Community Trust’s bold vision for world-class trail network

The Matakana Coast Trail Trust (MCTT) is dreaming big, as they announce ambitious plans for a dynamic trail network in Auckland’s fastest-growing region of Rodney.

The MCTT was established in 2015 by a group of passionate local volunteers, including Founding Chair and high-profile athlete Allison Roe, whose vision is to create a multi-purpose trail network and secure public access to an area of outstanding natural beauty.

“I’m passionate about the benefits of cycling and how well-planned trails connect communities and have a truly measurable impact on our health, road safety, local economies, and the great Aotearoa New Zealand environment. Getting people out of cars has got to be good for them and the planet,” says Roe.

The announcement comes in the wake of Mayor Phil Goff’s proposed billion-dollar climate change action package, along with a $228 million commitment for walking and cycling. “This is exciting news for us,” says MCTT Co-Chair Aidan Bennett, “as we partner with government agencies, private landowners, and iwi on the development of the trail, and realise our vision of a sustainable trail network, which will service and have untold benefits for the region.”

The development of the trail will happen in three stages, span 117 kilometres from Pūhoi to Mangawhai, and cost just $50 million to complete.  Once realised, it will provide significant economic opportunities, as well as strengthen the region’s social and cultural connections. Indeed, it is forecast to handle some 410,000 individual trips per annum, which in turn will generate an estimated $93 million per year of economic and health benefits upon completion of stage one alone. 

Crucially, stage one will connect the rapidly growing towns of Warkworth, Matakana, and Snells Beach, delivering many environmental, recreational, and economic benefits for residents, the wider Auckland community, and tourists. It will also help to address Rodney’s deadly, unacceptably high road safety statistics. Historically, according to AT Data, 12 people out of 10,000 were killed or seriously injured in Rodney compared with 5 per 100,000 for Tāmaki Makaurau, which is 240% higher than the rest of Auckland. 

Craig Donaldson, MCTT Co-Chair, says: “The trail network will also play a vital role in the region’s post-Covid economic recovery and provide commercial benefits to the tune of $161 million per annum when the trail has been completed. It will also enhance the broader tourism and economic development strategies for the greater Auckland and Northland regions.”

Once built, the trail network will provide free public access to one of Auckland’s most popular and accessible regions. It will also become an integral part of New Zealand’s National Cycle Network, which when realised, will be the gateway to the country’s largest trail network of more than 1,000 kilometres. There is plenty of ambition within Northland community groups to make this happen. Forecasts suggest investment in walking and cycling in Te Tai Tokerau Northland will amount to an investment of $36 million, according to Aotearoa’s 2021–24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP). 

The MCTT’s newly launched website: outlines the history of the project, including the three development stages, progress to date, and plans. In launching the website, MCTT hope to inform and engage with the community, as they share their bold new vision for future-proofing the region’s social and economic prosperity. 


Media contact: Sarah Thornton, Thornton Communications,, 021 753744



THE MATAKANA COASTAL TRAIL TRUST represents many local community user groups in collaboration with, Ngāti Manuhiri, Te Uri o Hau, Auckland Council, Rodney Local Board, New Zealand Walking Access Commission, Auckland Transport, Auckland Council Regional Parks Department, Department of Conservation, New Zealand Transport Agency, the Te Araroa Trail, local landowners, and businesses.

ALLISON ROE (MBE) is the founding chair of the Matakana Coast Trail Trust and has currently served six year in local government and three terms on the Waitemata District Health Board. Her international sporting career saw her set two world’s bests, win many prestigious races and awards, and make a public stand about women’s sporting equality. Roe is currently the World Masters Mountain Bike Champion (age group) and lives in the Matakana/Pt Wells area with her husband.

AIDAN BENNETT is Managing Director of Benefitz, a North Shore based communications production business he founded in 1988. He is also the immediate past president and a long-time trustee of the North Harbour Club & Charitable Trust and is currently an elected member of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board, serving as Chair for the first half of the current term (2019-2022). He was recognised with a QSM for Services to the Community in 2018.

CRAIG DONALDSON has held senior management positions at some of the world’s largest financial institutions, including Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch and, most recently, was the Global CEO of Kea New Zealand. He currently holds/has held a number of board and advisory board positions, and mentors’ executives. He and his wife live in Coatesville and enjoy visiting their other home in Mangawhai Heads. They are both keen on the outdoors, particularly walking and cycling.




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