New and improved Tōtara Reserve opens

Tōtara Reserve opens for camping this weekend with a new playground, upgraded tracks and new signage.

Horizons Regional Council manages Tōtara Reserve and biosecurity and habitat protection manager Bill Martyn invites members of the public to join staff and councillors for the official opening of the playground this Saturday 22 October.

“At 10.30am we are having a karakia and blessing of the playground followed by speeches and a free BBQ for everyone. We invite those who are in the area for the weekend to come and try the new playground out, or even camp for the weekend.”

Mr Martyn says following requests from the community Horizons ring fenced $20,000 from the 2015-16 financial year for the project at the Region’s only regional park.

“We’re really happy with the finished playground which was designed with the help of Awahou School students,” says Mr Martyn.

“We’d like to thank the Eastern Central Community Trust, Mainland Trust, BlueSky Community Trust, and Lion Foundation, who have contributed $46,000 collectively. Also thank you to the Tōtara Reserve Regional Park Advisory Group for their support of the project.”

Chair of the Advisory Group, Horizons councillor Gordon McKellar, says in addition to the new playground Horizons has upgraded walking tracks and erected new signage around the Reserve.

“This is a beautiful part of our Region and a popular swimming and camping spot so we hope people take advantage of the new and improved facilities this summer. It’s also a perfect place to access native lowland forest, plant and animal species,” says Cr McKellar. 

“I am looking forward to opening the new playground and hope we get plenty of sunshine at this Saturday's opening and over the camping season.”

Powered and non-powered camping sites are available from Labour Weekend until at least Easter Weekend next year.

There are two camping grounds in Tōtara Reserve, one large site (Kereru) that is adjacent to Camp Rangi Woods and one smaller site (Kahikatea) across the road.

Bookings are necessary for powered sites and can be made by contacting the caretaker, Kelly on 06 3294 737. Unpowered sites operate on a first in first served basis.

More information about the Reserve, its facilities and rates for camping are available via the Horizons Regional Council website.

Swim spot monitoring at the Pohangina River site will commence on 1 November as part of Horizons’ annual summer monitoring programme. Water quality at Totara Reserve is almost always good so if the river looks clean and clear then it should be suitable for swimming.

Horizons asks that any swimmers be mindful of the risks involved with swimming in the Region’s rivers such as sunken logs, river bank trees and rocks. We also ask that swimmers are also advised to make sure they swim well away from cliffs, and access the river from the larger Kereru campsite.

The new adventure playground has been designed to meet all needs, including young children and those with disabilities. Key features include a low rope balance bridge, a mounded log climb and play zone, a group focused balance disc, and a basket swing.