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Int. Walking Conference to be held in Rotorua

International Walking Conference to be held in Rotorua

The New Zealand (NZ) International Two Day Walk is privileged to host the International Walking League (note IWL and IML abbreviations are used interchangeably) Conference this year.

It will take place from the 10 -14 of March to coincide with the NZ International Walk being held on 13/14 March.

The Board of the IWL and 61 delegates from 23 member countries from Europe, America, Asia and Australasia will attend the conference.

This is the first time that the annual conference has been held in New Zealand. During the conference a further three countries will make presentations about their walks and will apply for candidacy of the IWL. It is highly likely that France will become a member of the IWL during this conference.

An exciting programme has been organised for the IWL members to showcase some of Rotorua’s attractions and Rotorua’s walking environments. This will ensure that conference delegates are aware of the tremendous walking opportunities and unique geothermal, cultural and other iconic features in Rotorua.

The NZ International Two Day Walk will be represented at the conference by delegates Henk Buissink, Roger McElroy, Sue Marsh and Deryck Shaw.

Walk Organising Committee Convenor Deryck Shaw paid tribute to Henk Buissink “who has done a tremendous job in organising the conference and literally been on call to the large number of international delegates who are coming to Rotorua”.
NZ International Two Day Walk - Rotorua

“Rated one of the best walks of its type in the world, the 11th New Zealand International Two Day Walk is on in Rotorua on 13 and 14 March” says organising committee convenor Deryck Shaw, of the Rotary Club of Rotorua West. He said that “last year when the event was held well over 1,200 participants took part in the event and the increased interest this year demonstrates the pulling power of the beautiful walks in Rotorua”.

This year many people are coming to NZ from all over the world just for the walk (note that there were over 300 international visitors registered for the event by early February and more New Zealanders). It is expected that more than 1,500 walkers will take part in the event including local celebrities.

Many walkers come from throughout the Bay of Plenty, Auckland and Waikato regions.

Already many walkers from Opotiki, Rotorua, Taupo, Tokoroa, Tauranga and Whakatane have registered.

Every year there are also a large number of recreational walking clubs such as Pack’n Boots from Tauranga and Y walkers from Auckland.

Participants can enter on the day and the cost is only $30 for two days or $15 for one day. A family entry (two adults and two children) is only $60 for two days and there are lots of spot prizes. All participants receive a certificate and those that complete two days, receive a unique medal.

The event is a recreational leisure walk, with distances of 10, 20 and 30 kilometres. Most people who undertake the event enjoy casual walking and the 10-kilometre distance is achievable for most, because there is no time limit, you can walk at your own pace and there are marshals on the routes.

On the Saturday walkers take in one of the most well known walks in Rotorua, the Redwoods as part of the Whakarewarewa Forest. The forest contains a contrast of tree types from majestic redwoods towering over all, and NZ bush, to a number of exotic forestry plantings.

On Sunday walkers take in the lakefront, geothermal sites (many are not known to even frequent visitors to Rotorua), the lakefront and Rotorua’s many and varied parks and reserves. Rotorua has been voted the most beautiful city in New Zealand on many occasions and walkers will have the opportunity to understand why.

The event is very friendly with the emphasis on enjoyment and on the Saturday night there is an optional dinner at the Rotorua Convention Centre with live entertainment (cost $30pp).

A special feature for the first time in the walk this year is the “Tamaki Trail”. This 10-kilometre fun filled walk is designed to get the Rotorua people walking and to understand what a treasure the residents have with the Whakarewarewa Forest. This walk is ideal for families, young and old, school groups, company groups, neighbourhood clubs and any individuals. The motto for the Tamaki Trail is “Get walking for good health”. This walk is part of the Saturday International walk and all walkers will receive a certificate of participation. In addition there are special prizes for walkers and fun puzzles to be solved. This walk is sponsored by Tamaki Village and knowing how inventive the Tamaki’s have been we know that this will be a special part of the walking event in 2004.

The concept of establishing an international walking event was developed from reports of large well-established walks in Europe (eg Nijmegen in Holland) and Asia, which involved participants from throughout Europe and beyond. Based on the success of these walks, the Rotary Club of Rotorua West sought to establish a walk that would be part of an international network of IML accredited walks and have a large number of participants from New Zealand and offshore. The walk event has flourished since and with international recognition the event has captured the support of many Rotorua residents, walkers (particularly a number of prominent walking clubs) from throughout New Zealand and several overseas walkers who have returned on a regular basis. Also the walk achieved acknowledgment as an IVV accredited walk, which has been further recognition of its high quality and the enduring walking environments.

More details of the walk and the conference are available on the website

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