The Nitty Gritty

This is the detailed "what/where/when" - rules of the game - maps and cards - and safety. We date each section and note when there are updates. There were hardly any updates last time, maybe we're approaching perfection! Right down the bottom is the minimum gear list and risk register.



Initial version 1 Nov 2019.

The event is a "rogaine" as defined below under "Rules of the game". Course planner Kelvin Thiele has set out 50-odd controls including 10 close ones that will suit family groups. So there's something for everyone.

You have 3 or 6 hours to maximise your score by visiting control points. Visits are confirmed by successfully answering a simple question. This is usually a man-made feature or an orange ribbon with a code-word on it. The post-race meal will be some fresh fruit and goodies from the local markets, augmented with the traditional pizza so we can serve it up faster. We hope for a benign summer evening so you can lounge around the base and swap tales.

Porirua is overlooked by Colonial Knob and Elsdon Bush which are extensively tracked. Many have been constructed bridged and stepped, but more adventurous ones abound. And there's a lot of native forest particularly in the gullies which makes them into viable routes. There will be a few controls on the flat, but to score well here you'll need to be prepared to go bush and follow tracks (and off-tracks). You'll also need to be prepared to climb up and down a few hills - heh heh.

The bush has multiple access points, but if you get injured it could take a while to get you out, so you'll need to be prepared to hunker down for a while. There's a compulsory gear list, come prepared, and if not needed, all teams are "in the same boat".



Initial version 1 Nov 2019. Start location added 20 Nov.

The start is at Camp Elsdon, Raiha St. There are toilets and water there. No parking on the site, but as its in a light industrial area there's plenty on the road nearby. To get there by car, exit SH1 at the Porirua roundabout and head for Titahi Bay. Left into Prosser St after1.2km, left again into Raiha St. Half-hourly trains on the Kapiti line, travel time from Wgtn station is 21min. Get off at Porirua station, walk 2km as above.  

If you're from out of town, there are heaps of accommodation options in Wellington and Porirua, including Camp Elsdon. Campervanners can overnight at a number of places in Porirua city, Google will find them. A nice spot for tenting is Battle Hill Farm Park which is about 15km away.



Initial version 1 Nov 2019

The event date is Sunday 1 Dec 2019.

  • 9am: Check-in/Maps available for 6hr section
  • 9:50am: Briefing, Submit "Flight Plans"
  • 10am: Start 6hr rogaine
  • 11:30am: Check-in/Maps available for 3hr section
  • 12:20pm: Briefing, Submit "Flight Plans"
  • 12:30pm: Start 3hr rogaine
  • 3:30pm: Finish 3hr rogaine
  • 4pm: Finish 6hr rogaine
  • Food available from 3:30pm

At check-in we will want to check that (a) your team is there, (b) the people on your entry form are present and (c) you have the mobile phone you quoted.



Inital version 1 Nov 2019. Actually this is the same as last year and the year before and the year before that. Pretty much the norm for OHV rogaines.

If you haven't done a rogaine before, its a navigation contest for teams. You score points by visiting points marked on a map, choosing your own route so as to finish before the time limit. Big-time rogaines are run in rural terrain and last up to 24 hours. Getting started rogaines are run close to home from one hour long. Either way you choose the points to visit and the route to suit your inclinations - competition or recreation. Rogaines always have both sorts of people.

The BigTrig Rogaine is a medium-sized rogaine with some of the labour-saving features which have enabled Orienteering Hutt Valley to run more rogaines than anyone else in New Zealand. Here are the rules as they apply to the BigTrig. Read the full NZ Rogaining Rules here.

  • You must take part in a team of 2-5 people.
  • The objective is to maximise your score. The control points are marked on the map with a circle and a number. Control points are worth the "tens" digit of the number multiplied by 10. That is, number 25 is worth 20 points, control 101 is worth 100. We may also use numbers 1-9 which are worth 5 points. We sometimes make up artificial numbers, eg after we get to 39, we go on to 3A, 3B etc which are also in the "30's" group. The start/finish is shown with a triangle.
  • There's a penalty for returning late: 10 points per minute or part thereof. Highest score wins, in the event of a tie the earlier team to finish is placed in front.
  • You prove your visit to each control point by answering a simple question about the landmark and writing it on your control sheet which must be named and handed in at the finish. Swapping information such as the answers to questions , or guessing, is cheating. Obviously we can't police it, we rely on you to play fair. Take a pencil and a spare. Actually an "Inkjoy" pen is cheap and works in the wet!
  • Sometimes there isn't a suitable landmark, we also use bright orange ribbons and the question will be "what is the code word on the ribbon?". Sample at the start. If the question is not crystal clear when you are at the landmark, don't spend more than 5min puzzling. Write down "claim" and carry on. "Democracy" will decide whether claims are allowed, ie did a significant number of teams have trouble? This is not a championship!
  • Except in the case of emergency, team members must stay together, especially when visiting control points. You are not allowed to send the fittest team member up the hill to get the answer! If a team member has to drop out for any reason during the event you must tell us back at base; and from that time you are a new team starting with a score of zero.
  • You must travel on foot.
  • You must use the map we provide to navigate by. Navigation by GPS is not allowed. No objection to you carrying your GPS in tracking mode for later analysis (that's how we improve the maps) but it's not part of the game.
  • No dogs. Leave any gates as you found them, both on the course and the access roads. If you open a gate do not leave responsibility for closing it to anyone else. You open, you close.



Initial version 1 Nov 2019. Map size and scale, and answer sheet details added 28 Nov.

The map consists of two A4 sheets top-to-tail.  They are printed on waterproof paper, there are copies for every participant. The scale is 1:15,000, in other words enlarged a LOT compared to the standard topo map. Contours are 10m. If you are used to an orienteering map it will be steeper than the contours you are used to. If you are used to a topo map it may be flatter than you think! Here's a little snippet from the 2013 map of Belmont Regional Park. You can download it here, if you print it to fit A4 you will see lots of detail but it will be 4X the normal scale!

The bush is mapped as medium green and rogainers would not expect us to show fast and slow. If there's a control in the medium green you can expect there's a sensible way to get there. We sometimes show very passable trees as light green. And when we discover some awful stuff on a logical route choice, we have used a very dark green. The message is that the majority is middle green and its quite variable. Of course we haven't traversed it all!

Open land - Really smooth stuff like playing fields is bright yellow, most of it is rough stuff in pale yellow. This may have scattered scrub on it but is generally passable. Yellow with green spots is in between bush and open, perhaps logged and regenerating. Usually nasty.

Out of bounds is shown in a couple of ways. Private land that we don't have permission for (eg the residential area, and lifestyle properties) is gray. There are areas that we SOMETIMES use but not this time. These are covered with a purple cross-hatch and you can't even use the tracks through them.

Fences are generally not shown on our rogaine maps (there aren't many anyway, and the topo ones are sooo out of date). We do have most of the tracks mapped. The shorter the dash the rougher the track.

We have a special "indistinct track" symbol, its a dashed line with every third dash missing. They could be be possum bait lines shown by small brightly coloured squares on trees, or routes marked with old less visible markers on trees. Bait lines don't necessarily follow good features like ridges. You should be able to follow one of these when you are on it. But they would be very easy to miss if you are coming at them att right angles.

Control visits in this rogaine are claimed by answering a simple question. You write the answers on a waterproof version of the question sheet, one per team. Further copies of the question sheet are on ordinary paper. Name and number your waterproof question/answer sheet. Don't forget a pen or pencil and a spare.

When you return you MUST report to the finish desk and give us your team name and number. We'll record you as "finished"; this is vital for safety. DON'T give us your "couldn't find number ..." tales at this stage, checking you in is our priority. We'll write the time on your answer sheet and hand it back to you for adding up. Hand your completed sheet in WITHIN 10 MINUTES at the result display. No sheet no result. 



Initial version 1 Nov 2019.

Although mostly within cooee of civilisation this rogaine covers rugged areas and sensible precautions are required.

  • We expect all participants to read the "Nitty Gritty" section of the website within the last week before the event; to read any last-minute warning signs at the event; and to attend the briefing.
  • Advise us of all changes to your team composition before you start; your team sticks together unless help is required in an emergency; and you report in at the finish. If you're not back, we'll generally start preparations for a search within 30min of the finish time.
  • Take at least one mobile phone with you - the one you confirmed at check-in. Cellphone coverage is good over most of the course but there are dead spots. If you have an incident you should try and get a message to us, moving to higher ground if necessary. A text is more likely to get through than a call. If you are expecting to be more than 15min late then likewise tell us as soon as you can. For major safety issues of course try to phone 111 direct. Help other teams in trouble.
  • If you need to attract attention eg call another team in to help with an incident, the whistle signal is not set down in any rogaine or orienteering rule. The general NZ outdoor code (from the Mountain Safety Council) is three of whatever you have at hand - shouts, gunshots, or blasts on your whistle. But never mind the number, several short blasts, then a long pause, then repeat.
  • Give us a "flight plan" before you start. This is a B/W copy of the map on which you sketch your intended route. Don't forget to name it, and don't forget some direction arrows! You will probably modify your route but it may help in an emergency.
  • We cannot guarantee the hot sunny weather that we obviously hope for. You must be prepared with the normal bad-weather gear. There's a list below which is compulsory for all teams. Yes on a nice day it may seem like overkill but let me tell you about an immobilising injury we had not too far away from here. The patient couldn't walk, the helicopter couldn't drop a line, the wheelie stretcher couldn't wheel, in the end the patient just HAD to struggle out with a helper each side. Prepare! 
  • If it is very HOT then take extra water with you. The risk of giardia is present in many NZ streams and we are not going to give you any assurances. You may replenish water from facilities identified on the map.

A site-specific hazard register is attached below. Our responsibility is to draw your attention to the risks of participation, your responsibility is to read it.

Here's the minimum gear list. The top items are per person, the bottom ones are per team.

  • Thermal top
  • Parka
  • Long pants (thermal or over-trou)
  • Hat and gloves
  • Food and water appropriate for the distance.
  • Torch (each for night events, per team for daytime)
  • Whistle and compass per team
  • Survival blanket or bag, and simple First Aid kit per team
  • A charged cellphone per team is compulsory, it may not work in some locations but it is so useful if it does.
  • Obviously you'll need a pack to carry this in.