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Helicopter operation goes off without a hitch

The buzzing of a helicopter above Rangituhi/Colonial Knob this week was good news for residents and visitors to Porirua.

The Wellington Helicopters chopper moved 155 tonnes of gravel on to Te Awa Utiwai trail, repairing damage caused by winter weather and extremely high usage.

The two-day operation went ahead after a few delays due to wind and rain and contractors Valley Landscape did a superb job, Parks Manager Olivia Dovey says, meaning the trail will be good to go for summer.

“It was important the Wellington Helicopters guys had the right window to do their stuff, because it’s not easy work,” she said.

“The pilots and Valley Landscape were incredibly professional and efficient as they went about the operation.”

The public was kept away from the trails to ensure health and safety for everyone, Ms Dovey said, and people’s patience was appreciated while the work was undertaken.

The inconvenience of closing the area over the two days would be worth it in the long run, she said.

“It’s been out of action for a number of weeks, so we’re hugely relieved to be able to get in there and get this work done.

“It’s such a popular trail, with huge numbers of people using it since it opened, so to have it fixed and open soon for summer is brilliant.”

Denise O’Hagan from Valley Landscape said with a high bush canopy, it took skilled flying and a long sling to achieve such a good result.

The work to spread the gravel on the trail will take place over the coming weeks, with the hope Te Ara Utiwai will be re-opened by Labour Weekend.

The Colonial Knob Walkway is now open.

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