WAIHI WALKWAYS PUBLIC MEETING 19 APRIL 2000
INTRODUCTION by Tessa Mackenzie
I would like to welcome you all here tonight. Thank you for taking the time to attend, especially those who have come from Hamilton, Paeroa and further afield.
Waihi Walkways was formed following a Hauraki District Council Millennium meeting in the latter part of 1998. The group consists of 10 individuals who share the vision of creating walking networks within the Waihi urban and rural areas. The walks will be exposed to areas of historical, cultural or ecological interest as well as linking outlying communities and recreational amenities. This idea is by no means new. It was first mooted back in the early 1900s and has been re-vamped several times since then.
The present group was fortunate to attain the skills and enthusiasm of Eric Lens at the beginning of the project. Eric has put in hundreds of hours on a purely voluntary basis to carry out in depth research and produce feasibility studies on a variety of existing and potential walks.
Hauraki Enterprise Agency fostered the initial community work administration, they have allowed us to use their facilities for meetings, copying and binding of reports, and have also given valuable advice and support.
GO Waihi have provided administration of funds and use of meeting facilities.
We are lucky enough to have good support from DOC – through Peter Carter and John Gaukrodger, who, although unable to be here tonight have asked that their support for this initiative be stated at this meeting. They have assigned some areas of DOC owned land for Walkway use and addressed specific landowner concerns in Walkways favour. DOC are particularly encouraging of the creation of tracks following the Ohinemuri and its tributaries, and look forward to the eventual creation of a track linking Waihi to the popular Karangahake Gorge Walkway.
Local Iwi – Ngati Tamatera have also provided valuable input and advice with regards to the first proposed walks, and we look forward very much to working with them to ensure Maori cultural concerns are acknowledged, and that proposed walks may be able to educate walkers of local Maori history and culture.
Environment Waikato have provided assistance and advice on Resource issues and river erosion and may also assist with concurrent planting plans for specific areas.
John McIvor, Colin Lynch and Gary Patterson, of Hauraki District Council have assisted with issues like Iwi Liaison, provision of maps and land ownership information. They also granted us $300 through their Millennium Fund. At present we are inviting them to accept a proposal to assign an area of Council owned land for recreational use along a proposed walk. This area of land was purchased by Council for a sewage treatment area, but is now proposed to be subdivided and sold to offset costs for an alternative site. A portion of the land contains the historic remnants of the Waihi Dredging Plant, which was set up to dredge the Ohinemuri of gold laced tailings at the beginning of the century. It also has many beautiful mature trees providing natural shade next to Waitete Stream. The Ohinemuri river and the old dam provide a lake-like expanse of water adjacent to what is the perfect picnic or resting spot for individuals or groups.
Several private owners of land adjoining proposed walks have offered their assistance with track maintenance and plantings.
Waihi Gold have provided assistance in the form of use of photocopying facilities, provision of this facility for this meeting and $500 towards volunteer expenses. Keith Brodie (who is walking the Milford Track tonight) has pledged assistance in the construction of a track linking Gilmour Lake to Golden Valley via the river.
State Insurance have contributed $500 towards the development of a specific walk.
It is through all of this input that we have reached a stage where we need to consolidate the whole picture and "make it happen".
The aims of our dedicated committee are now to gain funding to provide paid employment for our researcher/photographer, specialist reports, track construction expertise, and materials.
In order to provide a stable and consistent framework from which to develop, we have decided to progress to the legal entity status of an Incorporated Society. It is with this aim that we have invited you here tonight in the hope that some of you may be able to contribute either your time, to aid with the administrative process, or your advice on specific issues that will arise during the course of Walkways development.
Waihi District Walkways Inc. PO Box 241 Waihi New Zealand
Send e- mail to: Waihi Walkways