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Te Araroa partners with the Walking Access CommissionTe Araroa Trust and the Walking Access Commission have joined forces to work on the Trust’s length-of-New Zealand trail.
The trust is kaitiaki for the 3000km walking trail stretching from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Previously it relied on donations and volunteer support. Now it will have access to the commission's resources and staff. This includes its digital mapping team, its regional field advisors, and other staff.
Trust chief executive, Mark Weatherall, has become a commission staff member under the new memorandum. He's excited about the strategic opportunities the partnership creates.
"We keep our independence. But we now have a crown agency supporting us in our day-to-day work and help with the delivery of our strategic plan. We will still rely on volunteers and donations. But now those donations will go to making the trail even better rather than keeping the trust standing.
Weatherall says that Te Araroa has always been a trail for New Zealanders. But COVID-19 makes that even more true. Many of the people who walk the whole trail in one go were international tourists. But the many hundreds of thousands of Kiwis who walk segments of the trail every year easily outnumber them.
"We call the trail the walk of a lifetime. For Kiwis that means a walk that we can complete over our lifetime. We want to give New Zealanders the chance to walk the length of our country over the course of their lives."
Weatherall says Te Araroa can play a key role in regional economic recovery from COVID-19. The trail drives domestic tourism. But more importantly, it is something that communities the length of the country can be proud of.
"We own it together and it links us as a single country. It tells the story of our history, showcases our natural beauty and sets a path for our future."