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Reserve users split on track surprise

Opinions are mixed on the surprise work done to Featherston’s Lake Reserve over Christmas. PHOTOS/FACEBOOK

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A surprise Christmas present for Wairarapa motocross riders has not been welcomed by all, with one resident calling it “vandalism”.

Additions to the motorcycle tracks at Featherston’s Lake Reserve came as a surprise to track users, residents and council.

Discussions had been made for work on the site on the eastern banks of Lake Wairarapa, but no consultation had taken place, South Wairarapa mayor Alex Beijen said.

Riders have been enthusiastic about the track getting widened.

But others aren’t so impressed.

Featherston’s Katie Beattie first saw the “massive earthworks” while out walking on Christmas Day.

More than a kilometre of double-width track had been graded for dirt bikes, which she said cut across the walking track multiple times.

A hire grader that was probably used for the grading was left at the reserve.

Beattie said she tried to find out who gave the authority for the earthworks and contacted the Department of Conservation, South Wairarapa District Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and the police.

“Lake Wairarapa is a special place and it deserves to be treated better.

“As there appears to be no authority in place, I want to see the site restored.

“I feel that this is vandalism.

“This is public land. The community and mana whenua need to be involved in the decisions about how this natural resource is managed.

“I think there is enough space at the site for everyone’s needs to be meet and we need to work together and have discussions and agreements before just one group goes ahead and carves up the natural environment.”

One veteran motocross rider said the changes were a “win-win” for riders and the area.

The rider, who did not want to be named, said he had used the track for at least 25 years.

His son now used it, and the changes had made it much safer.

“It was quite an overgrown track, but now whoever has done it has gone down and made it into a proper track and made it safer,” he said.

“My boy enjoyed it.

“He said he normally hates coming here, but it’s one of the only places you’re allowed to ride.

“But now they’ve made a real track, lots people will go and enjoy the place.

“I think it’s been made a hell of a lot safer for all parties.”

Police and South Wairarapa District Council said they had both been contacted about the track. A police spokesperson said the matter had been referred to SWDC.

District mayor Alex Beijen and councillors had investigated the work and had been in touch with Beattie and others.

“It’s not that someone’s done it illegally, it’s that they’ve done it without consulting and without regard to the iwi, the environment and walkers,” Beijen said.

“It’s not the way we would do it as a council. There’s a process to go through but some people got excited and just went ahead and did it.”

District and regional council offices open again today after the Christmas break.


  1. A group of us went to the track on Saturday and what a pleasure it was to have somewhere to ride our dirt bikes! I couldn’t thank whoever did this more!

    We wonder why any young person these days just sits in front of a screen all day, how are they to actually get outdoors and have fun and enjoy hobbies like Motorsport when there’s no where to do it.

    There was a good number of people using the track, including 5-10 young people! What an awesome thing for the community 🙂

  2. I went down for a ride with my two children today and there were a couple walking there dog they got real fired up telling me it’s illegal to ride there I should be riding down by the boathouse I said read the fucking sine it clearly shows motorbike should be Written here so to whoever you are maybe you shouldn’t walk your dog on the track you piece of ****!!!!!! And the way you grabbed my son’s bike as he was riding was unacceptable and I can tell you if my children weren’t ’There things would have gone a lot differently hope to bump into you one day!!!

  3. People like katie are why nothing gets done by councils. They have to be to carefull not to hurt some wet blankets feelings. I used this track often 25 odd years ago and it did used to be to thin. Once the freshness of the work done has worn off it wont look like “major earthworks” anymore and walkers all around fstn can find another issue to worry about.

  4. This is a great spot to learn to ride and have fun with family on the motorbikes. There are very few places in the Lower North Island which are on public land to ride. We appreciate the changes alot. This area would only take up a tiny percentage of the total Wairarapa lakes walking recreation area. I do think some consultation would have been a better option, But commonly these type of activities are shut down because of a handful of opposing people. Maybe a connecting gravel pathway around the track for walkers and some signage up as a multi use (be careful) Area. Myself and 15 others would even happily pay a day fee to ride there.

  5. I feel this a great use of the land and is now a much safer and rider friendly for all ages.
    This area has always been used for offroad motorcycles and both myself and my daughter spend countless hours there, especially now since the improvements have been made.
    For those who aren’t so impressed you have to ask yourself: would you rather have kids riding up and down the streets on unlicensed bikes or have a designated area to let enjoy a fantastic track out of the way of the general public?

  6. Good job. What’s next to moan about, don’t you have enough walking tracks? Maybe a nice quiet corner to cry in.

  7. I’m not in favour of the bikes down there, when you are out for a pleasant walk with your dogs and you get noisy bikes sharing the space. But they have to go somewhere. BUT what about grading the entrance in, there are so many potholes it is almost unuseable.

  8. We have camped there for over 36 years, 3 and 4 generations of people camp there and all we have done is look after the place, over the years damage has been done by these motocross locals, at first it was the sand dunes, then the 4 wheel drives got into it and ripped them up. Next the duck shooters plugged up the wash out and caused flooding damage down in the swamp area. We us to plant trees, fix the toilets when they were vandalized by people , but the council just wanted us out to protect the flora and fauna, well with this track there how is that protecting it.

  9. The area in witch this has been made is outlined as a area dedicated to the use of motorcycles as indicated at the entrance to the reserve by the SWDC. They are solely responsible for the bikes being there in the first place. Initially the place was destroyed by forest and bird deviating the river to flood the top paddock for duck shooters, this created a washout witch in turn lost the tracks motorbikes and 4×4 would use so they came closer. Next they poison the elder trees that were there that the local iwi and my great grandfather planted and Porky Saxton (what he calls himself) demanded that the bridge top gets removed because one support pole was rotten. The previous week a bus full of school children and a 20 tonne bulldozer went over it with no problem, we later hear he didn’t want people at the reserve because of fire. His property is across the river and he fared he would loose it he reckons! The truth is he didn’t want to look after the place and a guy called Ravi from SWDC sold the bridge top to a friend of his. Every undoing of what was a great place is completely the doing of the SWDC. I am the fifth generation of my family going to the reserve, my children are the sixth. We always do all we can for the place by doing repairs to toilets, planting of trees and rubbish clean up.

  10. The track hasn’t been there for 25 years.
    The reserve has gone very down hill since the SWDC took away the road bridge and installed a walk bridge upsetting many long time campers who used to look after the place.

    I have been camping at this place since I was 3 days old, my parents have been going there since they were 15 years old.

    I was very disappointed to find out that one of the employees from Sargent Motorcycles in greytown had hired the Bulldozer and destroyedt this place even more.

    • Toni, your comments are welcome but please check your facts, Sargent Motorcycles and its employees had nothing to do with the track.

    • Hi Toni. Before you start naming a local business you should get your facts right; this has nothing to do with Sargent Motorcycles or an employee of theirs. And they are based in Carterton, not Greytown ?

    • Unfortunately it wasn’t an improvement to the existing track, it was an unpermitted bulldozing across the designated walking tracks which have now been completely obliterated. It’s sad because it used to be a place where lots of different activities could take place for people with diverse interests.

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