Rakiura walk gets a boost

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STEWART Island is one step closer to getting its Great Southern Ocean Walk.

Government funding to progress with a business case for the walk was announced by Rakiura Maori Lands Trust chairman Simon Gomez.

“The trust aims to create a unique, guided cultural walk along the coast, returning inland across virgin podocarp forests,” he said.

He believed the track would be a three-day trek.

Requirements meant the trust could not announce the actual monetary amount but it was understood it was a “substantial” six-figure contribution.

Mr Gomez said the project was expected to cost between $20 million and $25 million to complete and the feasibility study would define how long the track would be and the timeframe for completion.

After completion of this feasibility study, a business case would be presented to the Provincial Growth Fund Team, he said.

The study would also address the issue of workers’ accommodation on Rakiura Stewart Island to support track development.

Mr Gomez said feedback so far had been positive.

“The project has strong support from councils, Stewart Island community organisations, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu and various other interested parties, and we will be involving them all in the development of the proposal.”

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