The Hauraki Rail Trail in Waikato is one of four iconic New Zealand Great Rides cycle trails to receive Government funding to get back on track after the extreme weather in June this year.
Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has just announced the Government's approval of $650,000 funding from the NZ Cycle Trails Fund for urgent repairs to the Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle Trail in Northland, the Hauraki Rail Trail, the Tasman Great Taste Trail in Nelson and the Twin River Trail in Queenstown.
"The cycle trails were smashed around by winter storms and parts remain closed due to washouts, slips, slumping, and damage to surfaces and drainage after torrential rain ... The urgent repair work will also future-proof the cycle trails against further weather events."
The largest funding goes to Waikato's Hauraki Rail Trail at $300,000.
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CEO of the Hauraki Rail Trail Charitable Trust Diane Drummond says: "In June we had a big flooding event that did severe damage to more than eight kilometres of the trail between Waihi and Waikino. The flooding wiped out a lot of the trail surface which is now back to clay and rock."
The funding will be used to get the trail back into a safe condition. Repairs will focus on concreting 1040m of trail that is at high risk for flooding and resurfacing the remaining sections.
"We are very grateful for the funding and the support from Government. We have received a large number of complaints about the state the trail is in. It's just about how to get the funding together [to fix it]. And the Government helped with that," Drummond says.
Nash says that recent research demonstrated more Kiwis are choosing to explore by cycling or walking a Great Ride.
"The cycle trails are valuable components of our national tourism infrastructure. They are incredibly popular with both local users and domestic tourists and we want them restored and made safe before cyclists return in greater numbers during summer.
"Cycle tourism plays a vital role to support local jobs and businesses, especially for destinations off the beaten track ... The 22 trails in the Great Rides offer intrepid travellers a low-cost and accessible way to see the best parts of the country by going off-road."