Gorson Hosking of Mangawhai Tracks Charitable Trust
“Over the last 18 months there have been over 6000 visits to the tracks. That’s the reward – seeing people use it”.
Eleven years ago Gordon Hosking, and a band of committed volunteers, started building tracks in Mangawhai.
They began at Mangawhai Community Park, where there was no access into the native bush, and put several tracks through. Then they formed themselves into the Mangawhai Tracks Charitable Trust, with Gordon leading as the Chair, and they got stuck into a 300 hectare DOC reserve in the Brynderwyns at King Road.
Walking Access NZ funded the bridge to get into the reserve, and Gordon and his team built 12 kilometres of track by hand, sometimes, says Gordon, “with forgiveness rather than permission”. About a dozen volunteers can be found every Friday morning at the reserve maintaining and improving the tracks. “We are very proud of what we do”, says Gordon. “Over the last 18 months there have been over 6000 visits to the tracks. That’s the reward – seeing people use it”.
The Tanekaha tracks project is coming to an end now and the group needs a new project. The first priority, currently going through the Resource Consent process, is a walkway around the harbour, from Back Bay to Pearson St. The team also has ambitions to get a 120 hectare block of native bush declared a Recreational Reserve by the Kaipara District Council. Gordon has an exciting vision for a mix of walking and mountain bike tracks.
Passionate about our native forests, Gordon is a tramper, and a keen mountain biker. Moving to Mangawhai from Rotorua meant leaving the fabulous trails of the Whakarewarewa Forest. But Gordon says that volunteering has more than compensated. “Working with a group of motivated volunteers is so rewarding. I get a lot of pleasure out of what I do and I try to spread that enthusiasm”. One way that Gordon does that is to provide leadership, but typically humble he is quick to acknowledge that “you can’t do it on your own. It’s a team thing”. People are always welcome to join. Contact VOlunteering Northland if you would like to be part of this proactive gang of track builders.
Story by Helen Frances volunteer reporter for Volunteering Northland