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Bolger opens Rangiriri-Huntly trail

  • 05 Sep 2008

Jim Bolger opens trail
Jim Bolger opens trail

The Rt Hon Jim Bolger opened a new 12 kilometre section of the proposed New Zealand-long walking trail - Te Araroa - on Saturday March 6. The NZ Post chairman unveiled a carved taniwha in the Sculpture Park at Huntly Power Station, and a plaque with words from the office of the Maori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikahu, blessing trail walkers. The new trail connects Rangiriri to Huntly alongside the Waikato River. It links to existing trails to provide a 40-kilometre walking route along the river from Meremere to Ngaruawahia. In a speech later at Te Ohaaki Marae, Jim Bolger recalled the day, nine years ago, when Maori protesters shouted him down, spat on the feet of the then-Governor General Dame Cath Tizard, and cast the New Zealand flag in the dirt. "Back in 1995, after what can only be described as a tumultuous Waitangi Day commemoration the day before, I had the privilege as Prime Minister of opening the first stretch of the Te Araroa trail. I recall that to me, after the debate and argument of the day before it was good to share the peace and optimism of the occasion as we all focussed on this great project that would symbolically link all New Zealanders to a trail that would find its way through smooth and rough terrain as it reached out from north to south. There was some symbolism here that I responded to."

Kuia and trail sign

A Te Ohaaki elder, Toko Waikato, recalled in his speech the days when a track ran continuously from marae to marae as a network right through the country. Te Araroa Trust has already put in over 100 kilometres of linking trails, and expects its next trail opening to take place in the Mangaokewa River Valley behind Te Kuiti next month.

Page last updated: Jul 28, 2020, 5:08 PM