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Hawke’s Bay Community Gets Riverbed Gift

23 June 2017

Hawke’s Bay Community Gets Riverbed Gift

A piece of pristine private riverbed was this week handed back from the McHardy family to public ownership under Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

55.8 hectares of Tukituki Riverbed land from Waimarama Road at Red Bridge to Horseshoe Bend was formally returned to the public.

It is unusual for the land under rivers in New Zealand to be in private ownership, with this area an exception to the Queen’s Chain. It occurred at the time of settling the local area when the original owners who came from Australia wanted certainty to the water in the Tukituki river. This was stipulated in the land purchase and agreed to by the crown.

"Private ownership of this part of the riverbed goes back to settlement years, but it is extremely rare for a riverbed of this size to be in private hands," says Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule.

Regional Council Chair Rex Graham is quick to thank land manager Andy Colthart working on behalf of the McHardy’s, and to congratulate Mayor Yule for his lengthy negotiation to make this happen.

“Lawrence has been working with Andy for a long time on this. During their conversations about development occurring on the land, Lawrence suggested returning the riverbed area to the public for open use, and it just makes sense for the Regional Council to manage it,” says Rex Graham.

Land manager Andy Coltart takes a pragmatic view with the gifting.

“We wanted to do this and it makes sense to give the riverbed back," says Mr Coltart.

“There is very little land like this around, and I can imagine families camping down here in years to come, in the great outdoors, by a beautiful river that is only minutes from home,” adds Mr Coltart.


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