Podcasts enrich urban walks

17:00, Jun 17 2014
Roger Cole-Baker and Patricia Yurak
KEEN WALKERS: Parnell Trust volunteers Roger Cole-Baker and Patricia Yurak are thrilled their guided walks in Parnell and Newmarket have been turned into podcasts.

Exploring some of Auckland's older suburbs is about more than just getting fit, it's a way you can learn about social history and get off the beaten track.

That's why Parnell Trust volunteers have put together seven heritage walk podcasts which guide people around Parnell, Newmarket, Grafton and Epsom.

Marketing and communications co-ordinator Debbie Harkness hopes people will use the podcasts to discover new parts of the city.

Each walk is designed to take 1.5 to 2 hours and the podcast is accompanied by maps and links to heritage websites.

Parnell Trust runs guided walks during the Auckland Heritage Festival and the idea to turn them into podcasts was first mooted about three years ago, Harkness says.

Patricia Yurak has volunteered at Parnell Trust for more than 20 years. As well as setting up the bridge and film clubs, she gave guided walks and has helped set up one of the Parnell podcasts.


It takes in many significant sites such as stonemason Benjamin Strange's house and Alberon Reserve which leads to the original coastline.

"Volunteering allows you to introduce people to your suburb and get them interested in it and share your passion.

"Parnell is such a delightful place to walk.

"People are often so surprised by the amount of parklands we have," Yurak says.

Another long-time Parnell resident Roger Cole-Baker put together the Newmarket walk which starts on Seccombes Rd and meanders through back streets past the Olympic Pools and Fitness Centre, along Broadway and up to Highwic.

Learning about the history of a place lets people connect more with the city, he says.

"I think people's knowledge of an area gives them a sense of ownership of it and means they take care of it," Cole-Baker says.

Turning guided walks into podcasts allows people flexibility, Yurak says.

"As a volunteer leader you're not always available. Hopefully the podcasts will reach a wide range of people this way."

Go to parnell.org.nz or call 379 2095 for more details.

National Volunteer Week runs from June 15 till 21.

Go to volunteeringnz.org.nz and click on "campaigns" for more information.

East And Bays Courier