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ASB Trusts Support Walkway

ASB Trusts Support Walkway

An ambitious plan to create a walking trail the length of New Zealand has gained support from voluntary sector funder the ASB Trusts.

In the latest round of grants, the Trusts allocated $100,000 toward the Te Araroa project, which aims to achieve a legal thoroughfare from Cape Reinga to Bluff by 2008.

Te Araroa Trust CEO Geoff Chapple says the entire trail will cost $4.5 million, and further fundraising efforts are underway. The ASB Trusts grant will help complete the northern leg of the trail, from Cape Reinga to Mercer. This 712km section is about 25% of the track’s total length, and is expected to cost $1.4 million.

“The $100,000 from the ASB Bank Community Trust is a great start to our final three-year time-line for putting the northern leg in place,” said Mr Chapple.

The route begins at Cape Reinga, goes down 90-mile Beach, crosses from Ahipara to Kerikeri through four DOC forests, to Whangarei, then mainly follows the coast to Auckland. South of Auckland, the trail unwinds through the Hunua Range, then cuts along the Mangatawhiri River to Meremere.

Work began on the Cape Reinga – Mercer section in 2002, said Mr Chapple, when Te Araroa Trust completed a 15km trail across the Herekino Forest inland from Ahipara. Another four connecting trails had been completed since then. ASB Trusts CEO Jennifer Gill said the project is already a massive achievement.

“Using volunteer labour the trust has managed to achieve a great deal, with 60% of the national trail already identified as walkable,” she said. The project meets ASB funding criteria because it protects and enhances the environment by educating people about our natural heritage. The recreation, leisure and health benefits associated with walking also match the not-for-profit funder’s objectives.

“It’s part of our legacy for the region,” she said. Each month the ASB Trusts grants money to community groups working in education, the arts, sport, recreation, health and social services areas. It is part of about $50 million given to community groups in Auckland and Northland each year. Founded on the sale of shares in the ASB bank, the ASB Trusts has granted more than $400m since being formed in 1988. Any incorporated or charitable trust can apply for funds, provided they are a not-for-profit organisation. For more details about applying, visit the ASB Trusts’ website: www.asbtrusts.org.nz

ENDS

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