There are now more parts of Te Mata Peak’s sleeping giant Rongokako to explore this summer.
Te Mata Park’s new block of land officially opens this morning, giving people new pathways and tracks to discover on the peak.
Te Mata Park Trust manager Emma Buttle said it’s great to have finally opened the new area after three years working on the project with the One Giant Chance campaign.
“It has been a humbling experience, with hundreds of individuals, families, businesses and charitable trusts contributing – enabling us to purchase the land and develop it for all to enjoy,” she said.
A blessing was held on Tuesday with a karakia and waiata introducing the new land that has been described by Buttle as “the missing piece of the puzzle.”
The land encompasses a new network of well graded walking tracks that are all up to the Department of Conservation’s national standards.
The trails link up to the main gates and Tauroa Rd car park and provide a variety of different loops.
Buttle said the walking tracks pass through a recently established kowhai grove, a wetlands area and a protected Wahi Tapu site.
“The trails take in some outstanding views of the Heretaunga Plains and ranges, along the way,” she added.
The land includes intermediate mountain bike tracks that link in to the rest of the park – the trust has also weaved in a kid’s biking area called Tamariki Ako.
Trust board chairman Mike Devonshire said it is astonishing how many people deeply care about Te Mata Peak and have contributed to the addition.
“It has been a community project from the beginning and will continue to be an asset that is created and used by everyone throughout Hawke’s Bay,” he said.
Devonshire said there is something for everyone to enjoy in the 8.5 hectares of new parkland.
There are a series of low grade walking tracks through Rongoa Garden, which is still being finished.
The garden will be used to grow medicinal and beneficial native plants.
The project began more than three years ago, and involved a lengthy fundraising campaign – which resulted in $1.25m raised to purchase the land.
Since then, Buttle said the trust has raised a further $750,000 to establish the trails and restore the land in anticipation of planting 29,000 native trees.
“Already, our volunteers and contractors have planted 5000 natives, but we have much further to go,” she said.
Trust communications and education coordinator Sara Shaw said the board’s vision is creating a legacy for the next generation through “preserving, protecting and regenerating this precious land”.