Nestling between the Kaimai Range and Tauranga Harbour is Katikati, birthplace of the Katikati Tramping Club (KKTC), now numbering 71 members. The rising sun sets aglow the peaks of the Kaimais nearby, and reveals a bush wilderness steeped in history. In the days of Maori movement over the Kaimais, many bush tracks existed, which were later expanded by logging and mining activity. Later, the nucleus of the club was formed by hardy individuals motivated to explore these trails. Started in 1974 by Arthur Dick, Owen and Nada Jackson and Anne Ames, the club was originally helped by Tauranga Tramping Club and sponsored by Rotary as a project.
Early newsletters describe visits to local prominences in the Kaimai Range such as Ngatamahinerua and Wahine Rock, which no doubt inspired the first president, Arthur Dick, to cut and establish a track to Sentinel Rock, helped by members. Short and stocky Arthur was immensely strong and would carry 70lb sacks of sugar from the wharf to the Farmers Trading Co. on his shoulder, two at a time. He was also a bandsman, playing the cornet, and was involved in many other community activities.
Later, with Chook Sutton as president, the club explored the Coromandel Ranges (see ‘Chook’s Manuscripts’ at http://www.ohinemuri.org.nz/tracks/chooks-tracks. Notably, he and other members cleared the Wires Track, advised by the New Zealand Forest Service that the track be cleared 2 metres wide and 2.4 metres high. The 14 club members completed the five kilometres of track in 20 working days, and it was opened in January 1986. Ten years later, DOC took it over as an official track.
KTC has a great history, led by people whose example has been inspirational. In the Waihi area president Ian Miles, with a surveying background, led members to open two good six hour trails linking hunters’ tracks, one of them in conjunction with Barry Denton. These days our members may be greyer than before, but a core group of about 15 continue to enjoy day tramps in the Kaimais or Coromandel on a weekend every fortnight. The club also runs several multi-day trips to places further afield, and also caters for the growing breed of mountain bikers. As in other clubs, a monthly evening meeting covers business and entertainment such as illustrated travel accounts from our well-travelled members, occasional pot luck dinners and the annual photo competition. For current activities see http://www.sporty.co.nz/katitracks/Home