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e-newsletter : December 2008
project news > December 2008

Trail Construction in 2009
The Upper Clutha Tracks Trust has indicated that work on the Alberttown to Luggate trail section should begin in mid-2009, depending on current progress with the track along the Hawea River.  We must give full credit to the UCTT, and especially to the late John Pawson, for driving the planning stages of this first new section of the Clutha River Trail.  Part of this trail section is already operative, thanks in large part to DoC's establishment of Reko's Point Conservation Area, with the assistance of the Clutha Fisheries Trust, the UCTT, and the Clutha Mata-Au River Parkway Group.

Preparation for trail construction and trail upgrading has already begun, with DoC expertly felling most of the wilding pines along the route. The initial trail construction will form a track from Alberttown, across the Cardrona River (thanks to bridge materials donated by John and Meg Pawson), and along the river escarpment to the Reko's Point track, which will be upgraded.  The current access way, exiting onto Shortcut Rd, Luggate, will be used, until the last short track section to just above the Red Bridge can be added at a later date.

John Pawson
The news of John Pawson's tragic death on Mt Aspiring in late November has stunned us all.  John was both the Chair of the Upper Clutha Tracks Trust, and an Executive Committee member of the Clutha Mata-Au River Parkway Group.  His remarkable knowledge, and his ability to combine his passion for the outdoors with farming and conservation, gave him a unique and valuable viewpoint that will be sorely missed.  We remain indebted to him for his tireless contribution to trail development.

Feasibility Study
The Parkway Group is currently planning a Feasibility Study for the trail section from Luggate to Cromwell.  We were advised by the Lotteries Environment & Heritage Fund to complete this study before applying for trail construction funding. We have applied to them to fund this work, which will include route planning, and their decision is due before Christmas.

This next section of trail will form an essential linkage into Central Otago, ultimately providing a link from the Te Araroa NZ Walkway (which is coming down the Hawea River) to the Central Otago Rail Trail.  The onward linkage to the future Clutha Gold Trail from Roxburgh to Lawrence will create an impressive trail network with considerable regional benefits.

Draft map of the Clutha River Trail.

Clutha Gold Trail
A Feasibility Study has recently been completed for the 'Clutha Gold Trail'' from Roxburgh to Lawrence.  Rod Peirce, Chairman of the Clutha Gold Trail Trust, and an Executive Committee member of the Clutha Mata-Au River Parkway Group, says the planned trail will be 73kms long, with the first 50kms following the Clutha Mata-Au to Beaumont.  The cost of the trail is estimated to be $5.5million.  The trail will be constructed to a high standard and the Trust  believes it will become a significant economic asset to the region, especially as other linkages are formed.  The CMRPG congratulates the Trust's members on their progress.  We consider the Clutha Gold Trail to be a major component of the expanding regional trail network.

Funding More Competitive
Funding has been difficult to secure in 2008.  The funding 'environment' has become increasingly competitive and complex. Each funding application takes many weeks to prepare and usually many months to process. This work has been voluntary since November 2008.  Despite exhaustive efforts, we have been struggling to meet our day-to-day running costs, since very few funding agencies will grant such costs. 

You Can Make A Difference
Helping us to create the Clutha Mata-Au River Parkway, and the Clutha River Trail, is as easy as making an online donation.  Every donation is important to us.  We believe that a few passionate people can make a big difference.

We thank the Hillary Family of Wanaka for their recent generous 'Christmas Present' donation.  Thank you!

We will acknowledge contributions via this Newsletter unless the donee asks to remain anonymous.  This e-news reaches hundreds of supporters along the Clutha Mata-Au River and elsewhere in New Zealand and around the world. If you would like to donate, please use our donation page here.

TVNZ Documentary on the Clutha
A new documentary series is currently being filmed, with one episode devoted entirely to the Clutha Mata-Au. The series is being produced by JAM TV for Television New Zealand, is titled SOUTH, and features Marcus Lush travelling around the lower South Island in search of the 'essential' South.  The Producer, Melanie Rakena, is also the Producer of the popular Intrepid Journeys television series.

The Clutha Mata-Au episode will be the last in the series, and will screen in the Sunday 7pm time-slot on TV1, probably in September 2009.  The film crew recently spent a day with myself (CMRPG Chairperson), rafting the Upper Clutha on a rainy, sunless day, but they were pleased with the results.  They also filmed in the Roxburgh Gorge, camping overnight at Doctor's Point, and later filmed with Rod Peirce in Roxburgh.

The Great Clutha Mata-Au ...
Most of us know that the Clutha Mata-Au is New Zealand great river ~ our largest and most powerful river.  But few of us realize that the extraordinary qualities of the giant Clutha Mata-Au place it among the great rivers of the world.  The Clutha Mata-Au consistently ranks as one of the world’s swiftest rivers.  This, combined with its clear turquoise-tinted waters – the result of glacial and snow-melt filtering by upland lakes, firmly establish it as one of the rarest rivers in the world.

When we consider that this remarkable river is also famous for its spectacular riverscapes, unique conservation values, recreation, tourism, and its Maori, pioneer and gold-rush history, it becomes obvious that the Clutha Mata-Au is a national treasure.



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