Prime Minister Helen Clark and Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick have today opened the new Motatapu track – the first back country section of the Te Araroa public walkway to open in the South Island.
"The opening of this track is another step towards our vision for a pathway throughout New Zealand, from Cape Reinga to Bluff, enabling the length of our country in all its diversity to be travelled by foot," Helen Clark said.
"This tramping track, connecting Wanaka and Arrowtown, has been developed in accordance with and following the purchase approval for the Langes to buy the Motatapu and Soho Stations.
"Eileen Lange (also known as Shania Twain) and Mutt Lange have worked with the Department of Conservation to fund the track, huts, and other facilities. These have now been handed over to DoC to manage on behalf of the people of New Zealand.
"This is a challenging tramping track, passing through Otago’s golden tussock and beech forest, alongside burns with stunning alpine views. A fair degree of fitness and experience is required to tackle the track. The rugged and spectacular mountain area through which it passes is also steeped in pastoral and gold mining history.
"The Labour-led government shares the vision of Te Araroa Trust to encourage New Zealanders and international visitors to access our extraordinary and diverse environment," Helen Clark said.
Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick said this project is a great example of partnership between the Langes, the Department of Conservation and the Te Araroa Trust.
"The Langes have paid for marking and construction of the track, and for two huts on the route. They’re also contributing $100,000 to the Department of Conservation (DOC) to help build a third hut in the Fern Burn.
"This partnership between the Labour-led government, trusts and private individuals has created a wonderful new outdoor experience for experienced trampers who can take advantage of this new three to four day tramping track."