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Q&A with Northland farmer Greta Harman
Greta Harman and her husband Craig own the 400-hectare Whananaki Coastal Charolais farm in Northland. More than 250 Te Araroa walkers pass over their land each year, which makes up part of the 13km Onekainga Track. We caught up with Greta to find out why she and Craig support access over their land as part of Te Araroa.
What made you decide to provide access over your land for Te Araroa?
It was my mother who came up with the idea of the track crossing our land. I thought it was a great idea to be able to walk from one end of New Zealand to the other. I also thought it would be a good way to bring more guests to the Whananaki Holiday Park, which our family owns, and provide a tourism boost for our community.
Where exactly is your land, and how long is the stretch of trail that passes over it?
It is in Whananaki in Northland and the trail runs across 3.2km of our farm.
How long have you provided access for?
My family granted access when the Onekainga Track was formed in 2010.
Have you met any interesting walkers during their time crossing your farm?
I met Jory Akuhata, who walked the whole Te Araroa trail barefoot with gear he made himself to emulate is Maori ancestors. I also can’t forget the group from Palmerston North Boys’ High School who ran from Cape Reinga to Whanganui to raise money for Ronald McDonald House. They stayed at the holiday park and we fed them a hearty beef dinner.
Are there any benefits for you of having walkers pass over your land?
Many walkers stay at the nearby Whananaki Holiday Park. The Estuary Farm Walk has also been popular as a short walk.
What words of advice do you have for walkers when crossing private land as part of their Te Araroa journey?
To leave only footprints. Please clean your boots properly and also your walking sticks. And do not camp in the bush. Just remember property owners are allowing you to walk through their land, so be respectful.
You have won awards for your conservation efforts as well. What is it about conservation, and the New Zealand outdoors, that you value so much?
We want to be able to leave our piece of earth providing food for the people and making sure that there is a place in our system for the native flora and fauna to thrive.
Should more access be provided for local trails around New Zealand?
I think more public land and trails should be opened up or upgraded for walking, as well as cycling. Health and safety and biosecurity are going to be more important into the future for farmers so that will be a constant challenge.