Local community groups have recently received a welcoming cash boost from a popular Mangawhai event.
Proceeds from the 2016 Walking Weekend were divvied up in a ceremony at Mangawhai Club on July 23, with Mangawhai Tracks Charitable Trust receiving $9000, Kaiwaka/Mangawhai Scouts, $1700 and Mangawhai Recreation Trust $2000.
Spokesperson for the Walking Weekend Charitable Trust, Dorothy Freeman, says the organisations were selected due to the ongoing help the members gave over the busy weekend, assistance that is vital she says as interest in the event rises every year.
“2016 was the best year we’ve had to date,” Freeman says. “With next year’s weekend already attracting 200 new registrations and with a lot more interest from younger walkers than in previous years, we’re doing something right.”
Spokesman for Tracks Trust, Roger Ashford, says the members are very grateful for the donation.
“It comprises the majority of our income and will be used primarily for maintenance and upgrading of existing tracks and formation of new walking and cycle ways.”
Formed in 2010, Tracks Trust are largely responsible for creating and maintaining Mangawhai’s many walking trails and are currently looking to establish an extensive walkway to connect Mangawhai’s Village and the Heads.
“The project is in its early stages however we are confident that the start at Picnic Bay will be under way as early as November this year.”
Scout Leader, Jenny Webb, says the Scouts have become a ‘little part’ of the annual event, cleaning up after Food and Wine Festival party-goers and helping with parking. She says the Scouts also often use the tracks for skills and training purposes.
“The Scouts have walked every track made by the trackies off Kings Road,” Webb says. “We have used the last of the Summer Wine Track for night walks and to teach basic compass skills. Recently we spent four days camping on a local farmers land.”
The money will go into the Scouts fund to attend the Blenheim Jamboree at the end of the year.
“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our Scouts… they get to safely push their own boundaries and experience adventure… such as rock climbing and sailing. Scouts must do their own cooking, organise patrols and agree on activities. They learn life skills such as how to work together and how to negotiate,” she says. “Thank you to the Walking Weekend Trust for this very generous donation.”
Plans for 2017’s Walking Weekend are already under way with original trails being updated and at least four new tracks on offer for exploration. Although 175 enthusiastic volunteers have already signed up to help, Freeman says they could always do with more people power.
“We always need more guides as we have to have a ratio of one guide for every ten walkers,” she says. “But it’s not a huge commitment.”
Volunteer guides need to attend a training session for 2.5 hours and walk their allocated track three weeks prior the event to note any changes or possible hazards to the pathways. Guidance regarding knowledge of a trails history and wildlife is offered and guides also require a reasonable level of fitness.
“We also need a media savvy person, to monitor and deal with postings on Facebook and help with publicity of events,” Freeman says. “And someone to organise performers for next year’s Troubadour Trial on Friday 24. If anyone would like to help we would greatly appreciate it.”
n If interested in volunteering please contact Trish Whyte 431 5534 and firstname.lastname@example.org, or Gordon Hosking 431 5779 and email@example.com. Respective dates for Walking Weekend 2017 are March 24, 25 and 26.
BOOST: Roger Ashford from Mangawhai Tracks Charitable Trust, Craig Jepson and Colin Gallagher from Mangawhai Recreation Trust with Scouts and Scout Leader Jenny Webb accepting their donations in 21st century style – via a cardboard cut-out phone.