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Published: 2008-03-07 00:00:00

The Waikato River is our number one wonder.

The river has just edged out Mt Maungatautari to win Environment Waikato’s One Waikato, Seven Wonders competition.

Environment Waikato chairman Peter Buckley said the closeness of the voting for the top spot, and the fact that 129 places were nominated, showed Waikato people held many different places dear to their hearts.

But the Waikato River emerged as the top spot through the 276 nominations made from more than 1300 specific visits to the Seven Wonders website and entry forms posted in from the council’s Envirocare magazine.

“The fact that the river won probably reflects what a dominant feature of our landscape it is,” said Cr Buckley.

Some of the comments made by people voting for the Waikato River included:

  • “The Waikato River is the spine of our wondrous region.”
  • “The river is a single thread which links many of the unique features and landscapes of the region.”
  • “The tranquil walkways along the river are a pleasure for mind and body.”

After Mt Maungatautari came Raglan, Waitomo Caves, Mt Pirongia, Karangahake, and Lake Taupo.

Places on the Coromandel Peninsula collectively gained the second highest number of votes, but with the votes split between different spots no single one of them made it into the top seven.

“I’d like to thank the public for taking the time to let us know their special places,” said Cr Buckley.

“They shared some great stories of why these places held special meaning for them.”

All valid entries in the contest went into a draw for a free scenic flight over the region. The winner was Marion Lewin from Pirongia, who nominated Mt Pirongia, saying: “I look over to Pirongia Mountain. It dominates my life.”

Other winners, who took home Earthwise Direct eco-friendly prize packs for the home and garden are:

Name Nominated
Clint Green from Turangi Te Hapua Bay
Stephanie Carey from Hamilton  The Waikato River
Sherilyn Tasker from Hamilton The Waihou River
Brian Walker from Hamilton  Lake Taupo
Max Johnston from Thames Manaia Kauri Sanctuary
Barbara Handley from Whangamata Whangamata Beach
Cathy Davidson from Te Kuiti       Mangapohue Natural Bridge
Lorna Gribble from Hamilton Lake Taupo
Laura Bax from Hora Hora School     Waitomo Caves
Cherish Cowley from Hora Hora School       Mount Maungatautari

The One Waikato, Seven Wonders campaign was aimed at raising awareness of the Waikato’s unique environmental features, and to gather information about natural features that are important to people in the region.

It is possible the final winning wonders will generate further debate and discussion, so people should feel free to continue to make comments on the website.