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Invitation to join the Mahurangi Coastal Trail 100

by | 13 Jul 2015 | Coastal trail, Regional parks | 0 comments

Arial, Waiwera–Mahurangi

Overused to the Underused: This image has been shamelessly overused by the Mahurangi Magazine, on account of its ability to portray the opportunity for a greenway-connected coastline. The only improvement would for the shot to be taken from a slightly more eastward vantage, so as to include all of Maungatauhoro, the Wenderholm bluff, and iconic Mahurangi Island. Mahurangi Coastal Trail will connect one of the most used parks, Wenderholm, with one of the least used, Te Muri, by an undemanding 20-minute walk. image ImageShack

There will only ever be one, Mahurangi Coastal Trail one hundred.

In one hundred years’ time, the 100 visionaries who, on 1 November 2015, pledged to support the bid to make the Mahurangi Coastal Trail the Auckland Regional Parks 50th anniversary, legacy project, will be the same recorded 100 years hence—an individual legacy of which to be justifiably proud.

A week before Christmas, Auckland Council will commence a year of celebrations for the city’s 28 regional parks, on the 50th birthday of opening the first: Wenderholm. By then, Mahurangi Coastal Trail Trust wants to have categorically convinced the council that the legacy of that celebration can be tangible—the linking of Wenderholm with the two regional parks to its north, by a trail that connects 1.5 million Aucklanders to their 900-hectare heritage estate, via public transport.

In addition to the historic opportunity presented by the 50th anniversary of the opening of Wenderholm, a once-only window exists whereby two strategic greenways of unparalleled importance and beauty could be established, before vehicle access has a chance to intrude and dominate an area that currently enjoys an ambiance of splendid isolation. The window exists, in part, because a bare $1 million per year is available for the development of the many parks that have been acquired since 2010. Upgrading the farm road for visitor car access is likely to cost in excess of $3 million, meaning that Te Muri and other new parks will remain out of reach of the people they were purchased for. The coastal trail is a low-cost means of providing visitors access to what is still one of most popular parks, to an additional three desirable beaches, and will test whether, long term, private vehicle access is actually necessary.

Map of Te Araroa Te-Muri option

Most Strategic Te Araroa Section: While interest in walking Te Araroa, the national trail, is growing, most New Zealanders are still unaware of its existence. Because Wenderholm is one of the most visited regional parks in Aotearoa, and it marks the beginning of the first non-urban section of Te Araroa north of the metropolis, the proposed greenway to Puhoi would introduce more New Zealanders to their national walkway than any section.

The second opportunity is possibly more important regionally, and is definitely of national importance. That is, to provide a pivotally strategic greenway connection between Waiwera, and public transport, and the first non-urban section of Te Araroa, the national walkway, north of the metropolis. From Waiwera south, the Te Araroa experience is increasingly urban. From Waiwera north, particularly after crossing the proposed Judge Arnold Turner Footbridge, the route becomes rural and forest, except where it dips briefly down to the Pūhoi township. At present, no trail exists north of Wenderholm, other than the Pūhoi River, which provides the sublime option of canoeing, but tides and weather and other considerations mean that a terrestrial trail is necessity. Te Muri, by a country mile, provides the most magnificent route available, affording extensive land, river and ocean vistas. It is imperative that this proposed greenway isn’t compromised by outdated ideas that automatically gave priority to private car access.

Specifically, the trust wants to break the back of the fundraising required to ensure that the $0.6 million Judge Arnold Turner Footbridge is seen to be viable and receiving overwhelming public support. But while the one hundred will be amply rewarded by the satisfaction of being the people that made this legacy project possible, there is no reason that they shouldn’t enjoy, and star in, a sparkling and memorable fundraiser. The venue alone. Tu Ngutu Villa, the scene of countless photoshoots, overlooks Mahurangi West and Te Muri regional parks, and is line-off-site to Maungatauhoro, the bluff overlooking Wenderholm. Owner Richard Pearson not only made Tu Ngutu available for the 1 November event, he also adds considerable clout as a trustee—he is chairman of Wellington Electricity and Envirowaste. While the prime personalities are yet to be reached, many local celebrities will be attending, all as paying guests—the fundraiser must be as egalitarian as the coastal trail itself. The first in this category to commit to attending was Rodney Local Board member Beth Houlbrooke, whose enthusiasm for the trail also saw her attend the recent annual general meeting of Friends of Regional Parks, which sealed the Mahurangi Coastal Trail as that organisation’s flagship project, jointly with Mahurangi Action—the Mahurangi Coastal Trail Trust currently being formed is a result of that partnership.

Readers, by now, will realise that this short online piece is still far too wordy to be the text for a hardcopy one-pager. Rather it is a first draft, and besides, the reverse side was never going to be left blank!—the waste represented would be a step too far for the print-averse Mahurangi Magazine editor.

Readers interested are encouraged to register their interest now, as there will only be the one one-hundred, and tickets will all be sold well ahead of 1 November.

Tickets While the Mahurangi Coastal Trail Trust has yet to meet formally, indicative ticket price is $500.

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