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Walking up the slopes. To walk brisk or to walk slow?
My guess is this is purely personal preference but would love if someone has some facts! I've always been faster than average, both up and down slopes, and found it felt both easier and safer, particularly while going up since changing my natural rhythm affects my balance. That was for both days walks and up to 6 day trips, mostly in NZ, so nothing very high but often rough terrain. Of course, that is the forest and sub alpine terrain I grew up with - as soon as there is ice around I'm down to a slow pace.
Water-resistant shoes for Trekking in New Zealand
For most NZ tracks and the Kepler in particular I would recommend boots over shoes - you will want the ankle support and grip that the stiffer sole gives. Also on the Kepler you can sometimes get summer snow and will always encounter at least a little rain and mud - I'd personally much rather have waterproof boots in those sorts of conditions.