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Te Muri Regional Park, Coastal Walkway

posted Nov 20, 2015, 10:01 PM by Viv Dostine   [ updated Nov 20, 2015, 10:04 PM ]

The next regional park development in Auckland Regional Parks network is Te Muri.  

Already penciled in for horse access, I've met with Mahurangi Action's Cimino Cole, and attended the AGM of Friends of Regional Parks to provide our support for the proposed Coastal Walkway that will join Mahurangi West, Te Muri and Wenderholm.

While calling it a walkway, there is clear agreement that these parks, and trails are historically accessed by horse, and should remain so.  The vision for a bridge to span the Puhoi river, joining Te Muri and Wenderholm

The next action will be formal feedback in early December 2015


Read the Mahurangi Magazine Website here - plenty of links to other artcles on the Coastal Trail

10 Thousand Horses

posted Feb 23, 2015, 3:38 PM by Viv Dostine   [ updated Feb 23, 2015, 3:41 PM ]

2014-2018 is of course the 100th anniversary of WW1. 

As part of the ongoing commemorations there are a number of projects around the country for New Zealand's 10,000 war horses.  

The "10,000 Horses" project will update you on all the different projects, promote them to the general public and help fundraise when we can 

200 Years - Bicentenary

posted Feb 23, 2015, 3:33 PM by Viv Dostine   [ updated Nov 20, 2015, 10:04 PM ]

NZ Horse is proud to celebrate the arrival of the first horses on New Zealand's shores 

Woodhill Heritage Trails

posted Jun 17, 2012, 7:22 PM by Viv Dostine   [ updated Jun 17, 2013, 2:32 PM ]

The trails celebrate the history of the area and the sand forest it runs through. They link the trails through the top of Muriwai Regional Park with Rimmer Rd.  Project started Aug 2012, completed June 2013

This will be a walking and horse riding trail (sorry cyclists, due to a number of factors outside our control we weren't able to get you access on this one at present). 
WHT will actually be a trail network, providing many options from a gentle walk, to an educational journey, or a full on trail adventure for walkers or horse riders.
For those who wish to take on the Hilary Trail or other long walks, this will give you a great training area, and the ability to take a safe trial run at a long(ish) trail experience close to Auckland.
The major north-south trail we are currently building run approx 8.5 km from Rimmer Rd to Old Telephone Track, where we link into tracks and trails in the Muriwai Regional Park for a further 9km back into Muriwai (where the Hilary Trail ends), or you can challenge yourself on a number of linking (and some more advanced trails in the coastal strip of forest).


Construction of the wide trail begins .... July 2012



Horse Rider Safety on the Roads

posted Jun 15, 2011, 4:58 PM by Vivien Dostine   [ updated Mar 18, 2014, 6:31 PM by Viv Dostine ]

As part of my feedback into the Auckland Spatial plan, I put some research into the current laws and bylaws around horse riding on roads and berms, and also into how the Council can create paths and trails that allow horse riders alongside cycles and walkers.

The sad fact is that New Zealand's laws, and bylaws are very anti-horse (and rider). 
  • Current laws disregard horse rider safety on road sides, 
  • The current legislation is very unclear about whether horse riders can ride on a berm or not, because they use the terms 'road margin' , and refer to areas as uncultivated or 'lawn'.  Yet Councils do not permit landowners to plant lawns or gardens on Council owned roads (berms)
  • Council by-laws usually favour nice looking lawns, instead of rider safety when it comes to riding on berms (and seem to be at odds with NZ Transport laws)
  • There is no way for a Council to form an unformed road into a path for non-motorised transport only.  Horse riders are excluded
  • There is no definitiion or provision for bridlepaths, or non-motorised transport paths (including horses), and the definition for shared trails does not include horses - meaning if a council did create a bridleway\bridlepath then horses would not be allowed on it!
I intend to lobby Councils, NZ Local Government and Central Government to have this put right.  We are currently out of step with Australia and the UK where transport laws include horse riders in safety legislation.

The Equestrian Economy

posted Jun 10, 2010, 7:36 PM by Viv Dostine   [ updated Oct 13, 2017, 4:24 PM ]

How much is the equestrian economy worth to New Zealand? 

Approx 1 Billion dollars of annual economic spend from recreational horse owners.  This figure does not include capital expenses, export of horses, or downstream economic inputs from businesses.  

How do we know?

In New Zealand we simply don't know; there is no way to review Statistics New Zealand categories to capture the equine sector, nor do we have an Equestrian Business Association or group similar to Britain's BETA.

We do know that there are numerous businesses that surround every horse; feed merchants to farriers, trainers to transporters and many, many others.  So in an effort to correct this, we (NZ Horse Network) surveyed horse owners to see how much each average horse pumps into the economy.  The ave. spend result was $12,500 per horse per year.   But this raised a secondary obstacle in calculating the value of the horse industry; how many horses are there in New Zealand? Based on Agribase's* biosecurity database there were 120,000 horses registered, and approx 40,000 of those are racehorses.  That left 80,000 registered recreation-sporthorses.  

*There has been another shuffling of resources, and Asure Quality Agribase has returned to being a private database, and MPI now have a farm search product.  


as at May 2011 

Annual Expenditure On average survey respondents so far spend just under  $13,000 per year per horse (excluding large capital expenses).
The biggest single expenditure is on feeding\housing (grazing fees or livery), however when similar expenses are categorised - travel (vehicle expenses and maintenance), recreation and education costs are the biggest category averaging just under $5,000 per year per horse.

Capital Expenditure

Big capital expenses included property, buildings, vehicles and saddlery.

Most respondents who had purchased property did so purely so they could have their horses at home.  For horse owners the average property price of $830.000 is only the start; barns and stables were high on the list of improvements with costs running from the simple DIY barn @ $6000, through to $200,000. About 20% of respondents had build an arena on their property, at an average cost of $21,000.

Everyone had purchased saddles and other tack, which averaged $7000 per horse. This figure suddenly looked extremely reasonable when compared to the most common large expenditure, a vehicle.  With so few safe roads, and even fewer bridleways in this country it is almost compulsory for a horse owner to also have a horse float or truck to be able to ride, and certainly to compete. Expenditure on vehicles averaged $38,000; this is considered an extremely conservative figure as the survey did not include any respondents
who spent over $100,000 on a vehicle, yet a large new, truck can cost as much as $750,000.

Those without horses still spend up on their passion; averaging $3000 per year on lessons, horse hire and equestrian clothing or accessories.

Waikato University Review of NZ Horse Network Survey Data

You can view the full document  here >> 

A Waikato University Masters Student, Alex Matheson, used the data from our survey to perform his own analysis on the value of the equine economy.  

Media Reports:  

Note: While all the media reports implied that Alex performed his own research. The published paper identifies that it is the economic data survey performed by NZ Horse Network (or NZ Horse recreation group as we were known then) that was used in this study.    I am referred to as 'lead researcher', although the research was performed without any support from or intention of providing it to Waikato University.  There is also some 'smoke and mirrors' used when referring to 'an outside company' on one page. There is also information in the report that is directly copied from other documents I have written (namely the report on horse recreation in the Auckland Regional Parks).

Kaipara Trails

posted Jan 11, 2010, 6:19 PM by Vivien Dostine   [ updated Mar 18, 2014, 6:30 PM by Viv Dostine ]

We are currently interested in creating trails that allow horses, bikes and walkers to trek from Muriwai to South Head.
The idea is to stimulate the local economies with adventure tourism travellers - stopping along the trail at various points.  Locals would also be able to use the trail for recreation and this would hopefully then be able to be extended throughout the region, with further trails linking the following 'hubs'   - Helensville <> Wellsford , Helensville <> Pakiri ++
Kaipara Trails

Rodney Road Safety Campaign

posted Jan 11, 2010, 6:16 PM by Vivien Dostine   [ updated Mar 18, 2014, 6:31 PM by Viv Dostine ]

Currently working with Rodney District Council Road Safety Co-ordinator to get a "Share the Roads" type campaign underway in Rodney.
Update: Jan 2010 -  Signage was produced and erected around the district in spots heavily used by equestrians.  RDC road safety co-ordinator spoke about the campaign on local radio spots.

The final design on Sunnyside road in Coatesville

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