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Kauri Mountain track upgraded, others to follow in $2M programme

7 Jul 2021, 11:14 AM

A 14-month, $2 million project to upgrade sections of the Te Araroa trail in Northland to better protect kauri is progressing well, the Northland Regional Council says.

Chair of the regional council’s Biosecurity and Biodiversity Working Party Jack Craw says the regional council last year put in a successful bid to the Provincial Growth Fund for $2M for a series of eight upgrades, with a final agreement sign off coming just before Christmas.

Kaikohe-based Johnson Contractors Ltd has 16 staff working on the project which sees tracks upgraded to the national standard for mitigating kauri dieback, including boardwalks, box steps and resurfacing.

A recently completed upgrade in the Kauri Mountain area, east of Whangarei, saw 1300 metres of track heavily upgraded, with more than 400 aggregate-filled box steps (encompassing more than 50 flights) installed, along with two lengthy boardwalk sections, one 30m long, the other 18m.

There was also more than 500m of aggregate resurfacing as part of the upgrade, the first of eight planned jobs under the project.

Councillor Craw says sections where kauri trees were close to track were protected with 80m of ‘geoweb’, a special honeycomb style mat that’s filled with bark and aggregate to help protect and promote the growth of their delicate roots.

The upgrade also included a new 5.2m diameter viewing platform at the peak of the roughly 250m high Kauri Mountain.

“The interesting thing about the platform is that it was deliberately constructed to match the diameter of one of the Waipoua Forest’s largest kauri, Te Matua Ngahere, which has a girth larger than its famed cousin Tane Mahuta.”

“The contractor is currently on the second and third jobs at upper Kerikeri River and Wrights Farm with two others – at Onekainga and Puketotara Farm – pending.”

The remaining three jobs (in the Kawakawa to Helena Bay area and around Matapouri) are expected to be carried out in the drier months later this year, with the 14-month project due to finish in January next year.

One of the newly installed boardwalk sections winds its way through young trees at Kauri Mountain.

One of the newly installed boardwalk sections winds its way through young trees at Kauri Mountain.

More than 400 aggregate-filled box steps have also been built.

More than 400 aggregate-filled box steps have also been built.