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The grand opening of the Motu Trails planned for this Sunday in Matawai and Opotiki has been postponed due to the closure of Waioeka Gorge and the Motu Road between Gisborne and Opotiki.
The Motu Trails was to be the fourth Great Ride to open under Nga Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail. The Trails remain intact despite the weekend's weather.
The Waioeka Gorge is expected to remain closed for considerable time after a severe storm on Saturday. The unsealed Motu Road has also been closed to all traffic.
“It is really disappointing to have to postpone this event, but we must act responsibly", says Opotiki Mayor John Forbes. "Route security is an ongoing issue for the Eastern Bay of Plenty/Gisborne and despite our best planning, we have to live with what mother nature throws at us.”
Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon says that the Trails are a successful co-operation project between partners on both sides of the Raukumara Ranges and central government. "With the direct links between Opotiki and Gisborne cut, and the parts of the Trails not being readily inaccessible, it is simply not a good time to officially open them."
After eighteen months of construction, the final touches to the Trails were made last week and the grand opening was to be a celebration of the significant milestone for the regions.
"Thankfully the Trails themselves have withstood the weekend's weather and the grand opening will go ahead when the gorge road is safe for drivers to use," says John Forbes.
A new date for the grand opening will be set once there is more clarity on the reopening of the Waioeka Gorge. Information will be posted on the Motu Trails website (www.motutrails.co.nz).