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Reply To: SH38 Lake Waikaremoana

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  • Town/City: Tauranga
  • Bike: BMW R100GS, Ducati Mark 3 250 narrow case
Rank: Round the World Adventure Globetrotter

SH38 around Lake Waikaremoana is at risk of being sealed. According to this article on funding has been approved for the sealing work in a time sensitive budget, but that the funding is at risk of expiring due to Tuhoe testing other ‘Green’ methods of keeping the gravel road surface in acceptable condition.

This would be a sad loss to Adventure Riding and providing a surface that would encourage more traffic into the area would potentially change the area in ways we, and the Tuhoe tribe, are not comfortable with.


There are fears Government funding to upgrade the road to scenic Lake Waikaremoana will expire before any work can be done.

Recently Ng?i T?hoe, which manages the lake in the Te Urewera region west of Gisborne, came under fire from Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones after it voiced opposition to upgrade State Highway 38, which runs alongside the lake, with petro-chemical bitumen.

That forced Jones to cancel a Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) announcement to tarseal the mostly-gravel highway.

“Tarseal as a road surface is proven and, while I am impressed with the natural road sealing alternatives presented by T?hoe, they are unproven and there is a lot more testing to go,” he said.

“The funds for sealing this section of SH38 are available now and it would be a shame to lose that opportunity.”

Little said the council’s role was to support and provide the best services to ratepayers and residents.

“That is why we are advocating to have this section of national highway sealed.”

But T?hoe leader T?mati Kruger has described the council’s position as a “rape and pillage mentality … of unchecked tourism”.

Jones previously said the Government hadn’t yet disbanded the proposal to contribute towards upgrades of SH38, but T?hoe’s “environmentally

A spokeswoman for the Minister on Thursday said the future of SH38 and the funding rested in the hands of both T?hoe and the Wairoa District Council.

“Our officials from the Provincial Development Unit will do what they can to facilitate helpful discussions,” she said.

“However I’m sure you’ll appreciate the PGF is a time-constrained fund and that there is a vast amount of other projects seeking funding.”

New Zealand Transport Agency spokesman Ross I’Anson said it was working with T?hoe and the Wairoa and Whakat?ne councils on a strategic case for the entire corridor between the two locations.

It recently met with the parties to plan the next phase of the business case, which would help improve access while also aligning with the principles of Te Kawa o Te Urewera, I’Anson said.

“The Green Road, or Nature Road, is an environmentally-friendly alternative to bitumen sealing, however further trials will need to be done to ensure that the road surface is safe and resilient enough to carry state highway traffic long term.”

The agency and councils would continue to work “closely” with T?hoe on the trial.

T?hoe took over the lake’s management from the Department of Conservation, as part of an historic Treaty of Waitangi settlement.friendly” trial was “hillbilly thinking”.