The main points to note:
- The WMBP will provide the Bay of Islands with a much needed land-based activity which can be enjoyed all year round.
- It is estimated that after 3 years the WMBP will attract 15,000 new visitors to Northland and that this figure could potentially rise to 50,000 visitors after 10-15 years operation.
- The Northland economic benefits, inclusive of the flow-on effects, are estimated to be $6.4m after 3 years and $21.2m after 10-15 years.
- This will result in the creation of 50.4 FTE jobs after 3 years and 167.9 FTE jobs after 10-15 years.
- The all-weather nature of the surfaces of the trails will help to broaden the shoulder seasons and attract visitors in the quiet winter months.
- The capital costs of implementing the full Masterplan are budgeted at $2m and will be undertaken in 3 stages over 3 years.
- This will provide 72 kms of ‘landmark’ trails which will achieve a silver rating from the International Mountain Bike Association.
- WMBP is Community owned and operated.
- Provides a land-based healthy activity for people of all ages and skill levels
- Inexpensive and accessible to all.
- Embraces and celebrates the cultural heritage of the area.
- Embraces and celebrates conservation values – Assist in pest control and kiwi conservation.
- Increases the quality of life for residents through improved opportunities for outdoor recreation.
- Benefits the health targets set out by District Health Board and Sport Northland objectives.
- Provide local job opportunities created by the economic stimulation from the increase in visitor numbers to the area.
- Symbiotically extend the use of Waitangi Endowment Forest from its current commercial forestry commitments and progress it towards a more responsible public recreation facility.
- Support the goals set out by the current local and central government re cycle ways.
- Increase visitor numbers to Northland with the associated benefits for all.
Focus Paihia Community Charitable Trust
Focus Paihia is a grass-roots organisation that was ‘born’ out of the belief that Paihia has the potential to become an exceptionalplace to live, work and visit. It has spent a considerable amount of time thinking through its vision, strategy and the future structure of Paihia. It has done this by listening to its community and building on their views in the early stages of its own development. It also set up a mechanism for working in concert with local councils and other agencies, at the staff level as much as with councillors. Going through this important stage was the key contribution of Tania McInnes, now the FNDC Deputy Mayor. It has also been willing to search out expert external advice, such as that of the architects and planners Stephenson and Turner and the ‘placemaking’ consultancy Creative Communities International.
Taking these developmental and evolutionary steps has enabled Focus Paihia to work with the grain of local opinion and external advice rather than asserting its own opinions as a Board, although we would also argue that there has been no lack of leadership at this level. Nevertheless, going back to the community for further views and even a renewed ‘mandate’, especially through public meetings, has been part of its ongoing modus operandi. The Trust represents a wide range of the Paihia community including representation from:
- Business community
- Tangata Whenua
- Paihia Residents
- Paihia Youth (including local schools)
- Local History groups
- Local Environmental groups
Since its formation Focus Paihia has had many successful projects which have all been undertaken with the help of voluntary input of the local residents. These projects culminated in Paihia receiving the ‘Community of the Year’ award at the prestigious New Zealander of the Year awards in 2015, closely followed that year by the Trust becoming the Supreme Winner at the National Trustpower Volunteer Awards.
To create and maintain a world class mountain bike facility, which embraces and celebrates the cultural heritage of the area and provides a land-based healthy activity for people of all ages and skill levels, and which results in increased visitor numbers to Northland with the associated benefits for all.
- To build a community owned and operated world class Mountain Bike Park that will increase visitor arrivals to Northland.
- To create a value of mountain biking/cycling to the Paihia economy from the current $0 per annum to $6.4m in 3 years and to treble it to $21.2m in 10 to 15 years.
- To create directly and indirectly over 50 new jobs in 3 years and 168 jobs in 10 to 15 years through track construction, events, services, guiding and retail outlets servicing the biking visitor.
The idea of a mountain bike park and the benefits it could bring to the greater Bay of Islands area came about at the beginning of 2013 from local biking enthusiasts, Robin and Tiffany Holland. Since then a Steering Committee, set up under the auspices of Focus Paihia, has carried out exhaustive consultation with all the other stakeholders.
Department of Conservation
As managers of the Waitangi Endowment Forest, DoC are effectively the landlord for the mountain bike park. They have been hugely supportive of the project which will take place alongside their existing commercial forestry operation without any disruption. Two long years of negotiations and working together were finally rewarded in July 2015 when the Trust and the Department signed a Management Agreement covering the land on which the park will be built.
Waitangi National Trust
The Waitangi National Trust benefits from the land (via the Waitangi Endowment Forest Act) on which the park will be built, as well as owning the bordering land, and maintains the road (in conjunction with FNDC) that leads to the proposed carpark. As supporters in principal of the project WNT have worked closely with Focus Paihia. Their approval was a key piece of the jigsaw puzzle that allowed DOC to enter into the Management Agreement with Focus Paihia.
Focus Paihia recognizes the interests of Tangata Whenua in the land that the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park is built upon. From the outset, Focus Paihia’s approach has been to work closely with Tangata Whenua. Our first open presentation was held on the Waitangi Marae. We’ve been very fortunate to have expressions of interest from Hepa Waiomio, Richard Takimoana, Maraea Takimoana, Emma Gibbs Smith, Ngati Kawa Taituha, Rhonda Taituha, Billie Taituha, Hawaiki Taituha, Nikau Taituha, Raakentuitai Taituha, Hinehou Apiata, Isaiah Apiata, Albie Apiata, Tana Apiata, Jeff Reihana, Lydia Winiana, Renata Tane, Hone Tiatoa, Rio Greening, Hera Dear Tapsell and Arnold Maunsell. This significant group of Hapu members has provided Focus Paihia with appropriate cultural support from a Ngati Rahiri, Ngati Kawa, Te Matarahurahu, Ngati Hineira and Te Uri Taniwha Hapu perspective. Thank you also to Ngati Rahiri’s Commercial Arm Te Tii Waitangi B3 Trust Board and its Chairman Wiremu Tane for backing the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park project.
Tangata Whenua are involved at all levels of the Parks development whether it be offering firm guidance regarding the nature of culturally sensitive sites of significance, trail placement, trail names, art displays and interpretation of culture and heritage content on info kiosk boards and websites. In addition, we’ve always encouraged Tangata Whenua to have input and to forward recommendations in relation to DOC concessions, management agreements, funding sources, building compliance, development of health n safety and general maintenance systems and the overall Park access rules.
It’s been a real pleasure for Focus Paihia to engage with Tangata Whenua in a meaningful and mutually beneficial way. This Waitangi Mountain Bike Park project is a living example of the spirit of Treaty of Waitangi whereby both Maori and Pakeha work jointly together to serve the greater interests of our local community. This very special bi-cultural collaborative relationship will be treasured forever in perpetuity. Tangata Whenua’s contribution has added a real unique point of difference for this Park. In its own right, this can be classified as the first Maori Mountain Bike Park in the World.
Extensive consultation is carried out in regards to the exact location of each trail before it is built. This includes the Dept. of Conservation, Tangata Whenua – Ngati Rahiri/Ngati Kawa and Taiamai, Geometria for archeology, the Horse Trekking Concessionaire and a Kiwi Detection Expert.
The sustainably built and maintained trails will also assist conservation efforts with pest control initiatives in the area to restore native birdlife and the spraying of gorse and other weeds. Considerable effort is being made to ensure the safety of the kiwi population with the WEF.
Local and Business Communities
When letters of support were requested from the community for funding applications and the management agreement process hundreds of letters flooded in from the area. As with all Focus Paihia projects, the community is a major contributor to the Mountain Bike Park. The many willing and talented people in this community have already contributed to the build and upkeep of the park with donations and volunteer labour, donated food and accommodation for contractors and provided other specialist skills such as engineering, design and photography, to help with the creation the park. This is to the value of well over $150,000 in services and materials.
Northland Region Corrections Facility
WMBP has been supported by a small Corrections crew, 2 – 3 prisoners and warden working on specific projects such as trail building and installation of road crossing barriers. The road crossing barrier gates were built within the prison workshop, the Whakairo Programme has carved five Pou that form the magnificent entrance gate. Their efforts are a fantastic contribution and a huge bonus for the project.
Trail Construction – The Build so far…
Internationally renowned and leaders in their field, Southstar Trails began construction of STAGE ONE/ Zone 2 of the WMBP on 15 October 2015.
For the 2016/17 trail building season Southstar are joined by a local trail build crew Andrew Younger Contracting.
Zone 3 is now complete – adding another 20km of trails!
Zone 5 is currently under construction.