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Putting A Community On A Firmer Path Young Leaders Get A Helping Hand With A Safe New Accessway

A dangerous track on South Auckland’s Āwhitu Peninsula, damaged in last year’s floods, is now safe for young people and community members to use, thanks to a helping hand from Mitre 10 MEGA Takanini.

After the storms of 2023, the beach access track at Āwhitu youth camp, run by charitable youth organisation Blue Light, became a 170m “river” of slippery clay. It was too hazardous to use for the young people who would carry down kayaks and rafting equipment as part of their leadership programmes.

“Our work is very outdoor adventure-focused, supporting at-risk kids on our Leadership and Life Skills programmes, and we also provide facilities for local iwi, Ngāti Te Ata Waiohua, to run traditional fishing, weaving and bone-carving programmes. We have visitors from all over New Zealand every year,” explains Brendon Crompton, CEO of Blue Light.

Damage to the track also impacted many members of the local community, who would regularly use it to access the beach.

“The first day I went and looked at the track with our Helping Hands ambassador and building consultant, Stan Scott, it was just a slimy mess. The community couldn’t use it at all, and a few people had actually injured themselves, slipping or tripping,” says Toni Brumby, Marketing Manager at Mitre 10 MEGA Takanini.

Through its Helping Hands programme, Mitre 10 MEGA Takanini decided to build a completely new track.

It was a personal as well as a professional mission, with several of the store’s team members involved with Blue Light over the years.

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“Blue Light has been part of our community for decades. Even as a child, I remember they used to have Blue Light discos at school to provide us with a safe space to socialise. They’re very humble – they didn’t ask for a whole new track – but we thought, if we’re going to do the job, we’re going to do it right,” says Toni.

The Mitre 10 team worked alongside Blue Light to frame and cut new steps, with materials donated by Max Birt and Otter, and Mitre 10.

With the new track in place, guests at the neighbouring Presbyterian camp and Āwhitu School students are equally excited.

“This track is on public land, as part of Āwhitu Regional Park, but there’s been absolutely no cost to the council or the community. They’re ecstatic,” Brendon says.

An official blessing by local iwi will take place on 23 March, with representatives from the local board and schools also attending.

© Scoop Media

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