Walkway project powered by partnerships

Published: 14 December, 2022

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Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash has opened the Te Aratia Walkway, a new 24km loop walking track on the Māhia Peninsula in Hawke’s Bay.

The project is an inspiring example of how building relationships builds results.

The Whangawehi Catchment Management Group is a partnership involving the Rongomaiwahine iwi trust, local marae and landowners and community and school groups. It is supported by the Department of Conservation, Wairoa District Council, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the Eastern Central Charitable Trust.

A $450,000 Provincial Growth Fund grant received in 2020 through Kānoa, the Government’s Regional Development Unit, helped complete the new walkway.

The group used the funding to build a 6km walking track, connecting the Whangawehi river to the larger Department of Conservation scenic reserve walkway.

Over the past 10 years this catchment group’s achievements have included planting 250,000 trees, erecting 20km of fencing along the river, protecting 30ha of native bush with fencing, and retiring 150ha of private farmland. They have won multiple national and international environmental awards.

The result has been improving water quality and now this wonderful new walkway.

The walkway project employed 16 local workers. Twenty Eastern Institute of Technology students also participated in the building and environmental management work. The group has involved local schoolchildren through the Enviroschools programme too.

More environmental learning opportunities will come in the future because the work is all about leaving a legacy for future generations.

The name Te Aratia Walkway was given by Herenga ā Nuku Aotearoa, the Outdoor Access Commission.