Ngāti Waewae focused on future growth for the Coast

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae welcomes today’s announcement about funding for development of the Dolomite Point (Punakaiki) Redevelopment Project (DPRP). The Provincial Growth Fund has announced a commitment of $25.6M in funding for the project at Punakaiki on the West Coast.

“Dolomite Point, or Punakaiki, is one of New Zealand’s most visited spots with more than half a million people visiting the site every year. It is also a significant site for Ngāti Waewae and we have been an active partner in the development of the Paparoa National Park Management Plan and Dolomite Point Redevelopment Project. This outcome is a direct result of the Management Plan,” said Francois Tumahai, Chairman of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae.

“The project will include delivery of enhanced infrastructure, like car parking, as well as a new visitor centre. We know that tourists to Punakaiki want to experience the region’s unique scenery and want a complementary experience that celebrates the distinct West Coast environment, culture and history. The proposed visitor centre, as part of the redevelopment project, will enable Ngāti Waewae to deliver that experience at one of New Zealand’s most stunning scenic areas,” said Mr Tumahai.

The Provincial Growth Fund grant will enable partners to focus on improving infrastructure and visitor facilities on the inland side of the State Highway, opposite the current Punakaiki walkway entrance. This includes the visitor centre. On completion Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae will assume ownership and management of the centre, which will cost approximately $5M to develop.

“Ngāti Waewae are a significant partner in the DPRP and we value our relationship with the Department of Conservation, who are leading this project, and other project partners including the Buller District Council, New Zealand Transport Agency, Development West Coast and private landowners. To get to this point today is a testament to the hard work and commitment from each of the partners involved. We are delighted that the Provincial Growth Fund has chosen to approve this project,” said Mr Tumahai.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai said tourism is crucial to the West Coast economy and is one of the key economic contributors to the region.

“Managing visitor flows and creating unique experiences across Te Waipounamu is a balancing act, but we are focused on ensuring that this is done right. The planned infrastructure improvements and visitor facility will attract more visitors, ensure an enhanced visitor experience and help to provide ongoing employment and opportunities to the West Coast region,” said Mrs Tumahai.

“Ngāi Tahu has significant experience in delivering excellent tourist experiences throughout New Zealand. We are acknowledged as being a leader in this space and we are thrilled that one of our Papatipu Rūnanga have entered this partnership and exciting development,” she said.