Kawatiri Coastal Trail
Photo by Inger Perkins

Walkway easements clear path for Kawatiri Coastal Trail

Buller is celebrating the Kawatiri Coastal Trail reaching its halfway mark. The Charleston — Westport Coastal Trail Trust, which is building the 42 km trail from Westport to Charleston, officially opened the first 22km of the trail on 15 February 2023 on a beautiful West Coast day.

Mayor of Buller, Jamie Cleine, told the New Zealand Herald that the trail would drive tourism on the Coast.

“We can’t wait to see visitors to our district increase as the trail becomes a must-do for tourists and the New Zealand cycling community. The projected economic and social benefits are immense, and much needed for the region,” Cleine said.

The trust calculates that the trail will bring $18.2 million in benefits, such as tourism, accommodation and bike hire to the Buller region over 12 years.

Herenga ā Nuku Aotearoa has supported the Kawatiri Coastal Trail since the Trust started planning its route in 2015.  We have provided grants towards survey and legal costs.  We have helped the Trust use the walkway easement tool in our legislation, enabling it to manage the walkway as one unit rather than a string of separate sections. 

As with all walkways, it can be a slow process between securing landowners’ support during the survey, creating easements, and constructing the route. We have helped the Trust obtain landowners’ agreement in writing and transferable to a new owner, should the land be sold in the meantime. 

To do this, we developed an Agreement to Grant an Easement (ATGAE) template. ATGAEs give greater certainty to trail builders working with landholders. Most but not all ATGAEs were signed in 2020, leaving a small part of the route to be finalised.  The Trust has moved this forward in the last few months by signing a new ATGAE. 

Herenga ā Nuku Regional Field Advisor Inger Perkins is excited about the impact the trail is going to have on the West Coast. “As well as being a fabulous recreational asset for the district and the region, Kawatiri Coastal Trail makes it easier and safer for local people to walk and bike between communities,” said Perkins.

Stu Henley, Kawatiri Coastal Trail project manager, added “none of this would have happened without the many thousands of hours from wonderful volunteers, the patience and hard work of the whole team, and the generous support of various landowners.”

The trail is now half constructed, and the local surveyor has recently started surveying the easements in those sections. 

The full route is scheduled to open by the end of the year.

Kawatiri Coastal Trail opening Feb 2023

Kawatiri Coastal Trail opening Feb 2023

Kawatiri Coastal Trail opening Feb 2023