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$750,000 improvements on the way for Pouakai Crossing

DOC is spending $750,000 to upgrade boardwalks on the Pouakai Crossing. Photo: Matthew Cattin

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Boardwalk tracks on the Pouakai Crossing are set to be raised to combat damage to the fragile wetland vegetation.

The $750,000 project, due to start next year, will raise the height of 720m of boardwalk across Pouakai Tarns and 650m across the Ahukawakawa wetlands by half a metre, Stuff reports.

The construction is the next stage in the $13.4m Taranaki Crossing project.

DOC strategic project manager Carl Whittleston​ said resource consent to build the boardwalk had been granted.

“These works have been prioritised along with the Mangorei Track work as this is where we have had significant increase in usage in recent years, and we need to protect the environment from further impact,” he said.

“Lifting the boardwalk out of the wet ground will prevent damage to the wetland, and also prevents the spread of pest plants and keeps users’ feet dry.”

The boardwalk will be built over the top of the existing track, and public access will remain while construction takes place.

No work will be done during the weekends.

Cleaner honoured for spotless Hunua loos

The cleanliness of the Hunua Falls toilets has been acknowledged, thanks to a committed part-time cleaner, Auckland Council reports.

When Kathleen Clemens, 26, took it upon herself to clean up the area by her family’s Hunua Falls food cart, her family went the extra mile to help her get her first job working for Auckland Council to clean the toilets and surrounds.

Clemens, who has learning difficulties, has done such a good job, the toilets she cares for have been named Keep NZ Beautiful’s best loos 2020.

“She is an absolute role model who is dedicated to keeping the Hunua facilities clean so all visitors can enjoy the area,” Citycare contract manager Steve Paulson said.

“What’s more, she’s a truly awesome person to get to know. I hope people go out of their way to say hello to Kathleen, thank her and see this great location for themselves.”

Richmond Ranges tramper found

A 30-year-old tramper has been rescued after three nights lost in the Richmond Ranges.

The local man – identified only as Joseph – was last seen at Red Hills Hut on October 31, and was due out at Lake Chalice on November 4. 

His relatives raised the alarm when he hadn’t appeared by the following day, NZ Herald reports.

“An eagle-eyed helicopter staff member spotted him six kilometres from his intended exit route in the Motueka River area – an area that is heavily gorged and bluffed,” police said.

“Cold and soaked, Joseph was badly blistered with cut hands from attempting to navigate his way out, but mostly uninjured and extremely lucky.”

Chatham Islands raking in Kiwi tourists

While much of New Zealand struggles to recoup tourism dollars, one hotspot is inundated with visitors. 

CNN reports that the Chatham Islands, located 800km east of the South Island, have become ‘2020’s hottest getaway for Kiwis’.

Tourism season typically lasts from November to March, but all on-island accommodation is now booked until June 2021.

The spike happened quickly, the islands’ tourism manager Jackie Gurden said, though the visitors tend towards the older demographic.

“It’s a bit more expensive to get out here so you don’t get young people looking for a cheap holiday, and there are no beach resorts or anything.”

Gurden said visitors are advised to respect the ecosystem and small-town vibe of the islands.

“There is a resistance on the island to tourists coming into their space,” she said. 

“Tourism is about coming and taking but we made sure there’s a way to give back.”

This includes companies giving $25 per traveller to the Chathams, which uses the money to pay for projects that benefit locals.

New drone tech for Tasman search and rescue

A new all-weather night capable drone has been trialled by Tasman police and search and rescue.

About 120 search and rescue volunteers gathered in St Arnaud for a multi-day search and rescue exercise, to try the new technology, Stuff reports.

The drone, which will be based in Nelson, has an infrared camera, which can be used at night to search for people

“It’s a highly successful piece of equipment for finding people with its infrared capabilities, we were really blown away by it. It is a great tool for us,” Tasman Police Search and Rescue officer Sergeant Malcolm York​ said.

York anticipates Kiwis with cabin fever will make for a busy summer period.

“It was a really poignant time for us to make sure we are good to go for the summer,” he said.

How to cut carbon emissions when traveling

As the ‘flight shaming’ movement gathers steam, Outside magazine has written an informative guide on carbon emissions, detailing when you should take a plane and when you shouldn’t.

The guide’s nine principles include flying direct, opting for bus transport, and carpooling – check out the full story here.