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Tauroa Reserve Boardwalk Provides Safe Access To Te Mata Park

Tauroa Reserve boardwalk ribbon cutting.

The Tauroa Reserve Boardwalk is officially open – the first stage of the works to ultimately give walkers and cyclists safe and scenic off-road access to the popular Te Mata Park.

Running along Tauroa Rd, between the Chambers carpark and Tokomaru Drive, the boardwalk was built in response to calls from the community to make the area safer for users.

An impressive structure – it’s three metres wide to accommodate respectful usage by both pedestrians and bikers, and more than 160 poles were used in its construction.

Built over undulating terrain, the poles range from four metres to 12 metres in height, and if they were all put together end-to-end they would stretch 1.2kms.

Hastings councillor and Active Transport Group chair Damon Harvey said the new addition meant there was now a safe way to get to Te Mata Peak that was close to village, rather than driving to the carpark to go for a walk or bike ride.

“The area that used to be the most risky is now really user-friendly – and not only is it safe, it’s an attraction in itself, you feel like you are walking or biking through the tops of the trees.”

The total cost for the project from design to completion, including the removal of some trees in the reserve, was $1.9m.

Of that the Provincial Growth Fund contributed $400,000, and Napier MP Stuart Nash, also the Tourism and Regional Economic Development Minister, attended the official opening on Saturday, May 21.

He said it was a bittersweet event, marking an end and a new beginning.

“It marks the completion of a wider two-year $9.37m programme of investment and support where the government worked alongside the Hastings District Council to redeploy workers who lost jobs in the first wave of COVID-19 in early 2020 – this particular project provided jobs for 13 people for nearly a year.

Tauroa Reserve boardwalk blessing.

“Te Mata Peak is an iconic visitor attraction in Hawke’s Bay. The completion of the boardwalk comes at the perfect time as we reconnect to key international tourism markets and reopen to cruise ships, and is also a fantastic new asset for the community.”

The boardwalk build started in February 2021, but due to COVID-19, took longer than predicted, with delays getting materials, wet weather, and working around keeping access open to motorists.

For those who first called on the Council to find a safety solution for the road, its completion is indeed something to celebrate.

Tauroa Reserve Care Group member Michelle Hicks said the death of her Property Brokers colleague Megan Nation in a tragic accident in 2018 highlighted safety concerns about this piece of road.

“Council was looking into it and we put forward the boardwalk idea,” she said, on behalf of the care group.

“We have been watching the progress of it being built over the last 18 months and are pleased it’s in place now - we hope it’s treated with respect.”

© Scoop Media

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