A new website designed to get Tairāwhiti locals out and moving went live today.

Tapuwae Tairāwhiti Trails Trust (TTT) – formerly known as Gisborne Cycle & Walkway Trust – has put together information on multiple trails across the district from easy shared cycling and walking paths around city beaches and rivers to more difficult mountain biking trails within and outside the city.

TTT chair Lyall Evans says whether the active mode of transport is to walk, run, cycle, skate, scoot, wheelchair or hop, exercise is good for the brain … and will improve the education outcome, health and social connection of people in the community.

“Our main audience is locals looking for trails to move around our region. And we see our success as a noticeable increase in the use of our community trails and paths.” 

The website tairawhititrails.nz – created by Gisborne based developer Nick Jacobs – was launched with 18 trails but more of the identified 90 district trails will be added in coming months. 

“Trails are not just about cyclists in lycra,” Evans said. “They’re for all ages, stages and physical abilities. They’re there for many purposes including travelling to and from work and educational facilities, and for recreation. Trails are also where smiles are exchanged and social connection occurs. 

“We want users to enjoy the wonders of our natural environment and boost their brain power through exercise at the same time.”

He said the relationship between exercise and mental alertness was well-proven. 

“Kids pay better attention to their subjects when they have been active, and they are less disruptive, feel better about themselves, have higher self-esteem and have less depression and anxiety. 

“Exercise improves cardiovascular fitness which reduces the risk for diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. And aerobic exercise just twice a week halves your risk of general dementia.”

The trails described within tairawhititrails.nz are categorised as cycling, walking, mountain biking, commuter paths, dog-friendly and those suitable for disabled users. Each trail has a separate page providing the grade, distance, time, a map, elevation profile, a little history and tips. Most have flyovers with photos and the route. Up-to-date information about maintenance issues, hazards or closures of trails will be included as well as a way for users to report issues. 

The trust’s major current focus is Te Ara o Taruheru/Taruheru River Trail.

“We are working alongside mana whenua, council and the community to progress the development of a safe route from the end of Ngā Wai Weherua (City Rivers) Trail at the river end of Grey Street, generally following the Taruheru River to Campion Road and beyond. This involves improving a couple of tricky intersections but we believe this project, included in council’s 2018-2028 and 2021-2031 Long Term Plans, is achievable. 

“We hope to make safety a priority for people walking, riding bikes, scootering, etc, and not disrupt car traffic too much, while keeping it affordable. The community will be consulted on all options for the trail in the first half of 2024.”