Grade
Hilly
Distance
33 km
Cycling
1.5 hours
Information for this trail was last updated April 2024

Gisborne Cycle Club members regularly cycle along Tiniroto Road (SH36) over Gentle Annie Hill (a climb of 360m) to Waerenga-o-kurī School and back. Starting on Kirkpatrick Road, Pātūtahi, this ride is all on a sealed road, except for local areas of repair work. Gisborne Cycling Club facebook page link

At the Pātūtahi side of Gentle Annie Hill, Tiniroto road wraps around Gentle Annie Reserve, in the upper catchment of Te Aroha Stream. The reserve includes a hillslope of native bush. A small picnic area under big old gum trees has long since been abandoned and left unmaintained. Wild peacocks live in the pasture and bush. A rough track once wound through the native bush parallel to the stream. The Farm Forestry Assn planted many trees in Gentle Annie Reserve as an Arbor Day project in the 1980s. Now-mature liquidambar and red oak trees that line the roadside heading up the hill look great in autumn and, in spring, cherry trees along the roadside make a lovely show. 

Tiniroto Road is currently closed at the Hangaroa River bluffs past Waerenga-o-kurī although local residents occasionally use it because the alternative Parikanapa Road is much longer. Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails has accepted Tiniroto Road as a new connector ride - Gisborne to Wairoa Heartland Ride, a placeholder name until Wairoa hapū provide a permanent name. 

History of the trail

Before Waerenga-o-kurī became a European settlement, it was a traditional meeting place for the coastal and inland hapū (sub-tribes). It was a trading place for food like crayfish, fish, paua, kumara, eels, kereru (native pigeons), weka and mutton birds, since there was plentiful food here.

The hills were covered in scrub and bush when the first settlers came to the area; the lower area was mostly swamp. Most of the tracks used by Māori were well-worn and some were later used for roads. Living Heritage, Waerengaokurī School

Waerenga-o-kurī was established as a farming settlement in the late 1800s. The first hotel was built in 1887; the first school, 1879. The first Waerenga-o-kurī hall was built in the Hangaroa district in 1913. It was moved to the Waerenga-o-kurī district in 1927. In 1901, Waerenga-o-kurī had a post and telegraph office and was noted as a health resort, owing to its elevation at 344m.

Forging a coach road between Gisborne and Wairoa was challenging for the settlers in the late 1880s. In 1901, Parikanapa Road connected Gisborne to Wairoa but the road over Parikanapa Mountain was so steep and tortuous that calls were made to abandon this as a main road of communication. The alternative main road, following what seemed like the natural route, was planned to be via Hangaroa. Although the Hangaroa River bluffs section presented a major obstacle, this became the main road from Gisborne to Wairoa via Tiniroto. The Gisborne to Wairoa road via Morere also presented many challenges but was used by coach traffic from the early 1900s.