A New Zealand-long walking trail conceived 35 years ago will open on Saturday.
Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, will open Te Araroa (The Long Pathway) at a ceremony in the Wellington suburb of Island Bay where the North Island leg of the trail ends at Cook Strait.
Far North Mayor Wayne Brown is expected to join the ceremony, which starts at 10am, via cell phone while Invercargill Mayor will phone in from Southland.
A Walking Guide to Te Araroa written by long-time trail champion Geoff Chapple and published by Random House will go on sale the same week as the opening.
The idea of a scenic walking trail connecting Cape Reinga with Bluff dates back to 1975 when the New Zealand Walkways Commission was formed.
The first section of the trail, a walking route from Kerikeri to Waitangi, was opened by Prime Minister Jim Bolger in 1995.
Since then, Te Araroa Trust has designated 3000km of walking tracks across coast and river margins, back roads, public estate and private land with support from DOC and district and regional councils.
Fourteen walking tracks in the Far North district make up the 276 km northern leg of Te Araroa:
Go to www.teararoa.org.nz for more information about Te Araroa.