The Whangawehi team is working hard at preparing the final touches along the walkway. The toilet facilities near the hut are now accessible via a wooden staircase. The hut has now a bench and a tank (not fitted yet). Hannah Coop, new owner of Taharoa has now blocked off the gaps that were used by birds to nest in the hut. With a fresh sweep, the hut is looking great.
Picnic tables and seats are in the process of being installed. Most interpretative signs and kilometre markers have been concreted in.
Mahia Forest owners and Forest Manager Dean Aitcheson are right behind the Whangawehi walkway. Dean Aitcheson, with support from the owners, indicated that Mahia Forest would donate $8000 to the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group to assist them in their effort around the walkway project. This donation will allow the group to upgrade part of the walkway in the forest. A big thank you to Mahia Forest for their ongoing support.
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.
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 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.
On the 1st of March 2021, Southern Star Trail started gravelling the Whangawehi walkway. First a special membrane is laid on the ground and the gravel spread over it. The gravel is then compacted and rolled. The finish product looks really nice. Southern Star Trail use a purpose made trailer towed behind a small tractor to ferry the gravel up and down the walkway. It is going to be a long process and we hope that the work will be finished before the end of April.
While the graveling is underway, there is still 800 m of track to open below the hut.
A big thank you to Southern Star Trail for the quality of their work.
On Wednesday the 27th of January 2021, Susan Wylie came to Mahia to meet with the community members who are behind the Whangawehi walkway. Susan is working on a March Edition and tried to meet as many people as possible. We are looking forward to reading this first promotional document. A big thank you to our landowners who have made the time to meet and Susan for selecting our project.
On Friday the 6th of November 2020, the Whangawehi project had some visitors. Rex Graham Chair of the Hawkes Bay Regional Council, Cr Hinewai Ormsby, Councillor for HBRC and Cameron Osmond Region Manager for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment came to visit the restoration project. The trip started at the entrance of the Whangawehi walkway and finished on Taharoa Trust. The day went well and was a good opportunity for the WCMG team to advocate for the work done and develop relationships.
A big thank you to Hinewai, Rex and Cameron for making the time for this visit.