Grade
Easy
Distance
500m
Walking
15 minutes
Information for this trail was last updated June 2024

An unformed legal road connects Barkers Hill, at Hill Road, to the top end of Sievwright Lane. This has been a walking track in the past and has recently been cleared to create a narrow rough track. It is steep and a little tricky to negotiate in places, and work is continuing to widen it and remove obstacles.

Walking connections are interesting and useful to include when you plan loop walks, and this one is a little different and more challenging when compared to more formal connections which may include concrete paths and flights of steps.

Hill Road "extension" begins as a wide mown grass path, opposite where Hill Road joins Ballance Street. The path becomes narrower and other features make the route less obvious - a gravel private driveway, and a bulldozed private log harvesting "road". Follow the narrow weedy track around the right hand side of a gate across the log harvesting road to stay on the line of the unformed legal road. The track enters the uphill edge of a patch of bamboo and sidles around the hillside to a power pole. Pause to enjoy a view of Tūranganui a Kiwa before you drop steeply to Sievwright Lane.

From the bottom of Sievwright Lane, turn left into Russell Street then walk through Waiteata Park. It is worth walking into the native bush at the top of the park, then cross Richardson Avenue to a track leading down to a footbridge, which takes you through to Waiteata Road. Turn left into Sunvale Crescent and follow this until meeting the road off to the right, which connects to the top end of Fox Street and Whataupoko Reserve, or (as shown on the map below) walk up Kingsley Street and Seddon Crescent, and through a mown grass reserve, to join Waimatā Road at the eastern edge of Whataupoko Reserve. Trails through the reserve can be followed from here.

Various options can be taken to return to Ballance Street. Follow the trails through to Hauroa Road, Riverside, Russell and return to Ballance Street. Or walk down Fox Street, turn left into Russell, then left up Waimata Road. Head left close to the end of the road and through the white fence. Walk up the old paper road to the top of Hauora Road. (Another entrance to the Whataupoko Reserve is on the left.) Walk down Hauroa Road and turn right into Riverside Road, then right into Russell, Whitaker or Clifford Street, or Railway Lane, back to Ballance Street.  

Various options can be taken to return to Ballance Street. Follow the trails through to Hauroa Road, Riverside, Russell and return to Ballance Street. Or walk down Fox Street to meet Russell Street. 

 

History of the trail

The initial section of this walk from Ballance Street to Sievwright Lane is part of an Unformed Legal Road (or paper road) that originally snaked around the back of Sunvale Crescent all the way to upper Fox Street, now the Whataupoko Reserve.

Sievwright Lane was named after suffragist Margaret Sievwright and her lawyer husband William who moved to Gisborne in 1883. Their house, no longer there, was on a hill at the end of what is now Adams Road overlooking the town and bay. Adams Road was named after their gardener. Margaret Sievwright ran a school, on the left at the start of Adams Road, in a building that remains as a private house.

The Married Women's Property Act was passed in 1884 and, significantly, the Sievwrights' land title was registered in Margaret's name. In 1893, Margaret Sievwright and Kate Sheppard led the suffragists who took a 32,000 signature petition to leading pro-suffrage supporter, Sir John Hall. He presented the petition to the House of Representatives. The Electoral Bill finally became law and women gained the right to vote.