On the weekend of16th to the19th April 2021, the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group invited Jeff Hamilton to visit the project and meet with the catchment farmers. Jeff is part of a group of farmers that opened up the famous and popular private walking track in Banks Peninsula. This was the first private track to be opened up in New Zealand and became more popular than any of the farmers could have imagined. Jeff was warmly welcomed by the group and enthusiastic to pass on his advice and expertise. He openly shared some of his learnings and pitfalls when developing his own venture in Akaroa and offered ideas about how something similar could be started around the catchment.
The WCMG thanks Jeff for his outgoing personality, his generosity and the time he spent with us in Mahia. As a gift for his contribution to our community project, Richard Coop, local farmer and pilot, offered him a flight tour over the Mahia Peninsula.
In September 2020, the WCMG was in a privileged position to receive support to help create a nature based employment scheme. The WCMG has been hiring contractors on a part time basis for years but has never been in financial position to employ them on a full time basis.
The Jobs for Nature fund has allowed the WCMG to create 8 permanent hired positions and train then under our historical contractor. This has been a big boast not only for the restoration project but also for our small rural community. Over the years, WCMG has retired over 200 ha of land, planted 250 000 trees, created a public walkway and undertaken ongoing pest control work. Although the scale of the work was always be there, the group has never been able to fund all the work needed to be done. Under this scheme, the WCMG has managed to catch up on all its maintenance programme while building capacity and capability in the community. We hope the scheme will be extended to secure these jobs for the future.
Richard & Hannah Coop as well as their four children are committed to reducing pest pressure on their property. They check their traps on a weekly basis and religiously record their catches…well done guys. A big thank you to Richard, Hannah and their children for being such an encouragement to us all.
On the 7th of April 2021, Jennifer Scothern, our local Enviro school Coordinator, came for a walk along the Whangawehi walkway to prepare a site visit with Te Mahia school.
During a short 30 minutes walk, we talked about archaeological artefacts accessible along the walkway as well as white bait and eels visible at the spawning site. Jenni also enjoyed trying out the new E DNA water test kit made available by the Environmental Protection Authority.
We thank Jenni for being so enthusiastic about connecting people with Nature. We hope the walkway will help her better connect our young tamariki with the beautiful environment they live in.
On the first of April 2021, Dean Aitcheson from Mahia Forest, Malcolm Smith (WCMG Deputy Chair) and Nic Caviale Delzescaux met at the Kinikini car park to discuss possible options for the entrance of the walkway. It has been agreed to ask QRS to give a quote for the work involved. The group progressed into the forest to assess the tracks and discuss about further possibilities. A big thank you to Dean and Malcolm for making the time to help with the Whangawehi walkway.
On Monday the 29th of March 2021, Chris McGregor from QRS came to Whangawehi to provide some advice in regards to the much it would cost to upgrade the carpark. QRS will provide a couple of options (metal and seal) for this small but important project.
A big thank you to Chris who has moved from WDC to QRS but remains a great supporter of the community initiative. Thank you to Bevan Parker from Pongaroa Station who is allowing us to conduct this work.
On Monday the 29th of March 2021, Jeff Carter from Southern Star Trails met with Pat O’Brien (Chair of the WCMG) and Nic Caviale (Project Coordinator) to inspect the walkway.
The track is nearly formed up to the hut and the gravelling work will start next week. The digger will carry out a few repairs on its way back to the Whangawehi car park to tidy up the area. The gravelling operation will be long and challenging due to the weather but the team is experienced and uses specialized equipment that should make the work safer and faster.
A big thank you to Southern Star Trail for their work.
On the 26th of March 2021, Vaughan Goldsmith, Civil Engineer at WDC came to have a look at options for the small car park to be developed in front of the Waharoa.
A big thank you to Vaughan for making the time to come to Mahia and provide some advice.
On Friday the 19th of March 2021, the Southern Star Trails team was only a few hundred meters away from the Hut on Taharoa. The digger work has been delayed by the wet weather. By the end of March the track should all be formed and compacted. The long and challenging next step will be to lay the aggregate. We cross our finger and hope that the weather is going to hold.
It is a delight to read an article of the Whangawehi walkway in the Living Hawkes Bay magazine (March 2021 Edition). A big thank you to all the group’s members who have helped, the walkway will be gaining soon a national profile.
The opening ceremony is not confirmed yet but we are looking at a date sometime in late April. We will keep you posted.
Enjoy the reading :