Doug Walker Memorial Walkway
Only five minutes drive from Hastings and 15 minutes from Napier on the Pakowhai Road, on the Hastings side of the Ngaruroro River is the Douglas Walker Memorial Walk.
A walk through the park from the stopbank entrance serves as a memorial to Mr Doug Walker, who was Chairman of Hawkes Bay Regional Council 1992-1996 when he led the development of much of the flood protection work on the Heretaunga Plains.
The park was developed in the former bed of the Ngaruroro River which was diverted 500 m north in a large flood protection project completed in 1969. The
Raupere Stream now flows under the old river bridge near the entrance to the park.
The park was created by The Landcare Foundation in the 1970s, with support from a group known as Friends of Pakowhai Country Park who still get involved in planting and other projects.
Paved parking provides access through a gate to unpaved pathways and open grass areas (note that some access may be difficult for prams and wheelchairs). Features include an island, wetland, bridges, picnic tables. There is no overnight camping available.
Dogs are welcome and the park is a popular dog exercise park, where dogs are permitted to be off leash but must be under the control of their owners. Dog waste bag dispensers are in the park and owners must remove waste.
Many of the native trees were planted by volunteer community groups and schools and there is also a small forestry block.
Pakowhai Country Park has been enhanced so that people can enjoy the countryside within easy distance of Napier and Hastings and it has good views across orchards, river and farmland. Casual paths crisscross the Raupare Stream over bridges built by HBRC staff as a team building exercise.
Pakowhai Country Park - A Brief History. A book about the park and its history is available for purchase from HBRC - $20.
Above: This is a popular walk for families.
Below: A busy day on the Doug Walker Memorial Walk.