The new Craggy Track is a project that has divided Hawke’s Bay with heartfelt reactions from a broad cross section of people throughout the community.
“This reaction clearly demonstrates the depth of emotion and connection that people feel to Te Mata Peak and its surrounding area,” comments Mike Devonshire, Chairman of Te Mata Park Trust.
“Whilst the new track is located near the boundary of Te Mata Park, it is not managed by the Park Trust,” adds Mr. Devonshire.
The Te Mata Park Trust have been following the debate with interest and concern. The Trustees believe that now is an appropriate time to move forward to a favourable outcome.
“We believe that this controversial project should be the catalyst for positive ‘big picture’ discussions on how the land around Te Mata Peak should be best managed, and where necessary, protected. This is a conversation that Te Mata Park Trust would like to be involved in,” adds Mr. Devonshire.
“As guardians of Te Mata Park, the Trustees wish to see the best possible outcome that aligns with the our strategic goals – protecting the land for future generations, facilitating public access, managing the growth of Park Users, and maintaining the delicate balance between conservation and development.”
Te Mata Park is the ‘hub’ of Hawke’s Bay, attracting over 200,000 visitors a year. In light of this increasing park pressure, combined with the development of the Craggy Track, the Trustees are mindful that their stewardship of the Park is now more relevant than ever.
“Local authorities, the Park Trust, our neighbours and local iwi need to be talking the same language,” says Mr. Devonshire. “”We believe that with some careful planning and collaboration, there is scope for enhancing, and where practicable, connecting to our trail networks.”
The Trustees believe that lessons can be learned from the development and initial reaction to the Craggy Track. “Connectivity, communication, conservation and a common vision need to be a focus for all stakeholders. Te Mata Park Trust are willing to help lead the conversation, and look forward to that dialogue in the forthcoming weeks,” adds Mr. Devonshire.