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An enthusiastic bunch of Tongan kiwifruit workers learned some new skills and lent a helping hand to a planting project on Motu Trails’ Dunes Trail cycleway recently.

DOC Ranger, Steve Brightwell tells us more…

Tree planting.

Many hands make light work

The Project Crimson tree planting followed a karakia, official speeches, and the unveiling of two six metre pou on a magnificent new section of the Motu Trails’ Dunes Trail cycleway.

The 60 or so people present sheltered from passing showers in a Bay of Plenty Regional Council marquee.

Once the planting was underway it was realised that the size of the task was huge and it became evident reinforcements would be needed to plant the 5,000 trees on hand.

Enter Dave Emslie, Chairman of the Motu Trails Charitable Trust, who also has a finger on the pulse at Opotiki Packing and Coolstores, which processes much of the district’s kiwifruit.

Thinking on his feet, when Dave took a call saying crews had been rained off for the day, he quickly had them into a van and out to Tirohanga, where they were welcomed like the cavalry.

Kiwifruit crew ready for action.

Kiwifruit crew ready for action

After a quick planting lesson with Project Crimson’s Gordon Hosking and Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Land Management Officer, Tim Senior, the kiwifruit crew added some very welcome grunt to the planting project.

OPAC staff get planting instruction from Bay of Plenty Regional Council Land Management Officer Tim Senior.

OPAC staff get planting instruction from Bay of Plenty Regional Council Land Management Officer Tim Senior

DOC Ranger, Pete Livingstone, said the workers arrived at a good time, as many of those who had been there for the 7 am karakia were starting to wilt and there was still plenty to be done.
Project Crimson's Gordon Hosking (bending down) explains the finer points of planting.

Project Crimson’s Gordon Hosking (bending down) explains the finer points of planting

He said although most had only limited English, they enjoyed the opportunity, appreciated the barbecue, and left for their lodgings around mid-afternoon, having given the job a pretty good nudge towards completion.

It was great to see people from all walks of life coming together to help.

The 11 km Dunes Trail runs parallel with the coastline of the Bay of Plenty, starting at the Pakowhai Bridge (Memorial Park Reserve) in the East Coast township of Opotiki.

This is an easy (grade 2) trail that caters for cyclists of all abilities and fitness levels, providing an ideal family day out. The trail has an easy gradient that is enjoyed by walkers, runners and cyclists. The return journey of 22 km can be comfortably ridden in one day from either end – with plenty of time to stop for a swim and a picnic along the way.