Waitangi Mountain Bike Park : The Andrew Thomson Challenge

$2,865 of $15,000 goal
Given by 13 generous donors in 4 weeks

Help us match the Bay of Islands Rotary Club donation in memory of Andrew Thomson by Christmas for the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park.


YAY! after 2 years of hard work of all the parties involved we now have a Management Agreement with the Department of Conservation to build and manage a Mountain Bike Park in the Endowment Forest. A huge THANK YOU to all those who sent in Letters of Support. These letters form an essential part of the application to the Dept. of Conservation. Well over 200 letters were received. Support came from Heath, Education, NZ Police, sports clubs, businesses and residents from Paihia, Waitangi, Haruru Falls, Watea, Te Haumi, Opua , Russell, Rawhiti, Kerikeri, Kawakawa, Kaikohe, Kaeo, Oromahoe, Kaitaia, Dargaville, Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Dunedin, even from the UK and Canada – to name a few!

Thank you for taking the time and effort to support this worthy project. The mighty power of the pen… or perhaps keyboard in some cases! We are now needing to turn that support into dollars to make this project happen. FNDC has tipped in $70,000 and so has Focus Paihia but we still need to fundraise another $300,000 to complete the first 2 zones which will give us approximately 30 kms of track. So please help us get this incredible project done this summer!

More information is provided below but if you would like to chat about any aspects of the project feel free to get in touch as the entire team loves to talk about this project which is near and dear to their hearts.

An opportunity was seen to develop the existing Endowment Forest land into a World Class Mountain Bike Park whilst continuing its current use as a commercial forestry business, without interruption via series of professionally designed and well-constructed trails.

While the Mountain Bike Park is a community facility to achieve the recognition as a “World Class” MTB Park it will require facilities that have a definite WOW factor, which will encourage riders to return for multiple visits, and to bring other riders with them to experience what’s on offer. The trails need to be “landmark trails” – a term used to describe trails that are so amazing you can’t wait to ride them again.

As we develop the existing Endowment Forest land into a World Class MTB Park its current use as a commercial forestry business would be uninterrupted. The MTB Park would be a collection of pre-approved, professionally designed and well-constructed trails.

The Mountain Bike Park will be a series of sustainable, fun, exciting and interesting single use mountain bike trails that are informative as well as environmentally and culturally friendly.

Our Mountain Bike Park will cater to both recreational cyclists and passionate mountain bikers. With easily accessible trails in the Bay of Islands will enable locals to take part in this great sport plus encourage visitors to the region.

The Waitangi Mountain Bike Park’s vision is: To create & 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.

- Provides a land based, all-weather, all year sports activity which is relatively inexpensive and accessible to all.

- Provide a world class, potentially low cost community health related sports facility, keeping local kids positively focused, which is also attractive to local families with skill and experience level of riders from beginner to expert being catered for in the design of the park.

- Provide local job opportunities created by the economic stimulation from the increase in visitor numbers to the area.

- Potentially attract MTBP sponsorship and competitions to Paihia.

- Assist in pest control and kiwi conservation through the use of the tracks to allow easy ‘baiting’ of the area.

- Benefit the health targets set out by District Health Board and Sport Northland objectives – Northland has some of the worst health related statistics in the country.

- Symbiotically extend the use of Waitangi Endowment Forest from its current commercial forestry commitments and progress it towards a more responsible public recreation facility.

- The mountain bike park would respect and promote cultural, community and conservation issues.

- Attract the Auckland mountain biking market to experience the Bay from another perspective. It could provide an excellent land based outdoor attraction which is all year round and family friendly.

- Complement the existing construction of the national cycle way from Opua to Hokianga and the proposal for a cycle way from Kerikeri to Paihia through the Waitangi Forest..

- Support the goals set out by the current local and central government re cycle ways.

- Support the local Paihia/Waitangi business community and tourism in Northland, especially in the off season – by attracting an exciting ‘new market’ to the Bay for a land based activity that is relatively non weather dependent. Mountain biking families and weekend warriors need places to eat, drink and sleep and generally are well behaved.

- Great access – close to town in Paihia.

Mountain biking is a hugely popular sport around the world which provides revenue streams far beyond the trail itself. International visitors expect facilities like this to be available and are often frustrated when it’s not. Bike safety on Northlands roads are perceived to be dangerous, hence the need to create safe bike friendly areas is paramount for visitors and locals. Northland lacks any such facility and it would be an enormous positive for the area.


It’s important to understand at the outset that this project goes beyond the needs of a basic community facility. To achieve the recognition as a “World Class” MTB Park requires facilities that have a definite WOW factor, which will encourage riders to return for multiple visits, and to bring other riders with them to experience what’s on offer. The trails need to be “landmark trails” – a term used to describe trails that are so amazing you can’t wait to ride them again.

Our MTB Park will be a series of sustainable trails that:

- Protect the environment and are culturally sensitive

- Meets the needs of its users

- Require little maintenance; and

- Minimises conflict between different user groups

As we develop the existing Endowment Forest land into a World Class MTBP its current use as a commercial forestry business would be uninterrupted.

The MTBP would be a series of pre-approved, professionally designed and well-constructed trails.These trails would all be:

- Culturally sensitive / respecting any cultural / archaeological points of significance.

- Have a health and safety (H&S) plan: emergency services would have quick and easy access to all parts of each trail. All trails to be within a specified distance from the forestry roads.

- Single track and single direction trails of variable difficulty and length for all year round use.

- Appropriate drainage to avoid soil erosion and possibly surfacing to allow for all year round use.

- Well sign posted to notify the directional use, difficulty and distance. Also provides an opportunity for sponsors to advertise on the signs and provide the appropriate cultural information.

- Environmentally sensitive – avoiding forestry new / old tree growth, forestry machinery access points, erosion friendly.

- 100% kiwi friendly – requiring guidance from DOC.

- Respecting other forestry users – horse riding, walkers.

The Mountain Bike Park would provide the following experience:

- Fun, exciting and interesting trails that riders will talk about and attract people to come back.

- Single use trails for mountain biking.

- Beginner to intermediate mountain biker trails initially – Grade 2 (easy) and Grade 3 (intermediate). Progressing to Grade 4 & 5 in further development.

- Able to ride for hours without getting bored.

- Environmentally, conservationally and culturally friendly and informative trails.

- No motor bikes at all.

About us

Focus Paihia works on behalf of the community to see Paihia become an exceptional place to live, work and visit. We want to see Paihia ‘blossom’ and thrive, while retaining its friendly, village like atmosphere.

To make ‘Paihia shine’, through: clear leadership and direction by inspiring and uniting our community and celebrating our successes; supporting and facilitating our community’s ideas for future public developments;

commenting and providing submissions on future developments; having strong relationships and open communication practices; encouraging local sustainable employment opportunities; promoting and maintaining a rich, versatile and sustainable volunteer base; and a sustainable charitable entity while remaining impartial and focused on the bigger picture.

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Latest donations

Jane Johnston
Jane Johnston on 23 Dec 2015
this is a terrific project and a great offer by Rotary to match community donations in honour Andrew T. Give a little and get back a whole lot! I wan't to ride my bike. I want my kid and nephews and their friends to to ride their bikes. And I don't want to worry about mixing it up with hoons, tourist buses and logging truck while riding.... show us the money Bay of Islands!!!
Guest Donor
Guest Donor on 12 Dec 2015
Ross Griffin
Ross Griffin on 30 Nov 2015
Guest Donor
Guest Donor on 30 Nov 2015
Guest Donor
Guest Donor on 27 Nov 2015

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This page was created on 23 Nov 2015 and closed on 25 Dec 2015.