Sam is currently a Solicitor at Simpson Grierson in Auckland. Before starting work full time, he completed a Bachelor of Laws with Honours a Bachelor of Sport and Leisure Studies and most recently completed a Master’s Degree in Sport and Leisure Studies. During his law studies much of his interest related to human rights and international law, including an examination of the human rights of children in sport. In his Master’s thesis he looked at the use of external providers of health and physical education programmes in Aotearoa primary schools and the way these type of programmes could be used more effectively to teach the curriculum and achieve better educational outcomes. Sam is passionate about sport for development and peace. He pursues this passion by working with sport organisations on programmes at the grassroots level and has attended international conferences in the area and related areas.
On 1 September 2015 I was fortunate enough to attend the unveiling of the first plaque of Auckland's proposed Commonwealth Walkway on behalf of Commonwealth Youth New Zealand. The plaque was unveiled by Louise Martin, The Honorary Secretary of the Commonwealth Games Federation (and as of 2 September 2015 the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation) outside Old Government House at the University of Auckland.
The Commonwealth Walkway is an exciting project that has been picked up by Auckland Transport after discussions with the Outdoor Trust. I believe it will be an awesome addition to Auckland and New Zealand and a way for people to get active and explore the city. I also think it will be amazing to know these walks are all over the Commonwealth so wherever you go you can take one of these walks and learn more about the city and feel connected through our Commonwealth family. A Commonwealth Walkway has also already been started in Wellington.
What are the Commonwealth Walkways?
The Commonwealth Walkways are a proposed network of walkways in cities across all 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth to serve as a permanent recognition of the role of Her Majesty the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth for 63 years and to act as a link between the Commonwealth nations and territories.
The walkways will link the most significant sites in the cities where a walkway is to express points important to a nation’s heritage and culture and provide a practical way for the Commonwealth values to be lived and shared by both residents and visitors.
The Commonwealth Walkways are designed to be safe, accessible and attractive. They are deigned to be walks that can be done if someone has an afternoon to spare and wants to see what a city and a nation is truly about. It is about connecting the richness and diversity of the most significant parts of the Commonwealth including palaces, monuments, attractions, parks and key geographical features.
Each point of significance on the walkways will be signed permanently by a gunmetal marker in the footpath containing Her Majesty's personal Royal cypher (the same as that unveiled at the ceremony I attended). The Outdoor Trust (successor to the Jubilee Walkway Trust) also plans on launching a free app that can be used with the walkway and will provide information on each of the attractions, activated automatically when an individual is near a marker.
The Commonwealth Walkway initiative was announced in Glasgow ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and was given immediate support by both the Commonwealth Secretary General and the President of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
What is the Outdoor Trust?
The Outdoor Trust is the successor to the Jubilee Walkway Trust. The Jubilee Walkway Trust was responsible for the world’s first ever urban trail, the Jubilee Walkway in London. It was created to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and revitalised and extended to celebrate her Golden Jubilee. The Jubilee Walkway Trust was also responsible for the Jubilee Greenway a 60km walkway to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. At the end of Diamond Jubilee year, the Jubilee Walkway Trust was closed down and The Outdoor Trust was formed.
The Outdoor Trust as noted above has the ambition of creating 100 walkways in a 71 Commonwealth nations and territories. The Trust works with local councils and other organisations to develop routes that highlight the best a city and country has to offer. The Trust’s CEO Jim Walker is an international expert on walking projects who has coordinated more than 2,000 walking routes and uses his experience to work with council’s and other organisations to ensure the routes are accessible and engaging.
How can I get involved?
In Auckland specifically Auckland Transport is committed to the project with the aim of getting it well underway by the time Prince Charles visits in November. They are looking at getting input into the route so there will be opportunities for individuals to have their say about important site in downtown Auckland.
The Outdoor Trust will also be on the look out for locals to contribute brief descriptions and insights into the different stops along the walkway.
Finally to get out and use the Auckland, Wellington and other walkways around the Commonwealth as they are set up.
Where can I get more information?