Issue 7 November 2004
Greetings to everyone as summer approaches… This has been a year of good progress for Waihi Walkways with projects gathering momentum.
Mill Stream Walkway
Our first-constructed walk is hosting many feet, more native plantings have been added and there is abundant growth on the earlier plants. We recently planted a Totara in honour of Owen Morgan, founding member of Waihi Walkways.
Owen was on our committee for several years and his local knowledge of historical and natural heritage was invaluable…. we acknowledge the special contributions that Owen made to the development of our walkways and to the community in general.
We anticipate establishing a people counter before the end of the year to record the numbers of people using this walkway.
Our thanks go to the Department of Conservation for providing this equipment.
Comment from Sel Baker, Waihi Ward Chairman, Hauraki District Council.
"I would like to congratulate the Waihi Walkways group on the formation of the Mill Stream Walkway, commencing at the squash club down to Clarke Street. It’s a walk my wife and I have derived much enjoyment from when out walking with our dog. There have been occasions when hosting visitors we have invited them to experience the "Grand Canyon" of Waihi, which is what Dorothy calls it, a really delightful walk taking in the grand canyon in miniature. What foresight the group has to explore and construct such an interesting and pleasant walk. The good thing is there are more on the drawing board. I believe the walkway planned along the northern bank of the Ohinemuri River to be another very interesting walk. Full marks to the members who give so much of their time for something that others can enjoy. Congratulations to each and every member – your public spirit is to be commended."
Riverbank Terrace Walkway
This is now commenced with 3 kissing gates installed. The first is sited off the edge of Gilmour Lake Reserve, very close to the Coronation Bridge. The walk will proceed under Coronation Bridge and along the Ohinemuri River on the true right bank. This area is currently grazed by a cattle beast, which is controlled by way of electric fencing without crossing points. We hope, in due course, to have resolved these issues.
There is a second kissing gate installed at the turning end of Riverbank Terrace, and another at the end of Rosemont Road. This walk has a sprinkling of well-established exotic trees and we anticipate establishing complementary trees and plantings in autumn.
We have planted the true left bank of the river with a riparian strip 300 metres long and 10+ metres wide and these are now entering their third year and looking good!
Ohinemuri River Historic Walkway
Long anticipated, this walk from the western edge of Waihi at the Waihi Dredging Plant Site (confluence of the Ohinemuri River and Waitete Stream) along the true left bank of the Ohinemuri River to Victoria Battery, Waikino, is now in the research and planning stages.
This is an exciting 7.5km walk which offers a range of heritage and environmental opportunities for walkers and may also be available for cyclists. We are liaising with the Hauraki Rail Trail group in this regard.
Trevor Butler, engineer, has reviewed the structural requirements of this walk and is enthusiastic about its potential. Lotteries assessor, Lew Gulliford, has visited the beginning of the walk (the Dredging Plant) and we hope that Lotteries will continue to support the development of walkways in this district with another grant.
The Department of Conservation, one of the major landowners of this walkway, says "We see this proposal as very complimentary to the objectives and goals these other areas of land [Karangahake, etc] are being managed for, as well as supporting the tourism industry and local community development plans, and we would like to offer co-operation, advice and support where we can."
In 1897 the Waihi Gold Mining Company started erecting the Victoria Battery at Waikino to provide additional stamper capacity for the crushing of Martha ore. The battery started operating in 1898 with 100 stamps. The site at Waikino was chosen largely because of the water power available from the Ohinemuri and Waitekauri rivers.
The low-pressure supply came via a water race from the masonry dam on the Ohinemuri River, built just below the confluence of the Waitete Stream in 1897. The race had a fall of 54ft, driving the stamps through two turbines.
Ore was hauled the five miles (8km) to the battery by steam locomotive along the 2ft 9in gauge tramline. Each locomotive hauled a load of 40 side-tipping ore filled trucks on the downhill gradient to Waikino. This configuration of loco and ore trucks was known as a "rake", and hence the tramway was generally called the "rake line". There was a loop in the tramline at the halfway mark to allow one locomotive hauling a full rake to pass the other locomotive returning to Waihi with an empty rake. The rake line crossed the Ohinemuri River just upstream from the masonry dam (and dredging plant) on a timber trestle bridge, known as Black Bridge. The tramline and bridge were also constructed 1897.
The Waihi Dredging Plant was established in 1897 to reprocess tailings sucked from the Ohinemuri River. Much experimentation took place during the life of this plant, and of particular note is that air agitation tanks were invented and patented worldwide from this site by CF Brown. The Waihi Paeroa Gold Extraction Company purchased the plant in 1908, and after two years of successful operation, the plant was moved to Paeroa and incorporated into a very large plant being built at Mill Road.
These heritage features will be accessed by the walkway.
This time of year when you walk amidst regenerating bush you are likely to smell the sweet, spicy aroma of Hangehange (Geniostoma rupestre var. ligustrifolium).
Bundles of Hangehange leaves were used as a form of flavouring by early Maori (in a hangi), the sap was used medicinally and the bark used for scabies.
The bark was also used for creating a pure black colour for dyeing flax. The strong smelling flowers produce a good quantity of thin, very pale, aromatic nectar – enjoyed by bees (and beekeepers). The attractive shiny green leaves of Hangehange make this a useful shrub to plant in shade of trees where few other plants will grow. It tolerates reasonably dry conditions but is sensitive to heavy frost. (Andrew Crowe - Which Native Forest Plant?)
Waihi Community Consultative Committee
Waihi Walkways has been represented on this committee over the last 18 months and the projects which are now emerging from this process are innovative and exciting for Waihi and district.
There are a number of projects from the committee’s booklet (available from the Golden Legacy Centre) which describe walkway opportunities - the Ohinemuri River Walk is one of them, as is development on Union Hill. This is a wonderful opportunity for community groups to work together for the future of Waihi, and Waihi Walkways is gratified to be part of this exciting process.
Trust Waikato for another grant to continue with walkway development and research and associated operating costs; Lotteries Heritage and Environment; H.E.L.P. (for continuing on-the-ground maintenance and walkway development); Department of Conservation.
Committee contact details:
Chairperson: Charlie Cooper Ph: (07) 863 7699
Secretary: Annette Bowater Ph: (07) 863 8863
Treasurer: John Vinson Ph: (07) 863 9021
Address for correspondence: Waihi Walkways PO Box 241 Waihi
Waihi District Walkways Inc. PO Box 241 Waihi New Zealand
Send e- mail to: Waihi Walkways