New Zealand Walk: River diversion lead to a country park
Only five minutes drive from Hastings and 15 minutes from Napier on the Pakowhai Road, on 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 19921996 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 500m 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 avail- Opposite page top: A group on the shaded part of the walk. Opposite page middle: Someone spots fruit on a tree. Opposite page below photos: To do the loop there are two footbridges to cross. Above: This is a popular walk for families. Below: A busy day on the Doug Walker Memorial Walk.
able for purchase from HBRC - $20.