Early 1980's: About 35 years ago Lake Okareka Ratepayers' and Residents' Assn (LORRA - LOCA's predecessor) mooted the idea of a walking track to go around Lake Okareka from Acacia Road to the outlet, along the ridgeline and returning to Boyes beach.
1997 - 1998: Member of the LORRA Committee, Rod Stace, prepared a feasibility study on this proposed track. This study was used to assist Rotorua District Council with developing and negotiating the current Lake Okareka Walkway from Acacia Road to the outlet, with adjoining landowners of Longfords Farm, the Playne family.
2001 - 2002: The Lake Okareka Walkway was constructed by Rotorua District Council (RDC) during this time, using a large grant from Bay of Plenty Regional Council Environmental Enhancement Fund (BOPRC EEF).
Winter 2005: Lake Okareka Walkway was upgraded with a boardwalk kickrail added, composting toilets installed, shade shelter and bird hide built, seats added, and improvements to the last section of the walkway to the outlet including some sets of steps and a bridge. This was all completed as a joint project with Landcare Okareka and RDC using another BOPRC EEF grant.
June 2009: The LORRA Committee wrote to DOC proposing the construction of a walking track from Boyes beach to the Lake Okareka outlet.
22 October 2009: A publicly adver tised meeting to discuss the proposal was attended by 60 people from Lake Okareka and Rotorua areas. Names were taken for future walking track committees and volunteers.
11 November 2009: A walk through of the proposed line of the track with Dept of Conservation staff. Track was GPSed and photos taken. As a result a map of the proposed route was prepared.
December 2009: Letters written to iwi, DOC, RDC, BOPRC, walking and tramping clubs and any other interested groups or persons to inform them about the project, and to seek their support.
23 March 2010: Walking Track Committee, a sub committee of LORRA was formed to work on the Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE) as required by Dept of Conservation; to consult with and gain approval from all affected parties; to gain consents for construction, where required; to make an estimate of costs; to investigate funding options.
2010 - 2011: Writing the AEE Report for Dept of Conservation and all that entailed; estimates of materials required and costs to form a draft budget for project.
Oct 2011: Lake Okareka Community Assn (LOCA - LORRA's successor) was offered the opportunity by Nicola Douglas, Rotorua Lakes Area Manager, DOC to make an application to manage the Dept of Conservation's campsite and day amenity area, Millar Road, Lake Okareka. It was seen by both parties that camp income after expenses could be a means of helping fund the proposed walking track along with other conservation projects in the catchment. Lake Okareka community volunteers had been assisting DOC to manage the camp over the previous two years.
Feb 2012: Plans and specifications for the boardwalks and bridges for the Proposed Walking Track were drawn up by DOC approved engineer, Paul Richardson. These became part of the AEE and were paid for jointly by DOC and LOCA.
13 April 2012: The AEE was finally completed and signed off by Nicola Douglas, Rotorua Lakes Area Manager, DOC.
Dec 2012: The Management Agreement between DOC and LOCA to manage the DOC camp and day amenity area was signed.
2012 - Present: Volunteers from the Lake Okareka community have worked to manage the camp and accumulate by their efforts a nest egg fund to help pay for contractors, tools and materials to be used for constructing the track.
2 Oct 2014: Anaru Rangiheuea, kaumatua for Tuhourangi iwi gives a karakia for track work beginning and turns the first sod.
11 Oct 2014: First working bee held on the track at the DOC camp end, clearing vegetation. Since then working bees have been held on a regular basis to clear vegetation and bench the track route.
2014 - 2015: Estimates of materials required and costings for the track updated.
June 2015: Quotes sought from professional builder s for timber constructed
Sept - Nov 2015: LOCA Committee approved funding applications to be made.
24 Sept 2015: Meeting with RDC Parks and Recreation team at Boyes beach to discuss formation of gravel track across Boyes beach to car park, as part of the new track.
Oct - Nov 2015: Grant applications were filed for funding of professionally constructed timber boardwalks, as per the plans and specifications.
Gorse clearing from the Boyes beach end - working bees (2), held in partnership with club members from Te Au Rere Waka Ama Club, for the walking track and waka ama storage lawn area.
Nov - Dec 2015: $85,000 in funding approved from four funding agencies.
14 Feb 2016: Site visit along track route with John Owen from Owen Builders, who had the successful quote to build the boardwalks.
10 March 2016: With DOC's approval, "The Specialist" arborist team (Thomas Rika and team) felled and removed all of the dead willow, blackwoods and wattles along the line of the track between the Millar Road stream and the wetland stream.
21 March 2016: The building contract was signed between LOCA and Owen Builders for the construction of the Lake Okareka walking track boardwalks.
30 March 2016: Owen Builder s commence work.
6 April 2016: Visit to Rotorua Quarry and Terry Moore to discuss gravel and delivery of - for walking track. Rotorua Quarry offered to supply all gravel required (250 cu m+) free of charge. Terry Moore offered cartage at minimal or no cost.
15 April 2016: Contractor carries out stump grinding along walking track.
April - May 2016: Brian Law, track building super visor, took four weeks annual leave, assisted by Mike Goodwin, to commence timber edging work to help with access for the builder to further boardwalk construction sites along the track.
25 April 2016: " Beaver dam" - logs and branches removed from wetland stream ready for new boardwalk.
May 2016: Truck load of timber delivered to the jetty and boat ramp, transported by barge to track beach, along from Boyes beach.
11 May 2016: LOCA Committee agreed to purchase compact tractor and custom built trailer and a container for storage of these - all to be funded from DOC camp profits.
6 June 2016: Compact tractor delivered - Massey Fergusson 1705 from Piako Tractors, Te Ngae Road, Rotorua.
16 June 2016: Second hand shipping container delivered and installed to rear of Te Waiariki Purea Trust compound, with their and RDC's approval.
29 June 2016: Custom built trailer for carting gravel, was collected from Prescott Trailers, Te Puke.
19 August 2016: Owen Builders completed construction of all boardwalks. Just mesh to be added to tops of boardwalks, once gravel cartage has been completed.
Timber edging, laying of geotextiles and gravel for the rest of the track is on going and likely to take several more months. The track is useable for walking and running.
Please be aware you may encounter uneven surfaces and slippery patches especially during and after rain. You may also encounter volunteers working along the track. Please heed signage and directions. Please be careful.
We have had assistance over the last two years of track construction from personnel from NZ Airforce and ANZ Bank Fenton Street branch, as well as over 1800 hours of volunteer labour involved with the project from October 2014 to June 2016 from other supportive individuals and groups.
If you are interested to go onto the volunteer list to help with working bees please contact Sandra Goodwin on 07 362 8865 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lake Okareka Boardwalk
The Trust contributed towards the cost of materials and equipment for this project in support of the many local volunteers and thousands of hours which went into the building of the boardwalk. This long term legacy project opens up the lake and its environs to locals and visitors alike, and is in keeping with the Trust’s focus of investing in facilities that benefits the wider community and supports the development of a vibrant community-in this case, creating an asset that highlights the regions great natural beauty.