Seat with view re­calls ser­vice

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By KINGS­LEY FIELD

A large seat, erected last week­end high above the Ara­puni dam on the Waikato River, has a spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance for the South-Waikato re­gion.

Con­creted into place last Satur­day, the seat com­mem­o­rates 25 years of teach­ing ser­vice by Don and Pat Hine at the nearby Waotu pri­mary school, south-west of Pu­taruru, from 1956 to 1980.

It has been in­stalled at the top of the Waotu South Road ac­cess track which drops steeply down a 150-me­tre hill-face to the Waikato River Trails walking and cy­cling track be­low.

The seat was made by Dar­ren En­gle­brecht, a wood­work spe­cial­ist from Waiuku whose fam­ily pre­vi­ously lived at Waotu. The tim­ber used came from a 154-year-old oak tree blown down in a storm across the Auck­land Do­main in 2004.

The acorn from which the oak grew was one of a num­ber given to a prom­i­nent Auck­lan­der by Queen Vic­to­ria about 1850.

Two daugh­ters of Mr and Mrs Hine, Tui Cox and Ann Lee, com­mis­sioned the build­ing of the seat, and Mrs Lee’s hus­band, Beau, made its metal frame. It is also ded­i­cated to Bruce Hine, brother of the two sis­ters, who was lost at sea at Whanga­mata with three oth­ers in 1979.

‘‘It’s be­yond our ex­pec­ta­tions,’’ said Mrs Cox, at a small cer­e­mony at the site on Satur­day. ‘‘Our par­ents came to Waoutu af­ter teach­ing at Matauri Bay in North­land, and Whare­ponga on the East Coast. They came here for three years, and stayed for 25.

‘‘We hope peo­ple us­ing the Waikato River Trail will pause to sit here and re­flect on the view and per­haps the me­mory of our par­ents who were so keen to help the chil­dren they taught at Waotu school.’’

The Waikato River Trails stretch 103 kilo­me­tres along the Waikato River from Ati­a­muri in the south to Kara­piro in the north.

Gen­eral man­ager for the trails Glyn Wooller says con­struc­tion be­gan on the walking and cy­cling tracks eight years ago, and they were opened in Novem­ber last year.

‘‘ In just 12 months more than 24,000 peo­ple have used var­i­ous stretches of the trail – it’s fan­tas­tic.’’


PER­FECT VIEW: A seat was put into place over look­ing the Waikato River Trails com­mem­o­rat­ing former Waotu teach­ers Don and Pat Hine.

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