Published: 1 July 2022
Napier City Council has been granted $700,000 from central government’s Tourism Infrastructure Fund. Council will match this funding to kickstart the project on the Ahuriri waterfront with development set to start within the next year with design concepts currently being drawn up.
This new space will complement a planned new home for Te Matau-a-Māui, the ocean-going training waka currently moored at the southern end of the Ahuriri harbour. It will be used to welcome visitors, host tour groups and support existing activities based at the waterfront including those associated with the waka. The facility will also provide toilets and changing facilities, and educational storyboards.
Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise explains that this is a project developed in close collaboration with stakeholders, including mana whenua.
“This will be a real community hub for Ahuriri. Workshops, gatherings, celebrations can all be held there, as well as it being a fitting opportunity to pay respect to Ahuriri’s rich history and heritage,” Mayor Wise says.
The project will also include opportunities to improve stormwater quality, provide protected viewing spots for nesting kororā (little penguins) and share cultural and historical stories.
Mayor Kirsten Wise says Napier has an exciting opportunity, made possible with help from the grant, to develop the area in a way that complements other Ahuriri-based projects.
“It is going to be wonderful to be able to enrich this important area that has a special place in Napier’s past and present. It will be a drawcard for tourists seeking authentic experiences and something our locals can feel really proud of.”
Council is working in partnership with Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust to help expand their activities, and mana whenua, including with Mana Ahuriri Trust who have recently acquired the Pakake site on Customs Quay as part of their settlement.
The total cost of the overall project, to upgrade existing assets or add new ones to Napier’s inner harbour, has been budgeted at over $10 million. The majority of the cost has been included in the Long Term Plan 2021-31.
Ahuriri is one of the earliest settled areas in Napier, and is culturally significant to Māori. Its safe mooring spots and sheltered waters saw it grow into Hawke’s Bay’s main port before the 1931 earthquake forced its relocation, to where Napier Port is now.
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