Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Rakiura Track celebrates 20 years as Great Walk

Media release

20 November, 2012

Rakiura Track celebrates 20 years as Great Walk

This week the Department of Conservation celebrates the 20th anniversary of the official opening of Stewart Island’s Rakiura Track as a Great Walk, the southern-most of New Zealand’s iconic walking tracks.

Numbering nine in total country-wide, the Great Walks draw thousands of domestic visitors and international tourists annually. Last summer, over 2700 people walked the Rakiura Track, with almost half of these being New Zealanders.

Stewart Island/Rakiura Field Centre Supervisor, Sharon Pasco, is effusive about the popularity of the Great Walk. “Over the years it’s been great to see the track develop. Since we have been included in the nation-wide booking system, lots more people have been coming to the island and enjoying walking the track.”

“It’s wonderful to see families and groups of visitors here and the big advantage is, they can do the walk at any time of year,”

Stylish new interpretation panels have been installed at the Rakiura Great Walk huts and various sites along the way. These panels offer walkers a taste of the unique history of the area and reveal how, over several centuries, rich natural resources have drawn humans here.

For over 600 years, the coastline has bustled with activity from pre-European food gathering to planned townships. The Early Maori site, Pa Whakataka, later became the location for Port William/Potirepo with its chequered history as a sealers’ base, a whaling station, an oyster fishing centre and even a failed attempt at gold prospecting. A subsequent settlement of migrants from the Shetland Isles proved unsustainable.

At several sites along the track walkers can see evidence of the timber milling industry which thrived on the island, with relics of log haulers and steam boilers some of the more visible highlights.

However, in the early 1900s, removing timber became uneconomic and this allowed forest trees to re-establish. Nowadays, these areas of regenerating bush, along with areas of virgin podocarp forest, add to the variety of experience for visitors on the Great Walk.

More recent history includes the creation in the 1980s of what was initially known as the “link track” connecting Port William and North Arm, during the New Zealand Forest Service days. In the early nineties, this section was upgraded with many kilometres of boardwalk over the soft peaty terrain. A fresh upgrade has seen ageing and substandard boardwalk removed and the track hardened with gravel and rerouted to give access to historic sites and huts on the Great Walk extended and given a face-lift.

Amongst those involved in the work has been a group of stalwart volunteers from the Winton Rotary Club who recently spent a week doing carpentry and painting at North Arm Hut.

Visitor Assets Programme Manager for DOC, Dale Chittenden, is appreciative if the work of volunteers. “We really value the support of the Winton Rotary Club,” he said. “This kind of partnership is what conservation’s all about.”

Stewart Island/ Rakiura is prized for its native birdlife and along the Great Walk a huge range of bush and shoreline birds can be seen. At this time of year, walkers frequently report seeing kiwi/tokoeka, particularly close to North Arm Hut on the shores of Paterson Inlet.

To mark the anniversary, the Rakiura National Park Visitor Centre is giving away track certificates to the first 50 people to complete the walk.

This southern-most Great Walk offers visitors a unique island wilderness and historic experience that’s available year round. Bookings are available through DOC’s website www.doc.govt.nz, at the Rakiura National Park Visitor Centre, Stewart Island or at any DOC visitor centre.

–Ends–

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Drone Strikes And Judith Collins‘ Last Stand

The news that a New Zealand citizen was killed last November in a US drone attack in Yemen brings the drones controversy closer to home.

To the US, drones are a legitimate response to the threat posed by the al Qaeda organisation and its franchisees... To the US, the drones carry the added advantage of not putting US troops at risk on the ground, and minimises the need for putting them in large numbers in bases in the countries concerned, always a politically sensitive point.

The counter-argument, well articulated by security analyst Paul Buchanan on RNZ this morning, is that this particular drone attack can be said to amount to an extra-judicial execution of a New Zealand citizen by one of our military allies, in circumstances where the person concerned posed no threat to New Zealand’s domestic security. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Policies: Labour’s Economic Upgrade For Manufacturing

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today announced his Economic Upgrade for the manufacturing sector – a plan that will create better jobs and higher wages. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And ACC Work Of Sir Owen Woodhouse

With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy. More>>

ALSO:

Bad Transnationals: Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award

It won the 2011 Roger Award and was runner up in 2012, 2009 and 08. One 2013 nomination said simply and in its entirety: “Blackmailing country”... More>>

ALSO:

Select Committees: Tobacco Plain Packaging Hearings

The Stroke Foundation is today backing the Cancer Society and Smokefree Coalition who are making oral submissions to the Health Select Committee in support of proposed legislation to remove of all branding from tobacco products. More>>

ALSO:

Milk: Oravida Asked For Cabinet Help

New evidence released by New Zealand First today reveals Justice Minister Judith Collins used her position to manipulate the Government to help her husband’s company, Oravida, after the Fonterra botulism scare, says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>

ALSO:

With Conditions: Ruataniwha Consents Approved In Draft Decision

The Tukituki Catchment Proposal Board of Inquiry has granted 17 resource consents relating to the $265 million Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in a draft decision that would open more of the Hawke’s Bay to irrigation. More>>

ALSO:

Fast Lanes, Campervans: Labour 'Making The Holidays Easier For Kiwi Drivers'

The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Royalty And Its Tourism Spin-Offs

Ultimately the Queen’s longevity has been one of her most significant accomplishments. A transition to Prince Charles while the monarchy was in the pits of public esteem in the mid to late 1990s would have been disastrous for the Royal Firm. Far more congenial representatives have now emerged... More>>

ALSO:

Privacy (Again): ACC Demands Excessive Privacy Waivers

Labour: “This is just another example of ACC under National deliberately acting to deny treatment and compensation... Those who did fill in the form have effectively been victims of yet another ACC privacy breach. This time Judith Collins knew it was happening..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news