Kiwi Notches up Another First in North Korea
New Zealander Roger Shepherd is this week guiding a small group of Norwegians and Australians on a pioneering camping trek in the mountains of North Korea.
“New Zealanders have gained a reputation for trail-blazing firsts in North Korea,” comments Peter Wilson, Secretary of the NZ DPRK Society.
In 2006, Tim Kearns from Christchurch became the first Westerner to teach in a North Korean School.
In 2012 Roger Shepherd became the first foreigner permitted to explore and photograph North Korean peaks in the Baekdu Daegan central mountain chain.
In 2013 the Morgan motorcycle team became the first to ride the length of North Korea, across the DMZ and the length of South Korea. This opened the door for another first in 2015, when 30 international women crossed the DMZ on a peace walk.
Since 2010 Shepherd has been operating a guided hiking tour company in South Korea and has now been authorized by the Pyongyang authorities to do the same in the North.
Wilson says the fact that Shepherd has been welcomed by the government to operate his commercial tours is a good example of the changes that are taking place within the North Korean economy. “They are keenly looking forward to peace and are preparing themselves for the day when they can fully participate in the global marketplace,” he says.
The second North Korean Hiking Trek has been scheduled for 20th September.