Hauraki Herald - - OUT & ABOUT -

Some landown­ers man­age cat­tle prop­er­ties that ex­tend to op­po­site sides of the dis­used rail­way cor­ri­dor to Thames that is now part of the very pop­u­lar Hau­raki RailTrail net­work.

Con­se­quently there are now nu­mer­ous farm tracks and cat­tle races etc. built across and even along sec­tions of the cor­ri­dor.

This land is of course owned by the tax­pay­ers of New Zealand, and now that the cor­ri­dor is leased from Ki­wiRail by our coun­cils, it is funded by all lo­cal ratepay­ers.

I am not privy to the ne­go­ti­a­tions that took place between coun­cils and landown­ers but the re­sult has cre­ated what is very prob­a­bly the worst sec­tion of a fam­ily grade cy­cle trail in New Zealand.

How­ever I must stress that these com­ments are pri­mar­ily about the first half of the sec­tion; be­cause as one nears Paeroa, there is an im­prove­ment.

Why is this so? Be­cause many farm-style metal gates have been in­stalled at con­sid­er­able ratepayer cost across the cor­ri­dor thus pro­vid­ing ex­cel­lent cross use to oc­ca­sional farm work­ers and their stock, but leav­ing nar­row gaps for we much more nu­mer­ous cy­clists. Fur­ther­more, these nar­row gaps were fit­ted with con­crete jud­der bar cat­tle stops.

In the first 16 kilo­me­tre sec­tion south from Thames there are 39 jud­der bars that we cy­clists must nav­i­gate.

They are dan­ger­ous, they frighten chil­dren, the ever grow­ing num­ber of cycling new­com­ers and those re-learn­ing to cy­cle af­ter many decades ab­sent from the pas­time.

I know from fel­low users that ac­ci­dents have hap­pened and have had three, for­tu­nately mi­nor in­juries, my­self. In to­tal there are 56 jud­der bars between Thames and Paeroa.

Most an­noy­ing is that a sub­stan­tial num­ber of these cat­tle cross­ings are very in­fre­quently used, thus many of the ob­nox­ious gates could sim­ply be left open so that cy­clists can by­pass the hated jud­der bars.

Some cross­ings are al­ready closed to cat­tle by elec­tric wires placed along the cor­ri­dor, so these stupid gates serve no use­ful pur­pose. In­deed, a num­ber of thought­ful farm­ers, es­pe­cially those nearer Paeroa have had the ini­tia­tive to leave them open.

For this, a sin­cere thank you; it makes for a much more pleas­ant and safer ride.

It does raise the thought that the Hau­raki Dis­trict Coun­cil has enor­mously bet­ter man­age­ment than Thames Coro­man­del D.C.

Or did the lat­ter have to deal with self­ish and dif­fi­cult landown­ers?

Per­ti­nent Thames busi­nesses may be los­ing a sub­stan­tial share of RailTrail-en­cour­aged rev­enue, and prob­a­bly more so when the new (highly rec­om­mended) sec­tions from Kopu to Mi­randa are opened.

We cycling groups are aware of the sub­stan­tial in­puts we have on the earn­ings of the busi­nesses we pre­fer to visit, of­ten in suf­fi­cient num­bers to en­sure a very good day’s in­come.

At a time when farm­ers are get­ting so much bad press, surely it would have been wise not to have up­set so many lo­cal (some of whom are highly re­spected farm­ers) and big city cy­clists.

Cer­tainly a small num­ber of landown­ers ap­pear to have se­ri­ously let your con­fre`res down.

Der­rick Rowe, Thames

habi­tats and hu­man com­mu­ni­ties are fu­ture proofed as far as pos­si­ble.

Kate Donoghue *Ed’s note: The let­ter was penned by Alas­tair Brick­ell - a pro­duc­tion er­ror omit­ted the au­thor’s name.


In­creas­ing global tem­per­a­tures melt ice. Melted ice flows into the oceans and raises sea lev­els.

The rea­son to be con­cerned about ris­ing sea lev­els is not the cur­rent rate of sea level rise. It is be­cause, if the ice that is cur­rently above sea lev­els melts, sea lev­els will rise sub­stan­tially. Green­land’s ice cap is melt­ing - sci­enceal­ert.com/green­lands-coastal-ice-caps-passed-a-scary­tip­ping-point-and-none-of-us-even­no­ticed. If all of it melts then sea level will rise by about seven me­tres. Ice in other parts of the world is also melt­ing.

None of the above facts re­quire you to be­lieve that hu­man emis­sions are the cause. Facts are just the facts.

Be­cause the change is cur­rently grad­ual, ris­ing sea lev­els are not an im­me­di­ate con­cern, but they are a long-term one.

Your mys­tery correspondent ac­cused Eu­ge­nie Sage of the Green Party of be­ing un­aware of im­por­tant science. Un­for­tu­nately, it is your mys­tery correspondent who is un­aware. She/he has their facts wrong.

David Haynes, Ha­hei *Ed’s note: The let­ter was penned by Alas­tair Brick­ell - a pro­duc­tion er­ror omit­ted the au­thor’s name.

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