Newsletter 13


Who Are We?
Current Trends
Health and Safety
Walkway Standards

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Issue 13 April 2009

Greetings to everyone.

We start 2009 with the good news that we have now met all requirements to confirm our charitable status with the new Charities Commission. Thank you to everyone who attended the Special General Meeting to validate the adjustments to the Rules.


With more walkways opening up, due to not only our efforts, but the Newmont Waihi Gold routes, a map has been produced. This depicts the traversable walkways, points of historical interest, and dog exercise areas. You can ask for the map of the walkways from the Information Centre.


We are delighted to acknowledge the sponsorship by AgriSea of our co-ordinator’s contract.

Jill Bradley, Managing Director says, "We are proud to be sponsoring Waihi Walkways and the projects they have undertaken. Their dedication and commitment to environmental initiatives, clean water and habitat restoration for our native wildlife, is a genuine step for sustainability… a legacy for our grand-children of the Ohinemuri District."


Brett on the bow – pointing out the view of Te Aroha mountain !

Brett on the bow – pointing out the view of Te Aroha mountain !

Early this year we enjoyed a trip on the Waihou River from Te Aroha on the paddleboat MV Otunui which was built in 1907. The owner, Barrie Sproule shared stories of the fascinating history of the boat. It has a chequered history having originally worked on the Wanganui River, hosted Queen Elizabeth II, been a cattle ferry, had several years abandoned (submerged), and has been re-built after two fires!

Everyone enjoyed a pleasant January evening.


Carol supervises a student planting Carex to stabilise the stream banks

Carol supervises a student planting Carex to stabilise the stream banks

The rehabilitation of a portion of Mill Stream and environs is a three year project. For the first year we cleared the stream of large amounts of debris, not just fallen logs, but domestic and industrial rubbish was extracted. Some initial stream side plants were established that winter.

Year two we further revegetated the stream sides and began to rehabilitate a small wetland area. Over summer we have continued to remove the invasive weeds, focussing on the wetland in particular, with a view to completing the planting programme this winter.

Several years of maintenance ensuring weeds do not re-invade the area will be pivotal to the success of this project. Thanks to BOC Where There’s Water, for the funding of the plants. The project has involved students with the planting, and thanks to Wild About Waihi for organising water monitoring with students.


Some of the team of Waihi Rotary and Wailhi Walkways ready to start work 2009

Some of the team of Waihi Rotary and Wailhi Walkways ready to start work 2009

In March 2008 a band of hardy Waihi Rotarians joined in with Waihi Walkways volunteers to assist with maintenance and development on the Mill Stream Walkway.

This year Rotarians again wished to assist us with one of our projects. With extra hands and muscle available the morning’s work achieved a good start at the Victoria Street Bridge reserve site. We removed rocks and stumps, cleared blackberry and other weeds and put down a generous layer of chip mulch around the Totara seedlings planted last spring. Thank you everyone for the team effort.


We continue to use the services of Community Waikato to assist our organisational performance. Thank you to Sheryll FitzPatrick for her contribution to our recent workshop on Governance and Management.


German wasp (Vespula germanica)

Common wasp (Vespula vulgaris)

Common Wasp (no dots on the abdomen)

Common Wasp (no dots on the abdomen)

German Wasp

German Wasp

According to Environment Bay of Plenty, the German wasp, probably brought to New Zealand in the late 1800’s, was not found in great numbers until the 1940’s.

The Common wasp arrived more recently than the German wasp, but is already widespread.

Both these varieties can be aggressive if disturbed. Numbers of both these wasps are increasing in the Waikato and Auckland areas.

They prey on insects and compete for food (insects, nectar and honeydew) with the birds.

This information (with images) is provided by Environment Waikato and Environment Bay of Plenty. Fact Sheets are available from both these regional councils.

We are actively working to destroy any nests we can locate. Please contact us if you find a nest (most likely in the ground, a soft earth bank or a hollow log).


Thanks to Eric Lens, we now have an excellent resource document which clearly explains the various historic features associated with, or in proximity to, the Mill Stream Walkway. The document has copies of old maps and photos of various features, and modern images. Eric includes quoted script from Mines Statements of the era, other relevant source documentation, and pertinent references. This project has been kindly funded by PowerCo and Valder Ohinemuri Charitable Trust Inc.

At you will find a summary of this work with an interesting series of maps and images, plus an explanation of the modifications surrounding Mill Stream. Hover over the maps to find the feature under discussion.

Did you know the old power pylon route (bringing electricity to Martha Mine from Hora Hora in the Waikato) was through this area? View the images of the pylon remnants and then traverse Mill Stream Walkway to view them in /on the ground.


Volunteers turn privet into useful chip mulch for new plants

Volunteers turn privet into useful chip mulch for new plants

Funding from Lotteries, Environment and Heritage Committee has enabled us to purchase a robust Hansa chipper. As we clear weed trees such as privet and Japanese walnut from the land, we can now chip them up on site and immediately mulch around our new plantings.

This initiative is proving to be an energy efficient means for both weed reduction and plant preservation. Our volunteer "chip the privet parties" are an enjoyable team event, with everyone contributing to a better environment.


Downstream from Coffey’s Creek, traditional Waihi swimming place, is Waihi’s oldest remaining battery site, variously known as the Martha, the Silverton and the Union Battery. Historical research is underway to provide information and understanding of this most valuable site.

Silverton Battery 1898

Silverton Battery 1898

The next stretch of walkway we are developing will provide access to the battery site, and proceed downstream to emerge at the Victoria Street Bridge reserve site. That site has had an initial "cleanup" from Dept of Corrections Teams. Recently Waihi Rotarians assisted with development of the area. The vision is to create a pleasant open space with views of the Ohinemuri River and specimen trees for shade - suitable as a picnic area.


Waihi’s excellent growing conditions enables not only the trees to prosper, but also the weeds. Thanks to funding from Weedbusters we have bought a scrub bar. Where the mower cannot operate, this machine can provide a mown surface. Additionally, not just the grass weeds, but with the blade attachment we can also trim out heavier growth such as blackberry. When spraying isn’t appropriate, this machine is proving an effective way of controlling weed growth.


bulletTo the volunteers – your ongoing enthusiasm and efforts are invaluable, thank you.
bulletFunding agencies – your ongoing support is truly appreciated.
bulletValder Ohinemuri Charitable Trust
bulletTrust Waikato
bulletJim Say Foundation
bulletBOC Gases
bulletAgriSea NZ
bulletLotteries Environment & Heritage
bulletDonations and contributors. Recently Dave Carter of Carters Contractors provided machinery and a driver to repair some damage by a horse on Coffey’s Walk. Thank you, your support is greatly valued.
bulletWild About Waihi have supplied rodent bait to assist with the Union Hill predator control programme, thank you.

Working bees and volunteering projects are scheduled throughout the year. Contact us to learn how you can contribute.

Chairperson: Carol Speir, Ph: 863 3279

Coordinator: Ruth Ordish, Ph: 863 8600

Address for correspondence: Waihi Walkways PO Box 241 Waihi

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Archived Newsletters

Newsletter 18
Newsletter 17
Newsletter 16
Newsletter 15
Newsletter 14
Newsletter 13
Newsletter 12
Newsletter 11
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Newsletter 9
Newsletter 8
Newsletter 7
Newsletter 6
Newsletter 5
Newsletter 4
Newsletter 3
Newsletter 2
Newsletter 1


Waihi District Walkways Inc. PO Box 241 Waihi New Zealand

Send e- mail to: Waihi Walkways