Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park Wins Award

20 December 2010

Wellington City Council and the Makara Peak Supporters group recently won the New Zealand Recreation Association's (NZRA) 2010 Outstanding Park Award for their collaboration on Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park.

The awards were held in October and judges recognised the unique partnership between the Council and the Makara Peak Supporters who, since 1988, have worked tirelessly to turn the park into the region's premier mountain bike park and one of Wellington's most visited reserves.

The judges said the 230-hectare park, situated in south Karori, provided residents with a fantastic resource which added to the city reserve network. With one native seedling being planted for every metre of track developed, they were also impressed with the ecological restoration of the park which will soon be protected as a scenic reserve.

Amber Bill, Manager Community Engagement and Reserves for Wellington City Council says it's great to see the volunteers' efforts formally recognised.

"The Supporters group is made up of local residents, mountain bikers and conservationists - everyday people who have poured hours of voluntary work into the park.

"The development and vision of the park is principally lead by Makara Peak Supporters which makes sense, as mountain bikers are best placed to know what they need. Council's support is mainly through park rangers, funding for key maintenance areas and some capital development."

At the beginning of the project, Makara Peak was a run-down, gorse-covered farm. The Supporters vision was to create a world class mountain bike park with tracks for all levels of rider in a restored native ecosystem. More than ten years on, and Makara Peak has over 30 kilometres of tracks, more than 31,000 native trees planted and has been listed by an international travel website as one of the top 10 places in the world to bike.

Track Building

All tracks within the park, and many surrounding it, have been designed and built by the Supporters who do most of the maintenance work. All tracks are hand-built single tracks for mountain biking which are also used by runners and walkers. These tracks cater for a variety of abilities and fitness levels ranging from easy to expert. They have been designed and built with permanence and maintenance in mind, while taking care to ensure minimal damage to the surrounding native bush. 

Conservation

The Supporters unique policy of planting a native seedling for every metre of track developed has helped ensure the restoration of this significant area.

There are also over 100 bait stations and several Timms traps and five stoat lines cover most of the park. Both Greater Wellington Regional Council and City Council have continued to assist, support and carry out specialist control such as goat and pig hunting - all of which is significantly enhancing the indigenous biodiversity of the park.

Kereru and kaka now fly overhead and regular bird counts show that tui, fantail, grey warbler, shining cuckoo and silver eyes are regulars. Ruru (morepork) have also been spotted by night riders.

How to Get Involved

The Makara Peak Supporters are continuing to develop the park and if you are interested in being involved visit their Facebook page at Makara Peak MTB Park Supporters.

The Council and Makara Peak Supporters Group are also giving everyone a chance to have a go at mountain biking with free guided tours of the park throughout the summer. The tours will be held on the first Sunday of every month and those keen to give it a go can just turn up on the day. Meet at the Makara Peak car park on South Karori Road, 10.00am, Sunday. Take your bike, a helmet, water bottle and a snack.

Makara Peak MTB Park Supporters - Facebook website