Date: 05 March 2020
That work commenced with a milestone dawn blessing event led by iwi involving the contractor, Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) regional staff and Department of Conservation (DOC) staff, and stakeholder representatives.
The Taranaki Crossing project has been funded by the PGF and DOC’s Tourism Pressures funding, and will see the improvement of several tracks, including the popular Pouakai Crossing, to give visitors a world-class visitor experience representing the maunga (mountain) and its people. The PGF has funded $13.3 million towards a total project cost of $19.13 million.
DOC’s Taranaki Operations Manager Gareth Hopkins says the first stage of the project will see more than 25km of track upgraded, creating a fantastic mix of short walks, day walks and a multi-day walking experience on Taranaki Maunga.
“DOC and the PGF have worked very closely with iwi and hapu on development of this project, which is progressing well from an idea that came out of the region’s economic development strategy, Tapuae Roa,” Mr Hopkins says.
“This investment will protect and enhance the maunga to be a fantastic destination for walking in the outdoors, as well as giving locals, including iwi, opportunities to invest in tourism-related businesses and to support conservation efforts in the region.”
Initial investment will focus on core walking infrastructure between Dawson Falls to North Egmont and on to Mangorei Rd, including building a large new swing bridge to keep people safe and enhance the visitor experience. The work on the 800m section of track near Mangorei Rd will be completed in autumn this year, and will resolve issues of a wet, boggy and uneven surface visitors have encountered.
Up to 30 short-term jobs will be created through work to upgrade tracks, carry out safety work and upgrade the Pouakai Hut. It’s expected there will be approximately 12 jobs directly created in the long term as a result of the project, with additional jobs created in support industries such as food and beverage and retail.
When work is completed, the visitor experience on the mountain will reflect the relationship between DOC, the PGF, mana whenua and the maunga itself. The project will also strengthen connections to the natural and cultural heritage of the maunga, enhance biodiversity and provide opportunities for local people, including iwi to express their kaitiakitanga of the mountain by sharing their stories.
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