Celebrate the reopening of Foxton’s River Loop Reserve

Published on 01 February 2021

Event thumbnail image for the Te Oranga o te Awa event.

The Manawatū River Leaders’ Forum has announced that for the first time Te Oranga o te Awa – the Manawatū River Improvement Festival, will be held in Foxton to celebrate the reopening of the Foxton River Loop Reserve.

The celebration will be held at the reserve on Saturday 27 February from 10am-3pm. It will provide an opportunity for the community to come together and mark the rejuvenation of a key part of the River Loop, which silted up after the upstream entrance of the Loop was accidentally cut off from the Manawatū River about 80 years ago.

Forum Chair Richard Thompson said the festival is a celebration of the actions collectively taken to improve the river under the Manawatū River Leaders’ Accord, signed by all parties of the Forum.

“The rejuvenated Foxton River Loop Reserve is a perfect example of one such project. In all there are 104 tasks identified by the Accord to help improve the mauri of the Manawatū River Catchment.

“The Accord was originally signed August 2010 in Foxton, so it’s fitting we host the festival here - sharing a day of community celebration with live music, food, exhibitions, kapa haka, Chinese dragon procession, games, water sports, and a historic boat convoy.

“The day will start for invited guests with a dawn blessing by Ngāti Raukawa, followed by the unveiling of an historic anchor found in the Loop and restored by the Save Our River Trust. A celebratory festival to be held for the public will follow from 10am - 3pm,” said Mr Thompson.

Horowhenua Mayor Bernie Wanden said he is keen to highlight how the new reserve can be used in the future and encourages the community to connect back to the awa and be involved.

“The rejuvenated reserve creates a wonderful community asset that will attract water sports enthusiasts and those seeking recreation and relaxation. The new-look reserve complements the Te Awahou Riverside Cultural Park and showcases why Foxton is the place to be.

“Come along on the day, or register for the convoy on the river, as a volunteer - there’s also the opportunity for community groups to set up a stall,” said Mayor Wanden.

The Foxton River Loop project was made possible thanks to a $3.86m grant from the Provincial Development Unit. Several aspects of the project will be completed after the opening, including the planting of trees, construction of viewing platforms and equipment added to the play area.

The festival is a collaborative effort from the Horowhenua District Council, Horizons Regional Council, Manawatū River Leaders’ Forum, Ngāti Raukawa, Save Our River Trust, Te Awahou Riverside Cultural Park, and Foxton Tourist and Development Association Inc.

A full programme of events will be published ahead of the event.