Hinekura Road red ribbon cutting to mark reopening 

It has been a long and winding road for residents in Hinekura over the past 18 months since their road was washed out by a devastating slip in a rain event. The road’s reopening was celebrated this week by South Wairarapa District Council (SWDC) with an informal red ribbon ceremony and barbecue lunch, which was hosted by the East Coast Rural Support Trust. 

SWDC Acting Mayor Melissa Sadler-Futter cut a red ribbon on Thursday 18 April to officially acknowledge the end of the tough journey for Hinekura residents since mid 2022. 

SWDC Councillors Aidan Ellims, Kaye McAulay, Pip Maynard, Colin Olds and Council Chief Executive Janice Smith also attended the ceremony, acknowledging the hardships Hinekura residents have faced. 

“The photo that sticks in my mind is mothers and their children climbing over the slip, holding onto the fence line to get to the school bus, which was on the Martinborough side of the slip. This resulted in houses being rented in town so that children could attend school during the week and return home to the farm each weekend to be a family,” said Councillor Ellims.  

“The road closure impacted you getting to Martinborough for sports, social events and even the basics like getting mail, groceries, vet and farm supplies. It impacted farming businesses, getting trucks in to sell and shift stock and impacted your businesses in Hinekura,” he said. 

Concern about the road’s stability was first flagged by many residents in 2020. It then had a slip in mid 2021, which was repaired swiftly followed by a significant slip in mid 2022, which took 18 months to repair and reopen. 

SWDC acknowledged the challenges that all Hinekura residents faced, with particular mention to the support of John and Liz Hancock and family; Don McCreary and Anna Johnston and Clayton and Karen Hartnell for assistance with rebuilding a temporary road, working with contractors and support over the past 18 months.  

The council also expressed enormous gratitude to Sarah and John Booth and Sarah Donaldson from the East Coast Rural Support Trust. Special mention was made to Brownell Earthmoving & Plant Hire for completing the road rebuild earlier than the projected timeframe and within budget. The South Wairarapa District Council worked on the rebuild with funding partner, Waka Kotahi, which provided geotechnical advice and funded 71% of the cost. The Hinekura Road reopened on Thursday 27 March this year and repairs are still being worked on but it is now traversable by all vehicles.  

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