Walkway will reinstate historic cemetery access


Work being undertaken by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to stabilise a cliff face on State highway 25 north of Thames, will also include the construction of a new walkway to reinstate access to the historic Tararu Cemetery.

NZTA state highway manager Kaye Clark says the stabilisation work is required to fix a major slip below the cemetery, which occurred during a storm in August 2010. The work will get underway this month, and will take about three months to complete.

She said significant geotechnical investigation had to be undertaken and options considered before a design for the cliff stabilisation could be finalised.

The stabilising work will consist of installing soil nails, which involves drilling holes into the bank and grouting in reinforcing rods.

“The new walkway will be constructed across the cliff face to enable secure access for visitors to the Tararu cemetery. There will also be a significant clearance of vegetation from the area which will open up sweeping views across the Firth of Thames from the cemetery.”

Thames-Coromandel District Council (TCDC) Community Services Manager John Rich says the project is a shining example of agencies working together to achieve the best solution for the local community.

“When the slip occurred a few months ago we all sat down and worked something out together as there was a real danger of further slips regressing to the point that graves were under threat,” said Mr Rich. “I’ve been really impressed with how quickly it has been dealt with.”

He said the project was a necessary remedy to protect the cemetery and the state highway but the walkway would be a great asset to the district.

“It’s a special place for anyone to visit and enjoy the views or contemplate the history of the area as there are a lot of old families from Thames buried there. If you take the time to go and visit the cemetery you will be aptly rewarded.”

The cemetery is on land owned by the Department of Conservation but managed by TCDC since the late 19th Century. It has not been used for burials since the mid-1970s and will be formally gazetted to TCDC later this year. NZTA will hand the management of the walkway over to Thames-Coromandel District Council once the project is complete.