Another fisho was curious about how we got on with the application to the Turangi Community Board, for erecting tourist information signs on the pools of the Tongariro River. I’m glad you asked…
Following complaints and suggestions by anglers and bikers and walkers returning from the Tongariro River Trail, recently TRM advised inmates of plans to erect names of pools and some of their rich histories along the Tongariro River Trail. An application for this project was sent to the local Community Board. As the concept for the tourist information signs and examples of histories of Tongariro Pools was posted on TRM’s blog during the last week, this is an update of Council’s support (?) and response:
This all started when we were looking for suitable Tongariro River enhancement projects to “invest” back any profits from sales of TRM’s book, Tongariro Skulduggery. The concept of developing tourist information signs along the trail was top of the list. The original anglers access trail is now about one hundred years old – probably the oldest in NZ – and has a huge history that would be of interest to both anglers and bikers and many other tourists who use the loop trail. So it was costed out for 17 signs estimated to cost $12,000. The optimistic application to the Turangi Tongariro Community Board was for $6,000, to cover half the cost.
For suitable precedents, many photos of the excellent tourist information signs on the Timber Trail and on the Coast to Coast Trail were provided. On all other bike trails throughout NZ, these tourist information panels add so much interesting background and often forgotten local history. The Tongariro River Trail has DOC maps at the car parks but not along the trail. In particular, the history of the names of the many pools would be of interest to all tourists. They could also serve as distance marker poles.
The Council replied as follows:
“Kia ora Ross, Thank you for your application to the Turangi Tongariro community grants and for the time and effort spent on your application. The Turangi Tongariro Community Board were pleased to hear more about the project when you presented. We received 21 applications totalling a request amount of $107, 557.14 with only $65,000.00 available to distribute. The applications considered were all great and represented a range of initiatives across the Turangi Tongariro Ward. While your application for signage along the Tongariro River was strong and the Board were in support of the signage, unfortunately on this occasion your application was unsuccessful.
While it is unfortunate we are unable to support you through this particular grant at this time, the Board commented that they supported your project, but suggested that more conversations with Iwi and DOC needed to be had prior to any funding being granted. This is where we would like to support you in your project. Someone will be in contact to help with your project.
We are sorry we could not assist you with funding at this time but look forward to working with you into the future.
TRM supporters were disappointed, as prior to the application hearing, iwi and DOC – who manage the trail – had been approached. DOC responded:
“Good afternoon Ross, Thank you for your email. The department considers the Tongariro River Trail signage to currently be adequate for its purpose, however if you were able to provide more detail in terms of the messages that these proposed signs would convey, we would be happy to consider your suggestion.”
We had also emailed the application proposal to the local iwi, Turangitukua, but they had not replied.
At the hearing, they asked probing questions – such as did we have land owners’ permission to erect signs and who in fact were the landowners? After serving as a public walkway for about one hundred years it should be obvious but that was not a suitable answer. Sadly, their general negativity to the concept was quite apparent.
So it looks like a typical council situation looking for a reason to decline to postpone our wonderful idea. The dilemma was in having to provide the detail of the signs in the application when it was not known if or how much funding was available. It was suggested that the number and extent of the signage could vary, depending on the funding available.
Whatever, the application failed and that has to be my fault. But as we do not understand the meaning of “no”, we will keep on trying.
I know some shrewd TRM inmates will be delighted as they deliberately prefer to keep very quiet about the access and locations of their favourite pools. They believe there are too many anglers on the river already so they did not want any further promotion. So at least they might have won the first round.
After considering the lack of any response from iwi to our original proposal, they also warned that if Iwi had too long to discuss it, they might want to Maorify the historic European names like everywhere else – like changing Link Road to Piri Road outside the motel. So perhaps they are wise to be more cautious and avoid any attempts towards progress.