Friday, July 21, 2023

Baton Valley - Tasman: From Gold Mining History to Tourist Destination

Baton Valley Tasman

 Take Care in the Back Country as Tourists and Locals visit unfamiliar territory

The back country of Tasman, New Zealand, offers a captivating haven for outdoor enthusiasts, drawing in trampers, hunters, and cyclists with its untamed beauty and rich history. One of the significant historical sites in this region is the Baton Valley, nestled at the base of the majestic Mount Arthur. In the 19th century, this valley was a bustling centre of gold mining activity, triggered by the discovery of gold traces by the adventurous sailor, Batteyn Norton, in 1855. The news of gold brought around 100 diggers to the area by 1859, creating a vibrant community.

The Baton gold, although less valuable due to its sandy composition, coexisted with the highly sought-after Wangapeka gold, leading to the establishment of a store, hotel, and annual grand dances organised by the Taylor family in 1859. J.W. Sutcliffe also managed another hotel in the valley, adding to the growing community.

The initial gold diggings were concentrated near the Skeet and Ellis Rivers, making the field easily accessible. However, as time passed, the initial excitement waned, resulting in a decrease in the number of diggers, with only around 50 remaining. Some diggers transitioned into settlers and contributed to the establishment of a local school, while hack meetings at the Baton racecourse brought participants from distant districts.

Although the Baton Valley was not considered a wealthy gold field, it served as a fallback option for farmers and diggers facing difficulties elsewhere. Notable gold discoveries occasionally occurred, such as Arthur Needham's find, which enabled him to purchase a farm. In the late 1800s, visitors reported finding gold along the Motueka and Baton Rivers, with some individuals earning substantial amounts, up to £12 per week.

However, by 1902, the Baton workings were largely abandoned, except for the 1930s Depression period when men were subsidised to search for gold in the riverbed, resulting in new discoveries. The construction of the Baton Bridge in 1907 greatly benefited settlers by improving access to the area, contributing to its ongoing development.

In the present day, the Baton Valley proudly preserves its agricultural heritage while enticing tourists with the allure of the Tasman's Great Taste Cycle Trail. This back and beyond section of the cycle trail offers a thrilling 4 to 6-hour biking experience from Tapawera to Riwaka. The trail treats visitors to awe-inspiring vistas of mountains, farmlands, rivers, and vast skies, fostering a deep connection with nature.

However, as enticing as the backcountry may be, caution is essential. Once traveler's leave the towns at each end of the trail, options for restocking supplies become limited. It is vital to ensure sufficient provisions for the journey ahead. The trail comprises rural gravel roads, which are shared with vehicles, including logging trucks and milk tankers. Cyclists must exercise caution and remain mindful of loose gravel. For e-bike users, carrying enough battery charge is crucial, as no charging facilities exist in the backcountry, and cellular coverage is sparse.

Recent events in Baton Valley serve as a stark reminder of the potential dangers faced by those venturing into the backcountry. A cyclist was found after being lost for ten days, surviving without food, last week. He apparently went for a bush walk and became lost. Thanks to the vigilant efforts of the Police, search teams and a member of the public who reported an abandoned tent cycle and other items, the man was located and safely transported to the hospital. This incident underscores the importance of early reporting and preparedness when participating in outdoor activities in remote areas.

Sergeant Jonny Evans of Nelson Bays Search and Rescue expressed gratitude to the individual who initially alerted the authorities and acknowledged the efforts of the search teams and LandSAR volunteers involved in the rescue operation.

Authorities strongly advise individuals engaging in tramping, hunting, and cyclists who intend to some tramping as well, in the backcountry to carry a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). PLBs are invaluable tools that enable rescue teams to respond quickly by pinpointing the location of distress signals. Registering the PLB with the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ before embarking on any outdoor excursion ensures a rapid and efficient emergency response.

In conclusion, the Baton Valley, steeped in historical significance and coupled with the allure of the Great Taste Cycle Trail, has transformed into a thriving tourist destination. Adventurers seeking an unforgettable experience are drawn to this untamed paradise. However, undertaking such ventures requires a blend of adventurous spirit and responsible preparedness. By approaching the backcountry with caution, foresight, and respect for its wilderness, visitors can fully immerse themselves in its enchanting beauty while minimising risks and preserving its charm for generations to come.


Nelson Provincial Museum Pupuri Taonga o Te Tai Ao

Tasman’s Great Taste Cycle Trail - Tasman District Council

NZ Police Media Centre


Pigeon Post News, Richmond, Tasman.

MetService Weather - Tasman






Pigeon Post News Richmond Tasman

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Fonterra Boosts Efforts to Cut Emissions - Targets Net Zero by 2030

Fonterra testing biomass in it's manufacturing process

"Fonterra Pledges Bold Emissions Reduction Targets - Aiming for Net Zero by 2030”

Fonterra, a major dairy company, has recently announced its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions further. The company has set ambitious targets for Scope 1&2 emissions, which include direct emissions under its control and indirect emissions resulting from its activities but not directly owned or controlled by the company.

The new goal is to achieve a 50% absolute reduction in Scope 1&2 emissions by 2030, using a 2018 baseline. This is a significant increase from their previous target of a 30% reduction by 2030. 

Fonterra's emissions mainly come from their manufacturing operations and supply chain, and achieving this new target is a vital step towards their ultimate aim of becoming net zero by 2050, meaning they will aim to balance out emissions with equivalent carbon removal.

To achieve this ambitious goal, Fonterra plans to focus on energy efficiency improvements and switching to renewable energy sources across its milk collection fleet and manufacturing sites. Particularly, they aim to transition away from coal usage in six of their facilities. 

The company foresees an investment of $790 million in these efforts, with the government contributing up to $90 million through the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry (GIDI) fund.

Fonterra's CEO, Miles Hurrell, emphasises the importance of collaboration in achieving these targets, and the government funding will help expedite their plans to reduce Scope 1&2 emissions by 50% by 2030 and eliminate coal usage by 2037.

The company is actively exploring various technologies, such as biomass, electrification, and heat pump technology, to make the shift towards renewable energy sources at their manufacturing sites. They have already initiated decarbonisation projects at five sites in the past five years and aim to continue this momentum.

By accelerating their efforts, Fonterra aims to maintain its position as a leading provider of low-carbon dairy products on a global scale. These actions will not only contribute to New Zealand's climate targets but also bring benefits to local communities through job opportunities.

Fonterra is also in discussions with farmers to set a Scope 3 emissions target, which will be announced shortly. All of the company's climate targets align with the Science Based Target initiative, which seeks to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Fonterra is in the process of seeking accreditation for its efforts in this regard.

Overall, Fonterra's increased commitment to emissions reduction is a significant step towards a more sustainable future, and it sets a positive example for other companies to follow suit in the fight against climate change.


Pigeon Post News, Richmond, Tasman.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Police - Lost Man Found in Baton Valley


Police Photo

Man located by Police and LandSAR after being lost for ten days - Baton Valley, Tasman District

A man is recovering in hospital after being located by Police and LandSAR in Baton Valley, Tasman District, last night.

The man had been without food for a week and is fortunate to have survived.

A search was launched on Monday morning, after a member of the public reported finding an abandoned tent at Ellis River, along with a bicycle and a number of other items.

The search teams, which included a SAR dog, were deployed and conducted a search over a wide area.

The man was located by LandSAR volunteers around three kilometres from the end of Baton Valley Road shortly after 5pm.

A helicopter was unable to be deployed due to low cloud, so the man was assisted out by searchers, before being transported to Nelson Hospital.

“At this stage we believe the man had been lost for ten days, but had not been reported missing,” says Sergeant Jonny Evans, Nelson Bays Search and Rescue.

“He is very lucky to be alive and I’d like to thank the member of the public who initially reported finding the tent and other items, as well as those who got in touch with us when we appealed for information about the tent on social media.”

“This situation shows the importance of getting in touch with Police when you see something that you think doesn’t seem quite right.”

“The information provided by the public enabled us to get a search up and running – I have no doubt we would be dealing with a very different situation if this had not been reported to Police when it was.”

“And I would like to thank all those involved in the search, including our LandSAR volunteers. It was a very long day for them and they can be proud of the work they did to recover this man and bring him to safety.”

Police encourage anyone heading out tramping or hunting to ensure they are equipped with a Personal Locator Beacon.

Beacons are a lifesaving tool which allow rescue teams to respond to your location as soon as possible.

If you are exploring the outdoors and are unable to make it out for any reason, or if you have concerns for someone else, please do not hesitate to activate your beacon.

Remember to register your beacon with Rescue Coordination Centre NZ before you head out: 

Police Media Centre.

Pigeon Post News, Richmond, Tasman.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Timely Release of eBus Timetable Crucial for Reducing Peak Traffic Flow

A Nelson bus on Saturday 15 July 2023. Photo Mark Rosser

Nelson and Tasman Residents Await Comprehensive Schedule for Sustainable Public Transportation

Residents of Nelson and Tasman are eagerly anticipating the upcoming eBus service, set to revolutionise public transportation in the region. However, with the service's launch date of August 1st, the timely release of the comprehensive eBus timetable by the Tasman District Council and Nelson City Council is of utmost importance. As the primary means of public transportation between Nelson and Tasman currently are diesel buses, the eBus service provides a sustainable and efficient alternative. To encourage commuters to embrace the eBus service, addressing peak hours and high-demand areas in the timetable is crucial.

To ensure a smooth transition and allow residents to plan their commuting routines, it is imperative that the Tasman District Council and Nelson City promptly make the comprehensive eBus timetable accessible to the public. With the 16th of July already upon us, providing advance access to the timetable will empower individuals to make informed decisions and adapt their travel plans accordingly. By having ample time to familiarise themselves with the schedules, residents can confidently choose the eBus service as a reliable mode of transportation.

The eBus timetable should prioritise frequent and reliable bus services during peak hours, particularly in high-demand areas. By addressing the transportation needs of residents during these busy periods, the councils can entice individuals away from private vehicles and onto the eBuses, ultimately reducing peak traffic flow. Prioritising connectivity between key locations within Nelson and Tasman is essential to ensure the eBus service efficiently caters to residents' travel requirements.

To further enhance the effectiveness of the eBus timetable, the Tasman District Council and Nelson City should actively seek feedback from the community. Conducting surveys or public consultations will provide valuable insights into residents' preferences and requirements. By incorporating community feedback, the councils can refine the eBus timetable to better meet the needs of the population. This inclusive approach will increase the timetable's appeal and encourage greater ridership, ultimately contributing to reduced congestion on the roads.

The utilisation of technology will be instrumental in optimising the eBus service. Implementing a user-friendly online platform that offers real-time bus tracking and updates will empower passengers to plan their journeys more efficiently. By providing accurate information about bus arrival times and potential delays, residents can confidently rely on the eBus service as a reliable mode of transportation. This technology-driven approach will enhance the overall travel experience, promoting the eBus service as an attractive alternative to private vehicles.

In conclusion, the timely release of the comprehensive eBus timetable is crucial for reducing peak traffic flow between Nelson and Tasman. As residents eagerly await the launch of the service, ensuring they have access to the timetable well in advance will allow for informed decision-making and efficient travel planning. By addressing peak hours and high-demand areas in the timetable, prioritising connectivity, incorporating community feedback, and leveraging technology, the councils can successfully encourage residents to embrace the eBus service and experience the benefits of sustainable and efficient public transportation.

The new eBuses for Nelson and Tasman

Pigeon Post News Richmond, Tasman

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Book for Department of Conservation Great Walks

Abel Tasman Coast Track - Located in Abel Tasman National Park in the Tasman Region 

New booking dates open this month for DOC Great Walks

DOC has announced new opening dates for booking Great Walks and other facilities for the 2023/24 season (excluding Milford which booked out on 20 April).

When DOC went to release opening dates in May for the rest of the Great Walks, technical difficulties forced a postponement of that release.

“We are now pleased to announce that the rest of the Great Walks bookings will open from 11 July,” says Cat Wilson, Director of Heritage and Visitors.

“The fixes made to the booking system have been tested extensively by our vendor and an independent specialist, so we have the assurance we need to re-open bookings soon.

“We are grateful to everyone for their patience and understanding and appreciate the time it has taken to make the required changes to the system mean we are opening bookings later than usual.”

The new dates are as follows:

Great Walks

  • Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 9.30 am – Tongariro Northern Circuit
  • Wednesday, 12 July 2023, 9.30 am – Rakiura Track
  • Thursday, 13 July 2023, 9.30 am – Paparoa Track
  • Tuesday, 18 July 2023, 9.30 am – Abel Tasman Coast Track
  • Wednesday, 19 July 2023, 9.30 am – Whanganui Journey
  • Thursday, 20 July 2023, 9.30 am – Kepler Track
  • Tuesday, 25 July 2023, 9.30 am – Routeburn Track
  • Wednesday, 26 July 2023, 9.30 am – Heaphy Track*

*Due to storm damage, the Heaphy Track can be booked from either end up to 19 October 2023, with the full track expected to be open as a through trip from this date.

Lake Waikaremoana is closed due to damage. 

Milford Track is sold out.  

Huts, lodges, campsites

  • Thursday, 27 July 2023, 9.30 am – Momorangi Bay Campground
  • Tuesday, 1 August 2023, 9.30 am – South Island huts, campsites and lodges
  • Wednesday, 2 August 2023, 9.30 am – North Island huts, campsites and lodges
  • Thursday, 3 August 2023, 9.30 am – Tōtaranui Campground

Department of Conservation

Pigeon Post News, Richmond

MetService forecast covering period of Thursday 6th - Monday 10th July


A wet weekend ahead for some

A narrow ridge of high pressure provides a spell of fine and frosty weather for most of Aotearoa New Zealand today (Thursday) and on Friday. However, MetService is forecasting a rainy end to the week for northern and eastern parts of the country as a low pressure system and its associated fronts close in.

Central and southern regions wake to another cold and clear day on Friday, with frost expected for many areas south of Waikato. MetService Meteorologist Ngaire Wotherspoon says: “After a week of frosty mornings, overnight temperatures should rise for most of the country this weekend as wet and windy weather takes over. For Southland and Otago, however, those cold temperatures are expected to stick around into next week.”

A band of rain and strong northeasterly winds move across the North Island and western parts of the South Island on Friday, followed by a showery northwest flow. By Saturday, a low pressure centre develops on the front and spirals east of the North Island, and by the end of the weekend most corners of the country will have seen some wet weather.

The eastern parts of the North and South Islands will be the areas to watch this weekend, as some could see some heavier bouts of rain. 

“While there is still some question as to exactly where the low centre will form, which will determine where the heaviest rain falls, the most likely areas will be along the eastern stretch of the country. Residents are encouraged to keep an eye on as the situation develops,” Wotherspoon advises.

For those looking to spend their school holidays outdoors, Thursday and Friday morning are looking to have the best weather. There are also a few good days on the horizon next week as the low moves away.


Pigeon Post News, Richmond

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