Appreciating the forestry environment

Appreciating the forestry environment

The Whangawehi Catchment Management Group has been given a national award for its exceptional efforts in creating the Te Aratia Walkway. Outdoor Access Champion Awards are presented each year by Herenga ā Nuku Aotearoa, the Outdoor Access Commission, to people who have made significant and lasting contributions to public access to the outdoors in New Zealand.

The Whangawehi Catchment Management Group, a collective of marae, landowners, and agencies, has united their efforts to enhance and protect the Whangawehi catchment. The walkway, which spans the Mahia Peninsula, was built to share the restored whenua with the broader community. It officially opened in December 2022.

The landowners, the people of Tuahuru Marae and Kaiuku Marae, and the wider community have come together to restore the area, bringing back native birds and fish. The group’s efforts have retired over 150ha and planted over 250,000 trees. Their tireless work to fence off and plant over 150,000 native trees along the Whangawehi stream and tributaries has significantly improved the local environment.

The walkway sits entirely on private land and provides visitors with a strong connection to the environment. The first 6 km meanders through farms, following the riparian planting alongside the Whangawehi River. The second half of the walk winds through commercial forestry of redwoods, pines and cypress. Finally, the trail descends the hill to beautiful Mahia Beach on the peninsula’s west side. 

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