A heavy lift helicopter put the finishing touches on five years of work by Department of Conservation (DOC) in the Waiorongomai Valley, near Te Aroha this week.
The helicopter was brought in by the department to install a re-constructed headframe, and shift historic winding gear and a compressor into place along the Piako County Tramway in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park. The items weighed more than 3.5 tonnes each.
DOC staff position the compressor
"This work has been important, not just to protect this historically significant site, but also to provide a visitor attraction that will bring tourists to the area and benefit the local economy of Te Aroha” says DOC officer Katrina Knill.
The tramway, New Zealand's most intact example of an historic mining tramway, and the items relocated this week, were once used to shift ore carts during the goldmining era of the late 1800s and early 1900s. The goldmines were never very successful but the relics left behind now provide a visitor attraction in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park.
DOC staff have been carrying out work over the last five years to upgrade walking tracks and lovingly restore the tramway including removal of slips and vegetation, retrieving, treating & repairing historic steelwork and lifting the old rail onto new sleepers to reduce deterioration.
The Waiorongomai Valley is one of four access points on the Kaimai Heritage Trail that the Department is developing as a visitor experience that could benefit the local economies of Te Aroha, Paeroa, Waihi and Katikati. The trail provides historically themed day visitor opportunities from each of the access points which are linked by a scenic tramping track that can be enjoyed by the more adventurous.