|Tairua River Trail||
|Tairua River Trail||
A 120-metre suspension bridge across the Tairua River will be the highlight of a scenic 15km walking and cycle trail that’s set to form a key link in the Coromandel’s expanding trail network.
The Tairua River Trail, formerly known as the Pauanui-Tairua Trail, is already open along a 6.4km route from Pauanui towards Hikuai. The bridge and a new trail along the north bank of the river into Tairua will be wide and mainly flat - suitable for everyone from cyclists to joggers to families out on a casual stroll.
The Hikuai District Trust is a local charitable trust overseeing the trail’s construction. Its chair Derrick Adams, who has recently succeeded retiring founder Gary Fowler, says the completed trail will be a fantastic asset for the region.
“We’re bringing communities closer together which is the main goal for us”, Mr Adams says.
“The existing trail from Pauanui is already popular throughout the year and attracts tens of thousands of users over summer. By connecting it all the way to Tairua, we’re opening up a scenic and accessible route to everyone that we think will come to be known as one of the country’s best one-day trails.”
Aside from the health and recreation benefits of having a great new trail on our doorstep, Mr Adams thinks it will boost local business all year round.
“Connecting with a regular Tairua-Pauanui ferry service in future, trail users would be able to complete it as a unique loop – starting at one end with a coffee, finishing with a drink and a meal at the other end, then catching a quick boat ride back to their starting point.
“We also see environmental benefits for the precious Tairua River estuary. Our team of volunteers are helping revive native bird populations by pest trapping and planting native trees along the existing route.”
The completed trail will also offer safety benefits in Tairua by providing pedestrians a fully off-road route between the southern end of town and the school, Mr Adams says.
Following consultation with a wide range of stakeholders including landowners, Thames Coromandel District Council, the local community board, DoC, Iwi, Waka Kotahi, Environment Waikato, Heritage NZ, Walking Access NZ and community groups, the Trust decided a bridge and 15km route connecting the towns would be more feasible than a longer route along the river via Hikuai.
It expects to lodge a resource consent application for the next stages of construction next year, with the aim of completing the trail in the next few years.
“Public support will be hugely important to getting this project done and we’ll be encouraging the community to have their say over the summer. In the meantime, we want people to get out and about on the existing trail, to see more of what the beautiful eastern Coromandel has to offer,” Mr Adams says.
When completed, the trail will connect to other walking and mountain bike trails in the area, and could potentially be joined up with New Zealand’s national trail network via a route over the Coromandel Ranges in the future.
Mr Adams acknowledged the tireless work of Trust founder Gary Fowler and countless volunteers to build and maintain the trail to a high standard over nearly two decades. Mr Fowler will continue as an advisor to the Trust.
Trail News and Maintenance: Consultations with stakeholders and other effected parties are continuing.
Maintenance work of the existing Trail and planted areas along with new planting work is
ongoing thanks to our team of dedicated volunteers. The Trail’s usage numbers surged again with school and public holidays occurring over the months of March & April.
Predator Control: The following pests were eradicated over March / April period
7 x Stoats
40 x Good Nature Kills
122 bait stations emptied
Trail Usage Counter: 6 March 22 to 2nd May total - 6600.
In that total 1400 were recorded in the first week of the school Holidays and 1334 for the second
week. The Trail is obviously a hit as a Holiday activity.
Funding: We are investigating the future management of our funding activity given the likely costs faced
with the construction of Stage 4.
Stage 3: Consultations with HNZ and Iwi regarding several exposed Middens along the Trail route were
finalised and the work to protect them has been completed under the watchful eye of our consultant Archaeologist.
Stage 4: Planning work and consultations with TCDC, WRC, DoC, Iwi, HNZ, adjoining land owners and
other effected groups along the proposed route to Tairua are coming to a conclusion. Finalising the route and the production of a consultation document for this section of the Trail is a continuing priority for our planning Team
The structure and operation of the HDT has come in for much unwanted criticism over the last three years.
This has been generated largely by self-interested people whose only advantage has been protecting something they perceived as being totally theirs. One of these households used the river esplanade as a pig farming and farrowing area. We were able to extend the trail 100metres along the esplanade because it was controlled by TCDC. Because of pressure from the trail team the pigs are no longer grazing there. The regeneration of the salt marsh and other species is huge and very noticeable. This was one of our major arguments all along. If we could get access to these areas the public would demand an improvement of the ecology and that has proven to be true.
A great example is the elimination of all the 0leagnus that was rampant at observation point and last year John, Peter, Cliff and Janet killed off a large area of Woolly nightshade and privet.
The sad part is that the guardian of the next section is DOC, and they are completely lacking in courage to protect a community resource that they have been entrusted to protect.
The HDT has offered to restructure itself to better suit the role it now has in the community. To this end it has asked Gary Prince and John Hindmarsh and others they deem as suitable to present a plan as to how the new HDT should operate and what its structure should look like.
What has the HDT achieved in the last 20 years ?
They for 10 years ran very successful Concerts in the Orchard that contributed over $20,000 for the Hikuai school
Several thousand for the Pauanui coast Guard
Financial contributions to LandSAR
Over $120,000 to the Westpac rescue Helicopter Trust
Since 2012 they have constructed a community based cycle/walk trail that has been valued at $2,000,000 .
This community asset has an annual usage of over 25,000. It is maintained by the trail committee led by Gary Prince. It has the unique feature that to my knowledge no other trail has and that is community ownership.
For example: The numerous people (all volunteers) who plant and maintain the garden areas. The team led by Peter and Linda Millen who control the predators.
The maintenance crew.
Jeanette Waters leads by example her tree and plant beautification program and is ably assisted by Anne and Kim
The great job done by Lyndsay Heaven spraying weeds and the excellent job done by Peter Maxwell on bridge approaches. These two are an excellent example of members of the community who saw a job that needed doing and just do it.
I would like to acknowledge the very professional job that Bill Witt has done for several years as the trusts financial officer. I cannot thank Bill enough for the thoroughly efficient job he has done. He will be missed. We are so grateful for the contribution that Derryck Adams has made. His tact and discretion are wonderful assets. He has been ably assisted by Gavin, Vanessa and Andy in our endeavour to progress the trail. I would like to acknowledge the wonderful job done by the rest of the committee. Ably led by Gary Prince and assisted by Derryck Adams, Bill Witt, Andy Bolton, Robert and Jan Van Kampen, John MacKenzie, Storm Waters, Fred Crawford, Terry Kingham, Peter Millen. I genuinely welcome Amy Tamihere to our team. Her knowledge of iwi protocol will be invaluable.
To the HDT trustees Tim Hart, Anne Fowler, Jeanette Waters & Kim Coppersmith thankyou for your support and guidance
The HDT has accumulated over $200,000 worth of assets part of which is a section of land adjacent to the Fowler property that will serve as a permanent base. This land has been donated by the Fowlers.
The present bank balance is very strong just over $270,000
Chairman Hikuai District Trust
Trail News and Maintenance: With schools open again at the beginning of February and new Covid settings in place for businesses, visitor number dropped in the area which is reflected in the Trail’s usage numbers.
Investigations into attainable options for the construction of the remaining sections of the Trail to Tairua continue, as do consultations with stakeholders and effected parties. Maintenance work of the existing Trail and planted areas is ongoing thanks to our team of dedicated volunteers.
Predator Control: The following pests were eradicated over February / March period
2 x Stoats
30 x Good Nature Kills
30 bait stations emptied
A graph showing seasonal pest kill rates is available on our website.
Trail Usage Counter: 3 February 22 – 6 March 22 - 2333.
That equates to an average 75 trips a day for the reporting period.
Funding: We continue to receive donations and sponsorships from our Trail supporters.
The development of a Funding Plan for stage 4 will be explored once we have some certainty of
Trail Stage 3: Work on Stage 3 is halted at this time while viable options for a way forward and are
Trail Stage 4: Planning work and consultations with TCDC, WRC, DoC, Iwi, HNZ, adjoining land owners and
other effected groups along the proposed route to Tairua are ongoing. Finalising the route and the production of a plan for this section of the Trail on the Northern side of the river and harbour is now a priority for the Team.
The Coromandel Cycle Collective is developing into a valuable resource for all Trail planners &
builders throughout the Coromandel region
Trail News and Maintenance: Christmas, New Year and 2 public holidays saw the expected influx of visitors to Pauanui and the surrounding area. The weather was generally great which resulted in crowded beaches, a
very busy shopping centre and a lot of people on the Trail. It was good to meet with the Committee after a 2 month break and catch up with ongoing Trail maintenance and various meetings that had taken place with stakeholders and other interested or effected individuals and groups in the area. It is apparent that we need to gauge the true level of support to continue the Trail to Hikuai from local communities. This will be carried out once an appropriate method has been agreed with all concerned. In the meantime we will investigate attainable options for the construction of the remaining sections of the Trail. A challenging year ahead seems inevitable.
Predator Control: The following pests were eradicated over December / January period
2 x Stoats
9 x Good Nature Kills
25 bait stations emptied
A graph showing seasonal pest kill rates is available on our website.
Trail Usage Counter: 22 Nov 21 – 3 February 22 – 15,495.
That equates to an average 250 trips a day. This is an increase of approx. 100 users per day
compared to a similar period last year. These numbers stack up well against some of the
country’s major Trails.
Funding: TCDC have provided the Trail with a 3 year funding package principally aimed at the
development of Stage 4 and maintenance of the existing Trail. We continue to receive donations and sponsorships from our Trail supporters.
Trail Stage 3: It does appear that there will be no change from the current position that we are faced with in
relation to progressing the Trail along the DoC controlled Marginal Strip adjacent to the Tairua
River. We will now embark on developing a strategy that will provide a link to Stage 4.
Trail Stage 4: Planning work and consultations with TCDC, WRC, DoC, Iwi, adjoining land owners and other
effected groups along the proposed route to Tairua are ongoing. Finalising the route and the production of a plan for this section of the Trail on the Northern side of the river and harbour is now a priority for the Team.
We look forward to working with other members of the Coromandel Cycle Collective to enhance
the experience of all Trail users throughout the Coromandel region