Received 14th December, 2018

Auckland Council has been working together with Te Kawerau ā Maki on a track plan for Waitākere Ranges Regional Park.

The plan sets out the considerations that need to be taken into account prior to reopening tracks, including track improvement methodology.  The development of the plan considered current best practice for managing kauri areas. The plan also includes the tracks that have been identified for reopening over the next two to five years.

This plan is currently being finalised with Te Kawerau ā Maki and we are looking forward to sharing it as soon as that process is complete.

In January we will be commencing a public engagement process seeking feedback from communities of interest on the order that the identified tracks should reopen, and this feedback will be used to develop our forward work programme. Although consultation is not open yet, it would be useful if you could start thinking about this over the Christmas break.

There will be plenty of opportunities to have your say during the engagement process including an online survey, public information evenings and drop-in sessions. You will also be able to email or write to us or give your feedback at the Arataki Visitor Centre.

We know there is significant demand for recreational opportunities in the Waitākere Ranges and community expectation that further tracks will be reopened.

In making decisions to reopen tracks the following will be considered:

  • priority on recreating coastal connectivity, providing for multi-day walking opportunities and kauri-safe access to identified iconic destinations,
  • tracks opened once they are of a standard where they protect and support forest health,
  • recognise tracks that provide access to identified iconic destinations,
  • avoid high value non-symptomatic kauri ecosystems, and
  • provide a range of recreational opportunities that where possible are concentrated to the forest edge.

Current work programme

The engagement process described above will focus on the work programme from 2020 onwards.  There is already work either underway or being scoped and designed for several tracks which will be worked on in the interim.

Our teams are currently working tirelessly to upgrade Kitekite Track, so that it can be reopened. We are nearly there but want to ensure that everything is completed to the required standard before it opens, including the installation of additional hygiene stations, so the public can enjoy it and keep our kauri protected.

We have had several enquiries about the removal of a small bridge at the start of Kitekite Track. Prior to our upgrade works Kitekite Track had three entry points. Reducing the number of entry points will make managing visitor access through the hygiene stations more effective.  The removal of this bridge does not prevent access to the existing tracks or diminish recreational opportunities.

Upgrade work on the Slip Track, Lower Arataki Nature Trail and Comans Track will commence in early 2019, as well as project planning for other tracks including the Zig Zag Track.

We would like to thank the many volunteers, staff and contractors who have been working extremely hard both behind the scenes and out in the park on the track upgrades.

We also acknowledge the patience, understanding and co-operation of all our visitors.

We wish you a safe and happy summer holiday and will be in touch in January.

Ngā mihi Kind regards

Kauri Dieback Project Team

Auckland Council

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