Waioeka Gorge rest stops opening

A Waioeka Gorge project that has taken five years to finish will finally open on June 20.

The project has seen the creation of seven new rest areas in the gorge, and seeks to reduce the road toll in the region. It will also give travellers an appreciation of the area’s historic, cultural and ecological significance.
“For many travellers, the Waioeka Gorge is just a long, winding, uncomfortable section of the main highway north of Gisborne,” says DOC acting East Coast Hawke’s Bay conservator Nicola Etheridge.
“Through this project, we aim to show some of the area’s hidden treasures and highlight the links between land and people,” she says.
“The Waioeka Gorge is not a place to be taken for granted, as many drivers have learned to their cost. It is a beautiful part of New Zealand with a fascinating history and has much to offer.”
The rest areas are designed to encourage travellers to stop, take a break and reduce driver fatigue, which is a significant contributor to Waioeka vehicle accidents.
Information panels at the rest areas tell stories of the area, including tales of local iwi, recent settler history, farmers and road-builders and stories of Waioeka ecology.
The Department of Conservation and NZ Transport Agency invites Opotiki and Gisborne community members to the official opening of  The Waioeka Journey – Te Awa a Tamatea, on June 20, 2009.
People wishing to attend the opening can contact the Opotiki Area Office by Friday, June 12.
The opening will take place at Manganuku Campsite and includes a powhiri from tangata whenua, Ngati Ira o Waioweka, brief opening ceremony and light lunch.
Prior to the celebration at Manganuku, people are welcome to join Te Aitanga a Mahaki, tangata whenua of the southern part of the gorge, at a blessing of the Opato (Traffords Hill) entrance to ‘The Waioeka Journey – Te Awa a Tamatea’.
Bus transport from Opotiki and Gisborne will be available, but numbers will be limited. The Opato blessing at the Southern end of Waioeka Gorge, is at 10am. The Powhiri and opening Manganuku campsite, 11am.


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