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Seafarer helms trail

  • 05 Sep 2008


Cassie and Russell

Russell and Cassie Pierce live in the Herekino Gorge in the Far North, on a large bush block on regenerating scrub, gumfield plateau and primeval forest. Russell was a seafarer for many years and since coming ashore full time he and Cassie have kept busy with a variety of good projects, organising wild ginger and possum eradication programmes in their area. Russell is the secretary of the Herekino Hall society, and is coach of the local soccer team.

But what makes the Pierces special is the commitment they have shown to Te Araroa's 120km 'Ocean to Ocean' trail from Ahipara to Kerikeri. Approximately 3km of that track, linking the Ahipara gumfields to the Herekino Forest passes through their property, and Russ has put the track in himself. He will say it was mostly on a fenceline, but what about the camping facility you are developing on the Herekino Road, Russ?

'That's for our own benefit too, you know Pete. When the tourists start coming through, they are going to have to stay somewhere, aren't they? We see the track as a way for the world to come to us, as well as a few bob on the side, for service rendered. In our area unemployment is very high and you have to develop every opportunity. The track is an ecologically sound way of developing our property, hopefully with a built-in cash flow, or trickle, or whatever, and we can benefit.'

'We love exploring the bush, piecing together the lay of the land. On one section of the fence line we thought it was too steep for a good track, so we cast around for the best line, and found an old habitation, right on the best contour, so we looked for the logical exit from there, and sure enough, we found the perfect line for the track, a bit longer, but so much easier.

'We are also looking forward to the possibility of getting hold of people who can work for their keep, sort of like tramping WWOOFERs.

'All in all though, we like the idea of meeting people with an appreciation of the environment and the bush, people who love the place for what it is, primal and sacred.'

- Story by Peter Griffiths

Page last updated: Jul 28, 2020, 5:08 PM