I have taken in the exact same walking location that the passage of time and weather has a way of creating a different place In that sense I feel a part of nature.

Q: What emotions do you feel while strolling?

A: A “gentle warm soup” best describes though I feel an overall tranquillity. I can see very clearly and my senses are strong.

Q: Do you listen to music while you stroll?

A: Sometimes. If I do listen to music, I prefer Ambient music. I don’t like to wear headphones so I will play music from my phone at a small volume in my pocket while I walk. I feel its less enveloping and I still feel engaged with my surroundings.

Q: What is your favorite movie/ book or piece of popular culture that features walking? 

A: Wow a movie about walking! I did read a book “Norwegian Wood” they walk a lot.

Q: Any thing else you would like to add that may help readers?

A: I do recommend Strolling locally. I feel when we drive we miss so many details that only a stroll can offer like the many picturesque views and beautiful gardens. I can only suggest to Start slowly. Both nature and people offer up such beautiful things.