# Lake Kereta Weekend 2022

Lake Kereta double-header weekend

Written by Lisa Mead

The Lake Kereta double-header weekend events were planned many moons ago – little did we know that the weekend would be at the peak of the Covid Omicron outbreak! We anticipated these events would be an excellent follow up to the Auckland Schools Sprint Series (sadly cancelled) and a lead up to the National Orienteering Champs in Nelson in May. Despite the logistical challenges of gathering restrictions, vaccine passes and Covid itself, we were happy that around 200 participants each day were able to enjoy wonderful terrain and challenging orienteering courses.

Mairetahi Forest is the newly re-mapped reincarnation of our old map on Wilson Road, not used for orienteering since last century! The property was formerly part-owned by club member Rob Garden and was primarily planted in plantation forest. The current owner has a very holistic approach to this beautiful piece of land, retaining the pine and other former plantation forest, conserving the native bush and planting a new area of kauri trees, while at the same time espousing a ‘’live and let live’’ approach to pest control. Some of you may have experienced a version of musical trees .... Wild deer are typically a threat to young trees but instead of culling deer or poisoning other predators, the owner and forest manager are trialling bells as a deterrent. Because deer are so skittish, adding wind chimes and bells can be enough to scare them away. Anything unfamiliar will throw them off and make them too nervous to come any closer.

Marquita (also the mapper) and Rob set very interesting courses which embraced both open pines and steep, dense, dark forest, a control tucked into a pit amidst native bush and supplejack, loops around the very scenic lakes and much more.

Photos - Annemarie Hogenbirk

After the event on Saturday a number of orienteers set up camp at Lake Kereta on the beautiful farm owned by the Leightons. The approach to the camping area is spectacular with views out over Woodhill Forest and the Pacific and white deer sporting spectacular antlers wandering about freely.

The volunteer crew had an early start, setting up the event centre in Woodhill Forest – being such a well-organised group, we were ready rather too early! Tegan Knightbridge and Renee Beveridge were the planner and controller on the Kereta map which had only previously been used for the middle race at the 2021 national champs. They treated red-level orienteers to a sprint course within a standard-distance race, with the second sprint-half of the course printed at a larger scale on the flip side of the map. Orienteers on the red courses received both an overall result plus a separate sprint course time. After some bad navigational errors in the first part of my course, I was hardly in sprinting mode by the time I turned over my map and discovered another dozen or more controls to go! The world-class, complex Woodhill terrain, plus some rather vague tracks required very accurate navigation. The 2 km walk into the event centre from Leightons farm provided a great warm-up and a number of orienteers impressed by riding bikes in to the event.

A huge thanks to our innovative planners and controllers and to all the volunteers – both on the ground and on social media - who made these two days a real success from both an orienteering and organisational point of view.

Marquita Gelderman has also written a report about this weekend for CompassPoint - which can be found here.

Snippet from Mairetahi Red course 2

Photos - Annemarie Hogenbirk

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