Thanks to the hard work and dedication of a group of locals, the walkway to the historic Tinui Anzac Cross has been reopened after the track was “hit hard” when Cyclone Hale and Cyclone Gabrielle tore through the area in quick succession at the start of the year.
“I for one am ecstatic,” Tinui ANZAC Trust chair Alan Emerson told the Times-Age, describing the months in the making achievement of clearing the track as being “against all odds”.
“The track was absolutely munted in the two cyclones and we didn’t think we would get it reopened.”
As recounted in a report on the devastation wrought on the walkway by Col [Ret] Richard Cassidy of the Royal NZ Engineers, the extreme weather events “caused slips and washouts and led to the temporary closure of the walking track”, which meant the traditional Anzac Day trek from Tinui’s cemetery to the cross at the top of Mount Maunsell – or Tinui Taipo as it’s known locally – could not go ahead this year.
Emerson said it’s been “really hard work putting the track through or over slips”, but thanks to the efforts of a team led by Bill Maunsell, Simon Stevens, Dick Tredwell, Ian Perry, and Tim Johnston it is now up and running again for the many walkers who regularly use it.
“Pre covid the track was incredibly popular with many local, national and international walkers,” Emerson said, “and when working on it you’d see up to 20 different groups in a day.”
The Anzac memorial cross was built in 1916, and it became a tradition for locals to hike the 3km from Tinui cemetery to the cross every Anzac Day.
It had long been a local ambition to establish an access way to the cross and eight years ago the trust was formed in order to raise money and collect donations for this purpose, spurred on by the growing numbers of people making the Anzac Day pilgrimage to the memorial.
Around 50 members of the Tinui community had helped create the track, which wends its way through Tinui Forest Park and a neighbouring farm belonging to Mike and Lesley Hodgins.
The 358-metre high summit of Mt Maunsell has since been gifted by Tinui Station landowners Kelso and Jane Rushton to the trust for public access.