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Mauao base track accessible for everyone

The Mauao base track was re-opened with a blessing. Images/video Daniel Hines/SunLive.

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A strengthened relationship with iwi and tireless work from contractors is being hailed as the reason for the quick re-opening of the Mauao base track.

The track was officially reopened this morning with a blessing from local kaumatua.

Tauranga Mayor Tenby Powell says the partnership with iwi is important to take the city forward.

“This has happened because of the relationship with iwi, with the Mauao Trust Board, that we started pre-inauguration and it came from there.

“The partnership that we’re now developing is going to be very important to take the city forward, exemplified by what we’ve been able to achieve here on reopening the Mauao track so quickly.”

The Mauao Trust has guided council staff in their engagement with experts to ensure the maunga is safe and accessible for wheelchairs and prams. The Trust represents the three iwi of Tauranga Moana, who collectively own Mauao.

Tenby says the contractors have been fantastic.

“The Waiotahi contracting guys have just been phenomenal to work with.

“We set a goal to have open before Christmas and we’re there, they’ve done a beautiful job, it really is quite extraordinary.

“I know it’s been a bit quicker than they might have wanted to have done it in and we really appreciate having it open for the summer season.”

The mayor is thrilled the track is now accessible for everyone.

“It’s great to see the mobility scooters here and I think that again exemplifies why we had to get rid of the stairs. Why we had to open the track for people that are disabled, for the elderly, for young mothers and fathers with prams.

“I’m incredibly excited and already this morning we’ve seen one wheelchair come past, we’ve got mobility scooters here and we’ve had some elderly people.

“It really is just fantastic to have the track open to all those people for whom it’s been inaccessible for nearly three years now.”

The repairs include excavations, track realignment, installing a hand rail, improving drainage, and stabilising the area with geotech cloth and soil nails.

After the holidays, further work will be undertaken to finalise the repairs.

It's expected the new section of track will be closed during February for this to occur. People will be able to complete the circuit using stairs during this time.

The track section will be formally opened once this work has been completed.

The full cost of the repairs is yet to be determined, but is expected to be a fraction of the $4.65 million that was approved by the last Council for a plan to bypass the slip area with a new 350m section of track and boardwalks along the beach.

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