Manawatu Walking Festival

Walking his way

Frank Goldingham is the face of walking for New Zealand. As the editor of ‘Walking New Zealand’ he has a passion for great walks and outstanding photography, and his magazine was the first in New Zealand to publish the ‘green prescription’, which refers to a doctor’s recommendation of using exercise to boost health.

Now in its 195th issue, the magazine has fostered the trend for designer walking. It provides stunning and spectacular pictures for the adventurous and artistic person, highlighting both national and overseas walks.

Manawatu Walking FestivalThe idea for the magazine came about fifteen years ago while Frank was visiting Australia. “I was walking the ‘city to surf’ when it occurred to me that there was a running magazine but not a walking magazine”. This idea has since grown into a successful nationwide magazine with more than 4,000 readers per month.

Another project that has grown out of the magazine is the Manawatu Walking Festival.  “I realised that there were walking festivals throughout the country such as Mangawhai and Waiheke Island but not in the Manawatu”.

The weekend long festival went from February 28 to March 2, and focused on putting Manawatu “on the map” and bringing people together to enjoy the great walks of the area.

“We had 170 participants which is great because even though it is small, it will grow. I prefer the idea of walking and ending up at a café where you can sit down and have a chat – which is what made the festival so popular”. Frank says he is already looking forward to organising next year’s event.

FrankIn terms of favourites, Frank feels the vineyard walk was one of the most successful because “you don’t associate Manawatu with wine. The biggest surprise though was the popularity of the Twilight Beach Walk, which is a 9km walk from Foxton Beach to Himatangi Beach”. Some of Frank’s personal favourites include the Bridal Track, the Gorge Walk and the Fern Walkway in Pohangina.

Along with his passion for walking, Frank is also a keen photographer and publisher. He started the Feilding Herald newspaper from scratch, and has also published a number of royal tour and photo books. “Back when there was no television I would be on royal tours, so I would write a book and it would be on sale the next day”.

For those unconvinced, Frank believes that walking has become so popular because it is cheap and enjoyable, and is an activity for everyone and anyone. “It is a great way to meet people and explore some great places of New Zealand. There are a lot of varieties and it doesn’t cost a lot. All you need is a good pair of shoes and you are on your way”.

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