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Get your boots back on for the Walking Festival

The Wairarapa Walking Festival will return this summer, boasting 30 walks through coast, bush, vineyards, and towns across the region.

This year’s festival will run from Friday, November 10, to Sunday, November 19.

Local historians Rawiri Smith and Gareth Winter will speak at a launch event at 2pm this Saturday at Carterton Events Centre. Smith will discuss early Māori walkers in Wairarapa and the process of understanding landscape through walking, while Winter will discuss early European settlers, cattle drovers, and their
experiences walking the region.

Celia Wade-Brown, who founded the festival in 2021, said this year’s programme was inspired by the motto “learn, explore, connect.”

Wade-Brown said there would be walks about nature, local produce, Māori Heritage, a walk for refugees new to the region, some walks on farms, some with dogs, and some urban walks focused on town history. Each walk will have a knowledgeable leader and a first aider.

“Walking is an intergenerational activity with positive physical and mental wellbeing benefits,” she said.

“It is a great way for people to explore and enjoy nature, and there are enough varied walks that people could stay for a week and enjoy a walk each day.”

Wade-Brown said the festival would bring economic benefits to the region by bringing people in to explore and that some of the walks were designed to fit in trains from Wellington.

Co-convenor Tracey Higgins said most walks were free, but some were costed, and some had limited places.

Higgins will announce the full programme at Saturday’s launch.

She will be guiding a wine and olive tour through Gladstone’s beautiful vineyard country.

She said it was one of the more popular events; people would need to book in advance to secure a place.

  • Most walks will be bookable from September 2 through the Carterton Event Centre website.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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