From Jean Goldschmidt
The observant amongst us have been noticing a new phenomenon in Mangawhai. Each day lately numbers of people have been seen walking through town, backs bent over, sporting lumbering boots and with all-weather hats pulled well down. Trundling through our village they go, with strong tall walking poles and over-laden backpacks creating a vision of old witches with hump backs and warts on their noses. Where are they all going; where have they come from? All seem to be heading in the same direction - south. Surely some must be on the northward path. They have also been seen on the Brynderwyn Track and as far away as Tamahunga at Pakiri.
We have found they are walking the northern section of Te Araroa Trail (the Long Pathway) with some planning to complete the whole tramp from North Cape to the Bluff. With the trail opening officially only last year the track is still in its infancy. As residents and farmers see the joy this form of walking gives visitors as well as New Zealanders, hopefully, more private land will made available as public walking tracks.
At the moment, here in the North, there are still large sections of road walking. Several years ago a number of locals worked hard to ensure we acquired the Missing Link section from Cove Road through Bream Tail Farm to the Cliff Top Track. This track was clearly marked on the original Bream Tail Farm sub-divisional plans approved by DoC, the owner and Kaipara Council. Somehow, a few months later, the crossing track was missing and the Council had signed off the plan. It took much effort to have a track reinstated; hence the name ‘Missing Link’. Now we see the use it is getting it gives great satisfaction that Mangawhai did its bit and walkers do not have to negotiate the dangerous Waipu Gorge by road to pass through Mangawhai. The Tracks Trust is looking to perhaps ask to have the Mangawhai section pass along the track through Mangawhai Park to the Museum.
As we are seeing these intrepid travellers moving through we hope the good residents of Mangawhai are putting out the welcome mat. If the travelers receive a hearty Mangawhai welcome that is so enticing, they may remember us and promise to return some day.
Go to it.