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Govt gives $900,000 to Tuatapere Hump Track

The Minister of Tourism Mark Burton today handed over a cheque for $900,000 to the Southland Trust responsible for completion of a new tourism experience of international significance.

The Hump Ridge Walking Track is situated south west of Tuatapere in Western Southland.

The 54 km circuit track will incorporate a part of the existing South Coast Track. 22 km of new track will be built, along with two accommodation facilities. The restored historic Port Craig Viaducts are one of the major attractions on the route.

"The Tuatapere Hump Trust has been striving to develop a nationally significant walking track and hut system," Mark Burton said.

"I was immensely impressed when I visited the project earlier this year. Prime Minister Helen Clark, as a keen walker, is also a very enthusiastic supporter.

"After years of hard work by local people, in cooperation with local government and with the support of DOC, this outstanding project has reached a critical point. The Government funding announced today will ensure it becomes a reality," Mark Burton said.

"The Hump Track will form part of the New Zealand "Great Walks" network, taking its place alongside the Milford Track, Routeburn and the other great New Zealand walking adventures.

"It will be one of the most diverse of all our major walking tracks. Walkers can experience coastline, podocarp forest, beech forest, and alpine flora, with Keas, Seals and Hector Dolphins to be seen. The trip will also include a rich history of both Maori and European endeavours.

"This project will have significant recreational, social and economic benefits for Tuatapere, Southland and for New Zealand Tourism in general.

"The financial support I have announced today is a demonstration of this Government's determination to encourage worthy projects which contribute to regional development, and which come from and continue to have the strong backing of local communities.

"The Hump Track is an excellent example of what can be achieved when a local community, central and local government combine with a common purpose," Mark Burton said.

ends

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