Te Araroa — Ahipara to Kerikeri
Ocean to Ocean Trail

The Te Araroa – Ocean to Ocean trail is a project of the Far North District Council in partnership with the Te Araroa Trust

  • Te Araroa Trust has a vision of developing a continuous walking trail the length of New Zealand so that people can walk from Cape Reinga to the Bluff. The Ocean to Ocean Trail is a section of this national walkway and it stretches from Ahipara at the bottom of Ninety Mile Beach to Keri Keri.

    The work on this walking track is being tackled in two sections. The largest is the four forests portion – Ahipara through historic gumfields to Herekino Forest, through Raetea Forest, Omahuta Forest and Puketi Forest. The other section runs from Puketi to Kerikeri following the Kerikeri River.


  • The Far North District Council is constructing the Ocean to Ocean Trail in order to develop employment and training opportunities for young people in the Far North, and to promote tourism in the area.

    The construction of the track is providing short-term employment for young people. Once it is completed, the track is expected to become part of the Far North’s major tourist attractions and be a source of employment in accommodating, catering for and guiding walkers who are drawn to the region.


  • The Employment Catalyst in partnership with the Mayors Taskforce of Jobs gave $50,000 to the Far North District Council towards labour for the construction of the Te Araroa - Ocean to Ocean Trail and towards the development of tourism associated with the trail.


  • Construction on the Ocean to Ocean Trail started in March 2000 with the upgrading of the track on the existing Mangamuka Gorge Walkway. As conditions are too gruelling in winter, work on the track was halted. Over the 2001- 2002 summer, further progress was made cutting track and clearing access roads and logging tracks. Work stopped again at the end of April 2000 with 90% of the trail completed and some signage put in place. Work to complete the project will recommence in Summer 2002-3.

    The unemployed young people, who have been doing track construction and clearing, have been working through either the Youth Affairs Conservation Corps and the Department of Work and Income Taskforce Green scheme. These young people gain work skills and experience and also have received training in fire fighting and first aid.

    Te Araroa Trust
    Department of Conservation
    Department of Youth Affairs Conservation Corps
    Department of Work and Income Taskforce Green
    Far North District Council
    Far North Mayor Yvonne Sharp


    “We often take for granted the extraordinarily beautiful environment in which we are privileged to live, forgetting the most significant role our coastline and sub-tropical hinterland play in the regional economy.

    Perhaps it’s a case of becoming so used to it we fail to appreciate how wonderful it is. But we ignore it at our peril. Not only do we have a moral responsibility to preserve and enhance our environment for the benefit of generations to come, we also have an obligation to this generation to advance the social and economic well being of the community at large.

    By improving public access to the natural wonders of the district we can enhance the opportunity to benefit from the tourist dollar. The added spin-off, particularly for locals, is the improved opportunity to get out and enjoy and better understand the rich ecological and cultural heritage right on our doorsteps.

    These are two compelling reasons why projects such as the Heritage Trails of New Zealand programme and walkways such as the Te Araroa Trust’s 120 kilometre Ocean to Ocean trail are of immense importance to the Far North district.

    The Far North section of the Te Araroa Trail will provide a walkway from Cape Reinga down Ninety Mile Beach to Ahipara, crosses historic gumfields and through the Herekino, Raetea, Omahutu and Puketi Forests before following the Kerikeri River to the Kerikeri township. By 2005 it is expected the trail will extend throughout New Zealand to Bluff. I am pleased that I have been able to attract outside funding for this project through my efforts on the nationwide Mayors Taskforce for Jobs.

    In the construction phase, the trail provides employment opportunities through the Taskforce Green programme. There will also be ongoing employment opportunities in track maintenance and tourism support services as the trail evolves and becomes more widely utilised by national and international visitors alike.

    On a more localised level, the growing network of Heritage Trails play equally as significant a role ... Heritage Trails not only help lengthen visitor-stays, but also provide an opportunity for history to be made accessible and visible, and brought more sharply into perspective. With the growing network of trails and scenic walkways criss-crossing the district, the visitor industry is becoming better and better served. My hope now is that the residents of the Far North will also begin to make much greater use of these facilities - there could well be some pleasant surprises for those who make the most of these new opportunities.”

    — Doubtless Bay News 7 February 2002


    RUSSELL and CASSIE PIERCE live in the Herekino Gorge in the Far North, on a large bush block on regenerating scrub, gumfield plateau and primeval forest. Russell was a seafarer for many years and since coming ashore full time he and Cassie have kept busy with a variety of good projects, organising wild ginger and possum eradication programmes in their area. Russell is the secretary of the Herekino Hall society, and is coach of the local soccer team.

    But what makes the Pierces special is the commitment they have shown to Te Araroa's 120km ‘Ocean to Ocean' trail from Ahipara to Kerikeri. Approximately 3km of that track, linking the Ahipara gumfields to the Herekino Forest passes through their property, and Russ has put the track in himself. He will say it was mostly on a fenceline, but what about the camping facility you are developing on the Herekino Road, Russ?

    ‘That's for our own benefit too, you know Pete. When the tourists start coming through, they are going to have to stay somewhere, aren't they? We see the track as a way for the world to come to us, as well as a few bob on the side, for service rendered. In our area unemployment is very high and you have to develop every opportunity. The track is an ecologically sound way of developing our property, hopefully with a built-in cash flow, or trickle, or whatever, and we can benefit.'

    ‘We love exploring the bush, piecing together the lay of the land. On one section of the fence line we thought it was too steep for a good track, so we cast around for the best line, and found an old habitation, right on the best contour, so we looked for the logical exit from there, and sure enough, we found the perfect line for the track, a bit longer, but so much easier.

    ‘We are also looking forward to the possibility of getting hold of people who can work for their keep, sort of like tramping WWOOFERs.

    ‘All in all though, we like the idea of meeting people with an appreciation of the environment and the bush, people who love the place for what it is, primal and sacred.'

    – story by Peter Griffiths, 18 July 2001

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    Te Araroa Trust

    The Trust's mission is to get a New Zealand-long foot trail in place, as an acknowledged route, by the end of the year 2005.

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    The Far North
    District Council

    The council supports the project as part of its wider efforts to foster long term economic development in the Far North

    Department of Conservation
    Te Papa Atawhai

    Most of the Ocean-to-Ocean section of Te Araroa will follow the existing Department of Conservation tracks

    Conservation Corps

    Conservation Corps is a training scheme run by Youth Affairs which enables young unemployed people to work on conservation projects

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    Work and Income
    Taskforce Green

    A subsidised work scheme which gives people who have been unemployed long term the chance to work full-time on a community or environmental project.

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    "... By improving public access to the natural wonders of the district we can enhance the opportunity to benefit from the tourist dollar. The added spin-off, particularly for locals, is the improved opportunity to get out and enjoy and better understand the rich ecological and cultural heritage right on our doorsteps..."
    Yvonne Sharp, Mayor of the Far North District

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    Project Contacts

    Geoff Chapple
    Te Araroa Trust
    PO Box 5106
    Wellesley Street
    New Zealand

    Fiona Vessey
    Far North District Council
    Private Bag 752
    New Zealand
    phone 09-405-8212
    mobile 025-529-584