The bird call heard on this page: Tui
Waihi Walkways came together at the end of 1998 as a small group of individuals who like to walk, to be surrounded by nature, to appreciate beauty, to enjoy the sounds of nature – bush, birds, water. Several of those participants shared a vision of being able to walk from one part of town to the other on public land - river and road reserves. These reserves extend to form natural links from Waihi to outlying rural areas such as Waitawheta, Karangahake, Waitekauri, Wentworth, and Homunga. Many hours have been devoted to the research and feasibility of fulfilling the above vision. This has involved walking existing and potential tracks, producing detailed maps, reports and photographs and talking to and documenting comments from people whose properties adjoin the river and road reserves.
During the first year of research, contact was established with Hauraki District Council, Environment Waikato and the Department of Conservation. These organisations have been very positive and encouraging, as have the majority of adjoining landowners. Three local Iwi were also contacted, with on going dialogue. As a result of these liaisons, certain themes regarding safety and the environment were conveyed to the group. In particular a need for protection and enhancement the health of the rivers, including removal of stock from the banks, and appropriate planting to stabilise/rehabilitate eroded banks. Consultation is on going to address these and cultural issues relating to proposed tracks.
Waihi Walkways is a long-term project. The research and planning of each stretch of walkway proceeds step by step through a well-defined process that includes developing a health and safety regime for each stretch of walkway, ongoing consultation with stakeholders, track design to the New Zealand standards and attention to environmental rehabilitation and enhancement.
In June 1999, following a well attended public meeting, Walkways graduated to become an Incorporated Society with a membership of 26.
Now, ten years later Waihi Walkways can review the wonderful progress that has been made; our membership has increased to over 70, and we have a dedicated group of volunteers who work assiduously on the projects, planting, weeding, mowing, clearing pest weeds, chipping green waste, mulching, scrub bar, spraying, more weeding – and altogether having a wonderful time! We have machinery to assist our efforts, a power carrier for shifting track metal, bringing in plants and taking out rubbish or relocating mulch, a ride on mower which has created lovely open green spaces along the walkways, a trailer to move these items around, and carry mulch and metal, and a chipper which makes short work of the pest plants such as privet.
Walkways in place. Mill Stream Walkway is a gem of open spaces, regenerating bush, charming stream, and historic features. Riverbank Terrace Walkway is along the Ohinemuri River with a charming open rural park-like ambience. Coffey’s Walk continues that theme. Check out our "Walkways" page to see these completed projects and those under development.
Waihi Walkways is creating walks for the benefit of the community, something that anyone in the community will be able to use as a free activity, that promote health on a physical, mental and emotional level. The public land of river reserves (Queen’s Chain) and road reserves were set aside primarily to provide public access along our rivers and streams, and for protection of the stream banks.
Waihi Walkways are keen to fulfil a vision, which is shaped by all those who have presented their ideas and those who have joined the Society to contribute further ideas and energy. However, it would be unrealistic to assume that everyone will support this project.
There may be some frustration and negative feeling as landowners adjust to increased public access to the reserve land adjoining their properties. However, as walkways emerge in many parts of the country, their value in creating access and greater appreciation of our waterways and natural heritage is increasing.
Waihi District Walkways Inc. PO Box 241 Waihi New Zealand
Send e- mail to: Waihi Walkways