If you’re in Wellington on Saturday December 3rd, you could pop over to Shorland Park, Island Bay at 10am for the official opening of Te Araroa—The Long Pathway.
Te Araroa is a magnificent effort that’s been in progress for decades now since it was conceived as one of the goals of the NZ Walkways Commission in 1975. Since 1994 the goal has been administered through the Te Araroa Trust (combined with several regional trusts), to link the length of New Zealand with one continuous, officially recognised walking trail. People have walked (or run) the length of New Zealand using various routes and for many reasons throughout history, and in the last few years the unofficial Te Araroa route has been walked more than a few times. This official opening is symbolic of the route’s “completion”, after nearly endless work, frequently by volunteers, covering manual labour, legislative changes, negotiations with national and local government entities, private landowners, clubs and organisations, and any number of other problems, to allow for public walking access along the entire route.
It’s an impressive feat by all involved that this connected walkway exists at all. Few people will walk the entire length of New Zealand (although some certainly will), but countless people will benefit from all of the walking access opened as a consequence of the project.