Te Araroa - April 2009 Update

Postby Melissa_Theuriau on Thu 23/Apr/09 9:23am

Te Araroa is a project aimed at creating a 3,000km Long Pathway allowing people to walk the length of New Zealand. You can find out more information on their website: http://www.teararoa.org.nz.

Compatibility with the Cycleway proposal
After news of the proposed NZ-long cycleway broke at February’s Employment Summit, a lot of people talked loosely about bikes following Te Araroa’s route. The idea got huge media attention as something new . . . so we’d like to set the record straight. Great idea, and good luck to its proponents, but it’s largely incompatible with what Te Araroa is doing.

All up the parts of the trail suitable for bikes is around 8% of the 3000km total distance. Much of Te Araroa is coast, which means sand and salt. Much of it is in land which was historically too steep to farm and so has become part of the public estate – it’s rugged. And down on the agricultural lands, there are fences galore where we put in stiles, and access agreements with farmers which tend to specifically exclude bikes - they frighten stock.

We put in a paper to the Employment Summit that outlined ways for the Government to create employment. We have 31 shovel-ready projects at a total costing of $6 million which, once they’re done, would pretty much put the track in place. At present only some of these 31 projects have a budget. Where we have good budgets – and those ample budgets are comparatively few – we usually have professional contractors at work. Where the budgets are less generous – and that’s mostly the case – you’ll find usually just one skilled Te Araroa employee leading a small band of volunteers. And sometimes it’s just volunteers.

Help fund some of these 31 shovel ready projects and get your name on a virtual boardwalk as part of the 200 X $200 Campaign to get the 3000 km New Zealand north – south walking trail completed by 2010. Every dollar helps.

North Island Walked in 50 days
Te Araroa Southland regional chair Lloyd Blakie lost 13.5kgs and gained a new understanding of the need for good signage while completing the Te Araroa’s North Island section in 50 days.

With support from his wife Jessie in a caravan Lloyd and fellow walker Dene Cole averaged 31km a day with no rest days, carrying 7kg packs and returning to their mobile beds each night for a home-cooked meal. Their longest day saw them complete close to 50kms going into Wellington via Paekakariki. Their shortest was in the Omahuta Forest in Northland when they “got bushed” and spent six hours trying to find the track.

“There are some mighty good tracks in there,” says Lloyd. “I guess one thing that impressed itself was the need for good directional signage and information. It’s so different when you are not a ‘local’.
“It’s given me a much better idea of what we need to do around Riverton (on the Longwood Track),” he says. “We are now going to line someone up to do some serious track marking.”

Lloyd has taken a break to attend a wedding in Fiji, and will resume walking the South Island later in the year. Tramping mate Dene, undeterred by a nasty fall which took him to the Te Kuiti A & E with a gashed arm, is continuing his trek in the upper South Island.

Generous Gift at Puhoi
Puhoi property owner Maureen Brophy is gifting her river esplanade to help form a new Te Araroa walkway. Her contribution of land will comprise approximately 700 metres of track and is a significant link in the proposed Puhoi to Wenderholm project.

Maureen grew up in Puhoi and has very fond memories and strong ties with the local community. Although she has lived in Whakatane for 38 years, she is keen to be kept abreast of local developments.

She said: “I think Te Araroa is a wonderful idea – it’s something I really believe in. As well, Puhoi is a lovely village and this walkway will eventually become a great asset.”

Te Araroa’s Northland manager Fiona Mackenzie said that developing any track is like doing a very difficult jigsaw. “Maureen’s donation is a significant piece of the puzzle and really pushes things along. Generosity like this is so heartening to everyone involved with Te Araroa (a charitable trust) and brings our vision of a Cape Reinga to Bluff route so much closer.”

The Rodney District Council is looking at helping Te Araroa by handling all legal documentation associated with this gift.

The Doers are our Heroes
Walkers on the Matapouri Bush track are a little safer this week. Local man, Clayton McInnes noticed a large wasp nest on the track and was concerned children walking with their parents might get stung. As he was the only person he could think of silly enough to wander about in the bush at night annoying wasps, he took it on himself to deal to the nest.

“I live near the track entrance and I often see cars parked at the start, maybe going to see the giant kauri Tane Moana which is up the track,” says Clayton, who does predator trapping over 2500 ha for the Tutukaka Landcare Coalition (T.L.C.). These fit and caring people are doing a great job in helping to preserve kiwi and other birds in the area.

So next time you are on any of our tracks, give thanks for the people out there doing their bit to make our walks more enjoyable. Te Araroa relies heavily on volunteers – people who just get on and do what has to be done.

If helping with Te Araroa in your area holds appeal for you, contact info@teararoa.org.nz and we’ll put you in touch with your nearest regional trust. They just might be able to use an extra hand!

Donate to Te Arora here: https://www.teararoa.org.nz/donate/index.cfm
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