Crowds gather for the opening of Ohakune Carrot Adventure Park.A collaborative project between Ohakune Growers Association, Ohakune 2000 Inc, Ruapehu District Council and Corrections saw the Ohakune Carrot Adventure Park open to the community on Saturday 1 October.

The park is adjacent to the famous giant carrot that greets visitors at the southern entrance to Ohakune.

Since April last year offenders from Ohakune, Raetihi and Taumarunui serving community work sentences have contributed approximately 720 hours to the project.

Taumarunui Community Corrections Service Manager Frank Mariu says the project has given offenders a chance to make a positive contribution to the community.

Entrance to Ohakune with the life size carrot sculpture in the background“Under the guidance of our community work supervisor, offenders have laid boxing for concrete paths, cleared weeds, planted 1,000 plants including 300 rhododendrons and dug holes for posts for the professional installation of the playground equipment.

“Many who have worked on the project have said they can look back and see what they’ve done and show it to their families with pride.

“It’s a fantastic community project and we’re pleased to be part of it.”

Offenders will continue to work on the park, finishing off bike tracks and doing general maintenance.

As part of Saturday's opening  key features of the park were unveiled.  Several walkways were opened, including a heritage walkway which is a tribute to Chinese growers who started market gardening in the area in the early 1920s.

The district’s famous life size vegetable sculptures; carrot, Brussels sprout, spud, swede and parsnip made by sculptor Mike Walsh, along with a zoom zoom carrot car carved from a log of wood by local Paul Beckett were also revealed.