Work will begin immediately on the Taranaki Crossing Project that will create jobs and boost visitor access to Mt Taranaki, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.
The project will expand and upgrade an existing 30km network of tracks, and create a walk from Dawson Falls to the end of Mangorei road at the base of the Pouakai Ranges.
“Aside from the clear tourism benefits, this project will create between 20 to 30 jobs during construction and a further 12 long-term jobs,” Shane Jones said.
“The PGF-funded business case shows that, once complete, the Taranaki Crossing is expected to increase visitor numbers by 35,000-40,000 by 2025, with about 20 per cent expected to be from overseas.
“This in turn will boost Taranaki’s tourism economy by $3.7 million annually, increase opportunities for iwi and others to invest in tourism-related businesses and support conservation efforts in the region, while also opening it up for everyone to enjoy responsibly.
“Following completion of the feasibility study that confirms the viability of the project, we will now release the $13.3m funding from the Provincial Growth Fund. In addition to upgrades to tracks, the PGF investment will also support significant improvements to the North Egmont Visitor Centre,” Shane Jones said.
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said Taranaki Maunga is a unique and special place with a rich cultural and natural history.
“Around 20 kilometres of track from Dawson Falls road end to North Egmont and through to Mangorei Road will be improved to provide walkers with a safer and more interesting experience, creating the backbone of the Taranaki Crossing walk,” Eugenie Sage said.
“The new network will mean that walkers can enjoy short walks, day and multi day walks on tracks completed to a standard that is safer for both experienced and less experienced walkers.”
“The Pouakāi Hut will be upgraded to create a 20-bunk hut for people wanting to enjoy an overnight stay on the Maunga.
“The project includes strengthening people’s ability to connect to the Maunga’s natural and cultural heritage, enhancing biodiversity in the area and providing opportunities for local people, including iwi to express their kaitiakitanga of the mountain by sharing their stories,” Eugene Sage said.
The Department of Conservation worked closely with the iwi of Taranaki in developing the project and iwi were represented on the steering group that oversaw the feasibility study.
Planning of the physical works can begin immediately. This will include recruitment, induction and tendering. Physical work on the tracks will begin in February 2020, after the peak visitor months of December and January.
The project is expected to be complete in December 2022. The total cost is $19.13m and additional funding will be provided by the Taranaki Regional Council, the Department of Conservation, the New Plymouth District Council and New Zealand Transport Agency.
Note to editors:
Both Ministers are attending an event at the North Egmont Visitor Centre this afternoon.
Footage for publication can be found here credit to Venture Taranaki. Photos for publication are attached, credit to DOC.