As many of you may realise, I moved to Hawkes Bay just over 3 years ago, to retire with my husband. I have kept the Short Walks in Auckland project going, but because I am remote, I am now finding it impossible to keep routes up-to-date, find new ones and take the project up to the next level.
Happily, I have found the perfect person to take on the mission. Richard Wagener is an enthusiastic walker/runner and already documents walks on a website. I am leaving the project in safe hands. You will still be able to purchase the current walk brochures and books. However, Richard has plans to enrich that offering, to create an exciting new future for Short Walks in Auckland.
This project began in 2011. My friend Grace was the walk creator – with her knowledge of Auckland, she could “see” circular routes, and then it was up to me to map out, photograph, research and document the routes. At first, I relied upon my voice recorder and Google maps but then with the advancement of technology, the smart phone became a best friend and I was able to track our route. The best fun was when we were both pleasantly surprised by what there was to see. Beautiful wetlands, views and bush kept us inspired to explore more.
With over 100 walking routes, it is too difficult to say what our favourite walks are because of the diversity and uniqueness of each locality. I will leave it you to decide what your favourites are.
My two children were at high school age in 2011 when this project started, and unfortunately missed out on the discoveries. A highlight for me was when our daughter was studying Occupational Therapy at AUT, as she had a project that required two walks to be mapped out locally. I was very happy to help.
The last seven years of Short Walks in Auckland have been very rewarding.It was encouraging to get an email from The Women’s Bookshop in Ponsonby asking to meet me and then supplying them with our books. It was exciting to put together a bunch of walks for the University of Auckland Recreation Manager as well as having a common goal with Sports Waitakere.
I was contacted by Frank Goldingham who gave me the opportunity to make regular contributions to the Walking NZ magazine. Every two months one of our walks was printed in the beautifully presented, richly coloured monthly magazine, with walks from not only New Zealand, but all around the world. Our walks reached even more people over the years. (See the January 2019 issue for another of our short walks in Auckland.)
Thank you to everyone who has done a Short Walk in Auckland. Your support has been very much appreciated. Now it’s time for fresh eyes and renewed energy.
Wishing you all lots more walking and exploring.
Helen Wenley (last seen ebiking around Hawkes Bay)