Over the past few months I have become involved as a trustee and co-chair of a wonderful initiative that involves creating a Rail Trail style cycle trail between Puhoi and Mangawhai. Craig Donaldson has also joined me on the trust as co-chair. This is a trail that we believe will become one of New Zealand’s very best and North Shore residents will love. Craig has a holiday home at Mangawhai and I have a place at Point Wells.
The Matakana Coast Trail Trust is the charitable trust created a few years ago that has been doing all the ground work and planning for this trail. Allison Roe, the former champion marathon runner – and a person well known on the North Shore – has been a driving force behind the project. The trail will become part of New Zealand’s National Cycle Network of trails and paths and is being created to encourage healthy lifestyles and tourism.
“Our vision is to create a world class recreation and adventure trail from Pūhoi in the south, spanning the Matakana Coast region to Mangawhai in the north,” explains Allison Roe. “A trail that offers walking, cycling, mountain biking and horse-riding paths for residents, visitors and tourists. We will establish routes that reveal breath-taking natural features such as waterways, beaches, parks, native bush, places of interest and connect communities. It will be a recreational trail as well as a commuter trail for this growing area in the north.”
The Matakana Coast Trail Trust (MCTT) is working with Government, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, New Zealand Walking Access Commission, Department of Conservation, NZTA/Waka Kotahi, Ngati Manuhiri, Te Uri o Hau, the Te Araroa Trail and local land owners to facilitate the planning, fundraising and building of the trail.
MCTT is also collaborating with the Whangarei and Kaipara Council’s and the respective community groups in those areas to ensure the trail will connect seamlessly with the North, ultimately creating New Zealand’s most attractive and popular trail.
“The trust acknowledges the importance of Ngāti Manuhiri as mana whenua,” adds Allison Roe. “It is essential that the project supports the goals of Ngāti Manuhiri.”
“The enormous benefits of this project make it a no-brainer,” says co-chair Craig Donaldson. “The project will create local employment opportunities during the construction period, estimated at 330 jobs, and when it is established and operating around 250 jobs. These will be in sectors such as cycle shops, tourism and hospitality. It will be a catalyst for economic activity. It is proven in other parts of New Zealand and around that world that cycle trails help revitalise small communities and create jobs.”
Other obvious benefits from the trail are an improvement in cycling, running and walking safety. The trail is expected to have patronage of 390,000 annual users of which a substantial number will be tourists. Being so close to the North Shore and Auckland it will draw people from our biggest city.
The trail will be built in three stages. Stage one is Warkwoth to Matakana. Stage two is Puhoi to Warkworth and stage three is Matakana to Mangawhai. There are also a number of connections from the trail to places such as Omaha, Snells Beach and Point Wells.
We are seeking support from those people in the community who share our passion for this wonderful initiative. Feel free to make contact with both Craig and myself (Aidan) should you want to know more.
For more information visit: www.mctt.org.nz