Thanks to the community mucking in and the generosity of Wairarapa organisations, "New Zealand's Gallipoli" has its own public walking track.

Yesterday, the Tinui Parish ANZAC Trust hosted an opening ceremony for the track, which leads to the town's Anzac cross at the top of Mt Maunsell, or Tinui Taipo as it is known locally.

The cross - originally wood, now aluminium - was erected on Tinui Taipo at the world's first Anzac service at Tinui in 1916, but there was previously no legal public access to the site.

Now, thanks to generosity from landowners and three years' hard work, people can visit the cross and also enjoy a trek through native bush.


Trust chairman Alan Emerson said the track stretches from the Tinui cemetery to the summit of Mt Maunsell, which Tinui landowners Kelso and Jane Rushton donated to the trust for public access.

The track also passes through exotic and native forest and over farm land - with Tinui Forest Park and farmers Mike and Lesley Hodgins allowing use of their land to make up the three-hour walk.

"Beforehand, the public could only go up to the top of the hill once a year, on Anzac Day," said Mr Emerson. "Now, we've got a track we can use up to six months of the year. People have been very generous."

Mr Emerson said "upwards of 50" members of the Tinui community helped fashion the track - including bulldozing, landscape gardening, building huts, putting in steps and gates and felling trees.

"It's a 3km-long track, so it was one hell of a job," said Mr Emerson.

"But, our community got stuck in, and did a great job without any fuss."

In addition, Wairarapa businesses donated "thousands of dollars" of resources to the project.

Tomlinson and Carruthers did the surveying and mapping of the track, C&M loaned a bulldozer, Goldpine, Mitre 10 Mega, Tower Gates and Turton Farm Supplies donated timber and hardware, and the Walkways Commission did the signage, all at no cost.

"We're a small community - we've got the enthusiasm but not the resources," said Mr Emerson.

"If people had been charging, it would have set us back at least 30 grand."

With it being the first to commemorate Anzac Day, and the terrain of Mt Maunsell being similar to Chunuk Bair, members of the Tinui community have called the area "New Zealand's Gallipoli".

Mr Emerson said Tinui is becoming an increasingly popular Anzac Day destination and with the new track open from November to February, he hopes it will become more popular.

"We think we'll get a lot of visitors."

The track was officially opened by Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson yesterday afternoon.

A planned walk of the track by Tinui and Whareama schools, and blessing of the cross by Reverend Steve Thomson, had to be postponed because of poor weather conditions.