Mon­day Walk­ers

Taupo & Turangi Weekender - - News -

A happy bus­load of Mon­day walk­ers headed off to start our all-day ad­ven­ture at the Jim Barnett Re­serve just south west of Pu­taruru. This re­serve was pur­chased from the Barnett fam­ily in 1992 and is now main­tained by a re­serve man­age­ment com­mit­tee. Count­less hours must have been spent by the vol­un­teers from For­est & Bird, Pu­taruru Rotary, Pu­taruru walk­ing group, South Waikato District Coun­cil and the Waotu com­mu­nity to keep such an amaz­ing ex­am­ple of podocarp for­est vi­able, thriv­ing and ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic. The story is told that in the 186 AD Lake Taupo¯ erup­tion a low hill di­verted vol­canic ma­te­rial from this strip of for­est. The Ma¯ori named this Te Waotu tahi nga¯ ra¯kau — the tall for­est left stand­ing. What a re­minder of how ran­dom na­ture’s de­struc­tion can be.

The Nga¯ti Kahupun­ga­punga and later the Nga¯ti Raukawa en­joyed the re­sources the for­est pro­vided. Later in the 1900s to 1920s the valu­able to¯tara and rimu were cut down and hauled through hand-dug wooden tramways by horses. The same tramways formed part of our walk­ing track to­day. We ad­mired the 1000 year old to¯tara, 2.5m in di­am­e­ter and prob­a­bly ow­ing its sur­vival to its branched top mak­ing it un­suit­able for milling. There were many other na­tive species to ad­mire, in­clud­ing the karo with its beau­ti­ful noc­tur­nal scent and the mangeao. A keruru¯ came to say good­bye at the track’s end, seem­ingly quite un­fazed by hu­mans.

Af­ter that flat and easy walk we headed to Jim’s Land­ing and walked to the Ara­puni Dam.

A more tax­ing walk with a few steep hills to climb in­clud­ing up to a lookout with great views of the Waikato River.

We fin­ished by ven­tur­ing over the sus­pen­sion bridge. Again with great views and a real ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the labours of the work­ers who built that huge dam and sta­tion in 1929 with mainly man­ual labour. It is a half day walk next week.

If you would like to join us or for more in­for­ma­tion search Face­book for Taupo¯ Mon­day Walk­ers, phone David on 027 592 294 or email walk­ersmon­day­taupo@gmail.com.

Photo / Gra­ham Jor­dan.

Mon­day walk­ers gather by the sprocket next to the Waikato River dur­ing this week’s walk.

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