Te Araroa Trust is calling on adventure-loving Kiwis and overseas visitors to get behind New Zealand’s national walking trail during Get Outdoors Week – November 16-24.
For the duration of the week, the Trust is encouraging everybody who walks a section of the trail to make a donation for the trail’s future on the Trust’s website.
Te Araroa Trust chief executive Mark Weatherall says the sustainability of the 3000km trail was largely reliant on the goodwill of New Zealanders and donations from walkers.
"Funding we receive from central and local government is always much appreciated, but it is limited, and ad-hoc. We rely heavily on donations from walkers and others with a passion for the outdoors to maintain and manage the trail."
He says Get Outdoors Week was the perfect time for people to consider what the trail meant to them, and how they could support its sustainability for the benefit of current walkers and future generations.
In the USA, a ‘Pledge for the Wild’ has been set up in five mountain towns in Oregon, Montana, Arizona and Colorado, calling on people to donate for every hour they spent mountain biking, hiking and exploring tracks and trails in those regions.
Donated money is then spent on conservation, environmental efforts and other initiatives to ensure the sustainability of the regions’ outdoor experiences.
Mark says a modest contribution would be appropriate for people walking sections of Te Araroa during Get Outdoors Week. He also welcomed approaches from businesses and other organisations that wanted to develop partnerships to support the trail.
Money donated would go towards signage, maintaining and developing infrastructure and tracks on parts of the trail outside public conservation land, and other efforts to improve the trail and ensure its sustainability.
In addition to donating to the trail cause, Mark says the week was also an ideal time for people to discover what makes Te Araroa special.
"Whether or not you donate, the week is a good chance to find out what makes Te Araroa so magical.
"The trail has been created for all New Zealanders and Get Outdoors Week is the perfect time to step outside and into the wild to discover a section of Te Araroa in your region."
Officially opened in 2011, Te Araroa traverses 3000 kilometres of stunning scenery as it winds its way from Cape Reinga in the far north to Bluff at the bottom of the South Island.
Unlike some New Zealand trails Te Araroa does not receive ongoing direct funding from Government.
As a result, the Trust – a registered charity – is heavily reliant on contributions from volunteers and the support of donors, sponsors and partners for its sustainability.