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Watch NZH Local Focus: Pedal power for safe trail to Gisborne

Ingrid Jellick

The Motu Trail in the Eastern Bay of Plenty take cyclists from Opotiki inland to Matawai.

It's part of the Prime Minister's pet tourism project, Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail.

And it's a hit with local businesses.

Motu-vation Café proprietor Kaz Winterton says the Motu Trails have had a positive impact on the Motu community.

"It's kept Motu alive, because it was slowly dying, like a lot of country towns," she said.

Now, the Motu Trails Charitable Trust (MTCT) that runs the trails wants to improve and expand their network - to Gisborne - further down State Highway 2.

They've identified a section of the highway they could improve to help provide a safer 'coast to coast' ride.

"We want to make this safe so that more cyclists will come through here," chair of the MTCT Sheldrake said.

In the last budget, the Government allocated an additional $25m to the New Zealand cycle trail.

But none of that is currently earmarked for the Motu Trails and they have to apply for funding.

That's why over the weekend the Trust staged a fundraiser, to stimulate conversation around the need for safer options.

"It would be really good to have an alternative track so you can ride and not worry about the traffic", Motu Trails fundraiser participant Norm Graham said.

Around one hundred people attended the event, raising two and a half thousand dollars.

The Trust says the money will be spent on maintaining the trails, adding they could use a hand from central Government to help with the off-road trail.

- NZ Herald

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