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Daily walks around the neighbourhood again. Waving nervously at neighbours from a safe distance again.
18 months ago, many of us did not know that walking was essential. But when everything else is locked away, walking with your bubble, with your whānau, with your dog, remains.
When walking is a luxury, we can afford to drive or fly to the beginning of our walk. We take our cameras and layers of merino and sturdy boots and get out into the famed Kiwi outdoors. But when walking is a necessity – our only form of exercise – then we have different needs. We need good quality public access to the outdoors in our neighbourhood. We need to be able to see trees, hear birds and smell falling leaves from our own doorstep.
Many parts of our motu are blessed with these public access resources and walking opportunities. Others are not.
We will beat COVID-19. And when we do, we will still have our love of walking. We will still have our love for our local neighbourhood. And will still have a need to connect to our whenua through good public access. When we beat COVID-19, we next need to think about new ways that everyone has great local public access to the outdoors.