Rotorua Trails Trust



Welcome to 2024


Welcome to 2024 everyone!

We’ve got a lot on the go, following on with the great work in 2023.
It was an incredibly busy year for the Rotorua Trails Trust team with a major rebuild of the trails on the TÄ«tokorangi face and the new Soakhole uphill trail - both all receiving awesome feedback from riders.


No Brains


In 2023, community-led projects like Ultra Rosa, Anxiety, and the impressive No Brains build have made a significant impact. These collaborations have played a crucial role in our current achievements. In the walking and running department, the Te PÅ«take o Tawa trail developed in partnership with the Rotorua Trail Running Club and the Kakapiko walking and running trail, a joint effort with Mountain Bike Rotorua for the Legend of the Peaks.


Building comms


Earlier in the year we had awesome community engagement around the Rotorua Lakes Council Annual Plan which made it very clear the value our community places on the forest trails, whether you are on your wheels, feet, or hoof.


building for life


The Forest Loop data alone shows clearly how important the forest is to locals and visitors alike, with 69.2% using the Loop for exercise (physical wellbeing), 42.4% for relaxation and 30.8% to escape the pressures of daily life (mental wellbeing). This taonga must continue to be cared for and looked after.


building knowledge



2023 was also a big year of change with both Kris O’Driscoll and Tracey van der Merwe leaving - they haven't gone far and are still key advocates for the forest - on behalf of the team and the board trustees I would like to acknowledge their massive contribution over the past years.

We were fortunate that Cam Edwards from the Trails Team took over the Trails Manager role and in his short time has made an impact - sadly Cam is relocating to Hamilton at the end of January, and again on behalf of the board I’d like to thank Cam for stepping up in this period of change.

Tony Knauf from Hawkes Bay also joined us in June as our Operations Support & Volunteer Liaison amongst many things, he is the man behind the Whaka Weekly, which I know consistently gets great engagement and is a key piece of information that goes out each week.


building opp


Throughout this period the trustees have drafted a new strategic plan and organisational structure, simplifying the work of the trust and we are delighted to announce Mark Upshall has come on board at the start of January as the Operations Manager. Mark has a background in trail building and team management and is looking forward to getting started.

Our Mission at the Trails Trust is to “to make Rotorua the world leaders in recreational trails that champion cultural heritage, environmental sustainability, equitable access while positively impacting the economy”


The numbers attest to the impact the trust has and we are not alone in this - we cannot thank our members, supporters, volunteers, trail adopters and sponsors enough. In 2023 we coordinated over 2500 volunteer hours of trail work, with 70 Trail Adopters in action as well - these amazing people are an integral part of the Trails Trust whanau.


Further to this I'd like to acknowledge the ongoing support and advocacy from Mana Whenua, Rotorua Lakes Council team - Simon Alefosio-Tuck and Wiremu Tapara, Timberlands - Dan Phillips, Funders - Rotorua Trust, One Foundation, Grassroots Trust, Grassroots Central Trust.

This funding, along with your membership, donations, and sign sales are so vital to enabling us to do the work we do. Thank you!


building future


What's coming up?

Given the staffing changes, strat plan development and engagement we had to defer the Annual Publiic meeting However In early 2024 we will hold our Annual Public Meeting to update you on the changes and our new strategic plan. Keep an eye out for the details but in the meantime check out our Annual Report.

We are also embarking on building a Pump Track at Waipa, in conjunction with the Mountain Bike Club. Plans are in and funding is being finalised now due to the hard work of Clair Scott.

Sign sales continue as do sponsorship opportunities - please reach out via for further information.

2024 is shaping up to be an epic year with lots on the go! I look forward to sharing further information with you at our meeting, in the meantime, enjoy the trails, give the team and volunteers a high five when you see them out in the forest - this means a lot!


Ngā mihi nui,


Grant Utteridge
Board Chairperson



Please ride within your limits. Be aware that trails will change with weather and heavy use from race events affecting their difficulty. Rotorua Trails Trust and its partners, sponsors or advertisers will not be held responsible for any injury or damages arising from riding any of the trails. Riding the trails or any other route mentioned on this site is done so at your own risk. Please understand the grading system and choose trails within your skill range. If you are in doubt about your abilities on a particular section, get off your bike or horse and walk.