Te Araroa trail walkers are being urged to take a pledge to respect the environment, Māori culture, private property and other outdoorspeople before beginning their 3,000 km journey this year.
The initiative, known as The Trail Pledge, is part of Te Araroa Trust’s ongoing efforts to help raise awareness of responsible behaviour in the outdoors among New Zealanders and international visitors enjoying the trail.
Te Araroa Trust chief executive Mark Weatherall said behavioural messaging was becoming increasingly important as the number of trail walkers increased.
More than 1,100 people walked Te Araroa last year, taking in some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery as they wind their way from Cape Reinga in the far north to Bluff at the bottom of the South Island.
“The pledge is part of our ongoing effort to help walkers understand the Kiwi way of enjoying and caring for our outdoors. While the vast majority of Te Araroa walkers are respectful and responsible in the outdoors, there are always a few that need a helping hand,” Mr Weatherall said.
The Trail Pledge draws on behavioural messaging from many existing outdoor codes of conduct, including the Tiaki Promise, Outdoor Access Code, Leave No Trace care codes and the Outdoor Safety Code.
It has the backing of the Department of Conservation, New Zealand Walking Access Commission and Mountain Safety Council, and will be promoted via social media, Te Araroa Trust’s website, and in a welcome email sent to all walkers who register to walk the trail.
A poster promoting the pledge will be put up at huts along the trail managed by the Department of Conservation. It would also be displayed businesses and private accommodation providers that support trail walkers.
“Managing Te Araroa and providing a high-quality experience for walkers is a team effort and we’re looking forward to exploring new ways to partner with organisations across New Zealand for the good of the trail and the outdoor experience,” Mr Weatherall said.
More information about the pledge can be found on The Trail Pledge page of Te Araroa Trust’s website.