Construction begins on Pike River memorial walking track

Construction has begun on a new walk to honour the 29 men who died in the Pike River disaster.

The hiking and biking track will link Blackball with Punakaiki, with a special side track leading to the former Pike River mine site.

It'll take just over 18 months to complete, allowing the public to traverse and explore the wilderness area by April 2019.

But it's a huge task constructing a ribbon of walkways that stretches through one of New Zealand's most picturesque national parks.

A single excavator is tackling the rugged West Coast terrain while one man and his chainsaw helps cut the path in front.

An effort has been made to preserve the native bush iconic to the area, and leaving it as undisturbed as possible.

"They save everything they can - every seedling, every bit of moss," says project manager Mark Nelson.

"They go through from the line and another crew comes behind them, basically re-plant them right up to the edge of the track.

"It helps Mother Nature very, very quickly come back."


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