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Double celebration for Walking Weekend


Walking Weekend team-490Mangawhai is fast becoming the walking capital of New Zealand, thanks to the annual Mangawhai Walking Weekend which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. Up to 800 walkers, many second generation, arrive every year to walk new tracks, renew friendships, enjoy the local scenery and celebrate at the food and wine finale.

s the Walking Weekend has evolved, more tracks and activities have been added to satisfy all ages and abilities. This year 760 walker registrations multiplied to 2250 registrations over all events for the four days.

The food and wine evening was an early sellout as were many of the walks. With the growth of the event has also come more DoC and OSH safety restrictions.

The festival now requires a total of 185 volunteer guides over the four days. Volunteers also include The Trackies, a tireless group of retireds or semi-retireds who cut, form, clean and maintain the tracks for year round use by locals and visitors. A crowd of 160 attended a special 20 year anniversary lunch held on the Sunday.

“Without the support of our extraordinary community, this event would not happen and we are grateful for their ongoing support,” said Dorothy Freeman on behalf of the organising committee, thanking Cavern Homes, Mike Pero, Dilmah Tea, Align, Mark Bygraves, Transcon Freight, Pat Mason Engineering, Rush Coffee and Plastic Free Mangawhai for their sponsorship. Dorothy, who has filled several roles for the Walking Weekend since she came on board in 2006, now feels it is time to step aside.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all so much for the help and support you have given both myself and the Walking Weekend over all the years I have been involved,” says Dorothy. “I love this event because of the people involved who give freely and generously of their time, expertise, and knowledge without any expectation of reward. They, like me, need no other reward except to see people enjoying themselves and giving back to our special local community.”

Dorothy is happy to hand her role to someone who will bring new ideas to a new decade and a new enthusiasm and passion to keep the Mangawhai Walking Weekend as successful as it has always been. “Mangawhai has these people in abundance,” she says.

Contact the organising team at mangawhaiwalkingweekend@gmail.com to become involved.

n Mangawhai Walking Weekend founder Jean Goldschmidt has released a book about the history of the event. See below.

Making Tracks – Walking in Mangawhai Northland
Jean Goldschmidt.   Life Stories Publishing 2019 $40

Goldschmidt book-417The Mangawhai Walking Weekend grew out of the passion and determination of one person, Jean Goldschmidt. This book charts the first 15 years of the event and the collaborators and supporters that drove it from its first beginnings in 2000 to its 20th anniversary this year.

Jean’s passion for walking in New Zealand’s landscapes shines through on every page along with the colleagues and characters she met along the way. This book is not just a record of those first 15 years and the walks they included, it is a personal journey where the people take centre stage, from those early supporters like Jan Jacob, Joanna Roberts, and Jean’s husband Don to the dozens of local guides who made the weekends possible.

For local readers familiar names crop up at every turn, almost all attached to an anecdote or two, walks we are all familiar with, places we have come to cherish, but also walks that have faded into those early years. Mangawhai is a different place to that which Jean saw in 2000 but her vision for a weekend that showcases the very best our community has to offer is a heritage few can match.

The high production values and tight editing by Maria de Jong makes this a wonderful read and although locals will have the strongest identification with its places and people, it makes a valuable contribution to our country’s walking heritage and a useful reference for the numerous walking events now common throughout the New Zealand.

 Making Tracks – Walking in Mangawhai Northland, by Jean Goldschmidt (Life Stories Publishing 2019). Available for $40 from Mangawhai Books & Gifts in Wood St, and the Mangawhai Museum.

Gordon Hosking

The Mangawhai Focus is the only 'Mangawhai' community Newspaper and is the paper of choice within the local area.

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