Tourists staying at TRM often praise the well-maintained condition of the walking track around the popular Tongariro River Trail. So they should! On our recent morning walk we must have passed about 40 enthusiastic walkers so it is appreciated very much. So this post is all about the “DOC” teams who do such a good job on all the maintenance as they are rarely recognised. But did you know there are two DOC teams…?
In the image above is the back view of the first DOC team with scrub cutters and blowers to remove the cuttings from the track. They are rather shy as they are from the Department of Corrections… You understand – OK? That is why their identities remain anonymous. They do a great job and also assist in many other conservation roles locally such as clearing weeds and unwanted vegetation for native tree planting programmes and blue duck preservation projects for DOC or other organisations concerned with protecting the environment. Full marks to the Department of Corrections for these pre-release programmes.
The other images are the other DOC (Department of Conservation) team who were tracking down and spraying a nasty creeper – the name was too technical for me to remember – that was smothering some of the mature trees. Often on the track tourists notice a pink ribbon to mark where they have had to slash a track in to get at the creeper.
Everyone is still hoping that one day the Tongariro River Trail will be extended… north to link with the trail from Taupo and south to link with existing DOC managed trails in the Kaimanawas, extending from Pillars of Hercules to Tree Trunk Gorge – but that is another story that TRM covered in November 2019 – as follows:
If you know the bike trail, there are some concrete steps leading from the Red Hut car park down to the swing bridge. These good blokes were building a bike ramp runaway along the inside adjoining the cliff face to make it much easier for bikers to wheel bikes – instead of bouncing off the steps.
An important part of the Trail maintenance
Tourists using this Tongariro River Trail – both walkers, bikers and that other strangely dressed species, called “anglers”, will never appreciate how fortunate we all are in having good local people like Darryl and Gary (and others) who volunteer their time and equipment and expenses to keep tracks like this up to scratch.
We do not know how the local bureaucracy works. Building the tracks is one thing but the ongoing maintenance is usually even more testing.
When you realise the trouble and time it takes to get ‘official’ approval to do anything associated with DOC and Council, we wonder how these track extensions every got built in the first place? In Turangi they just have to go ahead and fix the obvious without official approval –
Which brings me on to the ‘good’ news. You may not be aware that the original anglers access tracks were built by prison labour about 100 years ago. The prison is just over the hill where they are still looking for suitable projects like track building and track maintenance. The development of bike trails
About ten years ago we held meetings with Department of Corrections who wanted to help in any way they could including generously offering access over their land – conveniently located along the eastern banks (Queens Chain?) of the upper Tongariro River – but they also offered the hard labour – work team – to develop further bike trails. All pick-axe and shovel and clearing bush etc. with a wheelbarrow. Obviously far too difficult for DOC or Council.
That would extend the Tongariro River Trail much further south to eventually link up with existing tracks between the Pillars of Hercules and Tree Trunk Gorge. These tracks are also ‘managed’ by DOC.
So the project is not building new tracks but extending existing tracks to link up…
But Taupo Council can only find funds to develop new tracks or extend tracks at their northern end of the lake – where the votes are…
They then apply to MBIE – another government department which funded most of the tourist bike trails throughout NZ – for funds for their bike club trails but
Can you believe that despite Corrections Department offering free access and free work gangs as project development and management and maintenance teams, nothing more has been done!. DOC will blame Council; Council will ‘delegate’ it to Bike Taupo – their local bike club. But they are only concerned with more technical and challenging Club tracks at the northern end of Lake Taupo. Naturally – quite understandable! But where does that leave Turangi? Relying on volunteer labour… as you can see.
So now you can understand why little gets done unless persistent little website blogs and annoying facebooks continue whining on about the injustice of it all to bring it to the attention of the public. Councils and Government Departments must hate the continual criticism…
Following extract is from a letter received today from an experienced angler who has fished here for many years – one of many that ask why this upper river track has never been pursued by DOC or Taupo Council or anyone.
.…As the land of the former Rangipo prison has now been returned to TuWharetoa iwi the prison security restrictions on the land above the Fence pool are no longer relevant. Further more with an abundance of spawning areas elsewhere in the Taupo fishery there is no need to restrict anglers from the river beyond the traditional winter limit. Opening up this upper river by negotiating access with the iwi and creating an access track to this section would add greatly to the fishing opportunities of the Tongariro and do much to promote the Taupo fishery. It may well be that access to this section may already be included in the overall angler access agreement between the Crown and Tu Wharetoa. This situation should be clarified urgently.
If the track was restricted to the “Queens Chain” along the river bank then it has been suggested that access further up river should be “as of right”. But as we get more support for bike trails, as they have proved many times to be economic with Government funding available through MBIE, we always refer to it as a bike trail extension to the Tongariro River Trail. But just the smae as the Tongariro River Trail, it would also be available to walkers – many of whom may carry fishing rods, just in case… But still, after ten years of empty promises, nothing has been done.
Hobson’s legacy? Riparian Rights and the Queen’s Chain
( by Smith and Partners – Solicitors in West Auckland)
The terms “Riparian Rights” and “The Queens Chain” are often referred to in marketing material and the media. However, the meaning of these terms, and the rights to which they refer, can be a source of confusion.
When Governor Hobson was surveying New Zealand he had strict instructions from Queen Victoria to set aside strips of land to provide particular sites for “roads, quays, recreation and amusement and for promoting health”. This led to early surveyors reserving land (but not all land) for these purposes alongside waterways, including rivers, lakes and sea boundaries.
However, it was not until 1892 that the Crown passed legislation requiring a strip of land (made up of a chain) to be reserved adjoining the high water mark for any Crown sales made after that date.
Turangi Rock n Road club