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New Year well-deserved chill out time for record-breaking Kiwi woman kayaker

The first woman to paddle around New Zealand in a single trip can spend New Year reflecting on her achievement after her welcome home party.

It's not just the end of the year for Lynn Paterson, it's the end of an incredible journey. Source: 1 NEWS

Auckland kayaker Lynn Paterson spent the last 432 days - since October 2015 - paddling right around the country, becoming the first woman to solo circumnavigate New Zealand in a single trip.

At the end of her incredible journey, during which she braved sharks and huge swells, Ms Paterson told 1 NEWS she was feeling "fantastic, really, really good" but her achievement "hasn't sunk in yet".

"People say to me why have I done it? I say why not. I've never wanted to climb Everest, I was happy to kayak around New Zealand," she said. 

Also along for the ride, or at least a part time paddling companion, was Ms Paterson's partner, Jason Marshall.

"She wants to go and live her dream. So I'm like 'well go and do it, 'cause what's the price of a dream?' And it took a lot longer than we thought!," Mr Marshall said.

Ms Paterson didn't do it for the record - she did it to raise awareness of mental health. And it was a challenge that tested even the toughest of temperaments.

He coach, Mike Scanlan, said he couldn't think of anybody who would contemplate doing that journey.

"It is absolutely huge. Just huge," he said.

All the time, Ms Paterson kept a blog, and supporters around the country kept an eye on what she was doing.

"Lynn's just an everyday person. And everyday people can do great things when they're really motivated and really passionate. It's quite special and she's very humble about it," said Kim Ferguson, one of those supporters. 

Days on the water were limited by the weather - Ms Paterson actually only paddled 130 days of her 14-month trip. The rest were just too rough.

"The ocean's stronger than you and if you don't get it right she definitely dumps you back and says 'there you go, take that'," she said. 

For now she's glad to be back on land and there's no plan for another ocean-going trip - just yet.


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