Biking advocacy

We’re passionate about making biking accessible for everyone. Whether that’s land access and better using publicly owned reserves or building an urban network of separated cycleways.

Sticky forest

We get asked lots of questions about what is happening with Sticky Forest. So here is some history and the latest updates….

Bike Wanaka's position on Sticky Forest

Bike Wanaka continues to advocate for an outcome whereby the beneficial owners of Sticky Forest get financial recompense and the Wānaka community retains a recreational asset for future generations.

The Kāi Tahu whakataukī (saying) ‘’Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei“ (For us and our children after us) really resonates. We support QLDC in their opposition to rezoning the land to allow for it to be developed. We wish for the land to retain its current zoning (Rural) and for it to remain open to the community for mountain biking, walking and other recreational pursuits.

The latest update (as at 20 June 2022) is that Environment Court mediation is scheduled for August 2022. Bike Wānaka is not a formal party to this mediation.

Background to Sticky Forest ownership

In 1906 an Act of Parliament awarded blocks of land to 4,000 South Island Māori. But before this could happen the Act of Parliament was repealed.

One of these blocks of land was the Hawea-Wanaka block. Part of the Ngāi Tahu treaty negotiations in 1998 saw the Crown acknowledge this failure to allocate the blocks.

The original block of land was near the Neck , the land between where Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka almost meet. In 1998 this land was not available to be given back so a Substitute block of land was awarded – this was Sticky Forest. Sticky was much smaller in size than the original block but, in 1998, was assessed to be of similar value. Sticky is about 50 hectares or 125 acres. It is covered in fir and pine trees and these are due for harvest between 2034 and 2044.

In 2011 this block of land was valued at $6m.

The ownership of Sticky Forest is still held by the Crown and the forest is administered by Te Arawhiti (Office of Treaty Settlements). The process of transferring legal ownership to the families has been in motion for a number of years.

As you would imagine, families have grown in size since 1906. There are now over 1000 descendants, all being owners of Sticky. However about 100 families own 75% of the shares, with Mike Beresford and his family being one of the largest shareholders.

Every ten years the District Plan is reviewed. In the last review period (2017), Mike Beresford opposed the current zoning of Sticky Forest as Rural. The rezoning of Sticky was publicly notified along with c300 other areas throughout the district. Bike Wānaka was not aware of the proposed change in zoning and no one else one put in a counter submission at that time.

Mountain biking in Sticky Forest

A bike counter on just one of the tracks in Sticky Forest has counted over 354,000 bike movements since Bike Wānaka started collecting data in May 2016.

Around 200 bike movements on average each day have been recorded for the first six months of 2022.

Active transport

Bike Wānaka is a key member of the community group Active Transport Wānaka. Our vision is for a network of protected cycleways in urban Wānaka that gives all of us the choice to safely bike between home, school, work, shop and play.

We have built strong relationships with Queenstown Lakes District Council and Waka Kotahi (NZ Transport Agency), leading to QLDC committing to invest over $18m in safe cycling infrastructure over the ten years to 2030.

Success so far includes construction of an underpass under SH84 joining Mt Iron and 3 Parks (2020), Aubrey Road separated cycle path (2021) and the Ballantyne Rd separated cycle path (2021). A separated shared path along the length of Anderson Rd has been designed and we are currently awaiting funding for it to be constructed. The major project for 2022 and 2023 is the design and delivery of the Schools to Pool shared path that will connect Holy Family, Wānaka Primary and Mt Aspiring College schools all the way through to the recreation centre and Take Kārara school in 3 Parks.

We have also worked collaboratively with QLDC on their Lakefront Development Plan. This has seen a beautifully constructed shared path along the lake from the town centre towards the marina (Stage 3). April 2022 will see Stage 2 of the Lakefront Development being constructed and 2023 will see Stage 5 underway – providing safer walking and cycling pathway from the marina to the yacht club.