The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has secured an extra $1.92 million in government funding to repair and upgrade the currently closed sections of the Hawke’s Bay Great Rides Trail.

Around 30% of the 200 km network, managed by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, was severely damaged and closed by Cyclone Gabrielle. This will be fully repaired.

Regional Council Asset Management Group Manager Chris Dolley said the plans and repairs were being progressed and they anticipated the reopening of the Ngaruroro River corridor, Karamū stream, and Waimārama Road sections ahead of the busy summer holiday period.

“More extensive works, however, are required for the Tūtaekurī River corridor due to major cyclone damage,” Dolley said.

“It will be great to get the popular trail network up and running. It is one of the busiest trails in New Zealand, with consistently between 700-800,000 trips per annum (since 2019), and showcases our whenua, culture and local businesses along the trails.”

The damage on the Tūtaekurī River was the most extensive of the nine rivers and water courses assessed.

A Hawke’s Bay Regional Council March update showed 25km in total weakened, and about 5.3km breached.

Manager of Investment Management Performance at the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment David Talbot said the Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails fund was pleased to be able to support the trail recovery.

“Cycle tourism is one of the most popular ways to see the country and we expect this investment will not only get locals get back on their bikes, but help bring tourists back to Hawke’s Bay as the region recovers following Cyclone Gabrielle,” Talbot said.

An initial $293,000 was approved in March 2023 for repair to open sections of the network – 70% of the 200km network.

Minor works are already completed throughout the section of open trails in the network.

Future enhancement projects – a Bay View Whirinaki Extension and Karamū stream Extension – have had their MBIE funds ($750,000) redirected into Gabrielle recovery of $2.2 million.

The Hawke’s Bay Trails is one of Aotearoa/ New Zealand’s 23 Great Rides which collectively contribute $1 billion per year to regional economies.

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