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The 31st Rotorua Walking Festival – a quiet achiever in 2024

The 31st edition of the Rotorua Walking festival was a great success offering live music, a mixture of walking distances and tracks through beautiful forests and the city streets and parks of Rotorua with fantastic weather over the weekend according to Organising Committee Chair, Deryck Shaw. The festival that was started by the Rotary Club of Rotorua West (and now operated by an incorporated society) has not missed a year since 1994

Held over the weekend of 15/16/17 March the festival attracted walkers from 15 countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech republic, France, Japan, Netherlands, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, South Africa, Thailand, UK, USA and of course NZ.

From the welcome/whakatau to walkers on Friday evening by respected Te Arawa Kaumatua Ken Raureti and special guest Rotorua Trust Trustee, Mike Keefe the festival had a great atmosphere and vibe.

Around 30 walkers attended the guided Nocturnal Walk by professional ecologist Dr Chris Bycroft on Friday evening.

On Saturday, hundreds of walkers participated in either 10, 21 or 42 km walks in the fantastic Whakarewarewa Forest with the 42 kms walkers experiencing lakes, amazing exotic and native bush and forest settings through a combination of tracks and private roads.

On Sunday, similar number if walkers participated in either 10, 20, 30 or 42 km walks in the unique Rotorua parks, reserves, and lake and geothermal and street environments of Rotorua.

Some walkers participate in one day of walks while others look to undertake walks on both days, particularly those that have travelled to the event. Many return each year and one walker from the Hawkes bay has undertaken all 31 walking events.

As the walks aren’t races walkers really get to experience Rotorua and all of the great things about the city and district while enjoying the company from walkers from around the world. The Rotorua walking routes and scenery are rated some of the best in the world.

Three walkers Kokkie Vermaas, Jiri Broz and Hana Brozova were awarded IML Walking Association (IMLWA) Pan Pacific Walker awards having completed walking events in 8 Pan Pacific countries that are members of the IML WA including New Zealand.

Organising Committee Chair, Deryck Shaw acknowledged the funding support received from Rotorua Trust, Pub Charity and Four Winds. He also acknowledged the mana whenua of the iwi owners of the forest the great working relationship with Timberlands, Rotorua Trails Trust and Rotorua Lakes Council.

Two further emails will be sent with photos from the event.

Key sponsors for 2024 with spot prizes were Te Puia, Skyline, Secret Spot, Sapphire Springs Holiday Park and Pools, Polynesian Spa, Holdens Bay Holiday Park and APR Consultants.

Deryck acknowledged that it was pleasure to support Rotorua Parents Centre and Plunket with their festival walk on Saturday and the Rotorua RSPCA and their dog walk on Sunday. Their walk in particular attracted more than 70 people and dogs. He noted that it was great to be able to support local organisations who do a great job in the community.

The annual best team award went to Theo Tromp with the annual contribution going to Murray Clark (and his team of local musicians) who create much of the atmosphere for the event with two days of live music. This year La Bonne Bakery and Café catered for the event.

He noted the thanks to all of the volunteers for the event and in particular the Rotary Club of Rotorua West and Altrusa and lake City Athletics who have been fantastic helping out.

Walk with strangers and become friends and it’s great that we can get out and enjoy each other’s company people, particularly with people from different cultures who all come together for the love of walking.

The 2025 event is on 15 and 16 March and is our 32nd year and a good group of New Zealand and international walkers is expected.

You can enter online here: http://www.rotoruawalkingfestival.org.nz/registration.html

For those of you who have not already registered, please join us for our 2025 event and help us celebrate our 32nd anniversary. We will have our walks, displaying the best of Rotorua’s bush and garden tracks, great live music.

Key aspects for the 2025 event will include:

  1. Dual marathon walks – walk a marathon distance on the Saturday and Sunday – a real challenge!
  2. Friday evening nocturnal walk.
  3. Caterers onsite.
  4. Live entertainment each day.
  5. Varied walk routes. We capitalised on changes to the forest trail network and also on the paths in the CBD.
  6. Spot prizes for walkers.

There are a lot of photos from this and previous walks on social media via Facebook here – https://www.facebook.com/pg/RotoruaWalkingFestival/photos/?ref=page_internal

And there is more information on our website – www.rotoruawalkingfestival.org.nz

 

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