Te Ara Tipuna hui

Supporting Te Ara Tipuna, a new kind of trail

Imagine a 500km trail from Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa (Gisborne) to Ōpōtiki, following the coast and dipping inland to connect 22 communities and 64 marae. Te Ara Tipuna will be more than a tramp – it will be a cultural experience enabling reconnections between pā and hapū and between whānau, whenua and pūrākau (stories). Ngāti Porou and Te Whānau-a-Apanui whānau and whenua are at the heart of the project.  

Project leader Hekia Parata first envisioned a Tai Rāwhiti trail after hiking the Camino de Santiago – a network of pilgrim routes in Spain. Instead of heading into the wilds, as with many New Zealand hikes, people enjoying Te Ara Tipuna will meet people, hear stories and experience manaakitanga. There will be plenty of stunning scenery, too.

Te Ara Tipuna will take 26 days to complete on foot. Cyclists and horse riders will also be welcome, with alternate routes in some places. Many trail sections will be accessible as day walks or shorter hikes.

Herenga ā Nuku, the Outdoor Access Commission, is enthusiastically supporting the project. We’re providing public access expertise and networking connections as well as practical support and encouragement. Global resource consent has been applied for, meaning Council will approve the trail construction in principle, subject to conditions. Individual land access arrangements will then be progressed.

The current trail plan crosses more than 400 parcels of land, some public, others private. There are many factors to be considered, and it’s important that each community along the trail has a sense of ownership and protection. It may take 5—10 years before Te Ara Tipuna is complete, but sections will be accessible before then.

We’re thrilled to support this project, which will create many opportunities for cultural, social and economic revitalisation. Te Ara Tipuna will enhance wellbeing for locals and manuhiri alike.

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