Te-raroa-book-cover-scan-211x300“In 1976, two of my friends, Geoff Steven and Phil Dadson, had filmed and sound-recorded the Maori land march from Cape Reinga to Wellington. The poet Hone Tuwhare was on that march and something he said then stuck in my mind. ‘To know Papatuanuku,’ said Hone, ‘you have to go through slowly, on foot.’ . . . In 1994 I wrote a newspaper story that invoked a long trail – a reincarnation of a path that had once existed and had been forgotten. This was unprovable but I believed it was true.” Thus writes Geoff Chappel in the introduction to Te Araroa: A Walking Guide to New Zealand’s Long Trail. The story of watching this initial glimpse of a possibility through to a complete trail today (there are a few road links still but the intention is for the entire journey from the Cape to Bluff to be entirely off-road) is at once fascinating and informative. Like any dream worth its weight it has taken an incredible dose of persistence to see it through.

Te Araroa is a beautiful book, outlining 113 walks and long tramps, replete with colour photos and 3D maps. I recommend it for any keen trampers, whether interested in a few good walks or ambitious enough to want to piece together trails spanning the length of the North and South islands.

The above book is found within our Aotearoa collection.  So is another guide titled Organic Explorer New Zealand. It contains a compendium of tourism operators providing food, accommodation and experiences which embrace the ideal of a truly clean and green New Zealand. So, if you are planning a trip within the country and want to see some of the amazing things others are doing this may be the book for you. Or, you may want to get listed yourself in the next edition.  Coincidentally, a portion of the sales of every copy of this book is being donated to the Te Araroa Trust.

Twin Coast Cycle Trail

Twin Coast Cycle Trail

One more from our New Zealand collection is the Otago Rail Trail Book. I’m mentioning this one because it showcases this great South Island initiative. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a similar book published once our Far North Coast to Coast Cycle Trail is finished?

New Boots in New Zealand is a fun and informative day-by-day guide to New Zealand’s nine Great Walks, the famous 3-5 day tramps showcased on DOC’s website, walks you’ve all heard of such as Milford and Heaphy. The book was written originally in 2006 by Gillian Orrell, a then early-thirties escapee from the New%20Boots%20Cover%20600pixLondon corporate world who chooses to reclaim her sanity and life’s direction by completing these great New Zealand walks. The book has recently been republished by Exisle of Titirangi. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was refreshing to relate to the perspective of a new visitor to our land. It reminded me of why I’ve chosen to call Aotearoa home. Orrell waxed eloquently on the cheerful and helpful nature of Kiwis of the human kind. Surely, we can all relate to that perception. For me it was also insightful to see just how economically lucrative these Great Walks are for the areas where they start and finish. There is work for guides, hut wardens, cafes, accommodation providers, transport companies and more.

A late, great friend of mine, Dave Panckhurst, back in 2005 proposed to DOC to create New Zealand’s tenth Great Walk here in the Far North, from Spirit’s Bay to Te Paki. He thought of calling it Spirit Walk. It would showcase the amazing and unique scenery and spirit of the real Far North. DOC was receptive (although fiscally constrained) to Dave’s proposal and have since created sheltered kitchens with rainwater collection in the two locations where huts would be required to allow this 3-day walk to become a Great Walk. It is my understanding that the principal obstacle to the project is funding. Wouldn’t it be fitting to see this project completed? Between New Zealand’s 10th Great Walk and her first coast-to coast cycle trail the Far North would deservedly inherit a more prominent place in tourist guides and in the hearts and memories of visitors.


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Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

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