The project is the work of the Te Ara Kahikatea Pathway Incorporated Society which has under its wings a large band of voluntary community labour and hard work.
The idea for a public pathway for walking and cycling was that of Gael Blaymires and her late husband Cedric.
This was followed through by the Te Puke Environmental Forum and the Te Ara Kahikatea Incorporated Society was officially formed with the signing of a memorandum with Western Bay of Plenty District Council which owns most of the land through which the pathway travels.
The 4km route starts at the Hera Memorial in Jubilee Park.
It travels alongside Te Puke Highway and follows the Waiari Stream and heads around the Te Puke dog pound and wastewater plant via a boardwalk before returning under the railway line onto the northern end of Lawrence Oliver Park and back to Jubilee Park.
The pathway has been planted with a mix of natives such as kahikatea, manuka, pohutukawa, rimu, totara and includes 700 Cookianum flax plants from Council’s Ecological Fund, plus 250 Tenax flaxes from Te Puke Forest and Bird.
Society Secretary Grant Dally says one of the greatest rewards of the project has been turning former wasteland and wetland into a lovely community asset.
The project has been made possible through $69,000 TECT for the wetland boardwalk, $14,000 from Council’s Community Matching Fund, $12,000 from the Walking Access Commission, $11,500 from Bay of Plenty Regional Council and $2900 from Te Puke Community Board.
Local business have donated or discounted goods and services including timber from Pukepine Sawmills ($15,000); the 400m section of pathway from the cemetery to the Waiari Stream built by Fulton-Hogan ($12,000); building work by Peter Boomen ($4200) and earthworks by Ken Edkins ($3000).
Voluntary groups involved with the project include Environment Te Puke, Te Puke Rotary, Te Puke Forest and Bird, Creative Te Puke, Sunday Riders and Women on Wheels.
The pathway will be blessed tomorrow by Reverend Manu Wihapi, supported by Dean Flavell, who has been involved in the project from the start.