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First Stage Of Montana Heritage Trail Complete

March 6, 2001

Montana, Auckland Regional Council, Te Kawerau a Maki and guests will mark the completion of the first stage of the Montana Heritage Trail in the Waitakere Ranges next week. The event will also see the public unveiling of the new environmentally friendly boardwalks specially designed for the trail.

The Waitakere Ranges Protection Society, the NZ Forest and Bird Society and the local iwi, Te Kawerau a Maki, have expressed their support for the project. Representatives of the iwi will use the opportunity on March 13 to confer kaitiaki status on Montana as co-guardians of the land.

The development of the trail, in the northern part of Auckland's Waitakere ranges, is a joint venture between the Auckland Regional Council and Montana Wines. Montana will sponsor the upgrading of the walking trail with an initial contribution of $100,000 per year for the first two years, and up to $20,000 per year for maintenance over the next 18 years.

ARC Chairman Philip Warren says the project is a wonderful advertisement for the partnership approach which is very much the way forward for local government in the 21st century.

“Thanks to Montana’s generosity and the our ability to work in partnership we will be able to deliver something special for Auckland which rates alone could not have funded.”

Montana initiated the project to preserve its own heritage association with the area where the company was founded, and to make a unique part of New Zealand's heritage more accessible to Aucklanders. The 8 km trail winds through Auckland's biggest kauri stand, with some trees more than 600 years old.

"As New Zealand's leading winemaker we have a great interest in the responsible and sustainable use of land. We believe that giving people the opportunity to enjoy one of New Zealand's inimitable nature experiences will foster a greater awareness and respect for our environment," says Peter Hubscher, managing director of Montana.

The Montana Heritage Trail will include tracts of raised boardwalk as well as lookout platforms.

Through the Montana sponsorship the ARC commissioned product architects Oliverjones Limited to design boardwalks to minimise environmental impact.

“Initial consultation with the experienced ARC park staff gave our part of the project a focussed, environmentally motivated start,” Oliverjones director Brett Oliver says.

“Understanding how people want to experience the park, while considering a range of alternatives produced an extremely versatile modular system with a reduction in mass of up to 55 per cent compared to older methods. This translates to a huge saving of natural resources and a major reduction in transport costs and pollution.

The larger spans achieved with the new Traverse® modular walkway system minimises the environmental impact of the boardwalks because fewer intrusions into sensitive root systems are required The aluminium struts are also much thinner than traditional wooden posts.

Traverse® is the most environmentally friendly boardwalk system to date. Without boardwalks over kauri root systems, foot traffic can actually kill these forest giants.

Construction on the Montana Heritage Trail started in November last year and will continue next summer, with an official opening planned for March 2002. Although the upgrade is currently unfinished, the trail remains open to the public. It is situated in the Cascades/Kauri area on Falls Road, which can be reached via Scenic Drive and Te Henga Road.

For further information please call:

Philip Warren
ARC Chairman
Phone 366-2000 ext 7111
Mobile 025 987 934


Peter Hubscher
Managing Director, Montana Wines
Phone 570-8400.

© Scoop Media

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