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Waitangi Regional Park - Priceless!

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is delighted to confirm near-full funding for the Waitangi Regional Park project, due to start construction later this year.

The Waitangi coastal area, sadly, is the site of rubbish dumping and poor vehicle use, resulting in a general run-down state. Ironically, it is also an extremely popular location for recreation activities. Until recently, it has lacked a plan and the vision to breathe life back into it as a regional taonga. 

Late last month, the project team were elated to learn of a Lotteries Committee funding approval, giving the green-light to this significant public project worth around $1,000,000.

Project partners contributing to the enhancement of Waitangi Regional Park are: Lotteries WWI Environment and Heritage Committee $293k, Eastern and Central Community Trust $40k, Creative New Zealand $80k, Nga Whenua Rahui $23k, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council $311k, Hastings District Council $40k, Napier City Council $30k and New Zealand Transport Agency.

HBRC Councillor and Te Matau a Maui Voyaging Trust trustee, Rex Graham has been a vocal and active supporter of this project.

“There is such a need for this work to acknowledge the culture, history and natural beauty of this special site. By Waitangi Day 2017, between Napier and Hastings, we’ll have this stunning location to celebrate our cultural roots and settler history. For the investment ahead of us, what we’ll get is going to be priceless for Hawke’s Bay.”

Piripi Smith is the Chairman of Te Matau a Maui Voyaging Trust, providing unique cultural sailing experiences using traditional voyaging waka. He has shared the vision to develop Waitangi.

“The area of the Waitangi Regional Park is rich in both Maori and European history, and it’s a huge shame that few people in the region know this and that many people see the area as a dumping site. The project will see us as local people of Hawkes Bay start looking after this area of land, if we look after the land and understand the stories of the area, we have a connection to the land and the environment. The Star Compass will give many people an opportunity to understand how traditional navigation works, from people in waka crews throughout the Pacific who will train to a high level to local schools and the general public who can learn the basics. “

The Waitangi project has go-ahead, subject to raising a small pool of additional funds, the preparation, tendering and signing of agreements with contractors.

Construction is expected to begin in October 2016 with the carpark, celestial compass, formal entrance, educational signage and pathways targeted to be complete by February 2017, including 4 main pou (carved posts) of the star compass.

Some 6,000 plants will help to transform the space, with the support of public planting events in winter 2017. A further 28 directional pou will be added to the star compass over the next year, to coincide with the movement of the sun on the solstices and equinoxes. Local carvers Phil Belcher and Nathan Foote are leading the carving project with support from local kaumatua Beven Taylor, Matiu Eru and Haami Hilton.

Estuary access will be closed for up to 6 weeks, from November 2016, during the main construction period. When closed, fishermen and people wishing to access the rivermouth beside Ngaruroro River will mainly be affected, although beach access from Awatoto will remain open.

Waitangi Regional Park sits between Awatoto and Haumoana, where the Tutaekurī, Ngaruroro and Tukituki Rivers, an extensive estuary system and wetlands join the sea.

More information can be found on YouTube or at hbrc.govt.nz, search: #waitangi.

25 August 2016

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